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All posts from Spain

Welcome to Spain

Santiago, ES (View on map)
Posted 10 Nov 2007:

Another flag in the upper right corner of the website! I have arrived in Spain and will use the coming to weeks to report about what`s happening here. Starting with some statistics: Spain is the fourth largest EU country. It has roughly 40 million inhabitants and, in addition to that, a huge variable population of incoming tourists. During my travel through other European countries, I already learnt that Spain is a very popular holiday destination, especially in countries where sunshine is either liquid (Ireland in summer) or scarce for other reasons (Scandinavia in winter).... Read more

El Camino

Santiago, ES (View on map)
Posted 11 Nov 2007:

Year after year, thousands of pilgrims from all over the world arrive in Santiago de Compostela. Many of them fly in or come by car nowadays, but the traditional Camino de Santiago is to be completed on foot, by bike or on a horse. Signposted pathways stretching as far as Istanbul and Helsinki indicate the way to Santiago. Question of the day: why Santiago and why walk such a long way at all?... Read more

Poco Inglis

Salamanca, ES (View on map)
Posted 12 Nov 2007:

Before coming to Spain, the Portuguese warned me that speaking English in Spain is a tough mission. I am slowly finding out that they are right. The Spanish speak Spanish, and people who are able to communicate in English are scarce. Everybody can answer the question `do you speak English?` - most answer `poco` ? but that`s where the English part of the conversation usually ends. I`m trying to find out today how such an otherwise advanced country can do without foreign languages.... Read more

Smoking in Spain

Salamanca, ES (View on map)
Posted 13 Nov 2007:

While some countries in Europe are starting to consider smoking an undesirable activity, Spain is going strong. Instead of signs marking that smoking is prohibited, many bars proudly advertise that their visitors can smoke. `Se permite fumar` (you are allowed to smoke) is a wide-spread message, even though it`s usually followed by several health warnings. I wonder why smoking is so popular, and what people will do if smoking gets banned from pubs and restaurants.... Read more

Eat around the clock

Madrid, ES (View on map)
Posted 14 Nov 2007:

Stereotypes are not always desirable but they are oftentimes understandable. When Portuguese say that Spanish people fry everything they eat in oil, they are not entirely correct. Not everything is fried here, but close to everything is fried. Fish, potatoes, meat ? all of them often bathe in large quantities of olive oil before they get served. The Spanish even have special kitchen utensils to recycle oil. And no less than the Portuguese, the Spanish are very proud of their kitchen. Beside the fiesta culture, it`s one of the main sources of Spanish pride.... Read more

Entrance to the EU

Madrid, ES (View on map)
Posted 15 Nov 2007:

Every country has its immigrant population. The country of origin of foreigners differs by country, but they are likely to face the very same problems. They hardly ever manage to become part of the middle class. A small proportion of exceptions occupies management-level jobs, while the majority struggle to find their place in society. Situated close to Africa and having colonial links with South America, Spain is a very logical first place for many immigrants to find a better life.... Read more

!Viva la Fiesta!

Torrevieja, ES (View on map)
Posted 16 Nov 2007:

Although Spanish people love the sun, they do not like it everywhere and all the time. Whenever possible, they try to keep the sunlight from entering into their houses or offices. Every house is equipped with blinds, and people are happy to keep them closed to spend their days and nights in the dark. Somehow, all activities seem to take place in the dark, while the sun just invites people to be lazy. Spanish nights are famous around the world ? a good reason to ask around and see what happens after the sun sets.... Read more

Costa Blanca fun

Torrevieja, ES (View on map)
Posted 17 Nov 2007:

When talking about immigrants, and especially in current times, hardly anybody will first think of the English, German and Dutch. Things are different along the Costa Blanca. 80% of the population is of foreign origin, and for once they are not predominantly from Poland, Morocco, South America or China. The Western European refugees do show remarking similarities with economic and political refugees.... Read more

Social values

Murcia, ES (View on map)
Posted 18 Nov 2007:

Already within the first ten countries I have visited during this trip so far, I have found major differences in the way parents raise their children. In Scandinavia, parents teach their offspring how to live an independent life. In Spain and Portugal, kids are raised to behave as social human beings who seek each other`s company for the sake of being together. ... Read more

Giving and taking

Barcelona, ES (View on map)
Posted 19 Nov 2007:

Giving and receiving presents is a global way of expressing sympathy for family and friends. While most of the Western world exchanges presents for Christmas and for birthdays, Spain has some additional days that are used as an excuse to buy your friends or family a treat.... Read more

Sahara approaching

Barcelona, ES (View on map)
Posted 20 Nov 2007:

Barcelona has faced some extreme weather over the last decade. Unexpected snow, storms, floods, hail and drought, all following each other rapidly. Forest fires have almost become a tradition and aquaducts are needed to guide water from the mountains towards the farmlansds. Is it all a big coincidence or is this climate change at work?... Read more

Faites vos jeux!

Barcelona, ES (View on map)
Posted 21 Nov 2007:

The end of the year is a busy period in Spain. Beside the predominantly Catholic celebrations of Immaculate Conception (early December) and Christmas (late December), Spanish people eagerly await another event: The biggest lottery of the year on December 22nd. It is not an official holiday and people go to work as if nothing happens, but a massive amount of participants hope to end the day as millionaires.... Read more

Planning the future

Logro?o, ES (View on map)
Posted 22 Nov 2007:

In a country of traditions and family values, making plans for the future is not necessarily something people like to spend a lot of time on. Previous generations of Spaniards often saw the church and the family decide their life path for them. Increasing individualisation and diminishing attachment to catholic values now force young people to make more choices than ever. A good reason to ask people what they think they will do in five years from now.... Read more

Things Basque

Bilbao, ES (View on map)
Posted 23 Nov 2007:

The further enlargement of the European Union is a hot topic these days. What exactly defines the common heritage of Europe except its geographical position? How many more countries should be allowed in and which criteria do they need to match? Regardless of this complicated discussion, the EU may be forced to increase the number of participants when existing members split up. Scotland (UK), Flanders (Belgium) and Basque Country (France and Spain) are only a few of the regions cherishing independence dreams. Bilbao sounds like the perfect place to learn more about the Basque question in particular, and separatism in general.... Read more

Sporty Spain

San Sebasti?n, ES (View on map)
Posted 24 Nov 2007:

Every country has its favourite sports and for many countries in Europe, that favourite sport is football. The Primera Divisi?n is one of the leading European football leagues and many players can only dream of being recruited by one of the Spanish teams. But is there any other sport in Spain that can compete with the popularity of football?... Read more

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