So I’ve been living in Barcelona for exactly a week now. I’ve visited the city before, sure, but this is the first time I’m looking for flat in this gorgeous city, working, and building relationships with cool people I meet along the way. So far I’m seriously impressed by this city. Even though you’re surrounded by people in a rush to get to where they need to be as in any other big cities, there is sort of an ease that you can sense in the atmosphere. It might be the beach air, the Spanish openness of expressing oneself, or it might just be me feeling the excitement of living in a new city, but so far Barcelona seems like an amazing city to live in. Without further ado, here’s what I’ve learned in my first week of moving to Barcelona.
Fist of all, event though it’s Spain’s second biggest city, Barcelona is relatively small in size, meaning there’s a big probability you’ll be able to find an apartment that just a walking distance or a bike ride to your work or school. Another good option is to take public transport, which consists of buses and metros and as many other things in Barcelona this will not drain your wallet. Forget about London’s £10 daily ticket. Here, you can simply buy a 10 ride ticket for, and I’m not even kidding, 10 €. If you’re under 25 and a student, you can even get a 3-months pass for 100 €, now how fantastic is that? The city has recently also introduced public bikes that are available for anyone with a NIE number (a.k.a the country’s ID number you need to get when moving to Spain).
Rooms in Barcelona’s city center range from about 280 to let’s say 500 euros per month (bills included), and if you’re willing to sacrifice some of your time in public transport these prices significantly lower. But the really interesting part of looking for a room in this city are the keywords interior/exterior room. This will indicate if the room has a window or not, and I’m not even joking! In Barcelona, you have to be careful when you have your eye out for a cheap room as it quite probable that the affordable price is due to its interior windowless nature. There are actually interior rooms that have windows, but there you can expect to have a gorgeous view of the kitchen, the hallway or any other random wall.
The second interesting thing about finding a room in Barcelona is that it’s very common to have a small and not too attractive bedroom and a huge, bright and amazing living room with a nice balcony. Although gentrification is nowadays present in most bigger European cities Barcelona’s way of dealing with it is pretty much the complete opposite to, let’s say Berlin, where it’s basically impossible to find a flat with a living room because it’s been most likely turned to just another bedroom.
That’s all fun and great but can we talk about food now, you ask? We sure can! For the first few days, every dinner I had consisted of tapas, which are small dishes, sort of like appetizers that you can get in a form of a little sandwich or other specialties for about a euro or two per tapa. Even better, it commonly goes hand in hand with a 1,5 € beer. This was pretty much made for people who have trouble deciding what to eat because they just want to try everything. I’m definitely one of those people, represent! I even tried snails and enjoyed them! Furthermore, you definitely have to try out the Catalonian cuisine, paella (risotto with seafood served in a huge pan), and the pastries from the local bakeries.
Concerning bars and clubs I wouldn’t even know where to start as there’s so many but here’s a fun fact: did you know that districts of Barcelona each have a 5-day celebration where they throw concerts, organize flea markets and much more! Last weekend it was the area around Sagrada Familia and they actually had a concert in front of the basilica, which was just insane and felt completely surreal! And if you’re asking if they’re still rebuilding it, the answer is yes and they’re not nearly done!
In conclusion, in my first week, I’ve eaten tapas, hiked to Tibidabo, dipped my feet in the sea, experienced Sait Jordy’s Day (Spanish Valentine’s day), received a rose from a stranger and so much more.
As I sit on the balcony with my legs bathing in sun, eating strawberries and writing this article I again feel the ease. Sure there’s plenty of things that I could and should be doing but right now I’m choosing calmness and reflection on just how happy and fortunate I am.