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Friday, June 28, 2013

Top 10 Secrets to Happiness in Barcelona

Perhaps  you are looking for some philosophically sound advice?

Life is like a box of chocolates...
(Or these super yummy Choco-Loco Brownie Batter Truffles

You won't find that here. :P

However, you will find some recommendations based on my own personal experiences and those of others. 

Top 10 Secrets to Happiness in Barcelona

10. Don't expect anyone to be on time (ever), but always be on time yourself.

9. I hope you like ham...but probably not ham like what you are used to...jamón. If you don't have any issues with eating pork, splurge at least once and try the jamón ibérico de bellota (acorn-fed) at least once. Beicon does not equal "bacon". Sorry. Try the pop. Don't ask what it is, just try it, especially if you are at a Galician restaurant. (I think that was 3-in-1, what a great value!)

8. Get to know Catalunya, not just Barcelona. Visit Montserrat and don't be afraid to visit other great places like Sitges and Vilafranca del Penedès and Girona.

7. Bring something to read while you are waiting in line when you have to go to the bank. I suggest the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, or make your own house sigil while you wait. ;)

6. After trip to said bank, indulge. I suggest the awesome dessert listed above. No oven necessary and only requires 3 ingredients. En serio. 

5. Maybe you'd rather eat some dog food though....

4.  Make sure you prepare everything you will need for your immigration paperwork and renewal and have extra copies of everything. I have documented some personal experiences here.

3. Always be on the lookout for robbers (or as my English students used to say, "stolers") on the metro and everywhere else. Guard your things well, especially in touristic places. Put the strap of your bag between your legs whenever you sit inside (except your house, maybe...). If somebody buzzes your apartment to be let in, do not let them in unless you know who they are. It is common here for people to ring buzzers and expect to be let in to distribute pamphlets or say they are the electric company, just to get entrance to buildings. Do not let anyone in that you do not know. Please!

2. Learn a little Catalan, it will come in handy and may just make someone's day (perhaps yours!). Get to know the culture of where you are living to maximize your experience.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand..... (drum roll please!)

This brief interlude also encourages you to visit Carcassonne.
It's pretty awesome.

1. Pack light. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS SACRED AND GOOD. Now that I am preparing to leave for the summer, I am miserably deciding what I will try to store here, and what I must throw away. Resist the urge. Pack light! You can get almost anything you want here if you know where to look. You will thank me at some point.

Any other tips? Please post comments below to share with others. 

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