Tuesday, March 6

Travel: Where I Stayed in Barcelona

Two weeks in BCN was going to cost me a lot of money if I stayed in a hotel, so I opted for AirBNB and rented out a room. It was my first time using a site like this, and I was a bit wary of how the experience would be and what random stranger I would be living with.

In the end, it came down to 1. The picture of the hosts' face. Someone who didnt look crazy.  2. Decor. I wanted a room that felt like I was in Barcelona, not filled with Ikea furniture and a big poster of the Brooklyn Bridge. (There were a lot of those listed). 3. Location. After mapping out my itinerary, I went with L'Eixample because it was more or less in the center of my map. (Gracia, a mini Williamsburg but not really comparable at all was my 2nd option, the southern point of El Ravel closest to the sea was not quite gentrified enough for me, and Barrio Gothic would be like living in LES/Union Square, a bit too hectic).
I lucked out with a secured elevator building, one block away from the subway, with sun filled rooms for $471, on the border of L'Eixample y El Ravel. Good deal!
And the biggest perk was that my host, Jesus, a talented well traveled photographer (born and raised in Spain) and I got along so well! We stayed up till 3AM one night talking about travels and life experiences. I know its not typical for hosts and guests to hang out, which made this experience even more neat. He took me riding on his motorcycle and we grabbed beers with his friends, had a Sunday stroll to the book flea market, hung out at home with his GF.
Ha, I even met his mom Pura, who was visiting from Madrid for the weekend and staying with her daughter elsewhere. My flight had arrived early, so Pura was the only one home to greet me. She spoke zero English and I barely speak Spanish (seriously, un poquito). We gestured for the most part and I frantically looked up words in my dictionary trying to communicate to her. Its kind of amazing how well we got along and how much we understood each other. When I saw Pura again the next day, I remembered I had the Google Translate app where you can speak into the phone in one language and it spits out the translation in a matter of seconds. Our conversations totally upgraded to a whole new level. I had no idea how much she cursed until I read the translation on the phone! Shocking. Hehehe. Un beso!