It’s funny the things that seem foreign to us: When we started planning this trip, we began studying Spanish and other languages we would need and spent some time learning about the history, culture and politics of the places we would visit.

These are all good ways to help one to assimilate and get the most out of a trip.

The funny thing so far, though, is that none of those things have seemed foreign to us. Almost everyone we have met speaks perfect English. And while there are definitely cultural differences, they are not too challenging to overcome.

Really, the most “foreign” thing we have come across- the thing that really has challenged me in particular- is city life. Having grown up in the sprawling suburbs and beach towns of Florida, I’ve always been car dependent. I’ve never really learned to navigate a city by metro, bus, funicular or cable car.

Here in Barcelona, a robust public transit system efficiently moves millions of people each day. But learning to navigate the system takes more than just time. One has to have a feel for how cities operate and a familiarity with public transit in general. I have neither. (Vicki has more experience in this area.)

Today we dipped our toes in the water by walking several miles and taking a cable car to Mont Juic. We also purchased an Hola Barcelona card that will give us unlimited rides on both the bus and the metro.

Tomorrow, we will put the pass – and our senses of direction- to the test. I’ll let you know how it goes.