The 10 Best Things About Living in Spain
Bouts of homesickness during the holidays are normal when you’re celebrating half a world away. Missing my second Thanksgiving at home in a row set off mild to moderate pangs that had me reminiscing of the ease of locating cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie filling in the grocery store, and a day centered around comfort food, football and family.
Celebrating Thanksgiving again in Spain, surrounded by friends, sharing my culture with Spaniards (and Basques!) got me thinking. Not just because Thanksgiving is a day where we’re told we need to think of things we’re thankful for, but because I didn’t come this far from home to be sad, soppy mess every time a holiday rolls around. Then, instead of missing home, I took some time to think about all of the reasons why living in Spain is de puta madre (f’n awesome!) :
Institutionalized Napping: The Siesta
Though I rarely take advantage of this, I know taking a mid-day nap is perfectly acceptable in Spanish society and I won’t be judged for it.
Ronda, a mountain village full of white-washed houses.
Golden beaches in the South and rolling green hills in the North. There is extreme diversity here from the people to the land they live on and it’s all breathtakingly beautiful.
Spain knows how to par-TAY. Where else can you celebrate by participating in the world’s largest food fight, or be chased down narrow streets by raging bulls all in the name of Saints?
Every town, big or small, has it’s own “feria” (festival), a week of eating, drinking, traditional dress and most importantly: no work. In fact, Spain has more festivals than any other place on earth. On any given day in Spain there is a feria happening somewhere.
Jamon Iberico, Gazpacho and other Spanish delights
Spanish cuisine is consistently ranked among the best of the world and it’s easy to see why: fresh ingredients, unpretentious, and heavily influenced by the array of cultures that have stepped foot in Spanish lands over history.
Where Church and Sport intersect: Camp Nou’s Chapel
A sport worshiped more than any religion here. A typical questions here is “De que equipo eres?” or, “Of what team are you?” With team, player and coach coverage dominating the news, and one of the finest leagues in the world to watch, it’s impossible to not get sucked in to the world of fútbol here.
White Wine Sangria
Kalimotxos, Rebujitos, Sangría… and did I mention the wine?
Hailing from the land of Starbucks (Seattle), I came here eager to try the coffee and was more than pleasantly surprised. You can get a great cup o’ joe for mere pocket change as opposed to the $4 hot liquid sugar we guzzle down back home. Not to mention, to-go cups are virtually unheard of here. When a Spanish person goes to a cafe, they go to sit, chat and enjoy their cup of coffee. What a concept.
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
Gaudi is a household name in architecture, but in Spain it doesn’t stop there. From majestic palaces, to decadent cathedrals, colonial houses to contemporary museums, Spain is well-respected for their contributions to the world of architecture.
Wall Mural, Ronda
Salvador Dali, Picasso, Diego Velazquez, Francisco de Goya…Spain has produced some of the world’s most well-regarded artists and the artwork here remains a staple in tourism.
Performers at the Carnival in Cadiz
The Spanish are famous for their passion and it inundates their language and their lives. Their focus on their family is admirable and their way of life continues to make Spain a popular destination for travelers.
(Photo credits: mysza831 on Flickr for siesta photo)