This blog series allows us to get close and personal with Walks’ guides all over the globe. This blog usually focuses on Italy but we wanted to show some of the incredible people who walk with us from Rome and New York. We recently launched tours from home and hope that this blog series will bring you more travel inspiration.
This post is dedicated to Montse Marques Fernadez who is our local guide in Barcelona.
Montse. Tell us about yourself:
I received my degree in Audiovisual Communication, and I also completed a Masters in scriptwriting. Since many years, I have combined tourism with performing arts, theatre plays and cinema. My style as a tour guide has been influenced by two fields that seem to have little in common. It’s possible to discover a city like you were watching a movie. You use visual poetry and narrative to tell the story. I am interested in history, art, and culture. I learn new things every day which keeps my tours interesting and informative (hopefully). ).
What are you studying/doing in this time?
I am improving my French and learning Art History. I also watch Youtube documentaries in French about Art History. I also practice my singing skills. Singing is a great way for stress relief and relaxation with all the information and news we receive these days.
Tell us your favorite story about a tour.
One of the many stories that we tell when we visit Barcelona, is Gaudi’s story. It is a great story about how Barcelona and Gaudi are connected. It wouldn’t be the same city if this architect hadn’t moved to Barcelona at 16 years old. His masterpieces, his works are part of Barcelona’s DNA.
Which piece of art is your favorite?
It may seem biased to mention the Sagrada Familia as the most iconic building in Barcelona, but it is something I regret. You can see that I have been there for work many times. But I don’t get bored of it. Everyday I look at it with fresh eyes. There is so much to be proud of. It’s amazing to see the faces of people when they first enter the building. The light and the season can change the appearance of the building as if it were a living thing. It’s hard to capture the feeling in a photograph. You have to be there.
Where is your favorite neighborhood in Barcelona?
It’s difficult to choose my favorite neighborhood. It all depends on what I am doing at the time. If I had to pick one, Poble sec would be my choice. It’s great for tapas and has an amazing vibe. It’s also attached to Montjuic mountain which is the green lung of Barcelona. There are many gardens and incredible views.
What is the biggest challenge you face as a tour guide?
It is a great feeling not being outside. I miss meeting people from different places, exchanging experiences, and learning from them. I find it like traveling without ever leaving my home city. Now that I can’t do it, I am realizing how much I love what I do. This is why I am learning new things and trying to be a better guide.
What do you think the future holds for the travel industry?
Everything is uncertain at the moment. We may have to invent a bit ourselves. It’s impossible to travel physically so we will need to find ways to travel virtual! All of this can be a learning experience. When there are restrictions, it’s when people find amazing creative solutions. I believe that the situation will improve slowly and we will be able travel again, implementing new products or new ways that were developed during these restrictions.
What is your favorite place to visit outside of your hometown?
Copenhagen was where I spent a semester while I was studying at University. It is beautiful in Summertime, and I would love to return. I also love the fact that everyone rides their bikes around. I would love to see how the world has changed. I think I would be able to see everything differently now that I am older. It’s a great place to visit if you love food.
Which country would you most like to visit next?
I feel the need to return to nature. My dreams are about the countryside, the scent of flowers, and pine trees. It will be a rural/green destination, I believe. Maybe Switzerland? Canada? let’s see.
Which city or location in the world do think is most underrated? Would you recommend it to others?
A Polish friend of mine lives in Barcelona and is a guide. He always tells me that Poland is a wonderful country to visit in the summer. It is quiet, green, off the beaten path (not the most popular country to visit), and it’s also cheap. She sells it well, and I’ve seen photos that make it look really attractive to me. As guides, we’re used to being in the most popular places. We love to find hidden gems and sometimes go where no one else goes.
Where and what have you had the best food?
Will it sound bad if I say Spain? There is great food everywhere you go. Once I was invited to eat dinner at a winery in Aragon. The chef, who was awarded a Michelin star, presented every dish as his own work of art. He talked about the details and the ingredients. And why, with the sommelier they chose to pair that dish with that particular wine. It was an incredible experience. It was the same as when I was eating. I also cried at the theatre, while watching a movie, and at concerts. This was my first and only experience with something like this.