My name is Mat, I’m 39yrs old and I live in Southampton. (I moved down here from South of London 20yrs ago and have stayed ever since).
My first trip to Barcelona was for La Noche Vieja (New Year’s Eve) in 2004. It was around this time that the “no frills” airline boom really started to take off (no pun intended), and quite a number of my then work colleagues booked short breaks to Barcelona via Ryanair’s Bournemouth to Girona service.
Tying in with this my family normally had a couple of nights somewhere in the UK or France for NYE, so given the great things my work colleagues said about Barcelona I suggested to the family we went to Barcelona… and that’s where my 10yr (ok, its 11yrs and counting) obsession with Barcelona started.
View from the Museu d’Història de Catalunya
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The view from Montjuïc
It’s been more than 13 years since I landed at the airport of El Prat Barcelona and first started to enjoy Barcelona’s perfect days. Originally from Holland, I was living in Amsterdam at that time, when I decided to do an Erasmus in the Catalan capital. Barcelona was becoming more and more popular, but it had not reached the popularity it knows nowadays.
Over the years my perfect days have changed. In the beginning I enjoyed all the different sightseeing places Barcelona has to offer and I loved to discover the hidden and peculiar places of the city. My first summer here I also spent many hours at the beach, but now I hardly go there at all during the busy holiday season. And of course, I have seen a lot of the fantastic nightlife Barcelona has to offer. Read the rest of this article…
Mercat de Santa Caterina roof tiles
I think El Born would have to be my favourite neighbourhood in Barcelona. It’s absolutely stunning. It can be a bit touristy at times but there are quiet streets to escape from the hustle and bustle. It is one of the smaller neighbourhoods, part of La Ribera which itself is part of the old town, Ciutat Vella. If you see a beautiful photo of a narrow Barcelona street in the sunlight, then chances are it will be from somewhere in El Born.
The food market for this neighbourhood is Santa Caterina with its beautiful mosaic tiled roof by the architects famous for the Scottish Parliament building. El Born also has my favourite church in Barcelona, Santa Maria del Mar, with its high vaulted ceilings and fascinating history. This church was the subject of the book Cathedral of the Sea. Set in 14th century Barcelona the construction of the church provides the backdrop to a story set at the height of the Spanish Inquisition. Read the rest of this article…
The lake at Parc de la Ciutdella
My description of a perfect day in Barcelona will probably be totally different to the others here. I don’t live in the city, so I don’t know all the little corners (the best places to have a good coffee, brunch or to take photos).
However, I’m always very excited when I can finally get to Barcelona. Knowing this, my boyfriend surprised me with a day trip in February last year. This day is very special to me because during it we decided to move in together. It was perfect from beginning to end, so I will tell you about the places we visited. Read the rest of this article…
The terrace at Cafè del Born Nou, Plaça Comercial, 10
Choosing a neighborhood in Barcelona wasn’t easy at first. I was moving on after years of living in Madrid, what many call the most genuine Spanish city out there, and I had been warned that my experience in Barcelona might not be the same in that aspect. People told me that its authenticity wouldn’t be as palpable, and that I might have a hard time truly immersing myself into the culture. And this was something important for me.
After much debate and seeing at least thirty different apartments, it so happened that the one I fell in love with was in the Born. This had its pros and cons… the Born is a beautiful neighborhood with an awesome location, it’s lively and bustling yet safe and pleasant… but on the other hand, after the very diverse Raval, the Born is arguably the least “Catalan” neighborhood in the city. Having undergone a recent gentrification, the once seedy neighborhood has become one of the trendiest around, and its population has evolved into a cosmopolitan melting pot of bohemian expats, replanted immigrants, wandering tourists and the like. Read the rest of this article…