The Spanish are confident, open individuals with a zest for life, and for living every moment to the max. If they invite you somewhere it is because they really want you to come. They do not want you to go home because you are all having such a good time. Who cares about tomorrow? Now is what is important. While there is a good time to be had, no one will leave quickly. People meet between 10:00 and 11:30pm for dinner, which is followed by relaxed and enjoyable conversation, coffee, and some alcoholic drinks. This is known as ‘la sobremesa‘. During the weekend, night stretches into the morning, and you have some breakfast before you go home! You need stamina in Spain, especially if it is fiesta time. If there is time, the Spanish will snatch a brief siesta to prepare themselves for the next night. Partying in Andalusia also requires some training. It never feels like the right time to have a last drink. Instead, someone will suggest ‘la penultima‘, ‘the last but one’, because nobody wants to refer to the end of the evening.
Our guides don’t include things like hotel listings or travel itineraries. After all, that kind of information is already freely available online. Instead, our guides help you get to know the people whose country you are visiting so that your time spent abroad is richer and more meaningful.
Each guide tells the story of a country and its culture, describes its customs and traditions, and is packed full of practical information to help you navigate the situations that you are likely to encounter with confidence and sensitivity. Whether on a weekend away or a longer stint abroad, travel smarter with Culture Smart!.
For more on the culture and customs of Spain, read our guide.
- ISBN: 9781787028647
- Format: Paperback
- Page count: 200
- Dimensions: 170 x 110 x 15mm
- Published at: £9.99 / $12.99 / CAN $17.99
By Katherine Foreman
The months leading up to my university graduation ceremony jump-started a period in my life that I’ve since thought of as the Hyperpanic Era, during which I spent a lot of time staring into space and struggling to envision my life in an office setting. I’d nearly completed a degree in journalism and was preparing to move to New York when I had an epiphany, which was simply that I was going to put Corporate America on indefinite hold and instead move to Spain. I made my decision and, without much consideration of the possible downsides, booked my spot on a Barcelona-based teaching course the same week.
“But you could move to New York! L.A.! Chicago!” my parents pressed. “You’ve just spent four years in journalism school, not studying education.” At the time, I wasn’t as concerned about the actual profession as I was about living within two miles of a beach. “It’ll all be fine,” I attempted to placate their concern, not knowing a single thing about what I was throwing myself into, or what I had to gain.
The beauty of visiting Madrid is that you don’t have to spend a lot to see a lot. Strolling around will allow you to absorb the culture and history of this fascinating city. Many of the ‘must-sees’ in Madrid are free – they are simply monuments dotted around the city – and most are within walking distance of each other. Here are seven to get you started: