My name is Mark and I am a tour guide in Barcelona.
I visited Barcelona for the first time in 1997, when I was a Sociology student at the University of Leuven. From my very first day in the city, I knew I was going to live there someday. Having grown up in a little village, studying in a little town, I was impressed with that vibrant and lively city. But Barcelona combines the big city life with that gorgeous laid-back Mediterranean way of living outside, spending evenings on a terrace.
It took me a few years to finally take the big step and move to Barcelona. I left my job as a political advisor in the Belgian Parliament in search of adventure.
Once in Barcelona, my family and friends came over to visit all the time. We discovered the Catalan way of life, the hidden spots in the city, the best tapas bars and restaurants… I started studying the history and immersed myself in the Catalan architecture. In the meantime, I became increasingly integrated. I learned to speak Spanish and Catalan, met my Catalan girlfriend Alexia, and became friends with born and raised Barcelonians.
After a while, I found myself not only touring my friends, but also friends of friends, and later even friends of friends of friends! I showed them the secret places, things tourists normally don’t get to see, and told them stories you don’t find in the guidebooks.
Unfortunately, every day I see people in the streets who aren’t so lucky to have a friend in Barcelona. They are lost in the labyrinth of the Gothic quarter. They are eating bad and overpriced food in tourist restaurants. They are queuing for hours to enter Gaudi’s masterpieces, while you can walk straight in if you only know how.
All these people deserve much better. And Barcelona deserves better too. So I started to ask myself what I could do. How could I make sure that all these nice people could experience the city like my friends and I do?
That’s how the idea of ‘Meet my Barcelona’ was born and why I decided to become a tour guide in Barcelona. Because for me there is nothing more beautiful than to share my passion for Barcelona with all those people who want to get to know the authentic Barcelona. And as a visitor, what is nicer than having a friend in town who can open the doors to the real Barcelona?
Greetings from sunny Barcelona and hoping to meet you soon.
Your guide in Barcelona,