L’Eroica Cycling Story

Vintage Tuscany

A short tale of Bikes, Riders & Wine

The L’Eroica is a two-day gathering of cycling enthusiasts from around the world to ride together in a gruelling feat of athleticism using only vintage bicycles that must be dated from 1987 or before. I signed up to do the original of these events in Italy, but over the years the movement has spread to Spain, Great Britain, California, South Africa, the Netherlands and Japan. It is not a race, but more of a big day of shopping for vintage cycling parts, attire and art; attached to a second day of Gran Fondo. I had committed my fifty-seven year old legs to ride this event with my friend Jim Everard, also from Toronto, Canada.

My L’ Eroica cycling day started at 3:00 AM with a wake up call and a gathering of all the stuff that I would bring on my adventure through the Tuscan countryside in and around Siena.

This included:

  • filled water bottle;
  • container of pills to ease my expected muscle pain;
  • two energy bars;
  • Spanish phone;
  • Canadian passport;
  • Credit Card;
  • Ontario driver’s licence,
  • car key;
  • book to collect the necessary official stamps to prove completion of the 209 kms;
  • spare pre-glued tubular tire;
  • hand pump;
  • small set of folding allen keys and screw drivers;
    and a,
  • 50€ note.

All but the spare tire, pump and water bottle would be slotted into the front and rear pockets of my new Bianchi Ursa woollen jersey that I’d bought the day before at the marketplace near the start line in Gaiole in Chianti. We tried to make our exit relatively quietly so as not to disturb our long-suffering and patient wives trying to sleep through our obscenely early departure.

Our two-bedroom unit was tucked inside the thick walls of a thousand year old fortified village nestled in the aerie of Castello di Starda that stood over 1800 meters above the village of Gaiole. Put thoughts aside of enjoying any reliable WIFI and get used to only one restaurant option. I would have loved to have seen the view of the sun rising over this fantastic Tuscan perch that had once been a thriving middle point for people seeking safer passage on route to Florence from the south. But alas, that was not be be. At least not at this early morn to the extreme.

But I digress. So, let’s try this again.

My L’Eroica day started at 3:00 AM with the sound of pouring rain. This was not unexpected according to the many forecasts that I had been charting during the week prior. While it wasn’t a surprise, though, it was still disappointing as the gravel roads that lay ahead wouldn’t be easier with a big soaking.

Once the car was packed up, Jim and I began the long and extremely hairpin pathway down, down, down through the forest to the event start deep in the valley somewhere in the dense fog below us.

After parking in a designated field a short ways out of town, we rolled into the pack of vintage ciclotourist passionistas who were chanting in mostly Italian with eagerness to hit the road. After the commensurate photo of ourselves (quite grainy due to the dim lighting), we got our first official stamp on our L’Eroica passports just before the horn sounded and we all headed forth into the rain and blackness. It was very eerie pedalling into the misty forest-lined road.

The initial long downhill soon became a long steep uphill that led toward Brolio Castle, the former home of the powerful Ricasoli family. As we neared the remains, two stretched rows of candles burning on either side of the road heralded success in completing our first major ascent. The flaming carpet of gravel lit with a mix of blue, red and green was trulymagical. I couldn’t see the other riders well, but almost everyone was dressed in period costume. Most of the men (and they were mostly men) had facial hair of various shapes and sizes. I was sporting a handlebar moustache, at least I had been, until the wax keeping it in place dissolved with rain and sweat.

It wasn’t too long afterward that my bike started to act up. Most significantly, my right gear lever on the down tube would not keep its grip. That meant the chain kept slipping into the lowest gear. The steeper the pitch the more pronounced this problem became. This scenario forced me to constantly tighten it with my screwdriver or hold it down with my finger. Neither were ideal scenarios, while in the midst of a nearly continuous pattern of long ups and downs.

Then … my chain started to jam.

Then … my seat got loose and rocked with my every leg movement.

Then … I got stung by a wasp on the upper thigh, which almost evened out the extreme irritation of the wound on my chest from a surprise encounter with a jellyfish, two days prior while swimming in the south of France.

