Spain is by far one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. Famed for its luscious sandy beaches, perfect climate and vibrant nightlife, it attracts visitors from across the globe.
Even for those who aren’t interested in its notorious beaches, bar crawls, and booze cruises, you can still find cultural spectacles in the many beautiful and historic cities.
However, no matter where you go or what type of traveling you enjoy, there are a few universal events that seem to happen everywhere. Particularly once you’ve been in the country for any length of time.
Here are five of the many examples, which you are guaranteed to experience during your time there.
1. You Will Try And Buy Something During Siesta
Spain’s famed Siesta is a key part of the country’s personality; many make claims about how much they’d like to adopt this tradition and invest in a few hours sleep at midday. It’s a wonderful theory, but not one that the majority of us overworked and over-stressed Americans and western Europeans can readily get our head around.
So, if you’re visiting Spain in the near future, I will place a bet right now. At some point during your trip, you’ll realize you’re out of water, cigarettes or another moderately essential item. You’ll then wander around the local area for a significant amount of time, wondering why no-where is open, before it clicks – it’s Siesta time.
Similarly, it’s also likely that you’ll try and have a meal at, y’know, regular meal times. Well, good luck trying to find an open restaurant at midday or during the early evening! At around 8 pm the locals will appear and give scathing looks to all the pitiful naïve foreigners who still haven’t got their head around native timings.
2. An Old Lady Will Talk To You Incessantly In A Stairwell
Spanish old people are great: they’re friendly, lively and always up to stop for a chat. The problem I’ve found with this is, time and time again, it happens with very little regard to whether your not you have any idea what they’re talking about.
Every time I’ve visited this crazy country, I’ve found myself minding my own business,
heading out or waiting for someone in a stairwell. An elderly resident has appeared from one of the adjacent apartments and jumped at the opportunity to bombard me verbally.
Regardless of my pleas of ‘No entiendo,’ ‘Soy Ingles’ and ‘No hablo Español,’ they have continued their tirade relentlessly. Sometimes they’re cheery; sometimes they’re indescribably annoyed about something – something you’ve done? Who knows?
Either way, I’ve learned to nod along appropriately and appreciate the charm of the situation!
3. Someone Will Try To Sell You Something In The Street
Let’s get real for a second. Spain’s economy is not in a good way. Guaranteed, the world is not so financially steady at the moment, but Spain is feeling the pinch particularly badly. Unemployment is an ongoing problem and, while it’s paradise for visitors, it’s a hard slog if you live there.
When I first worked in Spain, I didn’t really appreciate the problem. I knew well the Pakistani beer men and other hustlers selling tat on the beach as, in the eyes of the law, I was basically on the same level as a club promoter. However, I never once considered the depth of their problem.
It wasn’t till a few years later in Seville that the same phenomenon really tugged as my heart chords. A shy but certain local accosted my group as we ate a restaurant and, in frantic Spanish, explained that he and other fathers were trying to sell bracelets to make money to feed their children. I was stunned; they’re entire existence rested on these simple string and bead business.
I bought the bracelet and made a mental note always to offer support in the future, when I could.
4. Your Tummy Will Turn Against You
Spain in not exactly India, so it was a little surprising that all of my club promotion team and I seemed to have a continuous case of what can only be labeled ‘Barcelona belly.’ I initially put it down to increased alcohol intake, but it had also been a very prevalent element all of my other visits.
It wasn’t till I got to Seville that I began to develop a theory. Seville is basically Spain on steroids, and the food it no different. After tucking into my third day of ‘salad’ made from potato and tuna, I began to note the ridiculous amount of olive oil we were consuming. Every meal was quite literally drowning in the stuff.
I can’t know for sure if that’s why all trips to Spain seem to come with a dodgy tummy at some point, but it’s the only idea I’ve got so far! Either way – don’t forget the Imodium!
5. You Won’t Want To Leave
Despite the many nuances of the country, the main thing that will most definitely occur if you spend any amount of time there is that you won’t want to leave. It’s impossible not to fall in love with the thriving late night and lazy middays; the scorching cobbles and animated locals; rich food and fruity cocktails.
Spain is in your face; it’s bolshie and unapologetic, but somewhere within its madness it becomes impossible not to fall in love. Once you’ve spent enough time there to move past the resorts and tourist attractions, the beat of this country – like flamenco shoes on floorboards – is an infectious and vibrant as some of the world’s most exotic locations.
If you haven’t experienced its glory first hand, then why delay even longer. However, I thoroughly recommend moving past the famed Barcelona and the notorious Spanish party islands. Take a trip down to Andalucia or visit the Basque region for a real taste of authentic culture!
If you’ve had a particularly memorable Spanish trip or have another typical event that you feel should be on this list, be sure to leave a comment below – I’d love to hear your stories!