Barcelona by Design
Barcelona by Design: What’s in it for you?
This article has been on the backburner of my wish list of subjects I’ve been wanting to write about for the last year and a half.
You see, Sophie and I often dream up our own utopia world, designing it in our head. Some people love to talk about sports, we love to talk about urban planning. We’re weird like that.
Which means that every time we travel to a new destination (and I’m sure you’ve also played that game too) we inadvertidely ask ourselves: Could we live here?
Well one city that was a resounding yes to that question is Barcelona.
We’ll get to that in a minute.
Now before you read any further, be warned; if you’re looking for a top 10 list of things to see, eat or do in Barcelona, you’re barking up the wrong tree. The Amazing Stroll isn’t Trip Advisor.
This is more a “think piece” about the lifestyle we build for ourselves. A little something to absorb and let simmer in your brain for a little while.
Care to give this a shot? Then let’s read on!
Barcelona by Design: The ying to the yang
I don’t want this to be a slam piece, but I needed a comparative to fully demonstrate the fascinating difference in lifestyles and what my point of reference was upon laying my eyes on Barcelona.
Which is why I must provide you with a bit of background:
Barcelona by Design: Someone got it right
Just imagine our amazement upon landing in Barcelona.
We’re very much aware that this city has its shares of problems. Crazy tourist high season density, a fairly recent terrorist attack, political struggles and Airbnb/housing issues.
But that’s not what we’re referring to.
THIS is what we wanted to show you:
Getting around is a breeze!
A multitude of transportation options are available: Subway, bus, tram, bike… more people use these than cars!
And even better, every mode of transportation have their own designated lane.
The parks in Barcelona are gorgeous! Bustling with people, activities, art and entertainment. You can easily spend hours strolling, people watching and be entertained.
Art and architecture
It might not be fair to compare Barcelona’s art and architecture scene as it is and have always been a hotbed for artists. But it is there and its beauty hits you in the face everywhere you walk, at every turn.
And not just the staples, like Gaudi’s designs.
Niche shops everywhere
What a pleasure it is to get lost in the narrow maze streets that make up the Gothic Quarter. Stumble upon unique shops that specialize in the most novel things, such as a rubber ducky store, wool designs or a handmade puppet shop.
Pardon my French, but that shit wouldn’t fly back home.
Bins everywhere for garbage, recycling, even underground garbage, which means no overflowing when full!
If you don’t have an appreciation for a clean city, you need to visit Athens.
Beaches as well as the parks are fitted with exercise equipment and they sure are popular. Surfers at the beach, crossFit equipment, endless boardwalks, skate parks, volleyball courts, bike paths…
In all of my travels, I’ve never so many options, let alone people using them so profusely!
Barcelona is a very sociable city. Everybody’s out and about.
Coffee shops, restaurants, the beaches, the markets… all bustling with people chatting with one another.
The pulse of the city is a relaxed beat, which is refreshing compared to other major cities.
It really is easy to make friends in Barcelona.
Barcelona by Design: Food for thought
I’ve got to say, I don’t believe we would have come up with a better city design ourselves.
Why do we travel if not to explore different lifestyles and new ideas?
We always take something home in our mind and in our hearts after every trip.
Barcelona sure gave us a lot to think about as far as where we live and how we treat our living space.
We can’t all pick up and move wherever we want to. Be it because of work, family obligations or cost of living, but we can think about little tweaks here and there that we can implement to enhance our quality of life.
And for those of you who are curious, we did end up moving to another city two years after our Barcelona awakening.
Our new area is clean, quiet, has nice mom & pop shops and is 100% walkable. It’s not Barcelona, but it will do… for now.
Since we make up our own reality, might as well design it up to our liking.
Bonus Section: We lied
I know… We made a fuss about not being Trip Advisor and that we wouldn’t make any recommendations in that regard, but if we must, please do yourself a favor and:
Watch the sunrise from the beach in Barceloneta!
Take a day trip to Figures and see the Dali Museum!
If they happen to be in town, go see Circo Raluy and feel like a kid again!
And for all of you budget travellers out there:
Each popular museum in Barcelona has at least one day during the month with free admission! Seriously, we saved close to 400 euros in admission fees during our five week House Sit in Barcelona.
Bonus Section: Reward
For those of you who’ve now virtually experienced the lifestyle that Barcelona has to offer, this travel badge is your reward:
One travel badge per Road Stories article. Let’s see how many you collect over time.
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