05 Nov 2010

Reflections of Spain

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I got back from Spain late Wednesday night and even if it was work all day long and not really any time to explore the country I just want to share some of my reflections that I have after my first visit ever to this nice country.

  • I say first visit even though I’ve been to Mallorca (one of the Balearic Islands east of the mainland) twice, since Spanish people don’t consider the islands to really be a part of Spain even if they are. =)
  • The taxi drivers in Madrid drive like maniacs (at least a lot of them).
  • The tempo in general has a manaña (tomorrow) feeling to it, except for the taxi drivers then, who seem to be in a rush.
  • There is a security check, like the ones at the airport, at the train station too. I think it’s due to the terrorist threat.
  • Speaking of trains the high speed train between Madrid and Valladolid only takes just under an hour, travelling up to 240 km/hour. Going the same distance by car takes 2.5 hours. Why is it that we don’t have high speed trains in Sweden?
  • Your allowed to smoke at restaurants in Spain, at least until January 2nd 2011. Since it’s been illegal to smoke in restaurants and bars in Sweden since 2005 this felt weird and kind of discusting.
  • We had the opportunity to try tapas. Tapas is a small apertizer or snack that are very famous in the Spanish cousine. Only in Valladolid there are over 30 different tapas restaurants and the concept is that you walk in, order a glas of wine or a beer and one or maybe two tapas dishes (each place is often famous for a specific dish and that’s the one most people order). Most of the places only have standing tables where you stand up eating before you leave and go to the next place. There are tapas restaurants in Sweden too but it doesn’t work quite the same in Spain. In Sweden there is always a sit down dinner where you order in a number of tapas dishes. Another thing that amazed me was the fact that it was perfectly accepted to throw your serviette on the floor once you were done eating.
  • You can of course go and have a sit down dinner at a restaurant too but they wouldn’t serve you before 9 pm so many people choose to go bar hopping having tapas in between work and dinner. In some parts of Spain you get a tapa for free when you order a drink.
  • It’s not only dinner that is served later in Spain, lunch is too. You normally have lunch sometime between 1pm and 3pm.
  • The wine from the Valladolid wine region is really nice, try it if you get the chance. The red wine is called Ribera de Duero and the white Rueda.
  • The traditional Spanish bullfighting is a very weird form of entertainment/sport. We didn’t go see it but we did have a long discussion about it and I just can’t understand the joy in tormenting and killing animals like that just for the fun of it.
  • There is some beautiful architecture in the country.
  • The early November weather was VERY nice, 17-19 degrees and sunny during the day (not that we got to enjoy it since we were inside all day but still).
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