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Spain



spanish landscape The first thing to remember about travelling in Spain is that Spain runs on its own time zone. If a bus is scheduled to arrive at 3:30pm, this is more of a rough guideline as to when it will show up. Although frustrating at times for the backpacker, this laid back approach to life is also one of Spain's most appealing qualities.

The Spanish people are friendly, easy-going and, on the whole, are both tolerant and accomodating towards travellers. Spain relies heavily on the tourism industry and this reliance has helped to foster a welcoming atmosphere for foreigners.

The discerning traveller will not enjoy the tourist traps of Costa Del Sol (The Sun Coast), Benidorm and the likes. These hot spots, although the highlight of many glossy tourist brochures, merely aim to please the package holiday crowd and, as a result, have effectively recreated Britain in a hotter climate. Instead, take advantage of Eurail and explore inland. You will avoid the red lobster "tourists" and get a feel for the real Spain.

Due to the often scortching hot weather of midday, the Spanish have developed "La Siesta". Instead of working during the hottest part of the day, the Spanish take a nap. Siesta time starts around 11am and continues for a couple of hours. Depending on where you are, Siesta time can run as late as 3 or 4pm. This is important to remember when backpacking. Plan your arrival to avoid Siesta as most shops and hostels will be closed during this time.

The benefit of the Siesta for travellers is that most everything in Spain runs late. Most families eat around 8 or 9pm, bars get busy by 11pm and clubs only open at 1am. This can lead to bedtimes of 6 or 7am. In fact, night-life is an integral part of the Spanish culture - from music and entertainment to full blown fiestas, the party scene is unlikely to disappoint.


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