I like to live in the city centre and all my friends know it. I like to be close if there’s a need to, I like to be able to oversleep to work and need only two minutes to get there, and when I go to a party, it’s not a trip combining checking subway and night buses schedules. I can go everytime I want, for as long as I want, and come back whenever I want. Therefore, I always try to choose such apartments, which will be in the heart of the city. There was one exception, but it doesn’t count, because it was our first time in Barcelona, we didn’t have a roof over my head, so we took what was available.
After that, however, our expectations were a little higher. I’ll put it like this – convenience is a relative term. Distance and price are important. So the next time we came to Barcelona, we already looked for something in the downtown. And there was nobody as near centre as our friend Anna, who lived next to the Drasaness subway station, by Rambla.
Flat number 1.
Well, apart from her, there were 3 other people, but so what. Like parasites, me and Bogi (yeah Bogi, you can’t run away from that), we occupied the floor in her living room for two weeks. We were looking for the apartment the whole time, but somehow nothing was good enough. One day, we had to go to the office to obtain Seguridad Social, the so-called insurance. Polish officials, despite of being unpleasant, they are rather professional. Spanish are soooo much more relaxed. Ours was a little bit familiar with us. Small, thick, about 50 years old, talked about his home with a swimming pool and invited us to visit him. He tossed compliments and somewhat dirty jokes. From word to word, a subject of our house came out, and we said that we are looking for a room in Barcelona. He immediately made a phone call to a colleague – Andres, who had one room for rent in Raval (the dark side of Barcelona, but still the centre).
Flat number 2.
It was a hit! The room… pretty good, pretty good. One bed for three people… Never mind. The problem was, for us, a lack of doors and curtain waving instead. We lived with two Africans. One of them was from Senegal and one from Gambia. Besides the fact that Samba was a pedant, he recycled, and he got angry for every crumb on the table (even though it wasn’t me!), he was pretty cool. The second one of them asked us not to be dressed provocatively during Ramadan, because he’s craving. Everything would be fine, if not for the fact that one day, in the middle of August, when it was 40 degrees outside, and we worked every day, they cut off water. It turned out that the guys don’t pay nor for water, nor for electricity, and nor for the Internet. Everything was “borrowed” from the neighbors. They promised that it won’t take long, that they were going to fix it. But days passed, and when we wanted to take a shower, flush the toilet or wash a glass, we had to use water from the barrels, which were filled by the guys every day with water from the taps on the street. Sometimes we went to wash ourselves at Ania’s place, to feel like human beings. I’ll never forget that one terrible day, when I went to Ania just to take a shower. I had a hangover, it was sooooo hot outside, I was dirty, sweaty, felt bad and… someone spitted on me! Some guy didn’t see me as I went after him, and I wanted to get past him on the same side in which he wanted to spit. His saliva ran down my arm, I stood in the middle of Rambla and wanted to die. He began to wipe me and apologize, but it hasn’t changed anything. I knew that I can’t continue to live like this. A week without water is definitely too much! We packed our bags and moved out overnight without fear that we will lose the deposit, because in the end, we have never paid it. What to do? Ania’s co-worker said that she rents a room in a super large apartment on Borni (fine district of Barcelona, still the centre). She said that the owner of the apartment rents only for a long period of time, for at least half a year for example, unless someone comes to visit, then he can make the exception and can rent a room, but not for longer than three weeks. “It’s better than nothing” – we thought.
Flat number 3.
The owner had larynx cancer, and when he wanted to say something, he had to put some kind of a small battery to his throat. It was hard to communicate with him on the phone, because I didn’t understand a word. So I told him that I don’t understand, but I’ll be at 20:00 and that I hope that he will also be there. Luckily he was. We told him that we are friends of a girl who rented a room there, and that we’ll be there for three weeks. One of the rules was not sharing rooms. So we had to rent 3 bedroom for 18 days, 8 Euro per night. I sat with him at the table and watched as he did calculations (mathematician!), before he handed me the final amount that we have to pay. I did it, and then I decided to count it again. It turned out that he did something wrong, and we paid 3, not 8 Euro per room!!! We were so lucky! We were certain that someday, he will realize that and we will have to pay the rest. Nothing like this didn’t happen. The apartment was eeextra! Huge, about 120 m2, 2 bathrooms, a jacuzzi, five bedrooms, living room, dining room, balconies, and in addition to this, it was airy, which is a huge advantage in summer. We also met our beloved Anuszka there. Three weeks have passed in no time, and what we did? We returned to our beloved boys from Raval! There was water already in there, so we could live there for the last 2 weeks.
A year later, again, we moved to Ania’s place. But this time she lived (also in the city center) on the third floor in a very, very small apartment…
Flat number 4.
It was nice, cozy, but incredibly hot. At the beginning, we could somehow put up with it, but later, when all three of us had to live in one room… 50 degrees! There was no way we could live like that. We started to search, view the ads, visit the apartments, but always something was wrong. We had to live in three: me, Kacha and Anuszka. One day, our lovely apartment on Borni came to my mind. I decided to call Senior Pullola. I called, I wrote, I even left a voice message, but I got no answer. What could I do? Desperate, we went into the building and began to call each number. Once we lost hope, Enrique came down! Enrique turned out to be an administrator. He said that senior Pullol died in December, but they are still renting rooms. He was a godsend for us. Enrique was a golden man. He got us a great apartment on the first floor, as great as last time.
Flat number 5.
Initially, we lived with some girl from England, then was also a colleague from Japan, Israel, a girl from Bulgaria, Finland, a boy from Chicago, a girl from Poland, from Tanzania, turnover was high! It was funny to have an “emergency room”. It was a tiny room, which wasn’t for rent. It was used only as temporary bedroom for someone who was going to get the big room in a few days, but for some reason the room wasn’t ready yet. We were the only ones to have the “emergency room” in the whole building, so there were quite a few guests. We met a lot of people, and this year spent in the apartment on Mirallers was wonderful, but together with my sister and Ania, we thought that it would have been nice if we could live alone. We would feel at home, we could do what we want. But if you rent a room, you have to reckon with the fact that you never know who and when will come. Enrique could come at any time of the day, and he decided that now, for example, he will paint the wall in the living room, where we were watching a movie. To make matters worse, we loved Enrique! He’s a sweetheart! However, we desired to live alone. We started looking for an apartment. It quickly turned out that our colleague are leaving a great apartment by Rambla, where they lived for three years. We came, we saw, and we took it. We have three rooms, living room, kitchen with dining area, three balconies and a nice bathroom. I’ve had some time to decorate my walls, and soon we will paint everything, and we will already feel at home.
And here are some pictures of our new nest.
- świąteczny balkonik
- część kuchnio-jadalni
- mój pokój
- stylowa podłoga
- znów kuchnio-jadalnia
- i znów salon
Also, as they say, follow the river to get to the sea, through trial and error, third time lucky and so on and so on. For now, we live here and it’s great, but who knows where and with whom we will be next year… Anyway, it will be an adventure!