Mike McCready answered your questions February 10, 2004
Mike knows not only the city of Barcelona but also the surrounding towns and villages on the coast, the interior and in the mountains and can speak intelligently about almost any aspect of the regions social and cultural customs.
Mike speaks nearly native Catalan and Spanish. His insight and understanding of both American and Catalan culture make him uniquely qualified to answer almost any question regarding the city, its people and their view of the US and the world.
Mike answered your questions Tuesday, February 10, 2004 at noon EST.
Mike McCready is a Nebraska native and has lived in Barcelona since 1986. He's seen the transformation of the city from a dirty provincial and industrial capital with it's back turned from the sea to THE Mediterranean city of reference and international cultural and nightlife Mecca. He's an international music industry executive with a deep interest in art and politics. Mike is friendly with several of the Catalonian politicians such as the current president of the autonomous government, Pascual Maragall and was fortunate to have met Salvador Dalí and to have become friends with Joan Brossa.
Suwanee, GA : We will be flying in to Barcelona to board our cruise ship in July of this year. We will then have an evening and all of the next day to "do" Barcelona. What would you recommend as the "don't miss" thing for us to do? It will be our first visit there. Thanks.
Mike McCready: If you're really into taking in the city quickly I suggest you go to Plaza Catalunya in the center of the city and getting a tour sightseeing bus. It will take you to all of the very important sights. You can get off the bus at any of the ones you're most interested in and catch the next one when it comes by. It allows you to stay at each sight as long as you want or even skip some. I think the best sights are the Gaudi building including the Sagrada Familia. Of course you'll also want to see the old Gothic Quarter and perhaps the Olympic Ring on Montjüic Mountain.
Weston, NE: How has security interfered with the Old World setting?
Mike McCready: Hey, a fellow Nebraskan. I grew up in Broken Bow! Barcelona is a very cosmopolitan city. Security is an issue but not more or less than in any other major city in the US or Europe. Barcelona is a very safe city. If you need to be on guard for anything it is petty crime which is increasingly a problem.
Fresno, Ca: Mr. McCready, Thank you for entertaining the questions from the online public. I am glad I found your article online. I fell in love with Spain during a one-week trip to Madrid in 1993. After lots of soul-searching, I have decided that my future is in Spain. I plan to relocate there as soon as I finish business school. You have your pulse on the life of the country. What is the job market for MBAs in Spain? I speak perfect Spanish and English. My goal is to obtain a position in the field of investment banking. Which city offers the best opportunity for someone with my qualifications and ambitions?
Mike McCready: I think that either Madrid or Barcelona can offer you what you're looking for. One of the best things to do I think is to get in touch with the American Embassy in Madrid and get a listing of the US companies with branches and subsidiaries in the country and start your job search there, perhaps contacting in the US first. MBA's are well received and the University of Chicago even has a Graduate School of Business campus in Barcelona.
Boston, MA: I have not been to Spain since the Euro currency conversion. Is it still the "bargain basement" of Europe, or has the Euro currency made the country less affordable to travelers?
Mike McCready: Spain is still affordable and if you spend any amount of time in NYC Spain seems downright cheap. Real Estate is rising sharply in the major cities but you can still get great deals on property. Shopping for fashion and other higher end items is just as expensive as the rest of Europe however. You'll notice a bigger difference in the super markets.
New York, NY: I am going on an exchange trip with my high school on February 12th. I and a group of other students will be visiting Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and Soller. My question is, how is the weather during the winter season? Do the lower temperatures of winter take away from the scenery? Any tips on places to visit? Thank you.
Mike McCready: The scenery is still beautiful but the beaches are not very used and the water is very cold in February. But you can have a great time seeing the sights and the weather is usually very agreeable in the 60 and 70's on the islands.