Things That Are Different In Spain

Beds– bed sizes do not seem to be as standardized here as they are in the states. Twin beds are sometimes the size that we are accustomed to, but sometimes they are considerably more slender. And mattresses tend to be much firmer, and sometimes, it seems, we end up sleeping on box springs.

Pillows– pillows are generally firm, but thinner and longer than those at home. They stretch across the entire width of a twin bed. Sometimes a double or queen size bed will have a single pillow that spans the width of the bed.

Bathrooms– often hotel and hostel bathrooms will have bidets, sometimes not. Often there are shower curtains or doors, sometimes not. Usually there is shower gel and hand soap. Sometimes there is shampoo, sometimes not. Almost always, the bathroom light switch is outside the bathroom, so you have to turn it on before you enter the bathroom.

Business hours– Some businesses have posted hours. Most do not. When they do have posted hours, these should be seen as just a suggestion, they may or may not actually be open during those hours. Most businesses will close for afternoon siesta. Afternoon siesta hours vary, it may start as early as noon or as late as 4 pm, and may last from 1 to 3 hours. Most businesses are open on Saturdays and closed on Sundays and fiesta days.

Breakfasts– eggs often appear on the dinner menus but are rarely available at breakfast time. Pancakes, waffles, and French toast are unheard of. Spanish breakfast is toast or pastry, coffee, and orange juice, and occasionally may include a shot of liquor to start the day off right!

Mealtimes– Spaniards eat dinner at 8:00. Unless a restaurant is specifically catering to pilgrims, it is closed from 3:00 to 7:00. Some of the bars that serve breakfast do not open until 9am.

Hotels – hotels are mostly small family run businesses. Sometimes the hotel is just on one floor of a multi-use building, so you have to have them buzz you in, then you take the elevator to the correct floor to find the reception desk. Checking in is a rather casual affair. If you have a reservation you just tell them your name, they ask for your passport and record your serial number and they hand you a key or show you to a room. You have to come back to the desk in the evening to pay your bill because there may not be anyone at the desk when you check out in the morning.

Architecture– there is not a lot of wood in Spain, the old growth forests were cut down centuries ago. What Spain does have, in abundance, is stone. So almost all the buildings are constructed of stone or bricks. Sometimes new buildings are put up on very old foundations. It some towns areal effort has been add to preserve the Medieval character, so they will preserve the ancient wall facing the street, but all the rest of the building is brand new.

Flowers- walking across Spain in September and October, I have seen lots of flowers in bloom. Some of which I have always thought of as Spring blossoms. The mountain meadows were full of purple crocuses, and today I saw Easter lilies in someone’s yard.

Wine– wine is cheap, as cheap or cheaper than drinking water, or soda, or beer. The house wine is almost always locally produced and usually quite good.

Accountability– many bars have TV sets showing the news throughout the day. I only understand a little of what ┬áis being said, but I am sure that I saw some very rich and powerful bankers being taken off to jail.

Utilities– electricity is considered to be expensive here and therefore used somewhat sparingly. Many hotels hang their linens out on a clothes line rather than use an electric dryer.