Tag Archives: Barcelona

Design*Sponge Barcelona City Guide

If you like pretty things, or DIY projects, or good design or delicious food and you don’t know about DesignSponge, well, you really should.

It’s a great little website filled with all kinds of projects, before and afters, recipes, and lots of other cool stuff. They also have a regular feature where different authors contribute travel guides to their home cities, in the US and abroad. Usually these fall a little flat for me because even though I know the content is probably pretty good, there are very few pictures to go along with the recommendations, and the lists are so long that I get discouraged by the thought of having to more thoroughly research each and every rec. A lame reason, I know. But today they released a Barcelona guide by Judy Kaufmann, an illustrator who calls the city home, and I must say I really like it! I’ve stayed in both of the hotels she recommends (Inside BCN is in fact wonderful!!) and shopped and dined at many of her other suggested locations, so I can officially give this one two thumbs up! A definite good addition to any travel planning you may be doing for a visit to the most wonderful little city in the mundo. Click on the photo to be linked directly to the guide.

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Balcones en Barcelona, originally uploaded by jhoolko.

Is it possible to be homesick for a place that isn’t really your home? Evidently it is, and I have a bad case of it today. Hopefully some tapas and Spain talk tomorrow at Esperpento will provide a momentary cure…at the very least I will at least get some jamón! 🙂

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Honestly I don’t think I will ever get tired of this city. It feels like I never left. Visit number five and I already can’t wait to go back.

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I arrived in Barcelona late at night, alone, with 80lbs of luggage. It was hot, and it was pouring rain. Awesome. Evidently the rain started within an hour or two of my arrival. Before that it had been beautiful and sunny for months. I didn’t know the word at the time, but I think that was my first experience being a gafe on this trip.

I hadn’t been to Spain in almost three years when I got off the plane. A lot had changed, but a lot was exactly, exactly the same as it was when I left. I think the thing that really changed the most was me and the situation that I found myself in, so I had a little bit of a different experience those few days in Barcelona than I had in the past. I knew that was coming. I still love that city, but I must say, things are a lot more fun when you’re doing them with a few dozen friends (and without 80 pounds of luggage), if you know what I mean.

After spending a quick night in the appropriately named Chic and Basic Hotel (5×10 single  occupancy room, white walls with blue “mood lighting,” grey decals on the walls in the shape of mounted animal heads, complimentary city guide in the style of my beloved LeCool, bathroom so small that you literally couldn’t even sit on the toilet if you were taller than 4’11, etc. Pretty chic, very basic.), I dragged my enormous, terrible suitcase through the incredibly handicapped-unfriendly Barcelona metro from Universitat to Urquinaona, where there was no elevator, no escalator; nothing but two dirty, wet flights of metro stairs. At the top, arms shaking, I continued down Roger de Lluria to the much anticipated GSE OFFICE!!! I was honestly way too excited for that moment, but it really was great. I met up with Inma, the onsite program director for the GSE Barcelona program and one of the best hostesses I have ever met in my life. Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done without Inma! She showed me around the absolutely charming GSE office, introduced me to Liz, the onsite assistant, took me out to lunch everyday, showed me around to some of her favorite places (some of which were also favorites of mine), and generally made my life so incredibly easy. I stayed at her awesome apartment and ate some amazing food, sat silent while her roommate and boyfriend spoke Spanish (and a bit of Catalan), and generally came to grips with the fact that I was actually back in Spain again. Actually, that last part is a lie. It’s now a month and a half into it and I still don’t think it’s hit me.

I also got to meet up with pretty much all of my GSE students, and it was soooo fun for me to finally put real people and personalities together with the voices that I had heard on the phone for the past year. It also made me really, really nostalgic for the  Barcelona of fall 2006.

I had an incredible time in Barcelona, and I got to see and do a lot of things in a way that was completely different from how I had done them before, but I can’t wait to go back to do all the things I didn’t do. I didn’t go to bars or clubs, I didn’t go to La Boqueria, I didn’t take any photos, I didn’t go to Xampagneria! I mean, I basically wasn’t in Barcelona at all. Needless to say, I’ll be back soon. Eight hour bus ride or not, I’ll be back.

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