My recent trip to Barcelona was filled with great food and great friends. The environment was exciting and fun and we did what we could to assimilate into the Catalonian culture. Spain has always been a destination that I have always wanted to visit and Barcelona seemed to be ideal given my love of food and my need for sun. The former satisfied my needs the, later....not as much as I would have hoped as it snowed the last day that we were there.
The local culture is practically the polar opposite of the United States. They eat dinner from 1030 to 130, they take mid day naps and sometimes shut their stores down after lunch for a few hours. Highly unconventional to the typical lifestyle of an American, in bed by 11, work from 9-? eat dinner, and go to sleep. It appears that the lifestyle of the typical American is centered around his job while the lifestyle of a Catalonian is centered around friends and family. You don't see the proliferation of fast food joints in Barcelona as you do in the US and when you order coffee, it's considered odd/rude to take that coffee to go whereas in the US they serve you a togo cup unless otherwise specified. Food in Barcelona is amazing at almost any venue because they view dining as an experience among friends and family and take extra time preparing their food.
The United States has companies like Google where employees are encouraged to stay later and work longer through free dinners, a full service gym, etc. Not that either culture is better but I find it interesting that two completely developed economies can have such competing interests and both are still sustainable. For more information about the Barcelona Trip check out my friend's blog (Keenan and Lily's blog).
All in all, it was a great trip that left us feeling overjoyed!