Travels with pens: Stuttgart and Barcelona

My January ended with a couple of almost back-to-back trips: a few short days in sub-zero Stuttgart, followed by a hectic week in relatively baking Barcelona.

In honour of my first proper trip to Germany, I took a load of Montblancs, and they served me well.

My load out ready for Germany…

In between meetings and team meals, I managed to sneak to a department store that had a good selection of Lamys, and window-shopped at the apparently deserted Montblanc boutique. Other than that, a quick look round the LHR Terminal 5 Montblanc boutique on the way out was it as far as pen shopping was concerned.

This is what happens when you get to the airport at 4.45am.

And lo — proof that fountain pens are compatible with flying!

Please stow your tray table and keep all pens in an upright position

Stuttgart itself was good. The personal highlight was a cocktail bar disguised as an office, in fact the bar is behind a vault door.

Who says Germans have no sense of humour? This bar is disguised as offices

But by God it was cold.

Stuttgart was cold.

And so, to Barcelona. The trip out — this time from Terminal 3 — was disappointing. The Harrods was shut, no Montblanc concession! I had to content myself with a good look round Watches of Switzerland…

And indeed minimal real pen shopping all week — I was on a punishing schedule of event work, team bonding sessions and late calls. Barcelona is one of my favourite cities to wander, eat and drink in, so I didn’t mind too much!

Barcelona was warm. And sunny. And it had my face in it.

Luckily, I had the presence of mind to order a Montblanc Petit Prince 146 to my hotel from the lovely folks at Iguanasell, and brought along a bottle of Birmingham Celestial Blue to ink it with (double-bagged in ziplocks to prevent leaks as per my travel guide).


Two ends of the pricing spectrum in one shot…

Barcelona has a huge Muji (among many other fantastic shops) and I finally managed to put my hands on one of its aluminium pens, priced at a heady 18 euros. It’s long, light, and writes a fine line with a noticeable resonance from the aluminium body. Interesting indeed.

Ah, Muji. My spiritual home.

My lovely team know that I’m a bit of a stationery freak, and asked plenty of questions about my hobby. I’m not sure I recruited any converts, but I certainly had my share of stress watching them trying out expensive pens! You’d be surprised how many people don’t know which way up the nib goes…

I wrote the first draft of this post from Barcelona airport, with my Conid Kingsize, on a surprisingly nice notebook I bought from Muji. I don’t own any Spanish pens, so I resorted to “European”. My loadout included the Aurora Optima, Visconti London Fog, Lamy 2000, and of course the new Muji and Montblanc.

My Conid survived the week, despite colleagues not knowing which way up the nib goes…!

My next trip is in two weeks, to the US… where I’ll at last meet my Nakaya and Karas Ink. Bon voyage!

11 thoughts on “Travels with pens: Stuttgart and Barcelona

  1. Hi
    Sounds like a couple of good trips, especially Barcelona. I picked up a Muji fountain pen a while back, lovely smooth nib but I couldn’t get on with it and their FP friendly notebooks are just great. I would love to see more pictures of the Petit Prince.

    Best wishes


  2. Hey Anthony,
    What’s the pouch next to your Nock in the seatback pocket (with an iPhone in)?

    Also: any chance of you popping the full posts in your RSS feed please? I prefer reading with the night mode of Feedly on my phone rather than clicking through. As always, lovely content though!


    • Hey! It’s another Nock, actually. Hightower XL, I think?

      I thought I had full RSS enabled — I am an RSS user too so I feel your pain. I’ll take a look at the settings.


      • You do have an RSS feed?! I cannot find the link to it anywhere on your site.
        Also, email notifications changed from full to partial (first paragraph) a few weeks/months back.


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