Maria Guerra is a 25-year-old consultant working in public health research. Originally from Leon, Maria moved to the U.K. when she was only 4 years old. She has been living in Barcelona since 2012 and has plans to stay for a couple more years. “Barcelona is one of my favorite cities in the world, because of the amazing climate, beach, beautiful architecture, culture and diversity.”
Maria lives in Raval, a barrio in Ciutat Vella that used to be known for its seedy character. In the last couple of decades, Raval has been through several renewal and regeneration programs that have helped decriminalize the area and make it a safe, pleasant place to live.
“Sometimes people say Raval has a bad reputation but I love it! It’s right in the centre and it’s very diverse. There is always so much going on, lots of great shops, bars and coffee shops. There’s so much street art! It’s a really creative place with a lot of energy and a lot of great little projects going on.”
Maria’s favorite place in her barrio is Club Cronopios, a cultural association on Carrer Ferlandina 16 that promotes creative expression. The club hosts a series of different events, with live music, poetry or theater and also offers workshops such as poetic creation, stencil initiation, digital editing, blues, photography and writing, among others.
When it’s time for a quick bite, Maria likes to visit El Colectivo, a coffee shop in Carrer Pintor Fortuny. “They have really nice coffee, sandwiches and cake. The staff is super friendly and there’s usually space to chill out and read a book.”
“I really like Montjuïc. There are great views and a lot of hidden spots, like the giant amphitheater or the cactus garden. It’s a great place to go running, and it’s never very busy.”
Moving to Barcelona
For those who are thinking of moving to Barcelona or those who have just arrived, Maria offers a couple of tips: “Check out some cultural associations.There are lots in Gotico, Raval and Poble Sec, it’s normally free or very cheap to become a member and they have different events every day of the week.”