Then … I got a flat on my rear wheel.

Then … I learned how to change a flat tubular tire on the road, including painfully plying the rubber off its glue moorings on the wheel and stretching the tire to finally fit it over the rim. This process was extremely frustrating. Other riders passing by laughed at seeing me in the “rowers” position holding one end of the tire with my feet and pulling on the other with my arms. Only now, did I fully appreciate the sage advice of pre-stretching the tire before trying to put it on the wheel.

Then … I limped up and into the first checkpoint through the archway of an old castle to get my L’Eroica passport stamped for the second time. But first a quick picture with my phone of the hosts dressed in medieval garb … but where are my phone and 50€ bill that were in the back pocket of my shirt? And where is my Eroica passport that was in the same bag as my Canadian passport, my driver’s license and credit card?

All were gone. Undoubtedly, they fell out during one of my many sessions that saw me bending over to remove a back wheel and release a stuck chain.

  1. So there I was with no money, no phone, and no spare tire. I was also without my friend Jim who had pushed on more quickly thinking that I was in front of him. Plus, it was a long way back to the town of Gaiole where our car was parked. The ordeal was made even worse as no L’Eroica official could speak much (read any) English.

So, now what? Finishing the course seemed out of the question. All the futzing around with bike repairs and now dealing with lost items had greatly eaten into the time that I had budgeted to complete the ride before darkness. I really didn’t want to crawl into Gaiole past the time cut of 9:30 PM.

The thought of just rolling up into a ball of self pity certainly occurred to me. More than once in fact.

The easy way forward was to hitch a ride back to the start line relying on my “Fritalian” and hand gestures to communicate passage as best I could. Then it struck me. Here I am in Tuscany. It’s now a beautiful day and I’m on a bike. I’m not hurt, nor in any obvious danger. I have no money or ID or a spare tire, but isn’t all that just insurance IN CASE something happens. Now seemed like the perfect time to assume nothing else bad would occur. And if it did, I’d just have to deal with it as best I could.

So I just rode on. And on. And on.

The sun came out and it got hot (25º), but the dramatic undulating countryside was exactly as advertised. The rolling shades of brown, yellow, red and green fields pierced by tall Cypress stands proved a strong distraction from the weariness of the many long and steep hills, and the often rutted riding surface of the famous white gravel roads (for which this event actually served as fundraiser to preserve). In some sections the washboard was so intense that I felt my brains rattling. In other parts, the majesty of the next fortified village far ahead was enough to pull me up the inevitable hill necessary to reach it.

Eventually, I got to understand the personality of my old Bianchi Rekord 848-12V from 1982. I had bought it off Kijiji earlier in the year from a guy who’d had it hanging in his garage for thirty years. I was immediately drawn to it because of  its classic Celeste green colouring. This enhanced relationship with the steel steed allowed me to better adaptmy timing of when it would be necessary to pre-tighten the gear and alleviate slipping issues before they became climbing problems. I also give some credit to my exhausted impatience that had finally morphed into resigned patience.

And like the hills surrounding me, time rolled on. And on.

At one point I took ten minutes to bask under the Tuscan sun. Then I took another ten to bask in the Tuscan shade. Both were necessary stops to re-energize. Slowly the kilometres clicked off. At every rest point I ate and drank loads of water. It was only at 150 kms that I accepted my first sip of Chianti wine. A few red drops spilled onto my new blue and white sweater, which seemed only appropriate to mark my tour of this famous wine region.

That rest stop led right into the big mountain climb of the trek. I slogged it all the way to the top and was one of the very few I saw that didn’t get off their bike and push a spell. I had been reluctant to swap out the iconic Campagnola gear set that had come with bike. It had a 23 tooth maximum ring on the rear cassette. Clearly, the less sexy Suntour cassette with the 28 rear ring had done its job (more teeth makes it easier to climb steep hills).  Amid the gruelling grind of many ascents, including one at a 15% incline, I recall gasping out many thanks to Michael Barry Jr at Mariposa Cycles back in Toronto for encouraging me to make the switch.

