Monalia's World

Observations on a New Life in Spain

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28 March, 2010 (06:25) | Living in Europe | By: admin

The following photo of my dog, Quixôte posed on a sculpture in front of the new Hotel W in Barceloneta says it all, as to the latest turn of events in my life: IMG_1447 Living in a state of Bliss

We recently bought a “fixer upper” attico piso located in a great spot in Barceloneta, so my blogs will be from a new point of view of my adopted city. Although we plan to keep Gracia as our home base, we bought this steal of a piso simply for the location and for the affordability . At 149 thousand euros, the price was half the going rate of most pisos in Barceloneta. And we could fulfill our goal in the process of having a little slice of sun or “trocito de sol” as they say here.

It has several real drawbacks, the most obvious being there is no elevator so its a 6 floor climb to the top and the second being that although we are in an ideal spot, our view of the ocean is obstructed in all but one spot. Here is a photo of our one view of the ocean so you can see how close we actually are:

View from our new beach shack using a zoom lens

We have been living in Gracia for three years now, and charming as the neighborhood is, it doesn’t have much sun. By buying this little fixer upper, we now have our little place in the sun. My life has suddenly become even more magical.

Although my cadaver gloves make it hard to see, in these photos taken March 5, we got the keys to our new piso and I dangle them for the camera, with Mark and then with the realtors who sold us the place.

The first thing we needed to do was replace the water heater so we can at least spend the night there, as is. We hired our friend of 15 years, Isi. He came in, replaced the water heater, gave us a great estimate for the work to be done, which involves knocking down walls, adding window doors with electric persiana blinds. He’ll move a wall too, as well as moving the water heater outside. He will do the whole job with his comañero, Jose for six thousand euros which includes the windows and doors. I sure hope he’ll accept some tips, because his estimate is really low and he is a very thorough and reliable worker.

Before I go on, here are some before photos of the labyrinthian 50 meter piso attico – before we start knocking down walls and adding window doors to the decks, replacing the existing windows.
These shots are not of all the rooms, but you get the idea…
Rosalia and Albino are the elderly Catalan couple from whom we bought our place. Although they lived there for 30 years and raised 3 kids there, it now looks like a mad scientist labaratory, as evidenced in the above thumbnails.

1) This will become the master bedroom, with a glass door instead of a window. 2) The glass door will lead onto this sunny balcony.

This is the first wall to get a hole punched it, a defining moment that our reformas have already begun.
Our reformas team are intense, capable, efficient

When our team took its 3 hour lunch break I took a bike ride with my dog while Mark lounged and napped in the sun. One of the things I love about Barcelona is the socialist Bicing bicycle stations placed everywhere. For 25€ a year I am able to bike around the city by simply swiping my card at any station and then riding off wherever I might want to go. Bicing stations have become ubiquitous. There is one at the end of our street in Barceloneta. Quixote and I wnet for a ride, direction Geary golden fish sculpture. There was a bicing station near there, so I turned in my bike and went for a walk along the beach with my puppy. After about a half hour of that I checked out another bike and headed in the direrction of the new Hotel W. As it were, there is a brand new paved walkway and a convenient bicing station at the end, so I again checked in my bike and proceeded to explore the grounds of the new Hotel W Barcelona.

Hotel W seen from my boardwalk, then explored up close by foot


1) My dog is a natural poser, but here in this close-up you can see his real feelings 2) That’s my tiny dog posing on that W!


The grounds of the Hotel W feel Olympian and I am one of the few who think it is a wonderful exhibit of grande architecture. It gives a fresh point of view from which to look at Barcelona, the enchantress city.

What we have bought into with all this, is the lifestyle. Our place is modest and here the ugly truth that obstructs our view. If it weren’t for this one building we would have a great beach view:


1) the big, ugly building which obstructs our sea view. 2) Our beach, as seen from as soon as we descend and walk a half block.

Our immediately reality, even as a fixer upper we are enjoying the experience of owning a slice of heaven. Here’s a self portrait with iPhone plus one of Mark and Quixôte relaxing in the sun.


1) The Barceloneta Beach lifestyle suits us 2) The place already has a nice, big bathroom which is in fact one of the nicest rooms in the place.

We plan to spend Easter in our new Love Shack.