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Hola!

that is a long question you must think. And you are right. I am still figuring out how to position the questions in the headline. Tips are welcome. Heck some of you really have complicated way to express your doubts and questions… But I love it.wondering-about-waking-up

Nevermind. To the point.

A great question that I enjoy in all its different versions. The relaxed but still intense lifestyle in Spain is indeed something that surprises foreigners a lot.

First of all: it is true. It is not a rumour.

Some of the reasons:

1) We do sleep less
2) We start to work later
3) We make more breaks
4) We need longer for most things (not always a bad thing).

Bottom line: yes, we are more relaxed.


Here comes an average day of a Spaniard living in a major city (which might be the closest it can get to American lifestyle).

desayuno de churros y cafe 7 to 8
Wake up call. Rush in the bathroom. Breakfast honours the second part of the word: fast, faster, Spanish breakfast. Most of the time it is a bite and dark coffee. It might be in your own home or downstairs in the cafetería. Nothing beats churros at that time.

8 – 9
Get to work. Bus, car, tube, train… Maybe a quick stop on the way for a coffee? If you work in a store, you start towards 9.30 or 10.


11 – 12
We take a break. Coffee, maybe churros (delicious grasy and sweet. Sort of the sinful version of doughnouts) , a fruit if you are on the healty side.


14-16
Lunch break. We go out and most often have a proper meal. And yes, we most of the time have a glass of wine with lunch. A healthy habbit if you ask me. The lucky ones manage to get home, eat, have a 30 min nap and go back to work. That is what we call “siesta”. My father did tis programm all his life. Or you do like a good friend of mine, who lived too far from work to go home, but had it quite close to his mothers place. He had the luxury of eating at mums for half his career.


La sobremesa de los tertulianos16 – 19
Afternoon session. If you have a meeting, there goes the afternoon. Take it easy. Have a coffee. A “cortado” (a cut coffee), which is an expresso with a tiny bit of milk.
Or have a “cafe con leche” if you are less in a hurry.

19 – 21
Go back home. Kick off your shoes. Or have a glass of wine with friends or colleagues after work. Do some shopping if need be, or if you did not get to it during lunch break. Or put your kids to bed if you have any… Or you start preparing dinner…

21-22
Dinner. We love cooking. The cocooning trend happens in Spain often in the kitchen. I call it “Cookooning”. But if there is something we love equally as much is going out for dinner. Either or, the whole procedure happens most often as of eight or nine in the evening, and goes till midnight, and is accompanied by wine and a good conversation.


22-24
Having una copa de vino tinto de sobremesaWhat we call “sobremesa”, meaning “over-table”. We keep seated and talk talk talk. Or tell jokes or, yes, lets be honest, we watch television. At more or less midnight we go to bed. The rest is rest.


Having said all of this: We also have commuters, half day workers, single parents and all sorts of byproducts from a high speed globalized world. And yes, we are getting more and more influenced by other cultures and countries (I call it the tupperware-effect).

Maybe that is why I try to share a bit of Spain with the world. Who knows, maybe we end up saving some of the relaxed attitude. Want to give me a hand and spread the word?

Or jusy try to do it and get back to me with your feedback. In the meantime, I will finish my glass of The Spanish Quarter red wine and go to bed. It will soon be 1 o’clock. But don’t worry, my first meeting starts at 10. I think I will sleep in and blame it on the traffic ;-).

Salud!

Francisco

Hola!

to be honest: this is not – in its exact formulation – among the top ten of the FAQ I get. I chose it as the first “Francisco Answers” post for a simple reason: I liked it.

First of all, I am afraid many of you have not had the pleasure of getting to know any of both “Siesta” or “Gazpacho”. A shame that we need to correct. Here come the definitions.


GazpachoGazpacho:

A cold soup made out of vegetables, most of it tomatoes. It contains also cucumber, pepers, onions, olive oil and of course garlic. I will not reveal all ingredients or details. Especially, I won’t reveal the secret recipe from my mother. Maybe in another ocassion. It is a traditional dish in Andalucía, especially popular in the long and warm summer season. Do not be surprised if you find small bits of vegetables or “croutons” (congratulations to my fellow Frenchman: They made it again, they managed to give an exquisit and unpronounceable name to a simple piece of bread cut in a cube). Find more about it in wikipedia, or even better, in a visit to Spain! Ah: don’t try to find my mothers recipe in Wikipedia. Won’t be that easy ;-)


Siesta:

One of our most successful panish exports. Rightly so. Also, one of the words that Spain has made universally understandable. It is a Siesting on the jobshort nap (at least meant to be short ;-) in the early afternoon. As you know, we love to eat rich lunches. After a Spanish lunch, especially in many of the warmer months we enjoy, your body screams for a small rest. Give it to him! It is deserved. After all, you need to digest, realax and get ready for the rest of the day. Take a nap and then sip a “cafe cortado” (Please remind me that we need to talk about coffee on a separate post). Mi querida Wikipedia has a pretty good english definition of Siesta, which I recommend if you really want.


So what is the bottom line?
Quite simple. And this is one of the reasons why I liked the question: Honestly, why choose when you can have it all? Gazpacho is perfect in the summer, so is Siesta. Siesting. Siestify your life!My true recommendation is: Eat Gazpacho for lunch as a first dish. It will refresh and calm your appetite in the warm season. Have it along with a glass of “The Spanish Quarter” Chardonnay-Albariño, equally refreshing, crisp and tasteful. Once you finish lunch, have a Siesta. Make it a habit. 30 minutes. Believe me, once you start, you will love it. And pass it on! It is your mission. “Siestify” your environment a bit. Maybe this won’t help us making this a better planet, but definetly a little bit more relaxed…

Salud!
Francisco