Following an interview by James Rhodes, a British concert pianist currently living in Madrid, I’d like to go through some “fun facts” about what is life in Spain.

Rhodes says:” I have no reason to lie when I tell you that everything is better in Spain” (you can read the whole interview here). Among other things, he mentions:

  • People walk slowly– Well, this may not be that true if we think about big cities (Madrid, Barcelona…), but overall yes, life is still a bit quiet in Spain. We usually walk everywhere, so we have the hance to meet people, chat a bit, have a coffee, beer…
  • Old couples hold hands– This is fun even for me, a native Spanish. Yes, old couples hold hands. Don’t they do it in other countries? What is the strange thing in doing this? Maybe you can give me some clues…
  • Eat croquetas– If you know something about Spanish food, you must know about croquetas. That delicious mixture of milk/broth, flour and any kind of ingredient (from garlic to ham, cod, spinach…), fried, that is crunchy outside and really tender inside… The kind of homemade cuisine that our grandmoms and moms do with whatever was left from the day before, but you can still eat at almost every bar and restaurant in Spain. Here you can see some recipes if you want to try!
  • A health insurance that costs €35/month– As you probably know, Spain has got Universal Health Coverage for all citizens, though every employed person pays for it through their salary. But private insurances are also reasonable (in general terms).
  • “the frankly alarming ability to insult one another”- Insults and bad words in Spain can have a positive connotation. We use them tos ay that something is extremely good, to tell someone they are the best, and to mention how lucky someone has been… If you want to learn more, click here.
  • Siestas and working more hours than any other European country at the same time. Yes, “siestas” still exist in Spain. Not everyday, not for everyona, not for too long, but specially in warmer areas, where there is not much you can do outside, we better take a nap. And it feels so good. But contrary to what it may seem, that does not mean we are lazy. According to a couple working associations, in Spain we work more hours than in most European countries…
  • I feel safe. And visible. And held. And welcome– This is a personal statement by James Rhodes, but when I sent his article to some of my former students, their response was the same: they felt welcome in Spain, they felt safe.

Picture by Caleb Stokes