I have really struggled to decide which of many the places I have visited in Barcelona deserves to be the the first featured here. In the end I chose La Guatlla because the space is so visually stunning, the people so nice and the chance that they will still be here in a month's time so small.
Late one sunny February afternoon I made my way over Montjuic, the huge hill looming over the West side of the Barcelona which proudly bears the city's Olympic legacy (for example if you wish you can take escalators from Plaza Espanya all the way to the Museu Nacional d'Art Catalunya at the crest of the hill).
Weaving my way past the parks, fountains and art galleries and skirting the strange model village of Poble Espanyol I sought out the unique building that is La Guatlla (pronounced La Guatya, aka La Guaya). This squat has been here for 4 years running cabarets, parties, performances and general artistic events as well as offering a free shop and social centre for anyone wanting to drop by.
I have spoken to several people who have turned up at La Guatlla seeking a bed for the night. A typical anecdote runs: "they are so friendly, they made me feel very welcome, the group is obviously really close but I never felt like an outsider, even when all their guest beds were full and they couldn't offer me a place they still invited me to sit with them for a while, to rest and join them for a drink and a chat."
When I asked if I could take some photos I was told 'help yourself, go where you want, the place is yours'.
Like a lot of the Barcelona squats I have seen and heard about recently La Guatlla is expecting to be evicted any day now and the people have already started to look for a new home.