It was amazing how many photographers were on route to catch the display of determined and dusty grimaces. I finally arrived at the crest of the climb and guess who was there catching his breath? Jim.

The last 40 km we completed together and side by side we pedalled into Gaiole almost 15 hours later at 7:46pm. It was near dark, but there was a glimmer of daylight remaining. Then came the medal ceremony and the gift of a commemorative bottle of wine to honour our heroic feat.

It seemed funnily appropriate that the gallery photo of us at the finish shows me totally almost obscured by a lovely Italian woman in front of me. Jim is seen here to the right of “Francesca” chatting with the invisible me.

Now I’m smiling and in recovery mode. But, that’s not where the really good news of this L’Eroica adventure ends. First, I was given notice by the Polizia in Gaiole that someone had found all of my identification. Here is the email that I received.

Your passport has been found. It is in Carabinieri’s station in Gaiole in Chianti (open today 11:00-14:00).
Best regards
Police officer
Federica Azzuppardi
POLIZIA MUNICIPALE
COMUNE DI GAIOLE IN CHIANTI

Then another message arrived that someone had turned in my phone and 50€ note!

Side Note:
My wife and I own a flat in Barcelona. To our delight, the Eroica organization recently partnered with a local Spaniard to open up the first Eroica café outside of Gaiole in Chianti. This new location is in Barcelona just a few blocks from our address in the Eixample neighbourhood of downtown. Its grand opening celebration was scheduled for the Saturday after our return to Barcelona from Tuscany.

This Italian themed café and pasta restaurant is quite large and features many vintage cycles – but no Bianchi’s! That gave me the idea to offer my bike to adorn one of their walls. I wasn’t planning on bringing it back to Canada anyway, and it would likely be safer hanging there versus stowed away in our apartment, which we rent out as an Airbnb. We had already experienced guests breaking open our locked cabinets and stealing from us.

So, I made the suggestion and the two owners jumped at the thought. In fact, they had received some criticism from L’Eroica for not having some Bianchi representation in their café. This large Italian manufacturer has a long history in the sport of cycling and is a big event sponsor.

Now my bike, which I affectionately refer to as: “Celeste,” graces a prominent display area in the bar. It makes me happy thinking that “she” will be there for others to enjoy as I did. My L’Eroica wooden number plate of #3443 hangs proudly on the crossbar.

Final note:
There are many distance options to challenge any rider who wants to experience L’Eroica (i.e 32 kms, 46 kms, 78 kms and 130 kms). If you want to enjoy the best of the whole experience, I suggest tackling a shorter distance than the 209 kms that we took on. A lesser trek makes the day less about the athleticism, but better enables you to embrace the vintage celebration that is at the event’s core. In fact, the shorter the loop the more likely people will be riding rare or unusual pedal contraptions from a much earlier generation than the 1980s-era bicycles that dominated my long course. They are also more apt to be in full vintage dress. On top of that, you could start in daylight, finish long before happy hour commences, and toast the marvel of just being there in Tuscany with a glass of Chianti at every food stop. Just writing this paragraph makes me thirsty to do it again – just differently. In the meantime, here’s to you L’Eroica. Salud …!

Chianti tasting note:
This is the authentic taste of Tuscany and the ultimate expression of Italian hospitality, whether shared between cycling friends or paired with a special L’Eroica gathering.

And, on that note:
The End

 

Post Script
Soon after my bike was hung, the Eroica café in Barcelona was visited by a special guest, famed Italian cyclist Felice Gimondi. Nicknamed “The Phoenix”, he is one of only six riders to have won the big three multi-stage classics: Le Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and the Spanish Vuelta. He is also the President of Bianchi’s mountain bike team. Given his association with this manufacturer, it was no surprise that he was overjoyed to sign the wooden number plate attached to Celeste.

