Spain; widely known for its Flamenco dancing, bull fighting, beaches, sunshine and paella, it certainly delivers on all of those points but there is much more to Spain than the preconceived image that we all have of it.
The Spaniards have a saying ‘Spain is different’ and I would have to agree that I have definitely noticed some differences to Spain – although those differences are probably not what the Spanish meant when they coined their phrase!!
The Spanish are a loud and gregarious race, always ready to be sociable and more than happy to while away their time deep in animated conversation – usually in the middle of the market or shopping aisle it has to be said, which upsets hubby greatly!!
Weekends on the campsites are now noisy affairs and music features heavily. Trust me when I say that the Spanish music that we hear in the UK is the good stuff and there seems to be very little of it here. Now I know that it is all perception but please……give me Val Doonican or a rendition from Des O’Connor any day. The obviously very elderly crooner’s wailing away excitedly to the mad strumming’s of a Spanish guitar are never going to make it into my top ten of must listen to music!!
Second to music, alcohol seems to be a favourite pass time. It seems normal practice to enjoy a brandy chaser with coffee – not unusual I here you cry – well it is when its only 10am in the morning! The village square down in Benamoracarra – 10 minutes from us – is busy morning, noon and night. It is a pleasant enough little town and one that we normally only drove through, very slowly as drinking is not kept to the confines of the bars and you can never be too sure if anyone is going to step out in front of the car as you come around the corner. But since our local supermarket did away with its cash machine (no idea why as it seems a logical place to have one) we now have to use the one in ‘Bennie’. This means I have to run the gauntlet of stares and the descending silence as I step out of the car. It doesn’t help of course that we have an English plated car – the stares we get at that alone make you feel as though you have two heads – but of course I’m all blonde hair and very obviously ‘not from round ‘ere’.
That is not to say the Spanish are unfriendly as they are not. The more elderly amongst them can seem a little ‘prickly’ until you wave, smile and offer up a few ‘hola’s’ and then you are usually home dry. Not that we see much of them as our body clocks are on completely opposite settings. Hubby and I are usually up with the larks – sometimes even before (note to hubby 4.30am is not an acceptable time to get up!) and the Spanish are more happy in the twilight zone. Shopping in the day is a pleasure as there is pretty much no-one around: except the English and the Germans that is. Go out at night and it’s a different story, think Oxford Street the weekend before Christmas. We are normally tucked up in bed long before they have even got going for the day.
The best thing about the Spanish though is that they appreciate the importance of relaxation – except when driving; then they all become budding Fernando Alonso’s, which is another story for another post! No, the thing I like about them is that they know that life is to be enjoyed and that rushing around like a headless chicken is not conducive to enjoyment. The pace of life here is visibly more relaxed. You can see it in people’s faces, in their body language. In the UK we rush, heads down, not making eye contact lest it delay us from our busy lives. Here, they make time for each other, take pleasure in socialising and sharing. It’s nice and the energy given of is more positive and you can’t help but relax as well – unless you are hubby and are in the market of course and then it’s best just to stand back and watch as he obliterates old people and children alike who dare to dawdle in front of him – not one of his favourite places particularly as his wife tends to morph into one of the dawdlers as well.
There is plenty more I could say about Spain and I probably will in another post! but for now I will say that Spain for the most part is a relaxed place to live. Quirky, noisy at times, but true mañana in the sun!!