If you happen to have been caught up in the Barcelona magic like me, it’s not just one special day but almost every day that feels like a dream in our beautiful city.
Now, I’m a farm girl from Africa where I grew up with nothing but peace, quiet, nature and animals around me. After 18 years living this way, it takes a very special city to capture my attention for longer than a week.
I can safely say that a day in Barcelona will make your soul feel fulfilled, leave a huge smile on your face and your heart incredibly happy.
When I wake up each morning, I hop into my exercise clothes and am off to the beach. I am lucky enough to live just around the corner and meet with my friends for some sweating in the sand as we watch the sun come up over the ocean. Our group is welcoming, kind, international and obviously, we are morning people. There is teasing, joking, laughing, swearing, sweating and everything in between. It is a special time in the city while most lay sleeping; we are off to a crazy start to our day.
After that, I take a quick walk down the narrow streets of Barceloneta to the local market where I pick up some fresh fruit and bread. The vendors are always friendly and love to tease us ‘guiris’ a little bit. It may seem like a simple act, but it is those simple moments that make up my day. As long as I have been living here, each day seems to be one to remember.
After breakfast it’s time to get to work. This lifestyle does not maintain itself. I am incredibly fortunate to do exactly what I love for a living. So, I pack up my computer and notepad, grab a Bicing and head to a trendy café in the old town with some good wi-fi. There I meet a friend or two and we will work together for a few hours.
Sometimes we get a little less done than we should, but I am a sucker for good conversation about real life and deep topics. It sets my soul on fire and inspires me. Barcelona seems to be the kind of city where people are living in an authentic way, I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but it seems to be where good people gather.
On really sunny days, I pack up my lunch and head to the beach. It’s always a colourful experience in Barceloneta as there is so much going on. As a die-hard foodie, I like to make my meals last as long as possible. So, I sit quietly watching the waves lap the shore, chewing with intention and observing the guys pedalling their mojitos and beach blankets and quietly think how lucky I am to live here while muttering ‘No, gracias’ to every passing salesman. The lunch hour passes far too quickly along with my food and I reluctantly pull myself up and head home.
After lunch hour, it’s time to do some more work. Working from home is such a luxury. I set up my fresh mint tea and gather my thoughts once more. A few hours later, when all is said and done, I need to get my eyes off of the computer screen, move my body and shift gears for a little while.
A walk through the Parc de la Ciutadella is sometimes a good option, or meeting a friend for a ride around town. You see, everyone I know in Barcelona is so laid back, sociable and values the same things as me.
Quality time with good people is an everyday event here.
Talking, strolling, soaking up the city, swapping travel stories and exciting moments in our beautiful Barcelona makes a couple of hours fly by and before you know it, it’s time to head home and get ready for my date.
Dating in Barcelona is unpredictable and definitely exciting. The wine tastes good, the company is new, the stories are exciting and you never know where the night will take you. I like to share my favourite little bodegas and my love of the Spanish culture with my dates. Our evening is filled with laughing, joking, tapas and of course, a little too much red wine, and maybe some cheeky kisses if he plays his cards right.
Wandering home, I tend to get lost. Just how I like it.
Typical woman with zero sense of direction lands me down some dark alleys in the old town. Usually I happen upon a surprise plaça with a colourful musician sharing his passion on a dark corner. I love the fact that there is no consistency or anything predictable about what you will find.
A day in Barcelona is never the same. You can always rely on spontaneity, excitement and adventure. I leave with a completely different mind-set to when I arrive back home each afternoon.
I love the simplicity and rawness of the people in my barrio, Barceloneta.
I love the Spanish passion mixed in with the tourists who don’t give a shit. I love watching and listening to all of the people and sounds around me. I love that each barrio is representative of another world. I love that 15 minutes on the metro can transport you to anywhere in the city.
Most of all, I love Barcelona for allowing me the space and freedom to be myself, for allowing the absolute privilege of being able to roam the streets without a care in the world and for connecting me with open, loving and genuine people.
Barcelona you have my heart, every single day, over and over again.
Natalie is from South Africa, living in Barcelona for the last year and a half after an 8 year career on the water as a stewardess on super yachts. She now has her own business online, coaching people with anxiety and who want to build their self-confidence. Find her at nataliebelhill.com or on Facebook and Instagram.
If you’d like to write your ‘Perfect Day in Barcelona’ then please get in touch via the email address at the bottom of this website. I’d love to hear from you. The more we have the better!