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“People always want to come back to Barcelona» by Carolina Castro

“People always want to come back to Barcelona» by Carolina Castro

Born in Brussels, Carolina Castro grew up in Bogota and lived in New York and Paris before moving to Barcelona 4 years ago. She is 45 and has two teenage children. Today, she is in charge of public and press relations for Grupo Tragaluz, a restaurant company that has led the field for over 30 years and has more than 23 unique restaurants in various parts of Spain.

Why did you choose Barcelona?

During the 12 years I spent in Paris, my sister was living in Barcelona, so I often came to visit and was always captivated by the city. After the pandemic, I was looking for a city with a good quality of life and Barcelona seemed like the perfect choice.

Its size, its proximity to the sea and the mountains, and its strategic location as a bridge with France, the rest of Europe and Latin America—my worlds—was exactly what I was looking for. I made a conscious decision to live in Barcelona and I started to put down roots as soon as I arrived.

What aspects of the city would you highlight as being positive?

Barcelona is the ideal size: it is simple to get around, which makes it easy to meet people and to go to all kinds of events. There are people of many nationalities in well-established communities. I belong to a number of different social groups: Colombians, French, and of course, Catalans, who have opened their doors to me since I arrived.

Friends who come to visit are always amazed by the architecture and the food; Barcelona is a city that people always want to come back to.

It also offers a very good quality of life thanks to its public spaces, pedestrian areas, parks, and the proximity of the sea. I always try to take advantage of the special atmosphere at the beach where there is always lots going on.

What aspects of the city must be improved? How?

Security is essential. I have heard of people getting robbed in the street, sometimes with the use of force. I trust that the authorities will be able to improve the situation it returns to the way it was before.

The beaches and some tourist areas should also be cleaned up. Visitors to Barcelona deserve the best of the city, as do those of us who have made it our home.

As for the restaurant industry, the sector in which I work, I feel that sometimes there is a lack of support from the administration. We need more flexible legislation that benefits everyone. It is very difficult to get permits for special events and there are severe restrictions for seating in the street. This means that some restaurants are forced to close.

What do you expect from Barcelona in the coming years?

I feel that certain environmental changes are on the right track. A good example is the creation of pedestrian streets such as Consell de Cent and other recently opened green spaces, parks, and gardens.

I am sure that the extension of the Diagonal tramline will help to connect the city and make journeys more pleasant, encouraging people choose to use public transport.

I really appreciate the mix of cultures found in Barcelona. Tourists and locals rub shoulders, making the city highly dynamic. Barcelona has always attracted people from around the Mediterranean, but with globalization people now come from every continent, producing a fascinating and enriching cosmopolitan mix.

Which city do you feel as «your city»? What do you miss the most?

I am both Colombian and French, but it is difficult to say where I feel most at home. Although I grew up in Bogota, I have lived most of my adult life outside Colombia. Every city I have lived in has been just right for that particular time of my life and for my career. Today I am happy in Barcelona, I can develop here, and I am delighted that my children are growing up with so much freedom in this wonderful city. Barcelona has given me a very warm welcome and excellent professional openings since I arrived. Without a doubt, I am a Barcelonian by choice.

El Periódico

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