Spain - In A Nutshell
For tourists Spain is famous for its flamenco dancers and bullfights. For people looking for a place to retire overseas, it has much more to offer. The spanish architecture often shows a mix of europena and Moorish style. Natural beauty, perfect beaches, cave paintings, renaissance cathedrals and unique museums, there is a lot to do and see for everyone. Spring, fall and early summer are very pleasant here, though summers are hot.
Spanish is the regional language of Spain, although Basque, Catalan (Valenciano), Galician, Aranese are regionally used. English is also widely spoken in the tourist areas at the mediteranean coast.
An introducion to spanish names: Fernando Antonio Hernández Iglesias is addressed as Señor Hernández (Mr Hernández), Ines María Álvarez Rodríguez is adressed as Señora Alvarez (Mrs. Alvarez) or even more polite as Doña Alvarez.To sum up, if a man named Fernando Antonio Hernández Iglesias marries a woman named Ines María Álvarez Rodríguez, their child Manuel would be named Manuel Hernández Álvarez, more likely than not. In Spain, spanish women upon marrying, do not change their surnames.
To greet someone, a handshake will do the job. Take a small gift along when visiting someone’s house. Save the flowers for special occasions. Dinner is generally taken very late in the night. People wear casuals most of the time. Men are expected to wear jackets at some restaurants. Swimsuits should be confined to the pools and beaches. Recently a ban has been applied on smoking in public places.
Shopping in Spain
Shops open quite early in the morning and stay open late in the evening. In the afternoon from 1pm to 5pm, the smaller ones are closed for lunch or siesta. Porcelain and leather goods are famous and they will be good gifts for friends and family members back home. Bills are to be paid along with the service charges, so tipping is a matter of gratitude.
Electricity in Spain
Voltage is 220 volts and frequency is 50 Hz, the plug-ins are the same as in the rest of continental Europe.
Getting To Spain
IBERIA is the national airline of Spain. British Airways and Iberia had signed an agreement to merge, which makes the combined operation the 3. largest commercial airline in the world by revenue. Many other low-cost airlines offer services in the country. There are nearly thirty international airports in Spain, out of which Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante and Malaga are the most busiest.
Madrid airport, located at 13km away from the city has a good bus service every fifteen minutes. Underground service also works to transport passengers to their destinations. Other facilities offered at this airport are duty free shops, bank, restaurant, tourism information, and hotel reservations.
Barcelona´s airport is very close to the city, situated at a distance of 3 km only. Buses are available every 15 minutes and trains are available every 20 minutes. Taxis are available throughout the day. Duty free shops, restaurants, bank, car hire and tourism information are available here.
There is a good network of roads connecting Spain north to south. Toll booths are installed in some parts of the country. Carrying few Euros will help smooth sailing at the toll booths. If driving one’s private car, it would be better if the travel insurance covers medical costs too. Carrying a medical kit can prove to be of some help.