Going to Spain
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Going to Spain
My husband, a web designer, was laid off 15 months ago.
We've been cobbling together a life of sorts with freelancing
here, but each month we go a little into the hole, and our
equity in our home is going down as we dip into it to cover
My husband is Venezuelan and has relatives in Barcelona.
We're reaching out to them too, but I wanted to ask this list
about Americans moving to Spain to work.
I have an Irish passport and am therefore an EU citizen and
we're about halfway through the process of getting my
husband his Italian citizenship. I'm curious about the
employment situation there (I have writing, editing, and
nonprofit experience), housing (both buying and renting), the
best way to explore such things, any wisdom out there on
Barcelona for families, education, quality of life, etc. I know
I'm asking for a great deal here.
Any impressions or information at all on starting a life in
Barcelona would be appreciated greatly.
We have friends who moved to Barcelona a little over a year ago
under circumstances very similar to yours. She carries an Irish
passport. He has a US passport, but grew up in Bolivia. Both
speak spanish fluently. They don't have children, but wanted to
move to Barcelona because they weren't happy with what was going
in the Bay Area and the USA.
We just learned that they will be moving back here in January.
I don't know all of the details of their decision, but if you
would like for me to put you in touch with them, send me your
One comment I have heard about living in Barcelona is that it
can be hard to make friends. The people are very friendly, but
establishing close friendships as an outsider can be tough.
My husband and I twice spent time living and working in
Barcelona (the first time for four months, the second time for
seven months). Staying permanently wasn't an easy option because
we don't have EU passports. I loved it there and we did make
close friends. It's important to know that Spanish is not the
first language there. Everyone speaks it (with the exception of
a few radical separatists who refuse) and you can certainly use
Spanish to do errands, etc., but if you really want to become
part of the place you'll have to learn to speak Catalan --
another romance language that's as different from Spanish as
French or Italian is. That's the language of friendship for
almost everyone there. Barcelona and the surrounding area are
quite different from the rest of Spain not only in language but
in character. The people there say they are not Spanish -- they
are European, and it really does feel that way. If you travel in
the rest of Spain, you'll find it very different. Barcelona is a
beautiful place with a rich culture. Families have been there
for hundreds of years. One friend who grew up in a small
mountain town in the region lived in a house that had been in
her family for 1,000 years -- they still had the documents that
gave her ancestor (a surf) his freedom and the property. I
recommend visiting the North American Institute in Barcelona.
Has a library of American books that you can join for a
reasonable annual fee. And you can post and ad for an exchange
with someone who wants to learn English and will in return teach
you Catalan (or Spanish). I made two warm, wonderful friends
that way. Best of luck making your decision.
We're finally going to Europe with the kids (ages 9 and 6) this
summer! We'll have a couple of days in Paris and a couple in
Barcelona, along with a cruise. What are the ''must see''
things (kid-friendly) in either place? Any other
recommendations? We've booked an apartment in Paris in
Arrondissement 4. We'll only need a 1-night stay in Barcelona,
but I've not booked that yet (2 hotel rooms is too expensive, so
we'll be looking for an alternative since there aren't many
rooms they'll allow 4 in). Thanks in advance for your
We were in Barcelona and Paris 3 years ago with our then 6 and 10 y.o.
boys. Only 2.5 days in Barcelona and 4 in Paris.
Barcelona: loved the human statues on Las Ramblas, the candy and ice
cream at la Boqueria, Font Magica free water and light fountain show,
Parc Guell. Hated the Picasso museum, should have tried Miro museum
instead? La Sagrada Familia. There is a funicular ride we didn't take
that they may like. Wished we had spent more time here. We all loved it
and barely scratched the surface.
Paris: top of the Eiffel tower, but only way to do this is to bypass
the lines with a reservation for lunch in their middle restaurant.
Eiffel tower at night when the lights go off on the hour(?). Hated the
Orsay Museum which I adore. LOVED the Pompidou Center building,
fountain and art, spent hours there, very modern and wonderfully
different. Went to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa (it's tiny, mom!).
We bought a Museum or visitors pass and bypassed lines at the museums.
Did not like the bus tour. Loved Luxumbourg Gardens; 10 y.o. even liked
the playground here. Loved the chocolates. Liked Notre Dame but didn't
go to the top because of the lines. There's a fair at Tuileries
Gardens, but didn't make it there.
My husband got free tickets to Heathrow in August so we're thinking of
taking our eight-year-old twins to Spain. Does anyone know of any
kid-friendly hotels in Barcelona or anywhere on the coast? Any suggestions
of where to take kids and activities would be so appreciated. Thanks very
We too had free tickets to Heathrow and chose to go to Barcelona with our
four year old daughter.
Here is a website for hotels there: http://www.hotel-barcelona.com/
We stayed at the Hotel Covadonga on the Avenida Diagonal.
It was a very pleasant place, reasonably priced and kids are welcome.
It's not the most central location, but it's not far from downtown.
We were there only three days and it was in December, but I think 8 year old
boys would like Parc Guell, Poble Espanyol and possibly running around on the
roof at Casa Mila/La Pedrera (I know I'm misspelling those).
A guidebook will explain all the details of those places.
There is also an aquarium down by the waterfront, but I didn't go there. The Gothic
quarter is pretty special; they'd probably enjoy that too.
From: Mel (4/99)
We have 2 kids and are traveling to Spain in July/August. We found a
relatively well priced apartment to rent for 3 weeks in Marbella through a
website: www.holiday-rentals.co.uk. For the place we wanted we got in touch
with a travel agent in England who has been very easy to work with.
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