A Window on Sants

Barcelona, Blogging challenges, Catalonia, Spain

About three years ago, we were in Sants, Barcelona. The flat where Emily and Miquel then lived was too small to accommodate us for too prolonged a stay, so an apartment in Sants it was – a part of the city we didn’t knw at all, but came to like a lot.

Once a village, by the nineteenth century it was industrialised – the textile industry – and home to Barcelona’s biggest textile factory. Now it’s home to Barcelona’s biggest station and travel interchange.

For us though, it was simply a busy working community, full of independent shops, a market, housing old and new. Let’s go and walk the streets for a while, and admire the often elegant windows. And as the feature photo shows, there’s washing. There’s always washing to hang out.

It’s an assertively independista part of the city: hence the Catalan flags and yellow ribbons. And they don’t welcome the destruction of their community by tourists that come and go. So we did our best to spend in neighbourhood shops bars and restaurants, and also hoped that, since we’re all-but Catalan in-laws now (and now, even Spanish grandparents), we might pass muster.

‘No tourist apartments’.

Monday Window – mañana

Monday Washing Line – mañana

40 thoughts on “A Window on Sants

    1. People in Barcelona were being priced out of their own neighbourhoods – it was a problem, as is housing here in Dales villages. But things may have changed radically in Barcelona now, if not in the Dales, post Covid.

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  1. The balconies are beautiful, but I agree with you that one large enough to at least stand on is a must. I think Airbnb have a lot to be blamed for in encouraging people to let out their rooms / flats / houses – many of whom do not pay business rates or taxes that genuine holiday lets and B&Bs and hotels have to do. We struggled to find anywhere to rent in Cornwall when we decided to move here as many lets are winter only (6 months max) as the owners make more money with weekly holiday lets in the spring and summer season. So hard for local youngsters to be independent and stay in Cornwall. Difficult to rent and outpriced to buy.

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    1. Exactly. Airbnb have made various communities unattainable for some would be residents. We won’t use them, though of course our own choices may be no better. I wonder what the post Covid world will bring?

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    1. Apart from early childhood, I’d lived in cities all my life till we went to France. And although I no longer want to, I do love cities and all they can offer. I need a ‘city fix’ every now and then.

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    1. I wish. When we go a long way as in India, South Korea, we do try to stay a month or so, to make it worthwhile. Our daughter lives in Barcelona, so that’s another long-stay destination. Otherwise, it’s the odd few days or a fortnight, like most people

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  2. We love staying in ‘real’districts, and the challenges you highlight are in the Algarve, Porto and Lisboa too. House prices and rents are crazy in some areas because of the tourists and also affluent retired immigrants buying property for short or long term occupation. One of the reasons I feel slightly better than we rent our long term apartment from a hotel complex as these apartments would never be a option for locals, but even so I am aware we are in our own way contributing to the challenges. Like you though aim to buy and spend with the local people in independent shops and family restaurants – you’ve got us though on the family connection!

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      1. I’ve decided it is balance that is key – I have no idea how to achieve it but somehow authorities need to determine that critical point when tourist numbers become a problem rather than a benefit, and then put in place policies which will enable them not to go pass it

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  3. It’s so interesting to see a set of comparison photos and then notice that Number 22, in the more dilapidated condition, is by far the most beautiful. Of course, residing somewhere a little more run down may or may not be so preferable.

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    1. Yes, I thought Run Down won on points too. It was a very mixed neighbourhood, in which battered and revamped lived in close harmony, apparently. I liked that.

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    1. Oh, well remembered! Yes, Anaïs was born on 18th January, and is well and happy. And exhausting her parents. We should have been there of course and goodness knows when it will be allowed, which is so disappointing. Thank goodness for WhatsApp etc! Thanks so much for asking.

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  4. Thanks for the photos and visit to an anti-tourist destination in Barcelona. Fascinating. When I visited Barcelona in 1987, the bartender where I went to buy water, didn’t want to sell me it because I was speaking Spanish. That was a day to remember, when I learned more about Catalan.

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  5. I’ve arrived and departed from Santa but never stayed there. I only ever stay for a day or two as I’m out at the house for longer so I’m a central lady! I have to say I’ve never suffered with problems from the locals. I think as long as we try out the language(s) things work ok.

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    1. So long as you don’t try out Spanish 😉 . Seriously, it only happened in one restaurant, assertively Catalan, where they made it plain that English would definitely be preferable to Spanish! Needless to say we had a great meal in a highly convivial setting.

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