Best Eats and Drinks

Best Eats and Drinks

There are hundreds of restaurants in Barcelona, and there are a number of websites that will help you pick which ones are the best. Here are some these websites to check out:

• Trip Advisor

Barcelona.com

Best Cafés

Best Tea Rooms

Best Croissants

Best Brunch

Best Lunches

Best Trendy

Best Hip

Best Tapas Bars

Best Pintxos

Best Wine Bars

Best Beer Bars

Best Craft Beers

Best Cocktail Bars

• Best Gin & Tonics

• Elite Traveler

Hardest to get into. This restaurant called Tickets must be booked three months before you hope to go. Alternatively, try their sister restaurant across the street called Bodega 1900, which features the same chef.

Best of the Neighborhood

Our list is more focussed on the neighbourhood surrounding the flat. We have been to all of the eateries listed. Here is what we found memorable about our experience at each of them:

Betlem – Girona, 70
This is a popular place for tapas and late night noshing. It is small, lively and filled with locals. There is a creepy puppet in the upper bookshelves with eyes that seem to stare only at you. It doesn’t take reservations, so go early or be patient.

Gorria – Diputaciòn, 421
It couldn’t be closer and the food is good. The atmosphere is very old world and the waiters are all men wearing black suit jackets. The restaurant has been a fixture in Barcelona for a long time, and you’ll note a number of celebrities have their pictures framed on the wall. The cuisine features the best in authentic Basque fare. Reservations are recommended, and the prices are moderate to high.

Il Birino – Ali bei, 123
Stroll past Gran Via on Sicilia and make a left in front of the bus station to find our new favourite place in Barcelona for pasta. You’ve got to order the spaghetti made in house and boiled in a big wheel of parmesan cheese. Wow!!! We also strongly recommend the lasagna. Both dishes go down even better with one of their local craft beers.

La Rotisseria del barri -Diputaciòn, 338
Want the convenience of someone else cooking, without the expense of eating out? This takeaway and delivery place around the corner is for you. It specializes in rotisserie roasted chicken, paella and Fideua and other Catalan specialties.

La Pepita – Còrsega, 343
Hip and casual is the ambiance of this well-reviewed place just above of Av. Diagonal toward the Gracia neighbourhood. It’s very popular with locals and stays open late for drinks and tapas. Just a couple of doors away is it’s sister bar called Vermut, which is especially popular for vermouth cocktails.

El Nacional – Passeig de Gràcia, 24 bis
This new palace of Catalan dining has taken Barcelona by storm. It was formerly an underground parking garage and has been transformed into a scene from the 1920’s Great Gatsby era. It’s extremely popular with locals and tourists, and should be experienced as part of your visit. It doesn’t take reservations, but when you get there you will have to pick a food type and get your name on a wait list. There is a section for fish, steak, tapas and lighter fare including dessert. You can wait for your table at the bar where they serve meat and cheese, or at one that offers oysters. Alternatively, they will phone you when your table is available. Just walk or taxi along Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes all the way to Passeig de Gràcia and it’s just to the right of the corner. Dress stylish and check out the washroom before you leave.

Cotton House – Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 670
This it the place to blow the budget! The restaurant is part of a hotel that recently refurbished a building that once housed the cotton industry in Spain. The surroundings are a gorgeous mix of old world elegance and modern style. The service is very attentive and the food beautifully prepared and plated. The paté bon bons were particularly memorable. There is an indoor restaurant open for lunch, tapas and dinner. On a beautiful day though, you should head out to the terrace and savour the tropical flowers. Be sure to stop into the library during the day and grab free, homemade marshmallows.  At night, they also stock cookies by the reception desk.

Granja Petitbo – Passeig Sant Joan, 82
Follow Arago to Passeig Sant Joan and you’ll find our favourite place for breakfast and lunch. It’s also many other people’s first choice, so get there early or be patient. All you Canadians, check out the old Toronto CFRB radio station map on the wall that shows where all the major allied bombing occurred during WWII.

CHICHALimona – Passeig Sant Joan, 80
This is like two restaurants in one. If you get tired of waiting to eat at Granje Petibo next door, Limona is a solid option for pastries and café con leche. The Chicha side is an excellent choice for lunch and dinner, with a fun menu and great drinks. We especially liked the well designed tinned seafood that is available to purchase and enjoy at home.

