Emily Smith, reporting from duty overseas in Barcelona

Emily Smith - Reporting from duty overseas in Barcelona


The view from the Ferris Wheel at Tibidabo
Emily Smith is just coming to the end of her first 3 month posting abroad; this time in Barcelona, so here she explains what that experience has been like. Emily reviews some of the must-see and do places she visited, her work there and what she still has yet to tick off on her to-do list .

All our trainee notaries spend at least 6 months working in a notary practice abroad to refine language skills, experience the culture and to understand "hands-on" how our counterparts operate and the challenges they face. It all helps us to give the best possible advice to our clients here in the UK.

It's not all work. As you will see, it helps to explore and enjoy the culture and the place too!
Hola a tots, 
  
I'm now in my 11th week here in Barcelona, ¡el tiempo vuela!  The city is incredible with equal offerings of art, history, parks and beach! I walk to the office every day thanks to the warmer, drier climate, but the office hours took some time to get used to. 

I'm being hosted by Notaría Rambla 55 and am sat in their commercial department.  Here in Spain the use of notarial services permeates transactions carried out in everyday life. Whether that's making a will, incorporating a company, granting a power of attorney for litigation or buying a house (to name a few) the involvement of a notary is essential and you rarely encounter a Spaniard or someone resident in Spain who has never used a notary. 

When I'm not learning about the Spanish notarial profession in the office, I have been enjoying all that Barcelona has to offer;  living in an apartment in the trendy area of El Born which is perfectly located.  I'm a 30-minute walk from the office, 20-minute walk from the beach and 20-minute walk from the centre of the city, Plaça Catalunya. 

In exploring Barcelona my must-sees/dos are:
  • Park Güell - I've visited four times in the past two months! I definitely recommend booking tickets online in advance to avoid queues and benefit from a small discount.
  • Tibidabo Theme Park - the Ferris wheel's view over Barcelona is Instagram-worthy and each of the attractions in the "panoramic area" only cost €2 to ride!
  • Sagrada Familia - We booked "skip the line" tickets with Ceetiz and had a local guide rather than an audio guide, which was worth the extra pennies.
  • Renting bikes to ride along the beach and up to Parc de la Ciutadella and Arc de Triomf - you can rent bikes from as little as €2 per hour in El Born. On the way back from the beach I strongly recommend stopping off for ice-cream at eyescream & friends. I took my nieces when they came to visit and we loved it!
  • Doing a free walking tour of the Gothic Quarter - this was great to get my bearings and learn some history about the places I walk past every day.
  • Spending the afternoon browsing the Boquería food market and grabbing a beer in Plaça Reial, both just off the busy Las Ramblas.
  • Watching the fountain show at la Font Màgica de Montjuïc.
  • A very good friend I've made in the office here, Queralt, invited me to spend the weekend in her family's house in the beautiful medieval town of Bagà. It was a welcome retreat from the city; we spent our days walking and taking in the mountain views and our nights eating traditional Catalan food cooked by Queralt's mother on the open wood fire.  
Three things I have left on my to do list are: 
  1. A Barça match (I have tickets for the Copa del Rey match against Murcia on 29 November), 
  2. Visit the Picasso museum; and,
  3.  Do a tour of the Palau de la Música Catalana. I have less than three weeks left so I best get moving! 
Going back to my work here in Barcelona - I've been exposed to and have assisted in drafting all kinds of documents regularly prepared in the commercial department, the most common being deeds of: incorporation of companies (including drafting the appropriate articles of association), powers of attorney, changes of company name, registered office and director(s). 

I've also learned some administrative requirements; for example, where a registered office moves from, say, Barcelona to Alicante, a clause should be inserted in the change of address deed requesting certification from the Barcelona Registry for filing with the Alicante Registry. What I'm learning here will enable me to anticipate and overcome potential obstacles for our clients in London doing business in Spain and maintain our efficient service. 

Monday to Thursday we have a two-hour lunch break which I often make use of by going to the gym - something I never find the time to do during the working day in London! On Fridays we close the office at 3.00pm which is a great way to start the weekend. During my first two weeks here in September I enjoyed the last of the summer timetable which saw us finish at 3.00pm every day; and with the 27˚C heat it was the perfect time for me to explore and pick my favourite spot on the Barceloneta beach!

On the whole I'm enjoying the challenges that come with living and working abroad and am loving using my Spanish all day every day. I've even picked up some Catalan! 
  
I'm now looking forward to being back in London for the festive season, but fear I may suffer with the cold. It's currently 15˚C here and I'm already wearing my winter coat! 
  
¡Fins ara! 
  
Emily
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