How to get the most out of life? Follow these Spanish habits.
Find out those little special secrets that make España one of the best places in the world to live
Everyone has an opinion about their country of birth. Good or bad, there are things which both delight and irk. So, what does the typical Spaniard hold dear and what should we go and keep on the lookout for while travelling in Spain? María Ángeles, our sales manager gives us a few of her favourite things.
1. THOSE SPANISH STEREOTYPES…!?!
To start this trip on Spanish habits that we really love, let me say first that they are all very much related to our essence and roots. Our famous love of fiestas, then “siesta” or nap, our crazy dinner time hours and also our lack of punctuality are just some of the “stereotypes” that I, as a Spaniard, must say are all totally true.
To be honest with you, the first things that come to my mind when thinking about my country, Spain is the nice weather, the great gastronomy and beautiful beaches. Yes, that’s very usual you will say, but there are also some other hidden things that I really appreciate being in Spain.
2. BLACKOUT BLINDS IN SPANISH HOMES
Odd as it seems, I love the blinds. I couldn’t live without these heavy shuttered electric or pulley operated aluminium blinds. It is very uncommon when travelling outside from Spain, but I would say that I am so used to them, that I can only sleep very badly without them.
Maybe this is very strange, but we don’t need to get up early to go to work, so we usually lose the first hours of the day sleeping. We don’t like getting up with the birds’ songs, but nor do we go to bed too early. So, the sleep we get needs to be very deep with no distractions!
3. ANDALUCIAN SIESTA WITH THE FAMILY
And so… speaking about sleeping, I have to say that it is scientifically demonstrated that a little 30-minutes nap improves health and alleviates stress or pressure. Many famous people in history like Winston Churchill have sworn by this method to regenerate themselves in their daily work. We Spanish have made it into an art.
However, in Spain, there are rules, it has to be done on the sofa, not in bed. Although the stereotype is that everyone has an afternoon siesta, it is not so common in all Spanish cities, especially in the North, where it may not be as hot.
Anyways come further south than Madrid, siesta time is still quite respected and without noise in small towns and villages.
In winter, this siesta time is very often completed around a warming pan, something that reminds us of grandparents’ homes and our childhood memories.
4. SPANISH LATE NIGHT DINING which leads to…even later, GOING OUT
On the other side, you have probably heard about our fun fiestas (parties) and late hours. A common meeting with friends is after dinner (which you know can be around 10pm here in Spain). You meet them around midnight and then go to the disco, finishing after 5 or 6am. And, when you finish partying in the morning, what’s better than a “chocolate con churros” with the ones who are still alive after all night of this? That’s one of the best sensations I’ve always had on my village fiestas. Chocolate con Churros, it’s the perfect closure to a night out.
However, I am afraid that the older you are, the worst this sensation becomes!
5. WARMNESS OF SPANISH PEOPLE.. KISSING!
Another thing that I really love is the closeness in relationships. With friends, it is so normal to see them and give them a hug or two kisses even if you just saw them not that long ago. We like people so much, we even do that when we first meet someone, even if we don’t know them, which is seen as very “typical Spanish”. This also includes boys and men with each other, which to Northern Europeans or Americans, quite odd too.
We are just a very warm people, and like to include others and must be around people to have fun and live fully. Embrace life completely !
6. SPANISH TAPAS, TAPAS, TAPAS & OUR FOOD
However, if I had to choose one of the things I love most, it is our day to day food (that delicious simple dish - tortilla de patatas!). It is so common to be waiting for a tapa after ordering some beers, and if they don’t serve it (some tortilla or olives at least), we can get a bit angry with disappointment.
We eat everything with bread, and that’s something that most tourists can’t understand. It accompanies all kinds of food, even a soup. In fact, we have to admit that it is quite normal to eat a steak inside a piece of bread, as a sandwich, and it is just delicious! This is a habit that we have learned from the humblest people in the farms and countryside. Apart from meat, we can also eat fish in bread, such as the famous “bocadillo de calamares (squid)” eaten in Plaza Mayor in Madrid. It is a perfect diet for cyclists. Lots of salads, fish and carbs!
7. TWO-HOUR LUNCH TIME CHIT CHAT IN SPAIN
Also, after having lunch, the 2 hours of table talk, with a coffee or a tea debating about everything and sorting out all kinds of problems in the world, are very natural here. We do like to talk.. usually over top of each other!
Speaking about lunch time coffee, which we all enjoy, something that some international friends have always told me that is very strange is our “café con hielo” (coffee with ice, literally). In most of the countries, they enjoy very hot coffee, but here, we like the idea of ordering something hot and then adding some ice. Strange, right? But that’s how we are! 😊 A dichotomy of peoples.
Unusual parings are our specialities and we also mix wine or beer with lemonade or coke… and I am sure you have heard about our famous fruity Sangría, perfect to be enjoyed on a terrace or beach club when sun is out. And if you accompany that with pipas (sunflower seeds), you can be there during all afternoon! They are both so addictive and you will hate to get back on the bike after an afternoon of this!
A small list about the big things to enjoy about living in and visiting Spain 😊 We would love to hear any that you enjoyed here as well on our off the bike during your cycle tour.