This one time, I went to Barcelona. It is a vibrant city in southern Spain.
In Spain, they have signs in English for tourists like me:
The Spaniards also like to be safe, so the signs are also in Spanish.
Barcelona is located in the Catalan region of Spain; thus, signs are often in Catalan language.
Basically Barcelona is a tri-lingual city at the least. It has a booming tourist presence and English is widely spoken. I found it difficult to practice my Spanish in some tourist areas, where clerks and servers opted to use English for clarity.
When I dressed more uniquely, I was often able to get by with my Spanish as long as I kept it simple enough for the Barcelonian to not make out my US accent! More likely, they would hear my Mexican and Ecuadorian accent, since those places strongly influenced my accent and lexicon.
Barcelona is known for embracing personal style, practically speaking, this means that anything goes. As long as I avoided mainstream trends, I felt a little bit like I belonged.
I also felt like I belonged after eating a traditional lunch of Catalan dishes.
I started with Fabada Asturiana, warm and comforting, with a flavorful sausage.
The cafe was adorable, obliged me by conducting our business in Spanish, and made excellent recommendations.
For my second course, I went with Chanquetes con huevos rotos. Basically I had never heard of Chanquetes, huevos rotos are always good (translates to ‘broken eggs’), and the server assured me it was a delicious dish, so I went with it. The Chanquetes are teeny tiny fishies lightly breaded and lightly fried.
I could easily imagine fishing families eating this dish in seaside communities for centuries into the past. The flavors were simple, salty and ultimately satisfying.