Ride The Flavour (en)

Cultural mingle-mangle n°1 : Spain

Aug. 3rd | 0 comments

Way of life

The Spaniards come to life after nightfall, once freshness has spread. In the small village of Portman, at 23h, toddlers as young as 10 years were still playing in the park. However, before 9am, there is not a soul.

– In general, schedules are evenly moved forward: the “comida” (lunch) is around 3pm. Stores close usually between 2pm and 4pm, sometimes even between 3pm and 5pm. The “cena” (dinner) comes at 11pm.

– Vincent and Sylvie explained to us that the Spaniards are very manic when it comes to their dining room. It must at all costs remain absolutely neat, ready to serve for special occasions. During an informal visit, you can come and go as you please, except in the dining room.

Tapas are an extremely valuable institution. Many bars, especially in Andalusia, serve a portion of tapas for every drink ordered. You can therefore wine and dine, and only pay the wine !

– In Spain, the cheese is usually eaten as an appetizer.

– The tradition in Spain is to offer gifts to children for Epiphany, not Christmas. Unfortunately, this tradition gradually disappears under the pressure of consumer society…

Organization of the country

– The country is divided into 17 autonomous communities, themselves divided into one or more provinces. The province of Madrid alone constitutes the autonomous community of Madrid. On the contrary, Andalusia is divided into eight provinces.

The economic crisis
If we’re talking about it, it’s because the Spaniards are talking about it. A lot.

– The crisis in Spain is not only in the news : with almost everyone we met, the subject is put on the table. Clear evidence: many of our hosts do not have a job.

Real estate in Spain looks completely messed up. In every city we cross, throngs of signs “Se vende” (it sells) or “If alquila” (it is rented) parade in the streets. Someone who wants to buy a house in Spain would be spoiled for choice: there is much more supply than demand… So naturally the prices are very low.


– Eudald, our first Spanish host, told us that the recycling system in Spain was not quite good. It is apparently easy to sort in the cities, but as soon as one moves away and go to the countryside, it becomes much more complicated: there are too few recycling bins. Also according Eudald, only 10% of Spaniards really sort their waste.

– One of our hosts, Jose, used to work in renewable energies and explained that the State has cut funding and that there was currently no developments in this area.

The 4 private companies that manage the Spanish power grid do not even buy electricity produced through renewable ways (especially wind and solar) to private individuals. According to José, their goal is to keep the grip on the country’s electricity, but is this problem external to the crisis? Could these companies afford to lose even an ounce of their market?


– Spanish fashion? Build a house and then copy it again and again on km2 until a suitable block takes shape. The coast is entirely built on this pattern: a succession of “urbanizaciones”, each showing off their rows of twin houses.

Foreign Influences

– We regularly see advertisements for real estate companies written in Russian. Apparently, many Russians come in Spain, looking for the heat they lack at home. Ester told us that neighbors had been visited by Russians who were offering to buy their home, backing up their rhetoric by opening a briefcase full of cash.

There is no town without its Chinese market “Chino Market”. One of our hosts made ​​shoes in Elche, a city where shoe manufacturing is traditionally the main economic activity. He told us that the Chinese had settled and are now selling similar shoes, but made ​​in China and therefore less expensive than those made in Spain. These Chinese shoes are not of good quality, but apparently the price is more than ever the deciding factor…

Cycling could be the second national sport! (after football of course)

– We met a looooot of cyclists, of all ages and always equipped as professionals.

– Without exaggeration, in Spain there are many bike shops as bakeries in France.


– We regularly see such signs: “Precaución, tramo of concentración of accidentes” (“Warning, stretch of high accident concentration”). A warning that sound as a “Be ready, you will die.” Excellent to build confidence.

– The Spanish girls seem to be much less hung-up than the French to get topless at the beach …

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