Around Europe in 30 days #12: Falling in love with a city (Barcelona)

In 2008, when I was 21, I came up with the idea of booking an Interrail ticket and touring Europe for a month. I decided travel to Paris, Madrid, Granada, Barcelona, Venice, Rome, Athens, Istanbul and Vienna. And I felt the strong urge to do this tour alone.

Day 10 – Travel from Granada to Barcelona (Spain)

Train route from Granada to Barcelona (Spain) in Sep 2008

On September 6th, 2008, I took my first night train of the journey. And my only sit-up night train (would not recommend, if you can spare the money). Luckily, I had a lovely girl my age sitting next to me for the ride who made the night pass very quickly. She was from Portugal and I was quite impressed by the amount of languages she spoke fluently, including both Spanish and Italian. On top of that she was able to answer a lot of my questions about the different countries and be my sounding board for my observations.

Day 11 – Barcelona (Spain)

I arrived in Barcelona in the early morning and made my way to my youth hostel just off Las Ramblas. After I checked in and was able to leave my backpack in the baggage room, I started heading out for my day of exploring.

Barcelona is truly a city I fell in love with. I can’t pinpoint it to one thing. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s the vibe. Maybe it’s the architecture. Maybe it is the international scene. Maybe it’s being so close to the seas and the beach. Maybe it is the laidback attitude of it’s inhabitant. More likely though, it is a mix of all these things and more. No matter what, I love this city and have made a point to come back a couple of years later in 2016.

On my first day, I joined another walking tour (I don’t remember the provider though). This took us around the main attractions in the city center. Similar to the Alhambra, I was so mesmerized that I (again) forgot to take all the pictures that I maybe should have. Talk about living in the moment. But I remember being very much in awe and just trying to take everything in.

Day 12 – Barcelona (Spain)

My second day in Barcelona went a little bit different. I met an Austrian girl my age at the youth hostel. She was going to attend university in the city and in the process of preparing her move to Barcelona and looking at apartments and corresponding roommates. We got along well enough and she invited me to tag along for her day. This gave me the opportunity to ask additional questions about life in Barcelona and Spain.

I even attended one of the apartment viewings with her that day and had a bit of a culture shock. The apartment was beautiful, with high ceilings and a small, but good layout. She would be sharing the apartment with 2 roommates, with a shared living room, kitchen and bathroom. It all sounded okay to me until I heard the price: Rent would be 600 €/month! Coming from Berlin, I was shocked. Back in 2008, rent prices in the German capital were still pretty affordable (things have changed in that regard over the last couple of days as well). Rent for my first studio apartment the following year was 310 €/month. I was spoiled by Berlin’s real estate market and could not imagine paying that much money to live with (a) roommate(s). But I found out after that meeting that the rent was quite average for Barcelona, so who was I to judge. For better or worse, if I had considered moving to Barcelona, that idea might have evaporated very quickly at that point.

How about you?
Where you every shocked by rent prices in a place that you visited?

Cover picture was taken in Barcelona (Spain) in Sep 2008

Missing the beginning of this story?
Around Europe in 30 days #1: Forming a plan

4 thoughts on “Around Europe in 30 days #12: Falling in love with a city (Barcelona)

Add yours

  1. I visited Barcelona immediately after my Camino. I think that was a mistake. I was still very much affected by the walk and felt like I was in another world. However, I spent a few days walking everywhere and loved the architecture and the views. It’s a fascinating city. But you’re right….those rental prices. Crikey

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You went on such a beautiful, blue sky day! I’ve been to Barcelona twice, the most recent being in February 2016, when it was unfortunately overcast for most of my stay. As much as photos are lovely, it really is true that “being in the moment” carries more weight than a simple image: it’s the experiences you remember the most, and I can see that Barcelona really captured your attention!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so true, especially back then, before Facebook and Instagram became so integral to our lives, I was much less focused on taking pictures. Sometimes I only remembered later when I was back at my accommodation. But it gives you the opportunity to be much more present and carve that image in your memory instead 😍

      Liked by 1 person

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