Vic Braseria
Only a block down Sicilia is this wonderful spot, popular with locals, with a delicious Menu del dia for under 10 euros. The daily lunch feature consists of an appetizer, entrée and dessert. Be sure to try the black rice with seafood – a tasty Catalan favorite and usually the most popular dish on the menu. The menu completely changes for dinner, and the Catalan Grill sharing plate is a must.

Yubari – Av. Diagonal, 339 bis
It’s very hip to eat Japanese at this extremely cool and well-reviewed spot. They offer old and new style sashimi, and other tasty delicacies. On the first floor is a large CGI rendered scene of graceful underwater sea life swimming past your table.

La Rita – Aragó, 279
This is a very popular choice for a Catalan-style lunch. Get there early or join the line.

La Taqueria – Passatge de Font, 5
Need a break from Spanish food? Try this Mexican place for “Auténtica gastromia callejara mexicana.” This very casual eatery is also very popular, so make reservations or get there early. If you get tired of waiting in line, walk back to the corner of Passatge de Font and Valencia and go into Cantina la Mexicana. The food is good and they have a number of delicious margarita options.

 

Our recent favourites:

Bellavista del Jardin del Norte

It’s new and fabulous. You will find it in the upscale neighbourhood of Eixample Esquerra, just down from the Diagonal and just south of Passeig de Gracia. The atmosphere is very eclectic (we especially loved the free vintage video games, including Ms PacMan) and the food is modern, Spanish and delicious (you must order the empanadas). Rumour has that there is even a Messi connection to it’s ownership.

Dry Martini

Around the corner from Bellavista is a Bar that also tops the list of Best places for Gin & Tonic in our list above. Inside it, you feel like you’ve walked onto the set of Mad Men (in fact above our chairs the framed faces of Jon Hamm and John Slattery looked over us). The waiters are older men all wearing white jacket and bow ties. But, what was really special were the drinks. There are a number of wacky concoctions, including one that was served in a cat glass with a long tail that doubled as a straw. Our favourite, however, was a simple Gin & Tonic topped with shaved lime sorbet. We had to go back again a few days later because these were so good.

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On the other side of town, closer to our flat in Pople Nou, is a fabulous tapas restaurant right on the neighbourhood ramblas. Unlike more traditional looking Spanish eateries, this one is very arty in a Keith Haring kind of way. Most importantly, the tapas are creative and taste fantastic.
This place only reinforces our opinion of Pople Nou as the new coolest barrio in town. Sant Antoni is a close second.

Guest Reviews

Guest Reviews

Great apartment, spacious and very well located. The service was impeccable.
Ricardo, December 2018

The apartment is really comfortable and can accommodate up to 7 people with two bathrooms available. Excellent cleaning. We appreciated the WIFI, the supply of sheets, towels, soaps; the presence of household appliances, cutlery, glasses, sugar and more in the kitchen. The small table on the balcony allowed us to end the day by relaxing and drinking a glass of wine. The information and advice in the folder available in the living room was very useful. We also appreciated the presence of several markets and places to eat nearby. Thank you!
Paolo, May 2018

“We stayed at Jeffrey and Diana’s place in April 2018. First of all we were met at the apartment by one of the co-hosts and she showed us round the whole apartment and how everything works. Very informative. 7 of us in total, 6 adults and our baby boy. The flat was the perfect size, with 4 bedrooms. 2 doubles, a single and a twin. Also there was a baby crib for Henri to sleep in. easily erected and folded away. The living space was perfect for our group, as it also had a balcony accessible from the living room and the main en-suite bedroom. The kitchen, was really good with everything we needed. Also a full instruction manual with all the relevant info was available. A nice big dining table in the main area to allow family meals. Plenty clean towels and bedding were available also. Nearby there was a good supermarket with everything you could need. Also a few nice little patisseries in a short walking distance away for your morning bread. Plaza Catalunya was about a 30 minute stroll away. and there are two metro stations about 10 minutes walk in either direction. Sagrada Familia is about 2 minutes walk up a shallow hill. Overall, this apartment is recommended 110% for a large family to stay in. Really good and top marks to the host and co-hosts”
Alan, April 2018

