Having my last week in Barcelona, I realized that it was soon time to leave this amazing city. What was I going to miss? What did I enjoy the most? What do I believe Barcelona has to offer? Besides the amazing people I’ve met and the new things I have tried, ie. Yoga classes, Salsa and Bachata classes, Wu shu kung fu classes, there are a few things that stand out for me. The past 5 months have been amazing and I will definitely miss this city. However, what will I miss most? What has Barcelona taught me? Find it out below!
Barcelona is, as you might know, a huge city. It counts 5.356.000 inhabitants according to and has 16.000 inhabitants per square kilometer. To put this in perspective; Amsterdam has 1.108.000 inhabitants and has 4.908 inhabitants per square kilometer, according to World Population Review. You do the math…!
There are many more fun facts to be known about Barcelona, but that’s not were this week’s blog is about. Let’s get back the main question: “What has Barcelona taught me?”
1. Be patient
The well-known ‘mañana-mañana’ culture is something I truly started to appreciate when living in Barcelona. In the beginning you started to get annoying when a waiter didn’t come to your table to get your order after 5 minutes, but after a few weeks I realized that I was spoiled. I was used to the fact that everything would happen quick, fast and at my fingertips. I was used to that fast pace, hurry like way of living.
Living in Barcelona made me realize that life doesn’t always have to go that fast. Things don’t always have to go quick and fast. Taking some extra time to appreciate the small things made me realize how important that extra time can be. Just that few seconds of patience gave me the opportunity to look around and truly soak in what was going on around me. It helped me to be more aware, appreciate the small things and made me more joyful and energetic. Life is beautiful, don’t rush through it.
2. "They have a life too"
After learning the hard way that most supermarket and shops are closed on a Sunday (at least in my neighbourhood – Gràcia) I was left with no groceries. I wasn’t used to not having everything in control, since most supermarkets do open on Sundays in the Netherlands. After discussing this matter with my Spanish class, my teacher’s reaction was one that stuck with me. Without moving a muscle she said: “They have a life too, they need to spend time with their families and friends as well, right?!" That got me thinking that it was quite egocentric to think that everything would be opened. And the argument that they had a life too was so on point. Even though I rather have shops that are opened on Sundays, I will think back and be grateful that they are. Never take something for granted.
3. The importance of the Sun
Barcelona counts as many as 2.524 hours of sun per year. That is a rough 1000 hours more than in the Netherlands. Moreover, Barcelona has three times the sun duration in the winter compared to northern Europe countries, according to Current Results. I could not emphasise the importance of sun enough. We all know we love the sun and wish it would be out there everyday. But getting that vitamins D almost every day and being able to count the rain days on 2 hands, is something that is truly incredible. Although, you can’t control weather conditions, humans tend to always complain about them. However, complaining in Barca about the weather is something hard to do, since it has been awesome most of the time. The sun just seemed to bring extra joy, appreciation and happiness to live. People are doing more outside and spending more time together in parks, squares and on the beach. Combining the sun with palm trees and the summer feeling is there, even if it’s January!
For content creation, the sun is a must have and Barcelona is the place to be!
4. I love jamón
Un bocadillo con jamón has, by far, become my number one breakfast, lunch or maybe even diner. The secret touch that has been added to this relatively simple sandwich made it heaven to me. I won’t spoil the secret touch and let you try it yourself when in Barcelona. Apart from the bocadillo, the (jamón) tapas have stolen my heart as well. I love to have the small plates filled with delicious food to share and take in small portions. I am going to stop talking about food, since there is too much to share. Barcelona your tapas are amazing! And believe it or not, but I have been told that the tapas aren’t even the best of Spain!
To conclude, there are many things that Barcelona has taught me. I look back at 5 months with many lessons, experiences and special moments. I am truly grateful for this experience and will try to be more patient, less egocentric, more appreciative of the sun and looking for tapas when I will return to the Netherlands. Barcelona has given me many new insights into their culture and have made me a more broad-minded person!
Have you ever been to Barcelona? What did it teach you? What lessons have you learned? I am curious to hear your lessons from being abroad, or even from living at home. Feel free to share them below!