I have lived in Spain over half of my life. I would not be there if I didn’t love it.
Spain is a vast country, and very varied in its culture and climate. From the far flung north with its mountainous winter snow. To the sun baked beaches of the south. My favourite region? Honestly, Catalunia. Barcelona being its capital city. But hey that’s just me, I lived in the south for more moons than I care to share. Its where I fell in love with my now fiancé, and were we started our business, and so much more ….
Anyway, you want to know why I consider Spain to be one of the best countries to visit, well here are my top 5 reasons:
1 – The Climate:
Vast in range. The south hones a baking dry heat, almost hotter each summer, with lovely mild sunny winters. Fine if you like the heat, but I much prefer a milder climate, such as that in Catalunia. There the temperature is more akin to the south of France. Winters are cool, but not prolonged. And the summer sun is kinder to the skin.
So the choice in climate is very varied, but over all warm. Obviously the further towards the equator you go – the hotter it is.
2 – The Relaxed Pace:
Spain has a very relaxed attitude to life, which I find very healthy. Madrid perhaps being the exception, there the city races, much like most others. But for the rest its very laid back. The further you venture into country side towns and villages the more laid back they are.
The Spanish outlook on life is a happy one too. They are a people content with their lot. Cheerful, and positive. On the whole that is …
3 – The Food:
Olive Oil. Fruit. Salad. Cured hams. And the sea food … Madre Mia ! From the humble tortilla, or revuelto, to salmorejo and solomios …. I love the Spanish Mediterranean diet. My body craves it if I am away from the country too long.
You are pretty much guaranteed freshly prepared produce from the kitchen of any Spanish restaurant. They never really did get into the whole processed food game. Which is just grand! Spain is very up and coming in its attitude to the gourmet side too, with word class restaurants now up and down the country. I have even heard Gordon Ramsay say that he sends his budding young chefs to Spain for a stint in a kitchen. For these very reasons.
Fresh strong coffee. Spain has over 20 different coffees, each served in a different variety of glass or cup. And the way they operate the commercial coffee machine is a joy to watch. “Solo con hielo en vaso” is my preference ! Starbucks could seriously learn a thing or too at a Spanish coffee machine !
And then, inevitably, there is the wine … MMmmm, yes I do like a drop of Ribera ! Always with olives however. And the Spanish olives are not only plentiful, they are sublime … accompany that with sheep’s cheese and jamon bellota … oh my mother, a party has begun …
4 – The Language:
I always say in English you talk, but is Spanish you sing. it’s a seductive language. And very easy to learn as it’s a small vocabulary, and the pronunciation is mainly phonetic. The only sticky part being the vast amount of verbs … you will know what I mean if you have ever tried to learn Spanish. However if you can get your head round just three of them – “the direct – past, present, and future” you will get along quite well. And, the Spanish people are only too happy to help!
There is another part to the “language barrier” that I really enjoy. I feel it serves as a sort of fence around your own personal space. An actual barrier if you like, for those, like me, who prefer their own company over a noisy throng.
5 – The diversity of the population:
The cosmopolitan value in the areas of Spain I have lived is one of my favourite aspects. So diverse. From the personal fashion preferences, to the colour of peoples skin. I love the mix of cultures. I love the inherent deep feelings of respect, and freedom of expression, that tend to exist within populations of mixed of nationalities. And you get to learn so much from other cultures too.
Obviously not all of Spain is multi cultural. If you go into the rural townships, or the northern provinces there you will find the vast majority of the inhabitants are very Spanish.
So there it is. Just a few words on why I still think Spain is the best country to visit. Viva Espana !