After traveling abroad sitting back home chatting with friends about our exciting holidays, sometimes we’ve found ourselves trying to explain weird anecdotes that we can barely understand involving the interaction with locals.
Often about puzzling feedback or the unexpected opposite reaction to something we believed well-intentioned or thoughtful. To warn you from potentially uncomfortable situations we have put out a list with some issues that could be tricky when spending your holidays in Catalonia.
If you are a tourist of the careless kind just go ahead, but if you fancy a more authentic and respectful experience we recommend you to have a look to these:
1. Purchasing and strolling around with random souvenirs
Mexican hats, Toledo steel, or flamenco merchandising have little to do with the Catalans. To the eyes of the locals it’s rather unoriginal, tacky and ridiculous. Just picture buying and wearing a kilt in Brighton in August.
2. Football pride
Avoid walking around with a Madrid’s or Spain’s football team kit. Catalans are massively proud of Barça and wish to support their national team playing at the World Cup sometime soon.
Forget to see a bullfight. Although there are still some festivals organized around the bull figure in the south of the country, locals are generally very fond on animal welfare and dislike bullfighting, which is actually banned in Catalonia.
4. Language: Spanish is not the handy ‘passport’ you’d think
Do not expect gaining genuine sympathy with Catalans by using your little Spanish vocabulary. To reach Catalan hearts you’d need to learn some distinctive Catalan words.
5. Don’t mob around
Avoid going around in large groups. Mobs dehumanize and difficult other citizens’ simplest day-life affairs. That is specially worrying in places like the Boqueria market where locals feel increasingly like chimpanzees in the zoo buying their groceries…
6. Topless in the hit
Walk around topless, rimes with tasteless. If you fancy some proper topless go to the beach, or for full nudity go to one of the large number of tolerated spots scattered along the Catalan seaside.
7. Swap you pints for ‘canyes’
Stay fresh instead of hammered from an early hour. Shorter measures will go down your throat in their right temperature and will keep you in the perfect mood for longer. Even better if sided by tapes. Moritz and Estrella are the most common local brews.
8. Don’t stick to Barcelona
Catalonia has such a diverse range of towns and small villages you should consider visiting that it’d be a shame you miss them. We won’t tell you where to go (yet) to avoid unexpected ‘triots’ (‘riots of tourists’) this August.
9. World brand shopping
Why wasting your time shopping in the usual world brand store you’d find in any other cosmopolitan touristic destination? Try with smaller boutiques displaying Catalan design and local production that will make you stand out stylishly.
10. Paella and Pa amb tomàquet
Paella is the Catalan for pan. If it has xoriço or olives is not paella. Try the local specialty of ‘arròs’, like the ‘arròs amb llamantol’ and everything with your side of bread spread with fresh tomato and virgin olive oil.
Regardless of what you do and above all come back to visit the country out of the summer season. If you do it regularly and learn some Catalan you are likely to become one of them.