When you cross Magda and Enrique’s door, you can be sure to find three things: The warmest welcome, dozen of antiques and even more pictures of Chloe, their newborn granddaughter.
“Look at us: learning to be grandparents at 71 and 76!” Magda and Enrique met in 1968. He was a novel singer who won every contest with covers of Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones. She was the host of one of those singing contests. And of course, he won that day.
“I was too modern, wearing miniskirts and platform shoes in the Barcelona of the 60s“, explains Magda, “and I had this desire to travel the world. So I left to live in the UK, save money, travel around South America, and go back to the UK to work and save money to travel again. That was my life for almost 20 years, but I remained friends with Enrique for all that time“.
“I like to discover what they need and anticipate them myself. The welcoming, that first impression, is the most important thing.”
“When my mother was 70 and fell sick, I decided to come back to Barcelona, to spend her last years with her. Eventually, Enrique asked me to marry him but I was not ready and flew back to Scotland. One year later, after dozens of postcards, he came to the UK and asked me again. I accepted and I never escaped again“, she explains, grinning towards Enrique.
To help pay their mortgage in Barcelona, they shared empty rooms in their home, first to students that needed to spend a few months in the city; and since a couple of years ago, to travellers using the platform of Airbnb.
Enrique weighs in: “I love meeting and talking to people. I like to discover what they need and anticipate them myself. The welcoming, that first impression, is the most important thing. We’ve been messaging with our guests for weeks so when we finally meet, I hug them as if they are family or an old friend, and Magda has coffee and lemonade ready for them“.
“I’ve been an immigrant“, says Magda, “I know how it feels to be in a strange city, not knowing the language. So I have tons of empathy for my guests and explain everything to them about my city. Hosting is such a great experience, but this autumn we’ll be guests on Airbnb for the first time!“