When I’ve told people we’re going to live in Barcelona for the summer, the first question I get asked is, “Where?” My simple response? I did the research.
Jim and I had the good fortune of visiting Barcelona four years ago on our way to a friend’s wedding in Monaco. We knew of the Garcia neighborhood because of a restaurant and nightclub we had visited. But we also had to find an apartment that would be close to the pick-up/drop-off spot for our kid’s camp. And the map the camp provided was pretty cryptic.
I researched Airbnb and VRBO for months. And then I found a local Barcelona rental website, Click & Flat. As is true with most rental sites, you’ll find the same apartments across many sites. I had seen this one apartment several times but the advertisement on Click & Flat had more details. As it turns out, the owners of the apartment also run the Click & Flat web site. And their office is downstairs from the apartment I inquired about. We looked at the neighborhood on Google Maps Street View and scoured the web for reviews. Everything seemed to check out. So, after many emails back and forth with the reps with Click & Flat, we put a deposit on a 3rd floor, 3 bd/2 bath. But as I told Jim, you never know what you’re gonna get until you walk in the door.
We hit the jack pot. The apartment is right off the intersection of Diagonal and Passeig de Gracia . It’s on a quite street, bookended by a convent and a sushi restaurant. Small boutiques and restaurants are steps away from our front entrance. We are a three to five minute walk to the metro, the kids camp pick-up/drop-off and most anything we need.
The apartment is gorgeous. It has high ceilings and three sets of tall French doors that open to Juliet balconies that overlook an alley. The kitchen is small but sufficient with a good size refrigerator/freezer for Europe. The third bedroom was to be an office/bedroom for one of the kids. But as soon as the kids saw the two twin beds in the second bedroom, they didn’t want to separate. And we have air-conditioning. So, we are very comfortable. But the thing we like most about the apartment is the neighborhood.
We are living with the Garcia locals. You won’t find the tourists that flock to the Gothic Quarter or Barceloneta. We have our local super markets, boutique shops, and even a craft beer mart (Jim is in heaven). There are also two Plaças within walking distance. Plaça del Sol (for the young hipsters) and Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia (for families). We frequent both quite often because that’s what you do in the evenings. Grab a drink and visit with your friends. And the restaurants in this neighborhood are off the hook. Our favorite is La Pepita. We even found a gym down the street with a roof top pool.
It’s been an easy transition to move our daily routine to Barcelona. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I am working during most of the trip. But I haven’t skipped a beat. I go to the gym before everyone wakes up, then help get the kids breakfast and out the door for camp. And then I start work. But I must say, I am taking full advantage of the Spanish lifestyle. Back in Silicon Valley, I sometimes log 10-12 hour days and eat lunch as I work. In Barcelona, I make a point to take off during the middle of the day just like everyone else. During this time, I head over to our gym’s roof top pool and hang out with the locals. I come back refreshed and ready to face the onslaught of emails from the states that start around 3 or 4 pm. But enough about work. Life in Garcia is good!