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It seems like Barcelona represents today  in Europe what London was a few years ago: the place to be !
Maybe because of the design, music (mainly electronic) and fashion trends that born in the Catalan capital, maybe because of the media (just think about the massive coverage MTV is dedicating to Barcelona), all around the world Barcelona is becoming a synonymous of Glamour.
This is not 100% true: as any other metropolis, Barcelona has got many different souls…some of them really opposite. In the same town two realities live side by side, never meeting each other: first one, the strong international community (probably you will be an active part of this), people who, just like you, decided to live here. The other one, very difficult to be known for real, is the Spanish (sorry…Catalans) community, made by people who are born in Barcelona and have spent all their life in this town.
Very soon you will realize that, unlike other Spanish citizens, for a foreign guy, it’s pretty hard to know Catalans. As an international resident, you will probably have friends coming from all over the world: Italians, French, Americans, English, maybe Spanish…but hardly Catalans.
This reminds me the movie “The Others” or “The sixth sense”…I hope you’ve watched them: we live together on different levels, never touching each other…
Personally, after three years in Barcelona, I know very few Catalans and I woul invite for a beer or a night out just a couple of them.
On the other hand, if you succeed to cross that line and get to know for real a Catalan…probably you’ve got a new life-time friend !
Up to know I’ve always spoken about Catalans, never about Spanish. This is something you should really keep in mind if you decide to expatriate to Barcelona for a long time: “Catalunya is not Spain”, as it’s clearly written on the fence of Sagrada Familia. Just bureaucracy joins Catalonia and Spain: coming to Barcelona because you like Spanish culture and traditions is a big mistake…if this is the case, just go to Andalucia or Madrid, don’t choose Barcelona.

If this is clear, we can finally start with the real guide.
Have a good reading! I hope you will find it useful and interesting.



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