“I love working with people, having a common goal, and seeing the evolution of the project,” our Local Knowledge expert Sergio from Barcelona tells us as we soak up some sunshine with his friends at a café terrace opposite his home in Gracia.
“And then at the end of the project when everyone goes away, you can take some time off and renew yourself before another project begins.”
The son of a Catalan winemaker and a project manager specializing in sporting events, 28 year-old Barcelona local Sergio Raventós has worked on everything from the America’s Cup at Valencia to the Special Olympics in Barcelona. While he’s contemplating a move into film, he relishes the opportunities to connect with people in his current job.
To renew himself, Sergio travels. While he tells us that Catalans don’t normally travel a lot – they are traditional and set in their ways, he says; family are too important to leave for long (and Sergio should know; he tells us he has hundreds of cousins) – he’s travelled widely and as far as Australia, where he worked for a while at a hostel.
While the rest of the Western world seems fixated on shortening the work week and separating their public from their private time, Sergio says this is what he likes about his work: “I love that there is no split between my job and personal time. This is the way it should be when you are passionate about something.”
Q. So, what do you most love about your work?
A. The intensity, the emotional implication, and that you feel like you’re part of a family.
Q. Why should people come to Barcelona?
A. Because of the quality of life here – it’s a great city, but it’s also close to the sea and the mountains – and for our local traditions and customs; when I return from being away, I love to hear people singing in the streets, to see people celebrating their community fiestas.
Q. 3 words to describe Barcelona?
A. Creative, cosmopolitan, and magical!
Q. And the locals in Barcelona?
A. They are loyal, curious, and… detallista (pay attention to detail, are stylish), and familiar (and consider family important).
Q. Top 3 recommendations for visitors?
A. Walk! Go up to the Carretera de las Aguas for an afternoon walk and fantastic views of the whole of Barcelona; walk around the cathedral in the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) in the evening when it is beautifully-lit and the whole area is magical; and explore the streets of the Raval neighbourhood.
Q. Best souvenir from Barcelona?
A. Vintage clothes from one of the little shops in Raval.
Q. Must-do eating experiences?
A. La calçotada. A festival where we eat calçots (pronounced ‘kalsots’), which are like a cross between a green spring onion and a leek. They are only in season for a short time, from February to March, and we put them on a BBQ and grill them here. They’re fantastic with salsa romesco!
Q. Most essential thing to learn?
A. People in Barcelona speak Catalan, and we use both Catalan and Spanish (Castilian); this is why visitors to Barcelona will see two languages everywhere, on signs and menus.
Q. Most important phrase to learn in Catalan?
A. Moltes gràcies, which is muchas gracias or ‘thank you very much’ in Catalan, and bom dia, which is Catalan for good morning.
Q. Any other advice?
A. Take care crossing the road — the traffic lights last but a moment here, so it’s best to hurry!