In Barcelona, we ran into more hassles than you might expect from what is in so many ways one of the pleasantest cities on earth--terrible internet connections (sorry about those dead links) and two (count 'em) neighborhood blackouts. Also a three-hour search for the landlord to get access to our prepaid apartment, mostly spent standing on streetcorners wondering what the devil to do next. I still love Barca but I did find myself remembering George Orwell in my copy of Homage to Catalonia that an old girlfriend (now long dead) gave me on my 19th birthday:
In Spain nothing, from a meal to a battle, ever happens at the appointed time. As a general rule things happen too late, but just occasionally—just so that you shan’t even be able to depend on their happening late—they happen too early. A train which is due to leave at eight will normally leave at any time between nine and ten, but perhaps once a week, thanks to some private whim of the engine-driver, it leaves at half-past seven. Such things can be a little trying. In theory I rather admire the Spaniards for not sharing our Northern time-neurosis; but unfortunately I share it myself.Maybe it's unfair today; maybe it always was unfair. Still it sticks in my mind from a barely retrievable past; a time when I scarcely knew what or where Catalonia was.