In a country where time moves slowly and siesta is held at day, the night is rich, alive and exciting. The seemingly laid back pace of life is the Spanish perspective: live slowly, eat and drink well, relax. But there are always two sides to a story: in the evening, the energy flows and streets become alive. The Spanish charater can be seen when you hear the sound of flamenco shows while walking past a small theater or the happy sound of conversations being held in restaurants, avenues and squares. This fiery and passionate country called Spain will stay with you forever – and you will find yourself returning to it again and again ❤
Unlike other European cities, Spain will not harm your wallet as much. I was in Barcelona for 5 days and found it quite cheap for a city. A snack of tapas or sandwich with a drink costs around 6€ and a dinner for two was priced at about 30€ – the prices are absolutely humane. And you will not only travel and later return to Spain because of its energy and authentic people, but also because of its food! Oh god, I am a sucker for Spanish food, especially paellas.
Accomodation is also pretty cheap compared to other places. Dorm beds in hostels cost about 15€ and go up to 30€ in major cities like Barcelona or Madrid. An AirBnB is alos a great solution in an European city like Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla etc. 3* hotels cost 70-100€ per night, yet 3* is enough if you consider that you are only sleeping in this room. I would ditch the hotel breakfast, which often costs extra, and enjoy the typical Spanish breakfast in a café and take the vibrant city vibes in.
When I arrived at the aiport in Barcelona, everything was written in three languages: one I could not decypher, one I was pretty sure was Spanish and lastly English. This unknown language was a mixture of French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese to me – and it was everywhere. Things where always written in this language, but also in Spanish. I later learned that it was Catalan. Barcelona lays in Catalonia and therefore, locals speak in Catalan, which is the official language, next to Spanish of course. Yet, people reacted in a negative way when I asked them about their langauge and why they do not speak Spanish. I could not help but notice that there is a rivalry between the inhabitants of Catalonia and the rest of Spain. This has a poltical backround: Catalonia strongly wants to be independent and wants a partition from Spain, but Madrid, Spain’s capital, has often shut down polls etc., so Catalonia is even angrier at them. The people of Catalonia speak of the Spaniards with dislike, as the other way around. When I told a Spanish friend (from Madrid) that I was going to go to Barcelona, she gasped and said in disbelieve, “Not Madrid!?” So, in a nutshell, Catalonia and the rest of Spain barely want to have anything to do with each other.
Another aspect which I really like about Spain is their transportation. You always have a possibilty to get anywhere you want to and people are always eager to help you if you cannot understand the language or transportation. The train system is wide spread, yet I would recommend to only take the slower regional trains and not the high speed trains, as they cost 15 – 40€ compared to 50 – 140€ (prices vary according to the length and popularity of your journey). The city metros and buses cost 1 – 5€ per trip. Most buses also offer free WiFi.
In general, Spain is also a safe country. Popular tourist places are of course always a bit more dangerous than other places, but you will never feel frightened. Keep your eyes open for pickpockets, they are – as in every city worldwide – everywhere. Yet, something I strongly advise you to do, is to not take the city metro at night. In Germany e.g. you can enter and leave the tracks as you like, but in Spain you have to buy a tickt and then go through a turnstile in order to get to the tracks. If someone wants to do something bad to you, the etro is a ‘good’ place because there is little chance of escaping. So please avoid the metro in the late evening/ at night.
In conclusion, I can say that I fell in love (again, whoops 🙂 ). Barcelona and the Spaniards have been absolutely amazing and I have seen a different side of the world again. What amazed me the most is that the city and the country in general are authentic. They are honest. They do not sell themselves above their value, but they are proud of what they have and want to share this with others. These citizens have a laid back lifestyle and take things easy, but there is no chaos, everything works out perfectly fine. They are funny, open-minded people but have a passion and are fierce. Some people are lost in the fire. Some people are made of it. And the Spaniards are definitely made of it. And their fire is attracting me.
- Restaurants: 5 – 10%
- Taxi: Round up
- Guides/Staff: 2-3€
- Proper table manners are expected.
- Friends and family kiss both cheeks as a greeting, strating with the righteft cheek.
- Basic attemps to speak Spanish, even if it is just ‘¡Gracias!’ or ‘¡Hola!’, are appreciated. Spanish people are extemly friendly, it puts a little smile on their faces.
- Do not ever mock Catalans with their language or anything else related to their fraud with the rest of Spain. Respect their opinion, it is not your country and not your political situation, so please do not hurt any Spaniard’s pride.
- Don’t attempt to kiss cheeks with an acquaintance, simply handshake.
- Spanish people are always late 🙂 Expect them to come 15 – 30 minutes late to appointments.