It doesn’t take too long to notice certain truths of life, especially in Spain where the life seems to be following completely different rules than elsewhere. The following remarks are completely based on the author’s own experiences in a week in Barcelona, and they do not necessarily reflect reality or general opinions about life in Spain or any regions within.
The Traffic: It works
The streets in Barcelona are mostly one way, meaning that it is easy to jaywalk if there are no cars darting at you. There are no speed limits, so it makes things interesting for those wanting to cross streets at red lights. Barcelona has also a city bike system, but you need a Spanish bank card to access them. Take that, tourists!
The Metro: It is good - in theory
The Barcelona metro system is praised for being very good and effective, and the next stations are clearly stated both as text as well as audio notifications. However, apparently, it takes about half an hour to get anywhere. Barcelona is relatively easily walkable, so I would just skip the metro and walk unless going really really far.
The wifi: Sí, pero no
Wifi is not to be taken for granted. If it exists, it maybe doesn’t work. If it doesn’t work, too bad. Luckily SIM cards are easy and cheap, with Lycamobile offering 8gb for 15€! That’s almost better than Finland. Also, if you wish to go work in a library, apparently you need a library card to be able to access the wifi. How hard it is to obtain such card, I do not know. If you want to work, go to a coworking space that are aplenty around town. Here is a good guide of coworking places.
The siesta: it’s for real
If it’s siesta, it’s resting time. Supermarkets, big shops and restaurants might stay open throughout the lazy afternoon hours, but everything else is shut down. Lazy lunch time seems to last until 4-5pm, unlike in Finland where lunch is over at 2. Having a beer with lunch is quite normal. While it might seem very odd for someone coming from ultra-effective north Europe, this siesta thing makes sense, since the Spaniards don’t even think about dinner before 9 pm, and their party time starts well past midnight. The day doesn’t often start before 9 or 10 am, so at least they get a little sleep in.
Sundays: Beach and park
It came to me as a surprise that one cannot go buy groceries on a Sunday. The paki shops (corner stores often owned by Pakistanis) are open, but their selection is more the 7 eleven quality than proper foodstuffs. Some cafes/restaurants also choose to close on Sundays, so people spend even more time outside. Do not even bother going to Parc de la Ciutadella if you don’t like crowds and people wanting to sell you beer every 5 minutes.
The Tourists: They tend to flock in certain spots
The vast amount of tourists in Barcelona has resulted in a lot of negative vibes from the locals, which is fair enough. However, the tourists seem to hang out only in the Plaça de Catalunya, Sagrada Familia, La Rambla, and Parc Guell. The Old town might be a bit crowded, too, but elsewhere you are free to roam with ease. Maybe don’t go to party in Barceloneta, don’t go to the beach on a Sunday and you’ll be fine.
I will return with more true facts about life in Barcelona as I continue exploring.
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