A Little Background
Who am I? And what qualifies me to tell you what’s great about Barcelona?
In a world of self-appointed internet experts, this is probably the first question anyone looking for information online should ask.
Short version: Most of my career has been spent in the magazine business, mostly with so-called ‘lifestyle’ titles. I’ve written and taken photographs for magazines around the world, and I’ve done the junkets, and I know how that industry works.
I’m here, in part, because Spain Tourism brought me here on a junket and I wondered how a place with this much culture and history and wine and gastronomy could be so underpriced compared with its neighbours.
I pay my own way these days.
And I have too many clothes to be a social media influenza.
Like influencers, too many lifestyle magazines earned themselves well-deserved reputations for providing unqualified recommendations that are bought. Not all of them are guilty, but an awful lot are.
Even the better ones tend to equate new with better, which means when they’re recommending where to eat in any destination, generally it’s the latest, most happening place (with the biggest marketing budget, in order to get on those awful 100-best lists), because old and established isn’t newsworthy.
But what if old and established is actually good?
And even a dozen years after the launch of Instagram, apparently we’re still suckers for pretty things, as opposed to things with substance. Sometimes I wonder whether we deserve better, and maybe we don’t.
But we can do better.
What do I know about Barcelona?
That’s also a good question. And I’m going to come out now and say I don’t actually live here.
Before you go, let me explain why I think that may be an advantage.
Firstly, because it makes me like you. I want to enjoy my limited time in the city as much as possible. My limited time may be three months a year, but it’s still limited. As I write this I’m six weeks into a 10 week stay, and am a little worried I’m not going to get to everything I want to see and do.
Secondly, that makes me different from locals or local expats.
Sometimes I stay in hotels.
And also, like most visitors, I arrive with a list of stuff to see and do. Where you live, you’ve got the stuff you like close to home, and you stick to that, and maybe you’ll try that new restaurant across town next month. It’s human nature.
And having lived as an expat for more than two decades, I know that I take visitors to different restaurants than I normally frequent.
While I’m tempted by all sorts of cuisine from around the world where I live, in Barcelona my focus is on Spanish food. Why eat Asian food here, when I can do that (probably a lot better) at home?
What sort of egotist would I have to be to do a whole website like this?
Yeah, I’ll admit that’s a good question. The simple answer is that after buying an apartment here with a friend in 2015 I started this site as a guide for friends and family who may come and visit. It just grew from there.
It’s not a job, it’s a labour of love. Love for what I do. And love for Barcelona. Like all cities it has its faults, but I really do love it here.
And I hope you do too.
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