While living in England I developed an insatiable appetite for French films. Midway through this period, I stumbled upon the film which would change my life.
The film ‘l’Auberge Espagnole‘ captured my imagination and exposed me to an alternate world. English, Italian, French, German, Spanish and Danish all living under one roof, under the Spanish sun which would lead to the enviable adventures and discovery.
National stereotypes are played upon perfectly. The serious German with his head transfixed in his books; the romantic Frenchman proclaiming je t’aime daily to his girlfriend; the drunken and insensitive Englishman; the quiet Dane; the flamboyant Italian constantly gesticulating and the passionate Spanish girl.
After some great experiences in Paris I’ve finally found my very own auberge in Marseille. Sharing with other nationalities really opens the mind and absorbs you into a world of languages, cuisines, habits, religions and opinions.
I’m currently living with a Dutch girl who speaks better English than me; a guy from Bulgaria who speaks every language under the EU drapeau; a bronzed South African who works on a boat and a charming Tunisian who’s decided to make his life in France. Next week, we have two new arrivals from neighbouring Italy to add their own unique flavour. Everyday there’s a different language being spoken, a different meal being prepared and various stories about childhood, travel, romance and life being told.
Marseille itself is an exotic dish made from a number of ingredients. Spices from North Africa, French traditions and a sprinkling of aromatics from numerous far flung corners of the world. A stroll around its heart takes you through Tunisian bazaars, along the port to cheer in the hoards of boats returning to shore and into the old town where the artisans hone their craft.
Even though my tale takes place in Marseille and not Barcelona, there are still many similarities between the two. The evening heat swirls through the city, thronging terrace cafes, crowded cobbled streets, salsa dancers being flung in the cafes and loud music reverberating from car speakers.
This experience is indeed living up to the film that I watched and have strived to replicate ever since.