Megan Kelly is a student at Arizona State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Barcelona, Spain.
1. Their Language
People from the Catalonia region of Spain are proud of their language and culture; you will notice their flag hanging from most balcony buildings, and see and hear their language more than Spanish. If you spend time with a Catalan you will learn their views on whether or not the region should become independent from Spain or not. People are excited to teach others their language, and even learning a few simple phrases like “bon dia” can help you to learn more about Barcelona and its people.
2. How to Enjoy your Food
American lunch is typically a rushed meal in the middle of the day, then it is back to work. In Barcelona lunch is typically a relaxed three course meal. Almost every resturant will have a “menu del dia” or a menu of the day with three courses and a drink for lunch, at a reasonable price. Coffee is another thing that Catalans in Barcelona take their time in the mid-morning to sip and enjoy, it is unusual to order a black coffee to go and drink it while walking, unlike in the states. Whether you are trying different tapas, or just drinking a cup of cafe con leche, it is something to stop and enjoy.
3. Night Life
Barcelona is known for its nightlife, and there is a reason for it. A typical night in Barcelona won’t start until around 9:00 for dinner, and then later for bars, and even later for clubs. The night will last into the morning when places typically close at sunrise. A night in Barcelona is definitely a night to remember, or a night that will stay in Barcelona.
Calcots are similar to green onions but much larger, and they are available in the spring time. They only grow around the region of Barcelona and are typically barbecued and served with a Romesco sauce, wine, and eaten with friends. Usually people in Barcelona go to a picinic area or “Merendero” to eat them, but sometimes there will be an event in Barcelona where you can try them. Learning how to eat a calcot is an art, because you pull the charred skin off to reveal the soft interior to dip and eat.
5. Hot Chocolate (and Churros)
One thing that the Catalans in Barcelona definitely do better than the States, in my opinion, is hot chocolate. Served with fresh, hot churros, this drink is rich and much thicker thn its U.S. counterpart. The hot chocolate here is something I will be craving long after I’m gone.
6. How to Plan a Great City
Walking down the streets through the neighborhoods besides the Bari gotic, you will notice that the street corners are diagonal instead of a corner. This design decision was made to optimize parking space. Barcelona also has a great metro system that can take to most places in the city. The architecture of Barcelona creates an ambiance like no other city, walking past Gaudi’s works on your way to the metro, won’t stop amazing you.
The Boqueria in Barcelona is one of the greatest markets in Europe. It’s a place that you can keep going back to and try something new every time, for either just a quick 1 euro juice or a whole meal. The sights and smells are constantly changing and will draw you in every time you walk by. Smaller markets are strewn throughout the city that are just as intriguing.
Want to read more about Barcelona? Check out “3 Keys to Rocking Your Time in Barcelona”