“Our family of 5 had a great time in Barcelona. The apartment was exactly as pictured. Great location in Eixample, close to the metro, grocery stores and fantastic local restaurants. Jeffrey was a great host and all the suggestions were terrific. The location really can’t be beat, the city is really walkable and easy to navigate on the metro–highly recommend. We loved exploring the local restaurants and neighborhood. Apartment had plenty of space for all of us. Hope to be back in the future!”
Marianne, November 2017
“This place is exactly like its pictures! Lovely, clean, beautiful decor, amenities galore, fabulous suggestions for things to do and places to eat, easy check-in, an overall FABULOUS experience. My friends and I told each other all week how lucky we were to be staying in this well-situated flat. If we are ever lucky enough to return to Barcelona, a city that now lives in our hearts, we will definitely book this place! Thanks, Jeff & Diana. We are beyond grateful.”
Sue, November 2017
This place has it all: it’s a great location; clean, bright and modern; the hosts where friendly and happy to help; all the rooms are large; the kitchen is to die for it has everything you need. I had a great stay with my friends from Barcelona and my guest who are staying with me here in the UK also said it was a great home.
John, April 2017
The place was at a great location and the process of checking in and out was very fluid. The apartment was close to many restaurants, a supermarket, and cured meat stores. We enjoyed our stay and would definitely recommend the place.
Calvin, March 2017
We could not have asked for a lovelier space or location. It was comfortable, walkable, near metro. All the desired amenities were there. Jeff and Diana were responsive and so helpful. We actually relied on their guest book to get some awesome hints about restaurants and coffee shops. We stayed here with our three teenage children over the Christmas holiday and we were delighted by the poinsettias and the Tío de Nadal. The neighbors and the lady at the lobby desk were so attentive and gave us some great tips to neighborhood highlights.
Wayne, December 2016

We had the most amazing stay at this apartment. It was very clean with everything necessary provided to make a comfortable holiday. The location of the apartment is close to both metro and busses. We ended up walking mostly as its fairly close to all the hot spots downtown. If you like a little walk that is! It was only me and my dad, but this apartment is big! All rooms looks super comfy and I would definitely recommend this flat for a family or group of friends looking to share an amazing experience in Barcelona. Thank you Jeff and Diana!!

My, November 2016

“It was my first time using Airbnb and I can definitively say I will continue to use the site. Jeff and Diana were great! The place was clean and quite spacious, the fourth room was slightly small but we didn’t spend too much time there during the day so I didn’t mind. The location was perfect, within walking distant from the Sagrada Familia. The Camp Nou (where Barca plays) was also easy to get to on the metro (about 30-35mins). Also, you must visit the restaurants recommended by them… the Granja Petitbo was particularly amazing, the best breakfast I had all trip. I definitely recommend staying here! ”

Amalyn, October 2016

“Excellent experience in the flat of Diana and Jeff. The place met our expectations, and was very comfortable. It was also very close to a subway, Sagrada Familia, Casas Batllo and La Pedrera. Good location and nice and quiet for a family with children. Diana and Jeff were able to tell us all the necessary information to reach the apartment, and were accommodating with our departure times, which was very appreciated. Again thank you to them. I recommend this apartment.”

Sylvie, October 2016

Diana and Jeff have a great apartment setup! The bedrooms were good. The living room area was easily big enough for the seven of us, while the flat featured a nicely renovated, modern kitchen. They arranged for us to have a crib waiting there for our infant son. Only downside is that the rooms at the end of the hall share a small shower and don’t get the full benefit of the AC. This is a minor concern overall and the hosts left fans for us to use. Location is great. You can walk to almost anywhere in the city, including excellent restaurants within minutes in all directions.

