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Best family friendly suburbs in Madrid & Barcelona?

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2/13/2015 21:06 EST

My wife & I are contemplating a move to Spain w/ our kids aged 5 & 3. We're undecided b/w Madrid & Barcelona & wanted to ask this forum for feedback on the most family friendly suburbs in each city w/ the best schools, housing, parks, safety, etc. Detailed replies would be most appreciated.

Main reasons behind our move are cultural & language. Although my wife & I are native Spanish speakers, we're finding it difficult to raise our kids speaking Spanish in California & naturally, who wouldn't want to live in Spain for a few years:)

Thanks to all.

M & K

2/14/2015 15:16 EST

Funny, I find that everywhere I go in California almost everyone speaks Spanish.

I don't know if you are Spanish, but one important thing to know is that people in Spain use a lot of vulgar language when they speak. Grandmothers, news anchors, children, all use very colorful language that makes Latin Americans blush. So if you don't want your children saying 'de puta madre' to express that the meal they just ate was wonderful, you may want to reconsider your move.

Also note that in Barcelona Catalan, not Spanish, is often the preferred language. Catalan is not a dialect of Spanish. It is its own language, more related to French and Italian than Spanish, which is called Castillian in Spain. Then again, having children hear and speak both Catalan and Castillian is probably good for them.

Madrid and Barcelona are both great cities. Madrid has more art and is more 'formal'; Barcelona is smaller and a bit more 'Californian' - people wear shorts a lot during summer.

Madrid has a higher level of class distinction, so if you are an 'elite' an want to be separate, I'd move there. This isn't how I live, but I know people who see this as being important.

Barcelona is more of a melting-pot in that, while immigrants never achieve status like they do in the US, they seem to integrate better seem better accepted in Barcelona than in Madrid.

Good luck with your decision.

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