Living in Barcelona, Part I: Settling in, Sightseeing & Reading

Parc Guell lizard
The lizard in Gaudi’s Parc Güell

As some of you will know, I’ve recently moved from South East England to sunny Barcelona! It’s only for eight months as part of my university degree, but it’s quite a big step nonetheless.

I’m living by myself in a quiet area called Eixample, on a street that’s really close to the Avinguda Diagonal. This brilliantly wide street has great shops and space to walk, and it literally cuts the city in half.

I’m pleased to say that culture shock hasn’t yet kicked in and I’m really enjoying how vibrant and exciting Barcelona is. I absolutely adored my visit to Montjuïc, home to the amazing Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya and some beautiful gardens, and Antoni Gaudi’s Parc Guëll was even better than I expected.

I’m looking forward to seeing some of the places where the film version of Patrick Süskind’s Perfume was set, alongside visiting Montserrat mountain, from which the views seem incredible. As my boyfriend’s staying with me for eight days from Sunday, I’ll have somebody to join me on my adventures! I really need to persuade him to read Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind so we can go on a literary walk around the roads and areas mentioned.

El Poble Espanyol, as seen in Perfume
El Poble Espanyol, as seen in Perfume. Image source.

Most of my time at the moment is being taken up by work, hence the lack of blogging and tweeting lately! I have a Copywriting & Social Media Marketing role at a really lovely startup that specialises in group travel, and so far I’m really enjoying my work. My colleagues are great, and I get to spend a lot of time writing articles and reading all about travel… I must say it suits me well! In the next week or so I’ll mention the blog and Twitter account that I update for work – just in case you want to keep an eye on what I’m up to.

The view from Montserrat (San Jeroni peak)

In other news…

I am still reading War and Peace. Yes, still! After my speedy reread in August 2012, this year is proving to balance the annual average out a bit. To avoid lugging my enormous paperback edition of Anthony Briggs’s fantastic translation to Spain, I decided to download the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation onto my Kindle. I’ve heard so many good things about this, but I just can’t get into it like the Briggs text. A post on W&P translations can definitely be expected when I finally finish it!

Last night I also started reading The Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment by Isabel Losada, a choice that was entirely inspired by Angeliki’s recent post on finding purpose through literature. It’s a wry memoir of getting to know yourself, finding your way out of the most enormous ruts, and understanding what life’s all about. It’s a relaxing novel and a bit of a guilty pleasure, but my reading standards lean excessively towards the classic and difficult-to-read!

It’s the perfect book to relax with during my lunch breaks and evenings, although, of course, I should really be reading in Spanish…

Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
It's good to meet you! I started Tolstoy Therapy back in 2012 to share my healing journey through anxiety and PTSD with books. I also climb mountains, go on solo adventures, and write over at

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