There are so many things that I love about Spain but lets be realistic. There are also things that annoy or frustrate me.
Without being too negative I wanted to share some of the best and worst things about living in and traveling through Spain. I hope to not offend anyone, only highlight some of the realities of day to day life in Spain, in my experience.
This article wont get political but will take a light hearted look at some of the things I love about Spain and some of things I find annoying.
Things I love about Spain
– The fruit and veg in Spanish markets and shops are so fresh and tasty. You will mostly find seasonal produce that has been farmed only a few hours away so will be rich in natural flavours and last over a week in the fridge or cupboard.
– That most restaurants will allow customers plenty of time to relax at the table after a meal. It’s nice to not be rushed or allocated a set time to vacate the table. It’s not even frowned upon if you just want to stop for a drink and not order any food.
– Travel is so easy. You can hop on a fast train or long-distance coach. Then within 1-2 hours be enjoying a completely different city, landscape or food scene. Traveling through different regions of Spain offers so much variety.
– Public transport is cheap, comfortable and for the most part well run. There might be delays in more rural areas. Or it could get overcrowded in major cities during rush hour. However, it always clean and the prices are very reasonable.
– Local wines and draught beer can cost as little as €1-2. Imports are becoming more popular but you can’t beat a local bargain. An evening glass of wine or beer is perfect in the sunshine. Plus it’s always good to support local suppliers.
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– To graze on pinchos and tapas dishes in between main meals is the norm. Snacking and stretching out the day to enjoy longer evenings is great.
– That there are so many national and regional holidays. This allows healthy home/work life balance. Long, leisurely lunch breaks are also enjoyed as workers are encouraged to get away from the workplace.
– The fresh buttery pastries that are available in every supermarket, bar counter or café. It’s lovely to stop for breakfast or mid-morningr snack of pastries with a milky coffee.
– The many well maintained plazas and parks throughout Spanish cities and towns. There are plenty of benches to rest, water fountains to rehydrate and trees to provide shade from the sun.
– Spending chilled afternoons at a beachside chiringuito. The freshly cooked bbq seafood, cold beer, laid back vibes and sea views are awesome.
– That there are so many traditional style local shops in Spain. High streets in urban areas and towns will always have a butchers, a baker, a fruit & veg shop, a pharmacy. It’s nice that big all-purpose stores are not taking over and people still use the smaller independent shops.
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Things I find annoying about Spain
– Supermarkets sell fruit and vegetables in lots of plastic packaging. There is also a very strict rule that you cannot touch loose fruit and veg without wearing plastic gloves and using the little plastic bags. I feel this creates too much plastic waste. I never tie my bags in a knot so that I can keep them and re-use again on the next few shops.
– That you have to flag a waiter down when you need another drink, salt for the table or the bill. Bars and restaurants do get very busy. But as a hospitality professional myself, I know it’s not difficult to keep an eye on your tables and be more attentive.
– When people walk out in the road when it’s not safe. I have noticed a lot of impatience in Spain when waiting for a green man at road crossings. It’s kind of scary when a little old man or someone with young children steps out in front of fast-moving traffic right in front of you.
– Recycling is not taken very seriously. While local councils are trying to encourage people to separate their household waste into colour coded bins. I have found that all bins are filled with all rubbish and very little actual separation occurs, which is a real shame.
– When strangers expect you to know the answer to their random question and accost you instead of asking at a counter or a business employee.
– That bad graffiti and tagging is everywhere in Spain. It makes the city streets look untidy and gives a bad impression. Professional street art can add a lot of character but teens spray painting their name over and over again looks awful.
– There is hardly ever toilet paper in the toilets of bars and restaurants. I always carry a pack of tissues with me now.
– That you have to dodge dog poop when walking down the street. I’ve noticed that cities are adding more bins, warning signs about fines and most pavements are hosed down over night but its still pretty gross.
Do you agree or disagree with the things I love about Spain or find annoying? I’d love to hear your thoughts and personal experience in the comments box below ↓↓
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