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.
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.
And lo — proof that fountain pens are compatible with flying!
Stuttgart itself was good. The personal highlight was a cocktail bar disguised as an office, in fact the bar is behind a vault door.
But by God it 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!
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).
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.
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 next trip is in two weeks, to the US… where I’ll at last meet my Nakaya and Karas Ink. Bon voyage!