Go for Tapas
One of the many delights of living in Spain is the food. The Spanish are known worldwide for their tapas (small appetizer style dishes) and with good reason. What started out as a way to cover patrons’ glasses of Sherry to keep the flies out has evolved into a whole dining experience full of exquisite tiny meals.
On my lunch breaks (which were three hours long) and at dinner with co-workers and friends, I explored a different tapa every day until I had a long list of personal favorites… Solomillo al Whisky—pork tenderloin in a whiskey and garlic sauce, wins as personal favorite number one.
Spaniards, and in particular Sevillianos in the south of Spain where I was based, are very social people. I learned my now-fluent Spanish in Seville and it has served me well, leading to opportunities later on in Costa Rica, Cuba, and Mexico.
Take up Flamenco Dancing
Whether you want to learn it or just watch it, southern Spain is the birthplace of Flamenco and rich in chances for both. Most days you can hear Flamenco guitar music rebelliously stomping its way out of bars and dance studios all over the city. Apart from being a fantastic workout, taking a class is a great way to be interactively involved in a huge part of Andalucian culture.
Although Spain is such a wonderful country that you will be hesitant to leave, even for a few days, its proximity to other European destinations make it an ideal base for travel-minded folks. It is hard to pass up the chance to visit Paris, Venice, Casablanca, and Lisbon when they are so close. I regularly took weekend trips (and sometimes day trips) to cities all over Europe without having to dig very far into my pockets. Trains and inexpensive airlines within Europe make intercontinental travel very affordable.
Spain is the motherland of big scale, internationally famous festivals. Among some of the most well-known are the April fair in Seville; Las Fallas (a huge fire festival where massive effigies and sculptures are burnt in unison) in Valencia; La Tomatina (a festival dedicated to the tomato) in Buñol; and, of course, the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona.
With so many things to do (not to mention the abundance of sunshine and wine), living in Spain is something I would do over again in a heartbeat.
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