Welcome to Barcelona!
It must have been fate. When lifelong friends first came over to visit, after hugs, kisses and several chilled beers later, I asked, "What have you got planned for tomorrow?"
"We're going to book ourselves on one of those bus tours" they said.
"Let's meet in Plaça Catalunya instead and I will show you my favourite spots" I replied, a bespoke 'Tours by Gill'.
That's when it hit me!
I am PASSIONATE about my city and after 40 years working here, my little black book is filled with contacts and secrets to share.
I know all the secret spots; let's visit the "Bone of Contention" terraces, beautiful chocolate shop with the ornate roof, the tapas bar where only the locals go or the amazing vegetarian restaurants, go back to the grand 1900's, inside grand carriage entrances and sweeping staircases, take photographs from the rooftops, hear about "DOWN WITH THE WALLS", the Eixample and let me help you plan your other days in this vibrant city.
I'm now living my dream job.
I speak fluent English, naturally, being from Manchester, England, but also Spanish, Catalan and a little bit of French too.
It was Friday the 13th August 1982 that I boarded a flight from Manchester Airport to Barcelona.
I'd recently graduated in languages and had landed myself a temporary job in beautiful office on Avenida Diagonal, as a bi-lingual secretary
at an international chemical & textiles company, Courtaulds.
With fluent Spanish, I set about my first day with great enthusiasm.
It came as a shock to find my colleagues communicating in a different language - Catalan!
I quickly had to adapt and learn.
That temporary job turned into a permanent home, I married here and had my amazing daughter Clara,
beautiful inside and out and multi-lingual too.
I now live in a suburb of Barcelona with my Irish husband Peter.
We set up home here, many moons ago.
I hope you love the city as much as we do.