Matt, September 2016

“Our stay in Diana and Jeff’s apartment was fantastic. I’d sincerely recommend their flat, we’ve been perfectly accommodated.”

Benjamin, August 2016

“Terrific apartment, and communicative host. Their representative met us at the apartment, and was very helpful and polite, despite us running late with no way to call ahead. We couldn’t find a store on Sunday to buy a SIM card at airport. (BTW, there’s a Vodaphone store maybe four blocks from the apartment, and they sell a very tourist-friendly SIM card package.) The apartment is very much as described; the kitchen is well equipped in terms of dishes, pots, utensils, glasses, etc. Some basic supplies on hand, and there’s a small supermarket literally next door (opens at 9:00 AM). Location is very good, just a few minutes walk to subway. The street is fairly quiet, although at each end of the block are busy streets. Keeping the bedroom window open allowed in quite a lot of traffic noise … not a huge problem, but noticeable. Amenities all worked great … WiFi, TV, appliances, etc. The apartment is very clean and nicely furnished, albeit simply. Elevators were a welcome feature, since we returned very tired each day. Barcelona is very hot in late July, and quite muggy … the salon cooled off nicely with the AC, but the bedrooms got quite warm. Unavoidable, of course, and doubtless much the same in any other apartment. Nice bakery a couple of blocks away called Joan’s which is open early enough to get fresh bread each morning. And if you’re a beer fan, highly recommend La Bona Pinta, a craft beer mecca also a couple of blocks away (closed Mondays). We’d gladly rent from Diana and Jeff again … we had a lovely vacation, and are very glad we rented this apartment.”

Andy, July 2016

What a lovely area. Six years ago I stayed in a hotel nearby and this time around in this apartment. Its away from the crowd and loud noise, but is still close to the city centre. The two elevators are very convenient. We were a group of five, so it was perfect and spacious for all of us. The hosts were very helpful, quick responding, and provided all infos we needed. A+++

Ron, July 2016

“The apartment is perfectly located in the Eixample district, within walking distance from the Sagrada Familia, the Ciutadella Park, etc. The metro is also a few minutes away, so it’s a very easy commute into the city. The balcony is also very enjoyable. In terms of amenities, we found everything we needed. The host was very accommodating and friendly, allowing us to check-in earlier as the apartment was ready by then. We were a group of six and we all definitely enjoyed our stay!”

Roxana, June 2016

“This apartment was exactly what we needed. We are a large family and wanted to be close to the main city attractions. The apartment was very nicely set up just as in the photos. The host, Diana and Jeff took all measures to ensure our stay as expected. Muchas gracias.”

Hernan, June 2016

Great location and perfect apartment for a long weekend in Barcelona with a few friends. Plenty of bars, restaurants and metro stations nearby for easy access to the rest of the city. Rooms were comfortable and facilities great if you fancy a night in.

Sam, May 2016

“We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Barcelona.  The flat is amazing and photos are very representative. It’s in  a lovely part of town – quiet area but very easy access to everything.  Close proximity to the Metro but since the weather was great, we put on our comfy shoes and walked the town. We tried a number of the restaurants recommended by Diana and Jeff and were pleased with all of them. There is so much to do in Barcelona, we can’t wait until we return!”

 Joyce, April 2016

“A wonderful apartment close to the Metro (Monumental station is 5 min. walk) and a number of sights (10-15 min walk to Sagrada Familia). Perfect for families with children, lots of space; 2 bathrooms were suitable for 3 adults and a kid. We were satisfied with the quality of the linens, towels etc. You can find whatever you need in the kitchen. The supermarket situated in the ground floor offers a variety of different supplies. The host provides you with all the necessary information. We got immediate answers to our questions. During our next trip to Barcelona we’d gladly stay here! ”

Anastasiya, March 2016

“Good pre-arrival briefing and planning. Nice friendly host. Great location for a stay in Barcelona – Metro nearby, short taxi ride to all key places in the city, supermarkets and breakfast cafes (see the map on the wall in the kitchen!).

Alexander, February 2016 (more…)