Please don’t pee in the water meter. What I like(d) about living in Raval and Les Corts, Barcelona

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The view from our apartment in Raval

There are always pros and cons, plusses and minuses to choices and decisions and changes you make.

I loved living in Raval for 5 or so years, but we’ve definitely outgrown it, and it’s time to move on.  I’m experiencing a few mini growing pains- I guess it has a real influence over your life and identity, where you choose to live – o sea, that seems to be the case with me!

I like however how this is a clear illustration that something that used to be completely right for you can change utterly.  It’s almost a rite of passage.  For a time, Joe and I wanted to be living right in the thick of it, where it was happening, smack bang in the centre of a cool city.  Now we’ve got a toddler, priorities have changed, time to move away from such a concentration of bars and people, nightlife, noise, dirt, drugs and prostitutes…

So I made a list about the good things of both the barrios:

Things I like about living in Raval:

♥ Multiculturalism

♥ Shops that sell everything-chillis, peanut butter, PG Tips, Marmite and  baked beans, for normalish prices, and without in being in the ‘foreign exotic food’ section.

♥ Proximity to The Ramblas

♥ The Boquería and yummy fresh juice you can buy for 1-1.50 euro

♥ MACBA modern art museum so close

♥ Numerous cool cafes and bars on our doorstep

♥ A lot of playgrounds for kids, but you still feel you’re where it’s at!

♥ Non snobbery

♥ Seeing so many tourists on holiday and just enjoying themselves makes it easy for me to feel like I’m on a permanent holiday too.  Especially when the sun’s shining, which is most of the time…

♥ The Filmoteca-super cheap and lots of retrospectives and arthouse films

♥ Can walk to the beach

♥ Walking to the Post Office is such a pretty route, especially early in the morning when hardly any tourists are around.  Down the Ramblas, past the Columbus statue with Montjuic and the castle behind us, the port and the boats on our right, pretty architecture and palm trees abounding.  One of my favourite little strolls in Barcelona, it really lifts my spirits.

♥ Feeling like I’m in the heart of everything that’s happening.  You can’t get much more life than this!

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The view from our apartment in Les Corts

Things I like about living in les Corts:

♥ It’s residential but not surburbia

♥ The air!  It smells nice!  It smells fresh!

♥ Playgrounds with pine trees in them.

♥ Beautiful parks with lawns!  And many dogs but hardly any mierda

♥ Wide streets

♥ We can see trees from our bedroom and living room windows

♥ Extremely friendly neighbours

♥ Neighbours who look you in the eye and are interested in talking to you

♥ Sleeping with the window open and enjoying the quiet. Bliss….

♥ Not getting woken up at 4am any night of the week by drunken whooping or screams of people who have just had their bag snatched.  Horrible!

♥ Living in an area that people seem to respect and take pride in.  There’s not much litter and I don’t walk out on to the street dodging balls of spit and phlegm as I go.  Ewwww!

♥ Being in a building in which the little name plaques on the mailboxes are all the same. The president of the building asked for our full names the second day we were here and went and got them engraved on a plaque for us!  You can’t get more of a contrast than in our previous building where posters were displayed (a) asking residents not to piss in the water meter and (b) not to throw used cotton buds, condoms, old biros and kleenex  from apartment windows.

♥ S-P-A-C-E!  and outdoor space!  I have my own art studio!  Joe has his own gentlemen’s office!  We no longer have to move the dining room table when we needed to squeeze out onto the balcony to hang out our clothes.  We no longer live in Jamie’s playroom.  My art supplies no longer live on our bed.  The freedom!

♥ Plaça de Concordia-such a pretty square with some nice cafes and a gin and tonic bar.  Looking forward to checking that out!

♥ Quite a lot of tourists still come up this way to visit Camp Nou football ground, so I can still imagine I’m one of them and on holiday here too!

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