So the original plan was to enjoy a festival in Barcelona, and then wander through Italy for about two weeks. By some form of fate, or coincidental timing, my company started offering a work from home opportunity, but that it would be “allowed” anywhere around the world. So I figured, why not make my Italy trip a month long?
After probably about 50 exchanged e-mails with program coordinators and the Italian Consulate, it was determined that I could not stay in Italy while working from home. I felt defeated, because I was building up expectations of what life would be like working from Rome and some small town in Tuscany. The positive is that I had another option, Spain. I’ve visited Spain before, Barcelona about 3 times already. After brainstorming an itinerary, I put in my request to work from Barcelona. I’ve always loved Barcelona, and there wouldn’t be a huge language barrier to overcome. If you’ve never visited, there are three main languages that the city speaks: Catalan, Spanish, and English.
Fun Fact: Although Spain is known to have Spanish as its official language, there are actually many languages that are spoken throughout the country. If you venture outside of Catalunya, the region where Barcelona and other nearby towns are located, you also get to witness additional languages: Galician, Castilian, Basque and Aranese.
To be completely honest, the cost of my flight ticket hurt. My original Italy round trip flight plans in April 2020 cost me about $350 total. This year’s ticket was 3x more. Thankfully, I was refunded the other ticket just in time to help me cover at least a quarter of the cost.
Travel Tip: Buy International flight tickets at least 6 months before your departure date. For even lower costs, travel during shoulder seasons: this is around fall and winter towards the beginning of spring. Summer is high season and when travel and stay rates go up.
FIRST STOP: Primavera Sounds
I had never heard of Primavera Sounds until my cousin had asked if I wanted to go. She said it was one of the biggest festivals in Europe and it took place in Barcelona. We stayed at a hostel called Sant Jordi. They have 3 locations in Barcelona, and I’ve stayed at the Rock Palace and Gracia locations. Both really good and offering affordable prices.
Travel Tip: To save more money while abroad, I recommend staying in hostels. They are more affordable and you get the opportunity of meeting new people who are traveling just like you!
I flew in just in time for the second leg of the festival. We got to see: Dua Lipa, Tame Impala, The Strokes, 2ManyDjs, Gorillas, Black Coffee, Phoenix, Jhay Cortez and Fred Again… Best decision I made! What an experience and great weekend enjoying amazing artists and with great company. Our whole hostel was attending the festival and I got to meet some people who gave me tips about some upcoming weekend trips I had planned while I was staying in Barcelona.
SECOND STOP: My Airbnb
I rented a humble abode in Poble Sec, a pretty chill neighborhood in Barcelona. I was near the famous Blai Street, where you can get pinxhos (small bite sized food) until late at night. I was near multiple bus stops and train stations that helped me get around the city. I also took one day to walk for about 2 hours and I could reach Las Ramblas in about a 30 minute walk!
So, I worked from home for about a month while in Barcelona. I worked NYC hours. My day began around 2PM and ended around 10:30 PM or 11 PM. My time working in Spain was great because even if I signed off at 11 PM, I had food choices near me to have a late dinner. I always opted for the pizza place around the corner that was from Napoli. Hands down a truly delicious Italian pizza spot, outside of Italy. It was a life saver when I needed to carb up before a night out.
Overall, I would rate working from home in Barcelona a 9 out of 10, below a perfect rating due to the time difference. I had such a great opportunity to either do some exploring in the mornings before my day at work, or be lazy and take my time getting ready for work by having a late breakfast and watching a movie.
I got to finally visit Barceloneta! I took a “late night” bus down to the beach boardwalk and set up my tripod as I captured the sunrise. What a beautiful view. Just as I had imagined it. There is just something about sunrises and sunsets that truly take my breath away.
While I stayed in Barcelona, I also got to visit some family. I have a few cousins and aunt that live within the outskirts of the city center. I was able to visit them a few times and enjoy some delicious Chinese Peruvian food. My cousin, Paola and I got the opportunity to attend another Barcelona festival: Crüella. We saw Juan Luis Guerra and Ruben Blades. Both, icons of the Salsa scene and Merengue. We danced so much that night and we were joined by two friends I had met during my stay in Barcelona!
Without expecting it, staying in Barcelona for a long time was such a great decision. Food and clothes were pretty affordable in my opinion… You could have a coffee and breakfast sandwich for like 2.50 Euros! I can’t wait to go back. There is still so much of Barcelona that I still haven’t seen. And if anything happens here… I can see myself living in Barcelona. Who knows!
Up Next: Cadaques!