This is another image of a Barcelona alley at night as I was walking around after a meal of Tapas and Sangria. Honestly, I could never find this spot in a million years, the area is like a casbah of sorts, narrow passages going this way and that, no rhyme nor reason for anything. It's such a fun place, you can get delightfully lost and the worst that can happen is you end up in a bar sipping another Sangria as you contemplate your next move.
Of course not all cities are like this. The fact that you feel safe here speaks volumes about the people of Barcelona and their values. The only north American city where I've experienced something similar is in Vancouver, but that's relatively new and doesn't have the same old world character. Barcelona is a fusion of ancient and modern, cobblestones and Starbucks.
Another difference that comes to mind is that in north America if you stand somewhere and imagine what that spot looked like two or three hundred years ago you'd probably be standing in a field or forest. In many parts of Europe it might look similar to the present day minus the electricity and such. Europe has a long memory stored in the buildings, alleys and cobblestones that somehow seeps into me anytime I am here.