Eric Nelson, MIS
I arrived at SFO knowing next to nothing about Spain’s cultural history, assuming I would have adequate time to prepare on the flight and during my layover. Sadly, I was mistaken. Due to a combination of delays and wifi-free airplanes, I failed to ascertain even the most basic facts about cultural norms, business culture, or how to tip my cab once I arrived at the airport.
As you would expect from a foreigner with no cultural background, I experienced the appropriate amount of culture shock my first 2 days. Learning the metro routes proved relatively easy, and I discovered some amazing sites in, and on the the outskirts of, the city. However, I found travel time anywhere to be the most time consuming part of my day. The weather is sticky and public transportation in close proximity to equally perspiring neighbors makes a trip anywhere a harrowing task.
Having said that, the countryside and historic sites in, and around, Barcelona are incredible. The city has all walks of life: Barcelonans and Spañards alike (they share a distaste for one another, which is one of several reasons I draw a distinction), wealthy and poor, locals and foreigners. It’s an eclectic and bustling mixture you’d come to expect of a modern city. Each district of the city appears to have its own personality. The Gothic district is narrow and filled with reminders of Spain’s historic architectural prowess, while the Gracia district focuses on high end shopping and start-up companies, like the company I’m currently working for.