AN INTERVIEW TO OUR GUIDE MIRIAM
Today I’m excited to present a new series in our blog. If you’ve been following us for a while you already know that besides writing this weekly blog, we are a private tour company in Barcelona. We actually started this blog as a service for our guests, so they could have lots of interesting information to plan their trip ahead of time, and it has eventually become a great way to share our knowledge with those who for whatever reason can’t take our tours right now.
And I’ve realized that we have an amazing team, but people only get to know their own guides, but never benefit from the personality and tips from the rest of us. This is why I’ve decided to start a series of interviews where every month I’ll be introducing you one of our guides, and they’ll get to share their favorite stories and tips. And today we are starting with… Miriam! Besides me (Marta, the founder of the company and author of the blog), she’s the guide that has been working with us longer.
Let’s get to know her better!
Miriam, how did you get into tourism?
Well, I studied Tourism in college because I loved languages, being with people and learning from them, but I knew I wasn’t made to work in a hotel or travel agency. My dad was worried because she couldn’t see a future for me, but I told him that if I could become a tour guide I’d have all want I wanted, and if I tried and I didn’t like the experience… Then he’ll be allowed to worry about me!
However, I was a bit scared of standing in front of a group and getting all their attention, so I eventually did work for hotels and a travel agency until a friend called me to offer me the job she was quitting at a large tour company. That year I couldn’t do it because I was already committed to another contract, but the next year the opportunity appeared again and I sized it!
My first tours were in what in the guide jargon is a “charavan”, large groups of people from different countries that join together to visit Barcelona for a day. And that’s where I met Marta, we became friends and… the rest is history!
What’s been the most fun tour you’ve given?
I love photography, and I once showed around a lady photographer that wanted to take night pictures of the city. I took her to my favorite and most scenic spots, and she shared her tips with me. It was wonderful! I also love giving literary books, about novels that take place in Barcelona – but it’s mostly locals who request that.
And my dream would be to organize a tour around local craft workshops in Barcelona: I have a few ideas in mind and I want to convince Marta to seat down with me one day and see if we can work it out.
What’s your favorite place in Catalonia?
The Bohí Valley and the Aiguestortes National Park. I remember a 7-day hike I did there one winter (before that I had only been there in good weather) and it was so spectacular to see that frozen landscape with 3 feet of snow, one side of the river was Aragon and the other Catalonia. I’ve traveled a lot since then, but I’ve never been a natural wonder more beautiful than this. Wild horses, cows, the combination of green and white.
And the Romanesque churches! I decided to study Art History just to learn more about them. I always tell my husband: If you want to make me happy, take me visiting the Romanesque in the Bohí Valley.
What’s your favorite Catalan tradition?
Eating calçots! These green onion barbecues are such a fun social event! I celebrate them in the countryside with friends and family every winter, and we always end up doing “onion wars” using them as if they were whips.
We end up covered in sauce and laughing like crazy! I had a friend that was so refined he’d bring his own latex gloves so he wouldn’t get dirty, lol. He also ended up running around the table chasing everyone with onions dipped in sauce in his hands!
And what’s your favorite district in Barcelona?
My heart is divided between the Born district and Gracia. The first one is so historical, I love its medieval past but also its broad food offer – specially tapas. I absolutely love seating in front of my admired Santa Maria del Mar church having a glass of wine in the outdoor terrace of La Vinya del Senyor while I watch the signs of time hidden in the walls of the buildings around me.
As for Gracia, I lived there for 10 years and it has that small village feel with its pedestrian alleys, those unique businesses so different from what you find in the rest of the city, that mix of minorities that populate it. It’s so bohemian!
AND BONUS! Did you know Miriam is famous for her awesome recommendations? Discover her favorite secret spots:
Miriam, what would you recommend to a favorite client?
I’d first recommend to go to Escribà and buy a xuxo, a Catalan deep-fried pastry that you can find in most pastry shops but the one they make at Escribà has the perfect point of sweetness and the cream is just perfect! I served them at my baby’s birthday and my brother (who has a very demanding palate) asked me where did I get them. After that, I’d send them to check out my favorite book store: La Central del Raval. It’s small but not too small, and being next to the University of Barcelona, they cover many different subjects. I go there to find unique books, like El Goloso, a book about the history of cooking in Europe.
What burning question about Barcelona you'd like to ask Miriam?
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