Close your eyes. Picture your favourite city in the whole world. Imagine moving there. That’s my life in Barcelona.
Well, I guess it wasn’t that easy. I’m actually doing my Erasmus year abroad from Leeds University, I just got lucky with my placement.
Although I’m spending my days working in Eixample, I’m living in Gràcia. And I absolutely love it. I cannot tell you how nice it is to leave the hustle and bustle of the centre and relax in a neighbourhood which feels more like a village than a city.
My perfect day in Barcelona would go something like this…
I wake up early at a time most would shudder, and throw on some gym clothes. I grab my work bag I packed last night and thank myself for being so organised. On my way out, I whisper ‘good morning’ to my dazed Swedish flat mate who has just woken up (he catches the early train to work outside the city) and glance at the coffee cup my Spanish compi has left on the side. I swear the stuff runs through her blood.
I jump onto an empty metro that would probably be heaving at this time back home, and in five stops I’m at the gym. Forty-five minutes and a ridiculously exhausting yet absolutely amazing Body Combat class later, I jump into the shower and get changed for work.
Despite only being 2 minutes from the office, I arrive five minutes late with a tea in my hand. No one’s even here yet.
I spend my day blogging about Barcelona, finding out the best things to do in the city for potential tourists. A perk of my role is that I get to find interesting events I wouldn’t otherwise find outside of work. A downside is that there’s only 24 hours in a day, and no matter how much FOMO I’ll admit I harbour, it’s just not possible to go to a moonlit jazz concert, a Cava tasting festival, and an all-night 80’s rave, in one evening.
After finishing my shift I head back to the metro and ignore the sighs of my friends who envy my short working day. ‘You’re only here for another hour!’, I remind Anastasia the German intern, Danique from the Netherlands isn’t so lucky. I love my international friends.
I quickly pick up a loaf of bread on my way home from the bakery across from the metro. The lady recognises me and we catch up even though I’ve only been there a handful of times.
My lunch consists of Spanish bread, Italian pesto, and Greek cheese. Like my lunch from around the world, I sit and eat with my Argentinian flat mate who is home from work on break.
I’ve studied Spanish for seven years now but every time I speak it I still get nervous. Ornella has a thick Argentinian accent and sometimes it gets lost on my Southern soul. Nonetheless, getting on so well with the two Spanish speakers in my flat has helped me so much when practicing my language skills. It’s also great to bitch about the boys in the flat right in front of them when they’re none the wiser.
Suddenly it’s 4pm which can only mean one thing… Siesta time! (Life’s about balance after all.)
After an hour’s sleep I didn’t even know I needed I walk two streets to meet my friend for a drink on her balcony. I met Hannah through an old school friend back home and she’s also doing her Erasmus year in Barcelona. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone familiar in a place otherwise so unfamiliar.
We head out for tapas and wine to a place she went during Las Fiestas de Gràcia (Gràcia’s infamous week-long party) last month. La Bicicleta, on Carrer de Verdi, is an enchanting mix of the modern and the traditional. You can tell they’re from hippy origins. They serve tapas, but with a twist. I’m reminded at how cheap the wine is here. Dos más, por favor.
After eating our weight in patatas bravas, fried octopus, and grilled figs, we head to a bar on the corner of my street to grab a gin and tonic. It’s a Wednesday night but the place is heaving. We leave three hours later convinced it would be an amazing idea to head to the centre and hit the clubs. After tripping over my own feet in the street, I decide it’s probably not the best plan we’ve ever had and head home.
Living in my favourite city in the world is the best and the worst thing all at once. I’m noticing my surroundings less and less and I’m worried I’m taking for granted the beautiful city around me. The truth is, it’s different living here than it is when you come here on holiday. It’s more raw.
Barcelona isn’t like the rest of Spain, its identity has been so heavily influenced by the influx of tourists that have come to the city. Barcelona is its very own Gaudí mosaic made of everyone who has ever opened themselves up to its heart.
And that’s the most beautiful thing of all.
Tilly is currently working for AB Apartment Barcelona, a leading apartment rental company with over 1000 apartments to rent in the city.
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!