After studying abroad in Barcelona, I had to return to Spain! The next summer, I studied abroad in Sevilla, located in Spain’s southern region. After experiencing Catalonia and Andalusia, my next step was doing an internship in the capital, Madrid. Every region in Spain is diverse and beautiful. These are the top five things I miss about Spain, but the list goes on…
1. The Spanish Lifestyle
Spain has a completely different way of life. They say people in Spain work to live while people in the U.S. live to work. Everything in Spain seems so much more relaxed and stress-free with their no pasa nada attitude. While living in Spain, I felt like I had so much time to do everything. Lunch at 3 pm… dinner at 11 pm. Plans can be made spontaneously while I feel like I have to schedule everything in the U.S. from a meeting to lunch with some friends. And don’t forget about the siestas!
2. Walking Everywhere
Most Spanish cities are very walkable. People are always out in the streets, no matter the time of day. It is not uncommon to walk 30 minutes, but when you are surrounded by beautiful architecture and breathtaking views, why travel any other way?
3. Easy Public Transportation
Everyone uses the public transportation in Spain, so there is no need for a car. I miss the transportation system in Madrid. I could pay 30 euros each month for an unlimited metro and bus pass that could take me to everywhere in the city and even to outside cities; exploring the city could not be easier. In the U.S., public transportation is only common in big cities such as New York. It’s so easy to take a bus or train to different regions in Spain, as well finding a cheap plane ticket to other European countries! Italy or France for the weekend? You name it.
4. The Food
Each region in Spain has a diverse gastronomy— Paella in Valencia, gazpacho (chilled tomato soup) in Andalucía, pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato) in Catalonia, etc. To tapear, going from bar to bar to eat different tapas, is popular among Spaniards and visitors. Tapas can be any type of small savory food— croquettes, calamari, ham, and cheese are popular Spanish tapas. What’s so great about tapas is that they are cheap and easy to share among friends. In Granada, tapas are always free and come with a purchase of any drink! There are many different stories of how tapas originated. One of them is that when the King of Spain arrived to a bar in Granada, the waiter would put a little piece of ham on the top of his drink to protect it from the dusty environment. The King liked this gesture which caused this tradition grow to all the bars in Granada and other cities in Spain.
5. The Fashion
Spaniards are so stylish. Hoodies, sweatpants, and sneakers are not often seen on the streets of Spain. No one wears workout clothes unless going to the gym, unlike the U.S. style to wear leggings in almost all occasions. My favorite Spanish clothing stores? Zara, Bershka, and Pull & Bear!
I miss Spain.