It was my first time in Barcelona. I did not feel disoriented because there were too many French people. So when I was going out on touristic place, I felt like I was in Paris.
When I arrive in Barcelona I was surprised that many stores were closed from 2PM to 4PM. It is the time where employees are going to eat. Spanish people are eating late compare to French people, for lunch, they usually eat at 2PM and for dinner, they eat at 10PM.
At the beginning, I thought that Spanish are really nice and helpful. Most of them did not speak English at all, and they preferred speaking in Catalan rather than in Spanish. Spanish celebrations are not celebrated in every office in Barcelona because they do not feel like they are Spanish. When I assist a Barcelona football game, the supporters were singing for the independency of Catalonia.
And they are really slow, in the way they walk, but even in their professional life. At work I have to deal with some Spanish It guys and some Spanish owners, and they really take time to answer their email. The Spanish IT guy called José could take 2 weeks to do something we asked. It was not that hard… But he likes to report things to the next day; as most of Spanish people.
On the contrary, when they speak or when they drive, they are doing it really fast.
Spanish drive as bad as Paris people, they do not respect signs and speed limit. I saw most of them, drove through a red light. But the traffic light in Barcelona is not the same as the one in Paris. It takes only 3 seconds to turn green after that the pedestrian light become red. You cannot run or walk fast during this time limit, because car might drive, even if the traffic light is still red.
A personal advice I have to give you, do not take your car in Barcelona. First of all, because you will never find place there. And you cannot park on yellow square which is for disable people (there is only yellow squares…), not in green squares which is for residents only. And when you park in a blue, you have to pay (of course!). Your car is immediately taken by the municipal pound, there is no fine… And to get your car back, you have to pay at least €147.
Secondly, Barcelona is well served by public transport. Tickets are cheaper than those of Paris and you have many options that can suit you. Example the T-10 ticket permits you to make 10 travels in zone 1 (so all Barcelona centre) costs €9.95
I have never seen a fraudulent activity, maybe because the fine is expensive (€100) and that there is many controllers in every station.
Moreover, even in Barcelona is a safe city, and there is policeman standing in every touristic place, there is a lot of theft, as many cities…Thieves will observe you and are working by group of at least 2 persons. They use technics to distract you and take your wallet or bag.
At the end of my stay in Barcelona, my family came to visit me, and it became really complicated. She got her car taken by the pound the first day and had to pay €250 because she was parked in a yellow place (it was not written disable people). We finally parked it on a green place because I was a resident. The day after went more complicated, because she was trying to move her car to park in an inside parking, but a guy distracted her to let another guy steal her bag. Some Spanish people saw the scene. And just stay there. Doing nothing. So I have another vision of Spanish people. But I should not make it a generality. When we went to report to the police, the car was taken by the pound again because we did not paid the parking meter. After long days of procedures to get the car for free (because we had no money) and prove her identity (because she has no any paper), we went back to France. My aunt get no refund from the insurance because she was not attacked…
Barcelona’s new cilty streets are all parallel, and you can get easily lost, because all the streets look the same. Some streets in the old part of Barcelona (touristic places) were really stinky, a mix of food, rubbish, sewer… even if the city was clean up every hour.
In Barcelona buying alcohol after 10PM is forbidden, even drinking on a glass bottle in the street at night. You can get a fine on it. Whereas some drug are legal and can be sell to people, you will see many guys on touristic place saying “Coffee Shop” “Cocaine, Weed…” but you cannot consume it on public.
During my internship, I see more and more policemen on the street, my boss told me that there was a high drug traffic in the city. 30kg of cocaine were found in a man’s car close to my office. Even if there is many policemen in the street, the city is not highly protected for any terrorist attack as Paris with the “Vigipirate”.
The thing I loved about Barcelona was mainly the cheap life condition compared to Paris and the weather which was always perfect.