Traffic Accidents - The Unnerving Statistics
Facts don't lie. Barcelona continues to be famous for the high number of traffic accidents. According to records, on the most crowded streets an accident will occur once every twenty minutes. It's hard to believe, but it's true. Ask someone if they've ever seen a traffic accident scene in Barcelona and the response you'll get from a marjoity is "yes" (myself included!).
In high-risk zones where accidents happen regularly, a special police division dedicated to traffic mark the areas with signs, effectively creating what is known as a "black zone", so that drivers navigate with more care. These are typically used outside of the city though. If you're in Barcelona and decide to drive, pay careful attention to the signs and take it easy. You'll probably encounter some road rage from time to time, but following the rules is a much better option than ending up in an accident and a statistic.
Creepy Crawlies are Coming to Get You!
Let me tell you a story. It was a hot summer's day in Barcelona, and an American friend of mine decided to show me a little shop that sold British and American products. Innocently browsing around the store, we came upon a cockroach. I'd never really seen one before, so thought that if I stayed out of its way it would stay out of mine... Wrong! Much to my surprise, these little bug(ger)s can fly! You can only imagine the panic that ensued when it flew right up and decided to firmly relocate itself directly down the back of my shirt...
So when someone tells you that Barcelona has the largest populations of cockroaches in Spain, don't be surprised. The state university of Barcelona conducted an investigation of their own and in the process learnt that the city has gained a boom in cockroaches only in recent years. And what's more they're also getting bigger. If they're not stopped, they could in fact grow to the size of a small cow!
Okay, fine. That last part about growing wasn't true... Scared you though, no?
Barcelona, Spain AKA "Fines R' Us"
Think of something anti-social, and you'll probably find that much like in the app store; "There's a fine for that". It's the governments way of imposing order upon the citizens and guests of the city... Because unfortunately it seems that they don't understand anything else...
It's prohibited to get into drunken fights (sober fights are okay?), selling souvenirs without a license, and any form of graffiti, are all illegal. If you're looking to rock the system... and your bank balance, you can try:
- Consuming alcohol on the streets - €600
- Illegal trade - €500
- Graffitiing - Up to €3000
- Spitting in the street - €120
- Feeding the pigeons - €300 - €600
- Urinating in public - €180 - €240
- Wearing swimwear away from the beach - €120 - €300
- Flashing someone with headlights - €80
- Offering sexual services in public €120 - €750
To be honest. The list goes on. Though some of these are set by the local council, many of them are sent down from a national level and thanks to the current Spanish government, on the spot fines are set to get even worse. Open a new tab and just google Spain Citizen Security Bill to see how worse things could get...
But you know what? With all this said and done, Barcelona is still a brilliant holiday destination. Many tourists will never encounter the dark side, and the city will always be the happy-go-lucky destination you so often read about! On top of that every city has a dark side, London, New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Shanghai... You name it. There is no perfect place in the world, and it's these flaws that define a place.
So if you're coming to Barcelona, relax. The beaches will be kept in a good condition, you're not going to get robbed if you take care of your valuables, a car will not run you down, and you're not going to get poisoned by pollution or hit with a fine...
...But a cockroach may certainly crawl down your shirt. :-P