Marlene L is happy to share something from a recent trip to Barcelona, where she had a heartwarming Servas experience with three lovely hosts.
What a nice way to end a four-week hiking trip in the Spanish and French Pyrenees with three days in Barcelona. I dropped my partner off at the airport to fly to Germany to visit relatives and took the bus into the city centre. I had contacted Servas hosts a few weeks earlier and arranged to stay with Maria Carmen. A few days before my arrival I wrote asking if I should plan daytime activities or if she had something in mind. Hosts vary so much in what they expect and I wanted to be prepared. As it was, Carmen had grandparenting duties during my stay, so we arranged to meet in the evenings for a meal and chat and I would be on my own during the days, a plan that suited me completely.
Accordingly, I first met up with day host Martina, who met me at the bus and gave me a whirlwind tour of the Barrio Gotico. Even though she was older than me, she was a bundle of energy and I could barely keep up. When we went looking for a tapas restaurant, she rejected the first choice after surveying the kitchen, so I knew I was in good hands. I had a wonderful time, and we stayed in contact afterwards.
The following day I did the barrio again, this time with a guided free walking tour. In the afternoon, I met another day host, Graciela. When she asked me what I wanted to do, I replied that I preferred to explore some area most tourists didn’t see. It turned out to be in her neighbourhood and a great experience! I loved sauntering along picturesque streets and poking into various unique shops. Thankfully, Graciela spoke English with me. I love speaking Spanish but welcomed the respite.
The highlight of the next day was another walking tour, this time Gaudi and Modernismo, and I visited other sites on my own. But best of all was returning to Carmen’s apartment every afternoon and sitting down to exchange views with her on politics, art, religion, and other “heavy” topics. We had great conversations and she really made my stay deeply special. As a result of having met these three wonderful hosts, my visit to Barcelona was a highlight of the entire trip.
Did you appreciate Marlene’s tale? If you have travelled with Servas Canada and would like to share some of your news and a couple of photographs as a Travellers’ Tale, please contact us.