Thursday, 2 February 2017

Misconceptions of Barcelona


I love Barcelona.

Firstly, I didn’t really have a stereotype of what Spain, especially Barcelona, would be like.
However, I certainly have learned a lot of about Spain, and have surprised me and certainly have heard people talking about these things.
Barcelona is an amazing city, Spain in general is an amazing country but these are a few things that you may find unique or what you may not expect!
Although I will say, Siestas are very much real and very very very needed!




Don’t You Have a Tan Yet?
When I first told people I was moving to Barcelona, after the initial excitement for me, then came the statement “you’re going to get such a nice tan”! Of course, I couldn’t wait to be sipping mojitos on the beach catching some rays but I’m not stupid.
Temperatures reach 40 degrees in Spain so in summer of course you are bound to get a tan. I may have got a few sunburn patches… I promise dad I put a high factor on! My skin is just very pale!
Even in winter I still get asked how tanned I’ve got! Or wonder how I am not tanned because I was at the beach every weekend for summer!
1.       I WORK – I have a full time job and I don’t really want to be on the beach all weekend I want to be exploring the city.
2.       It might seem crazyyy but… Spain experiences Autumn and Winter too! Yes it was 3 degrees Celsius the other week!
So yes, being in the sun was great, but Spain is also a great winter destination! Chomping on churros in hot chocolate whilst watching the world go by is my favourite thing to do!


Hablas Espanol?
I admit that I have been very naïve and silly to think this but I presume that in popular destinations everyone speaks English. Which would make life easier but it wouldn’t be right. What is great about the world is that we all have different cultures and languages.
I have been to many popular resorts where everyone knows English, so of course everyone in Spain should speak English and I am so glad that they don’t!
Honestly, most of the people that I ask “hablas ingles” aka, do you speak English, they don’t. Which is then easy for me to know which language I am speaking! It did shock me that English is sometimes not known by locals but it gives me a challenge to then put it into practice!
I also find that when people come to England, we expect people to speak our language. So why isn’t that the same abroad?

Sangria and Tapas
The first time I went to Spain, in Granada, I had my first taste of tapas and sangria, and I loved it. I spent a week tasting Spanish food and it was incredible. So obviously, I couldn’t wait to come back and try some more.
Personal favourite tapas – patatas bravas, jamon and croquetas de jamon. Just try them, trust me … they are amazing!
But it’s not always about Tapas and Sangria there are some amazing things to try!
There is Cava, you are in Catalonia! This is the cava capital of Spain so you will see it EVERYWHERE! I have never been a fan of wine or anything similar, but it is amazing!
Also ask for Sangria with white wine – much more tropical!
Surprisingly, there are a lot of international dishes and restaurants in Barcelona. Which is perfect for me, because other than Paella I haven’t found many main big dishes that are Spanish. I only find tapas, so expect some amazing Indian and Chinese restaurants!


If you want some great places to eat in Spain read my guide!

There’s a Beach… I Can Wear My Bikini All Day
Wrong…. Sure I have worn a bikini whilst walking to the beach in holiday resorts in Turkey and Cyprus, because everyone was and it was in areas which were only for holiday makers. If we went to areas which were more secluded and local I would dress more appropriately.
It is the same in Barcelona, you can wear bikini’s on the beach, but it is condemned to wear it in the town. Barcelona has very strict morals especially as they are religious and there are a lot of religious buildings so you have to respect that.
Believe me, even though it is really hot and you don’t want to put a top on, its much better to be respectful than have a lot of people staring!

Great Customer Service
After working in a restaurant for 5 years and having a different job in retail, I am less aware of service. Of course I know what it takes for great customer service but its not my job anymore so I don’t have to be aware.
After wondering why all my Spanish friends are always late meeting, why shops are late opening up and why people arrive late on nights out. There was only one response… that’s just the Spanish, it’s the culture.
It is the same with service in restaurants, don’t expect quick and efficient service! They aren’t trying to be rude, its just a very relaxed service!
I have heard so many of my friends and other English people in Spain be amazed about how slack the service is.
But once you talk to the staff they are really lovely.

Welcome to Catalonia
You’re not in Spain, you are in Catalonia! Yes, this region wants independence. You will find that everyone speaks Catalan, a different dialect some would say to Castilian Spanish.
The difference is, even though they want independence they welcome people from other countries. I have never felt more welcome in any place than Barcelona. Everyone here welcomes everyone and wants to get to know people.
A bit different to the whole Brexit issue, I was in Spain when England decided to leave the EU. All I saw was tweets saying “We finally have our country back”, I saw videos of people yelling at foreigners living in England saying “get back to your own country”. Even though they have learned our language which is very difficult, pay their taxes and contribute to society. People were unwilling to accept other cultures.
But Barcelona shows that you can be independent and embrace other cultures!


So there we have it, the misconceptions of Barcelona but how they can be a very good surprise!
Moving to Barcelona was a very great decision for me, I’ve fallen in love with a city and I hope you guys get to experience this too!
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Next week I am booking my trip to Rome so get ready with some overload of trip planning posts!
Mol xo
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