Today the spotlight is on Cinthya Uribe, one of our Barcelona Spotters. Cinthya was born in Guadalajara, the second largest city in Mexico. There she studied to become a journalist and media specialist. In 2004 she made her way to Barcelona to complete a Master’s degree in Corporate Communication.
While studying Cinthya completely fell in love with the city and the University again. Ever since she’s been working, studying and enjoying the city. At the moment she collaborates with some magazines, teaches at the University and is completing her PhD dissertation on the role of websites in civic education.
When I saw the site (Spotted by locals) for the first time I thought it was the perfect way of getting to know a city: through the eyes of someone that already lives there. I envied the small reviews and immediately sent back an application. A couple of months later, Sanne and Bart were in Barcelona and we met. Then I saw them in Amsterdam… and I was accepted! It was great, since it allowed me to go on with two things I love: writing and telling stories about the city I love to live in.
Barcelona has many beautiful things about it: the fact that it’s located between the sea and mountains, that it has been a center to cultural and social awakenings, that people care for the city… What is a must depends on your background: for me, to look at the city from the plane, from Montjuic and from Parc Guell – it really allows you to see the dimensions of the city and its charms. Also, a walk on the beach on sunset… I don’t really like Barcelona’s beaches: they’re too crowded and somehow dusty. So I would visit the beach but mostly stay at the inner city. Also, please… don’t eat Paella at La Rambla! Mostly, it will be frozen and very, very expensive. Better to indulge in a good restaurant in Barceloneta.
Lately, a lot of people are talking about Barcelona as a “dangerous” tourism city. The fact is that pickpockets more or less run free in the city and can be an annoyance… but it is only a matter of being careful with your stuff as you walk, not being too “touristy” – meaning, not paying attention. The other prejudice is that the only thing to see is Gaudí – yes, his architecture is beautiful. But the city has much more to offer.
Sometimes people are very amazed at the fact that a lot of Catalan is spoken at the city. It has always been like this and, on the last few years, people tend to be even more committed to their identity through language. I also wrote a piece on Spotted by Locals about how to locate yourself, since the center area of the city is quite organized… it’s just a matter of knowing your references. What I know that no tourist will know is how warm and welcoming Catalans are in the long run… but you have to take your time to get to know them.
There are many, but the up and coming neighbourhood is Sant Antoni. Located very close to downtown, it has easy access to all the interesting spots in the city. Also, many small restaurants and cafés have opened lately, with a variety of tastes, allowing the visitors to eat and taste more than only the usual Rambla-like paella plus sangría. It’s a neighbourhood to live in, to experience… no big touristic sites, just the time passing of usual Barcelonians.
If it’s the summer and I have the day for myself, I love to take a walk on the beach early, before the sun is too hot and the beaches are too full. You could have simple breakfast at La Candela en Plaça Sant Pere or in Joanet. Later you could go and visit a museum, perhaps MACBA, CCCB or the Museum of History. You can have lunch in el Born, at Casa Delfín and have a siesta at the Parc de la Ciutadella.
In the afternoon, a shower and then hit the tourist attractions: both Parc Guell and Sagrada Familia are at their prettiest at sunset. You can then have dinner nearby Sagrada Familia (maybe Mexican at La Taquería) or in the Gracia district, where you could also have a drink or go back by metro to Raval, and indulge in a very trendy gin tonic at Pesca Salada.
Sagrada Familia is worth the visit, at least once. Book in advance, buy your tickets from the website. It will save you a lot of time. Nice souvenirs can be bought at WAWAS or also at Vinçon, a timeless design shop in Passeig de Gracia. The most convenient metro ticket is the T-10 (ten travels, multiuser) and you can make connection with the same ticket among buses and metro for 1:15 hours. During weekdays, eat the full “menu” – it’s almost always less than € 15 in any restaurant and it will include starters, main dish, beverage, dessert or coffee. Perfect to send you directly to a siesta.