I’m definitely not in Chicago anymore! Since arriving in Barcelona I immediately picked up on similarities and differences within my barrio (neighborhood) L’Eixample compared to Chicago. The streets endlessly line with storefronts similar to strip malls. These storefronts are mostly specialized by product. For example, I’ve seen shoe stores, electronics stores, and fresh vegetable and fruit markets just to name a few. These are unlike the Walmarts and Targets I’m used to back at home where I can find basically everything I need in one place.
One type of store that stood out to me most are the farmàcias or pharmacies. In America we are used to getting our medicines, vitamins, and other remedies from stores like Walgreens or grocery stores. But in Barcelona there are pharmacies all over the neighborhoods. They are colored either green or red and have an illuminated cross in their respective color. It makes seeking them out easier. There are pharmacists on site that can give advice and even prescribe medicine to patrons. What really surprised me is that many pharmacies stay open 24 hours to accommodate for any non-emergencies. It is interesting to see how Spain provides 24/7 access to simple healthcare. Back in my Chicago neighborhood, if I’m sick late at night and don’t have the proper remedies then I either have to drive far to a 24 hour grocery store or wait it out until the nearby stores open.
Seeing the many specialized storefronts in Barcelona shows that there is a focus on quality rather than quantity. It also just makes finding what you need easier. I don’t have to wander endlessly through the dozens of isles in superstores to find a cough drop when I can just go to the nearest farmàcia. I’m looking forward to further exploring how Barcelona organizes its city to effectively accommodate the people.