As an American who’s lived in Barcelona for about two months now, I’ve had to overcome a lot of cultural differences. For one, the customary dos besos greeting still perplexes me. The first time I attempted it, I ended up almost kissing my professor on the lips, (which I can assure you was very uncomfortable). Oddly enough, this encounter is not the strangest thing that I have experienced during my time here…

Evil Pigeons

The pigeons in Barcelona are not normal pigeons. They fear absolutely nothing. In fact, if you were to step on one, it probably wouldn’t budge. Instead, it would offer you a devious smirk before continuing to feed off the remains of your fallen food. The worst thing about these creatures are that they travel in gigantic armies. BEWARE: if you ever step foot into Plaça Catalunya during the day you will experience this swarm!!

pigeon in Barcelona
Pigeons in Barcelona
An army in La Plaça Catalunya
Extreme PDA

Look, I’m all for love, but the people here are very public with their affection. Every time I walk into the metro station, there’s at least one couple making out right in front of me! And it doesn’t matter if they’re young or old, because believe me, I have seen just about everyone smooching in this city.


Do I have something in my teeth? Sometimes I ask myself that when I’m minding my own business and suddenly notice that everyone is staring at me. Either I’m extremely attractive, or staring is just normal here. Whatever the case may be, do not be alarmed if you catch people looking at you.

The Cleaning of Streets

This is probably the strangest (but also cutest) thing that I have experienced in Barcelona. Each morning, you will notice shop and restaurant owners pouring out large buckets of water and mopping the sidewalk. In New York City, a store owner would not look twice if somebody took a crap outside of their shop, and they definitely would not bother to clean it up. Catalonians take pride in the cleanliness of their city and their shops!

Fresh Markets

Markets are something that we just don’t have in the States and they’re absolutely wonderful. Catalonians believe in quality, fresh food, and almost everyone here shops at their local market instead of the grocery store. It was actually difficult for me to find a grocery store when I came here!  You can purchase anything and everything at these markets, including fresh seafood, veggies, bread, meat, and cheese.

La Boqueria
Fresh spices being sold at La Boqueria Market.

La Boqueria

As you can see, strange doesn’t always mean bad. Never let cultural differences shape how you view a new environment. Who knows, maybe you might even come to appreciate the pigeons in La Plaça.