Spain

  

Living the Dream…

Spain is one of my favourite countries in Europe. There is so much to love about it. The people are some of the happiest I have ever come across. The food is absolutely delicious and I have always been a fan of eating tapa-style. The scenery is unreal and of course there are trillions of beaches. The lifestyle is unique: siestas each day seem like such a great invention. And of course, there is passion – think politics, think football.

  • Capital: Madrid
  • Population: 47 million
  • Currency: Euro (€)
  • Language: Spanish, although a number of the autonomous regions in Spain have their own language (for example in the Basque Country and Catalonia)
  • Highlights:
    • Barcelona: this wonderful city has a little bit of everything. From Gaudi’s mesmerizing architecture to golden sand beaches and of course, we can’t forget the increidble food.
    • Madrid: capital and home to the Royal Palace, there is so much culture to see and do in this city
    • Seville: featuring the Alcazar castle, flemenco dancing and a beautiful cathedral, Seville is very chilled out and beautiful
    • Granada: the Alhambra is the main draw card in Granada and it is an absolute must see.
    • Islands: from glamourous nights clubbing to beach hopping in Menorca, there are so many different islands to choose from.
    • Pamplona: home to the infamous running of the bulls festival – not for the faint hearted!
    • San Sebastian: not shy of a few Michelin stars, San Sebastian is most well known for its sensational food scene. There are also beautiful beaches and numerous works for in between all the eating.
  • Did you know?
    • It is legal in Spain to get married at the ripe old age of 16.
    • Nudity is also legal… a blessing in that heat!
    • Spain was the first country in the world where wind power was the greatest source of electricity.
  • Useful tips:
    • Spanish is a useful language to know as it’s not just limited to Spain – it’s also used widely in Mexico and South America.
    • Try and locate a festival while you are in the country; the Spanish people are happy people and there are lots of festivals happening.
    • Tapas are small snacks and appetizers frequently served before a meal (although if you eat enough you won’t need a meal!). They are frequently free in restaurants and often pretty basic. If you head up north to Basque Country, you’ll find ‘pintxos’ instead, which are bite sized snacks served on the bar. These are not free (but are relatively inexpensive) and are often charged on an honesty basis.
    • Prepare to adjust your body clock when you visit Spain. Due to the heat, a lot of Spain closes mid-afternoon for a couple of hours, re-opening about 4pm. Dinner often isn’t served until about 9pm and frequently you’ll find families out past midnight.