Posted by: vlibrizzi | July 23, 2009

Our Little List: What We Will and Won’t Miss about Spain

So, the other day, we crossed the border….



We said “Bonjour” to France






DSC_1018And we said “Adios, hasta luego” to Spain







And, as we were leaving, we got to thinking about the fact that we just spent almost three weeks in this country that we’ve been wanting to visit for years.

We reflected on our trip, and while we were doing so, we made a quick mental list of the things that we’ll miss most….and won’t miss at all….about Spain.  We tried to focus on the smaller, under-the-radar type of things that we might not have mentioned in all the other, city-by-city posts.

Here’s our little list for you.

Things we won’t miss about Spain: 

DSC_10941. Napkins. They don’t use real napkins. Instead, all the restaurants (especially the tapas bars) have these flimsy, non-absorbent paper things that you’re supposed to use to wipe your fingers. They’re not effective….really, they just smear things around more than actually cleaning things up. 

2. Bathrooms. For some reason, the Spanish don’t provide soap in their public bathrooms, or towels. I don’t think we went to one public restroom in Spain that actually had soap. And few had hand dryers. 

3. Standing. This is a nit picky thing, but sometimes, we just wanted to sit down in a tapas bar, and often, seats are hard to come by, if they exist at all. 

4. The Risk of Pickpockets.  All of the big cities have signs up warning you about the risk of theft.  Honestly, we didn’t take it that seriously — until C. was sprinting through the streets of Valencia trying to recover our camera.  Maybe we’re just innocent, but it felt quite a bit more secure in Languedoc. 


Things we will miss about Spain:


1. Prices. The gasoline, the food, and the drinks are all so affordable.  A beer or glass of wine at a tapas bar is rarely more than 2 euros.  And gas is about 30% less expensive in Spain than in France.  Unsurprisingly, when we crossed back into France, we noticed a gas station about 200 yards from the border that I’m sure gets a ton of French business!

2. The Late Night Culture. Everything gets started so late and finishes so late since the weather is so hot. It’s completely normal in Spain to see families with baby strollers walking around at 1 am. Heck, the restaurants and shops are still open and it’s cool outside, so why not?!?! Needless to say we love Paris, but the fact that the shops close at 7 or so is a bit of a drag.

3. Paradores. A few times during the trip through Spain, I blogged about the Paradores, which are old, historic properties (usually castles) that have been converted by the state into top-quality hotels.  Invariably, these feature beautiful terraces with amazing views.  What a great way for a country with so much history to put its oldest buildings to use!  It’s a great idea and one that other European countries could definitely employ.

4. Calimotxos, Tintos de Verano, and Sangrias. We spent many hot evenings looking for the best drink to cool us down, and will miss ordering all three of these favorites.  I guess it’s fair to say we love Spanish drinks that include wine!  A Calimotxo is just red wine and coke, and a tinto de verano is red wine with something like Sprite (they don’t have Sprite exactly over here), and sangria is, well, sangria!

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