We know that many of you that are visiting this blog or staying in one of our rental apartments in Barcelona are traveling from Germany. So we want to give you some tips and information about the city that will be very useful during your stay. It is better to have them on hand so some data mentioned here will help you when you come to Barcelona…
-The Language: Catalan and Castilian are both official languages in Catalonia and its citizens are fluent speaking both, but do not expect to find many people who speak English. If you need to ask for directions sometimes it’s better to go to some young inhabitant, as it is more likely that they speak English than an older person. In the tourist areas you won’t have any problem so most signs are written in English, apart from Catalan and Castilian, but if you’re in a not so central place, restaurant menus, signage or indications are only in Catalan or Castilian. Be sure to bring a map with you until you feel safe in the city. It is also advisable to bring a subway map.
-The Catalan people and nationalism: the Catalan character is very friendly to foreigners because they are used to welcome people from all over the world, and the Germans are well received and considered. Even so, try to be respectful of the Catalan people, as they always feel safer in their group of friends than speaking with a foreigner in English. If you’re going to spend some time in Barcelona and want to socialize with the locals, is better to learn as much Spanish as you can and move around the bars where the locals go, not only around tourist areas. We recommend you have a drink in bars in Sant Antoni on a Sunday, for example. There are many nationalist or separatist Catalans that think that Catalonia should be an independent nation and could be by itself both politically and economically. It is a controversial topic but you can ask any local about it, everyone has her/his own opinion, not everybody is necessarily an independence fan, you must approach the subject with an open mind.
–Places you should go: besides of the most iconic architecture by Gaudi or the most emblematic touristic places you should go, try to find places where the locals go: the neighborhood de Gràcia, the Raval (sort of Kreuzberge in Berlin), the Poble Sec, Sant Antoni, Sants, Sarria, etc. As in German cities like Berlin, for example, Barcelona is a city with dozens of places to discover that only the locals know. Discover them!
–What Is not allowed: Barcelona is known for being an example of civility within Spanish territory. This is due to the campaigns and legislation of the City Council of Barcelona that promote civic behavior and punish those who don’t follow the law. You can’t drink in the street, you can’t urinate there either, of course, there are strict traffic rules for bikers or drivers and a special policemen called Guardia Urbana ensure that citizens fulfill them, there are also a lot of recycling containers and bins, as well as a service that cleans the streets constantly, etc. Try to respect that and you won’t get any ticket.
-The Traditions: if you want to learn more about Catalonia you must know their traditions. Find out about if there is a day of Castellers (human towers), a festival in which they dance “sardanes” or if it is time to eat spring onions (calçots), among many traditions that you will know step by step.