hogar dulce hogar (home sweet home)

Karie on Oct 23rd 2007 09:55 pm

We’ve been back in Barcelona for almost two weeks.  Sometimes I think we’re starting to get the hang of things, and other times I think it could take a lifetime to really adapt.

We are currently sharing a flat through the end of the year.  Hopefully this will give us enough time to learn a little more about the city and figure out where we want to go next.  Our flat-mate is Christine, an English teacher from Germany that lives in Spain.  Go figure.  She actually went to college in England, then moved to Barcelona, where she has been for the last 15 years.  She is a wealth of information!

Even though she’s not Spanish, she has really helped us adapt to the local culture.  Plus, as a fellow “extranjero”, she has been in our shoes so she is more than willing to help.  She helped us open a bank account, gives great recommendations for food/entertainment, and best of all, she let us to go the market with her.  We literally followed her around taking notes on what to get, how to order, how to ask them to remove the fish guts & head before selling it to us, etc.  I think we’d be surviving on crackers if it wasn’t for her.

Our flat is quite large, so we really haven’t been in each other’s way at all (plus she works strange hours).  You enter into the center of the flat, and if you go right there is a long hallway down to our area, and to the left is her area.  We have our own bedroom, large closet & living area in our end of the flat, we share the kitchen and one bathroom with Christine, then she has another ½-bathroom & the washing machine in her end of the flat.

The building we are in is over 100 years old.  It has a lot of the original modernist tiles & doors, but the kitchen & bathroom have been recently updated with new appliances, fixtures, etc.  It’s a great mix with the charm of the old but the convenience of the new.

We occupy the third floor, as there is only one flat per floor.  The first floor is a storefront (a shoe store to be exact – I live over a shoe store!!!), the second floor belongs to the owner of the building, then there’s us.  Above us is Matilda, an 80-something-young lady that climbs 4 flights of stairs every single day, and on the very top is another couple.

The neighborhood we live in is called Gràcia (pronounced Gra’ thea).  It’s known as a hip, artsy, political center of town.  In the old days, when Barcelona proper was much smaller, this was considered “up town”, and it’s where all the wealthy Barcelonans came on holiday.  Now that the city has expanded, it is very central – about a mile from downtown.  However, you don’t need to go further than a few blocks to find anything you need.  Gràcia is full of café-lined squares, tapas bars, markets, shopping, and entertainment.

To sum it up, we love it here.  Although I have to admit I never saw us as having a roommate at this point in our lives, it has all worked out beautifully.  We are also keeping busy here and starting to make lots of friends.  More updates on those things to come soon.

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