30 April 2020

10 signs you live (or have lived) in Barcelona

It’s no wonder Barcelona is one of the top destinations for tourism in Europe. Culture, art, food, beaches, mountains and a Mediterranean climate make it an attractive living option. For those who’ve lived in Barcelona for a while, you may have noticed a few things. You can definitely say you’ve lived in Barcelona if…

Woman looking over the city of Barcelona
View from the Bunkers, photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

1. You never drive

Unless you work on the outskirts of the city, you probably don’t own a car. And you don’t need to. You walk everywhere. Or cycle. And when things are just a biiit further away, you take public transport. Barcelona is such a beautiful city you want to walk everywhere anyway to take it all in.

2. You’ve bought a “cerveza, beer, amigo?

Come on! Who hasn’t? Though they’re technically not legal vendors and the beer is a tad pricer than in the shop, you still love that feeling when one of them appears with a cerveza fría at just the right moment. Whether you’re on your way to the next bar and need a pick-me-up, or you fancy a cold one while baking on the beach, you’ve definitely bought a can of beer for a euro from a street vendor in Barcelona.

Hand holding can of San Miguel beer in front of the beach
Buying cans of beer from street vendors is a common occurence in Barcelona

3. You’ve taken the train to the beach

Barceloneta “Beach”? You’ve hopped on one of the Rodalies trains from Barcelona and headed up or down the coast so you know what a real beach is. You’ve said adéu to noisy, overcrowded beaches with people trying to sell you everything from blankets to beers to overpriced nicknacks that you’ll never need. You have your favourite out-of-the-city beach where you’ll only see locals and you actually have space to splay out.

4. You know what the sound of loud metal clanking and someone yelling butanoooo means

Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones that has to yell out of the balcony to flag down the guy. Some apartments in Barcelona don’t have central gas installed so they have to heat their boilers with big orange cans of butane or propane. These delivery men walk around the neighbourhoods, smacking the cans loudly to get your attention; and wake you up.

colourful tanks of propane gas
When hit really hard, these cans can make quite the racket!

5. You’ve given more personalized walking tours than you can count

You live in Barcelona? Amazing! We’re coming to visit! Says everyone you’ve ever known. If you live in Barcelona you’re used to having, hosting and entertaining visitors. Now that you’re well-acquainted with all the best and most beautiful sights (there are hundreds!), you know exactly where to take your best friend who’s a big foodie, your uncle who has a penchant for medieval architecture or your little cousin that just wants to play.

6. You’ve attended a brunch where beer and techno are involved

No, it’s not your typical brunch. Barcelonians take their parties seriously, meaning that once the weather starts warming up, Sunday is officially Brunch Day. If you’ve lived here, you’ve danced in the sunshine to electronic music with your friends at a Brunch in the Park or Brunch in the City party.

People dancing in front of brunch sign
The Brunch parties are popular in Barcelona, photo via @brunchbcn

7. You’ve arrived at a friend’s atico apartment huffing and puffing

Some buildings in Barcelona are old. So old that they were built before the invention of electricity. And that means that there is no elevator (or there was no budget for one). You’ll never forget the first time your friend buzzed you in and you looked around confusedly for an elevator to take you to the sixth floor attic apartment. The upside? Becoming super fit, obviously.

8. You’re EXTRA careful with your belongings

With pickpockets running rampant around the city, it’s common not only for tourists but for residents to have something stolen too. Maybe it hasn’t happened to you (yet), but you’ve heard the horror stories from friends. You’re super vigilant with your bag, phone and wallet. So much so that when you go to visit a “safer” city, you won’t let your guard down.

Woman with purse on her lap
There could be pickpockets anywhere. Best to be careful!

9. You mix Spanish and Catalan

Buenos días or bon dia? Merci. Adéu. You’re not sure how they’ve slipped into your vocabulary but they have. The fact that Catalan is the language of many locals in Barcelona and Catalunya makes it easy to pick up new phrases here and there.

10. You’ve purposely taken a route to avoid tourists

Maybe you’ve visited as a tourist in the past and delighted in the lovely Rambla or Sagrada Familia. But once you’ve lived in Barcelona, dodging tourists can get really annoying (sorry!). The best thing to do is avoid the popular tourist routes altogether.

Many people walking along the passage in front of the Arc de Triomf
If you've been in a rush, you know which route to take to avoid the crowds in Barcelona, photo via @stu.foren