SPAIN – SPANIEN / BARCELONA
I am a 60-year old teacher. I was born and I have always lived in Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia.
I have traveled around a lot and always returned with a strong feeling of being home.
I have lived for 35 years in the Gràcia district. This is a very central section of the city. We are a large family: parents and five children. We all feel very comfortable in this part of the city.
Barcelona is a very nice town to live in. Although it is nicer for tourists than for residents. There is a widely spread opinion that the town is being too much tourist-oriented. We have always been very happy receiving visitors. But leaving aside people’s needs to cater for tourists arises negative feelings among ordinary citizens.
Leaving that aside, we live in a very gifted city. We can go in some 20 minutes by public transportation to the beach to swim, sunbath or to take a stroll in winter. We have mountains to go skiing in winter within 90-minute drive time. On the back of the city (looking towards the sea) we have a chain of mountains that is preserved as a urban park in which we can walk for hours in a forest environment, and that is also reachable in 20 minutes by public transportation.
Good or bad, we have only some 20 rainy days per year. This makes personal transportation by bicycle or small motorcycle very convenient. 80% of the city has very moderate slopes, which helps in making Barcelona a very, very bicycle-friendly town. I don’t have a car nor a motorcycle. We have four bicycles and I go everywhere by bike. Public transportation is very efficient, though we think that it is a little bit too expensive.
Prices in Barcelona are a little bit lower than in other European cities. But, then, salaries are much, much lower than those in our neighbouring countries. This makes the standard of living for the people who live on their salaries (like me and my family) far lower than our equivalents in France, or Germany.
I could write for hours about my city, but this could be boringly long.
Enjoy the planet, and protect it.