Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Barcelona - Part 1 - Our Accomodations

We had a wonderful trip to Barcelona last week.  I will be doing a recap of our trip over the next few days, we are still organizing our photos.  To begin, if you have not been to Barcelona, you should go. It is absolutely beautiful, and I think it has jumped into first place of my favourite cities.

In the meantime I wanted to write a review of the place we rented through airbnb.  This was the first time we had rented an apartment rather than staying at a hotel, and it was a pretty great experience.

We stayed in the district of El Born.  This is an incredible part of the city.  Other popular tourist areas are El Raval, Barri Gotic, and Eixample. We walked around parts of Barri Gotic and Eixample (it was suggested we stay away from El Raval, nothing to offer, a little seedy) and although we were probably biased by this time, we thought El Born was the best place to stay.  We were right off Passeig del Born that is filled with bars and restaurants.  The little streets throughout El Born have many little shops and are very popular for designers and artists.  Although still very touristy, it seemed like it had more European tourists, rather than the North Americans.  We could walk to the park (Parc de la Ciutadella), beach (Barceloneta), La Rambla, and Sagrada Familia.  I would definitely recommend that people stay in this neighbourhood.  

When we selected our apartment on airbnb, we were immediately in contact with our hostess Susana.  She answered all of our questions by email before we left.  Since she was going to be away from town during our stay, she arranged for her friend to meet us at the apartment to let us in.  This was no issue (other than me trying to figure out how to dial a Spain number from my Canadian cell phone -by the way its 00 34 and then the number).  Susana had left us maps and a thoughtful collection of food recommendations in the neighbourhood.  The tips for the local restaurants and stores were so helpful and very much appreciated.  We had done some of our own research, but obviously nothing can replace local knowledge.  We enjoyed many of the places in the book she had left for us.  We carried around the already highlighted map for our entire stay. 

The apartment was very clean and tidy and had more than everything we needed for a pleasant stay.  A well appointed kitchen, although we never cooked a meal, laundry facilities, although we didn't need to do any laundry, some goodies waiting for us in the fridge, which we definitely made use of, and of course reliable wifi, a must for any vacation now.  It is a small apartment but more than what we needed for a vacation.  When you think that the alternative is a hotel room with two beds and not much else, we could not have asked for more.  We loved having the extra room where E could go to bed and we could stay up to watch something on TV or the iPad.  I enjoyed many late afternoons on the small patio with a book and glass of wine.  It was one floor up a very narrow staircase, but not an issue whatsoever.  We felt very safe the entire time, and were left with phone numbers and email addresses for Susana and her friend in case we needed anything.  

The apartment is very accommodating for children with many little touches to welcome them - lots of toys, puzzles and some English books, plastic cups and spoons, stool in the bathroom, stroller and swim diapers, and beach toys.  We were also provided with beach towels and beach umbrella.  

If you are travelling to Barcelona anytime soon (and given my directive in the first paragraph above, you should already be planning your trip), then I will point you to the listing for this lovely apartment.

Please excuse the quality of these photos.  I was taking most of them on the way out with my iPhone and our big camera was already packed.  You'll get the idea though.

Beside E is a chalkboard wall that had a welcome message and the contact information for our hostess

Our bed with partition wall.  Some pillows and toys on the floor for E

All of the windows had blackout blinds

Living space

Looking into the kitchen
Small balcony but 

Looking out into the side street.

The small staircase

Passeig del Born

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