I’ve had enough time here in Spain, Barcelona specifically, to come up with some key differences between these two lovely countries. Interestingly enough I have come to like some things better than others, some from back home and some from the home I’m in right now (Spain… for all of you that forgot). I have decided to share these key developments with you and to provide a scoring system as well, to keep things interesting 😉 So let’s see who comes out on top: The US or Spain. Drumroll please.
The Great Controversy of “Take Away Coffee”
Let’s start with the whole idea of “Take Away Coffee” and why Europeans despise it so much. I love a good coffee to go or even better, a freshly brewed pot in a Contigo ready for my commute to work or stroll around the city. The coffee all warm, steamy, and fresh waiting for me, really just warms my soul and I love it. But here in Spain it’s almost unheard of to have a take away coffee and very frowned upon… even asking someone for “takeaway or para llevar” will get you a death stare as if you were literally raised by animals. I mean I understand wanting it to be an experience, where you sip your cappuccino and take in the beauty around you, chat with friends or for most people here, have a smoke. But for me, that mug of coffee is an experience and this whole “shame on you” mentality for take away coffee is something I will never quite get over and will probably always hold a grudge. I gotta give this one to the good ole’ U.S.A.
USA 1 Spain 0
The Hours of Operation
Now this next topic will slightly upset all you early diners, sleepers, early risers and people who generally like to go with the whole “wake and sleep by the sun mentality”. I like to call this topic, “The Hours of Operation” here in Spain. Barcelona is known for its nightlife, drinking age of whenever you want it to be and staying up to the wee hours of the morning but it’s not easy to pull off being a Spaniard. If you think it’s fun, you’re absolutely right but if you think it’s easy… you’re dead wrong. There are a lot of things and hard work we are not considering to make this magic happen.
For example, eating dinner. The earliest people eat dinner is around 9:00 – 10:00 maybe 8:30 if you’re really THAT hungry. Other factors include wine with every meal with the general price ranging from 89 cents at the grocery store to 15 dollars for a bottle at a restaurant… so I mean… you probably shouldn’t let those prices go to waste. So coming full circle, I think it’s fair to say that with the late night eating and drinking and unless you’re a nurse or have the graveyard shift or some black out shades….sleeping during the day time takes some adjusting to.
Another “Hours of Operation” topic has to do with Sundays… forget about Sunday. In Spain the city closes down, literally. They are not joking about the whole “day of rest” thing… so make sure you get all of your shopping done during the week or on Saturday because come Sunday and you don’t have groceries….. you sh*t out of luck. Daniel and I found this one out the hard way, I’ll never forget our first Sunday here with nothing to eat. But to Spain’s credit I appreciate how they take the time to rest and reflect and probably spend time with their families on this day. Another upside for this one is for all you “Sunday Scary” frequenters out there… that’s not a thing here so “forget about it!”
All in all, I would have to give the “Hours of Operation” category to Spain for just being so much more “Bad Ass” than we are about partying and strictly not partying (on Sunday at least).
USA 1 Spain 1
Comparably to the US, this whole idea of doing something just because it makes you money or because it will be good for business is less in your face here. I.E. Spain closing the biggest shopping center on the busiest day of the week.
The idea of appreciating exactly what something is and nothing more comes through heavily in Spain’s sporting events. But to explain this to you first I need you to imagine being at a sporting event in the US. First, imagine what kind of event you are at. Now, list off everything else that comes to your mind while you are at this event. Here’s my list.
- What event am I at? Basketball, Baseball, or maybe a Football Game
- What am I eating? an overpriced hot dog and/or pretzel, maybe garlic fries
- What am I drinking? A refreshing… overpriced beer
- What is entertaining me? The team dancers, mascots, the crazy jumping men at the Warriors games, the blind guy painting a Picasso replica, Alicia Keys singing the national anthem, trying to catch a t-shirt out of a shooting cannon gun.
- How much was my ticket? Overpriced
- Why am I there? To hang out with my friends.. no wait I mean…. the game, duh.
OK, now let’s walk through a sporting event in Spain.
- What event are you at? Futbol, Futsal, Handball, or Roller Hockey… all pretty common sports, we have heard of…..right?
- What are you eating? A Bocadillo (a sandwich with ham) that you brought in from the outside world because… you can do that here.
- What are you drinking? Nothing… or a non-alcoholic beer because they don’t serve alcohol in the arenas.
- What is entertaining you? The crazy nonstop chanting, singing and drumming of the fan section.
- How much was your ticket? 8-22 Euro
- Why are you there? The game.
Honestly this one might be a tie for me because as much respect as I have for Spain and their love of the game….. I do love a good hot dog and beer.
Still….USA 1 Spain 1
This is a question I ask myself often while I’m here, and it could be because I have to wash and hang dry my 5 pieces of clothing every week or because I have those 5 pieces of clothing for the duration of the next 4 months but still I keep asking myself this same question….”Do I really have to try this hard like every day?” I mean jeeze do these people ever take a day off or have we just not introduce the concept of #athleisure to this continent yet. Because common…. looking super trendy and put together everyday…well isn’t really my thing and frankly how do these people have time for it? Although I do love a well put together outfit and boy is everyone around here beautiful….I’m quite excited to get back to the good ole #basic days of leggings, Nikes, and a puffy vest.
I would have to say although I appreciate the effort and how great everyone looks ALL THE TIME in Europe, personally for me since I’m kinda lazy, the US wins on this one…. for me.
USA 2 Spain 1
Ok, last one…transportation. In the US…. it’s cars, every car you can think of, big, small, tiny, hybrid, electric, self driving… you get my drift. Of course there are the super fit bikers of the world, the super edgy scooter gang kids (love you guys) and you know the public transportation people (high end luxury buses that transport you back and forth to work) but for the most part we drive our butts all around town OR we pay extremely expensive fares to get places on airplanes.
In Spain… of course there are cars… but the easiest way to get around the flat walking city of Barcelona is the metro, walk/bike or a moto (fancier word for scooter… in my opinion). Longer distance travel includes train rides… which are amazing and I’m not sure why we don’t have more trains as an option in the US. If you do have to go to say another country… it’s a quick 1-2 hour flight away and 17-50 Euro in most cases. Granted baggage allowance and you know hidden random fees they like to spit at you now and again but despite that there are no customs (in the EU at least) and security is a breeze.
Sorry US… but Spain wins this one.
USA 2 SPAIN 2
And the winner is….
Oh no… it’s a tie…. who would have guessed that little ole’ non-confrontational, let’s make everyone happy, “hey I’m a teacher… so we all win” mentality would have let that happen?!? Well if you know me.. then I’m sure you had some idea what the outcome would be… because to me all countries come with the good and the bad and it simply is amazing to have the opportunity to be able to live here and be able to write a list about them. Soooo if you really want a winner… feel free to add your own personal plus or minus and we can continue the conversation.
But hey… we all get an A for effort 😉
Stay tuned for another guest blog about Athens, Amsterdam and Berlin by my lovely travel partners coming soon!!!!