- People in Barcelona like to smoke. A lot. It is their national sport (anyone else remember the Grand Smoking Tournament at Barcelona ’92?). They smoke everywhere. On the subway, in shops, in taxis, even in schools and hospitals (probably). And the cigarettes are cheap: Euro 2.80 for a pack of 20 Marlboro (approx £1.90/$3.60). I read somewhere (not sure how correct this is, but it’s a pretty amazing statistic if true) that the Spanish government would love to hike up the tobacco duty to increase income and discourage the habit, but due to the sheer number of smokers in the country, doing so would put them in breach of their inflation targets. Smokers of Spain unite, you have nothing to lose but your lungs!
- People in Barcelona like dogs. There are almost as many dogs in Barcelona as there are dog-ends (see Point 1). Much to the pleasure of Citizeness Sane, we have never seen so many dogs being walked in a major city. Favourites seem to be Jack Russells and some other small hairy breed that would work well as a duster for wooden flooring if you could get some sort of pole up its back passage.
- Apartment living is where it’s at. I don’t think we saw an actual house until our third day when we took the bus further out of town to Gaudi Park.
- Public transport is cheap, quick, clean and safe. Any chance of the same in London, Mr Livingstone?
- If US authorities ever run low on torture techniques at Guantanamo Bay, I suggest they put their detainees on a long-haul flight with Iberian Air. The leg room they provide is in breach of the Geneva Convention on Human Rights. Never been so uncomfortable. I’m about 6’2″ but even shorter types were fidgeting. In fact, to my left was a circus midget saying “Jesus, not much leg room on here is there?”. Thankfully the flight was less than two hours. Any longer and I would have committed some man-violence.
- Needing a caffeine boost on-the-go, we relented and went into Starbucks for a couple of lattes. I was unpleasantly surprised to learn that Starbucks coffee in Barcelona is even worse than Starbucks coffee in London. Hot milk, with a slight coffee aftertaste, even with three shots of espresso in there. Dreadful, bland muck.