I must say, I do think I could get used to many (if not all) aspects of the Spanish lifestyle. It’s been absolutely fascinating to see so many similarities and differences between my life in the States and here.
WARNING: I am probably NOT going to dispel any stereotypes you may have about Spaniards.
This is because every day in Granada, the majority of shops, cafes, and businesses start to close down around 1:30. By the majority, I mean over 80% of the aforementioned, if not more. At this time, everyone starts heading back to their homes for the large meal of the day, lunch. This is usually a two course meal, much like what we have for dinner. Although the specific time varies, most families eat between 2:00 and 3:30pm. This meal is followed by a siesta. Now, not everyone actually takes a nap, and choose to just rest or spend some time with their kids (they all come home from school), but many, including Jesus, our “Padre”, do take a quick nap.
Unfortunately, my classes are from 4:00-8:00pm this month, so my siesta gets cut a bit short (this sentence even makes me laugh). While this may seem like a horrible schedule to many in the States, it’s actually almost perfect. The perfect schedule would probably be 5:00-9:00pm, so I could get more of siesta!! This is because after having the large meal during the day, “supper” isn’t until 9:00 or 9:30, and is very light, rarely consisting of more than soup, some bread, or another small snack-like meal.
Perhaps my favorite thing about Granada though is that all of the cafes/bars/restaurants serve complimentary tapas with the purchase of an alcoholic beverage. No matter what time of day (until they are closing, of course), no matter what round your group is on, you get a delicious snack to go along with your drinks. How civilized!! So far, I’ve had everything from olives, to fried sardines (bones and all, actually delicious), to deviled eggs, homemade coleslaw with ham, breads, cheeses, meatballs, and everything in between.
Therefore, every night around 9:00pm the tapas bars start to fill with groups of friends and couples mingling and milling about the town. It actually feels a lot like Charleston to me, with everyone strolling the streets, stopping to chat with friends before heading into restaurants. If it was up to me, and I hadn’t already paid for three meals at home, I wouldn’t ever worry about heading back for dinner! Two or three glasses of wine with tapas is more than sufficient to fill the smaller meal of the day, and you head back home around 12:00 (you’d be surprised how time flies!!).
But don’t worry, as the week goes on 12:00 (midnight) gets earlier and earlier. The Spanish really are night-owls. I’ve never seen anything like it. Families, young and old, everyone is out at this time. The entire day is just shifted a few hours. On the weekends, the night begins with tapas bars, switches to “regular” bars around midnight, then the dancing scene starts around 2:00 or 2:30, with people staying out until 5:00 or 6:00am on average. But don’t worry, they usually stop for a breakfast snack on the way home!!
So as you can probably guess, I typically wake up between 9:00 and 10:00am (later on the weekends), and have time to do my homework, go to a café for a small coffee, and even grab a quick siesta before lunch. It’s wonderful. Most of the time here (for locals and students alike) is spent wandering the beautiful streets, stopping in random cafes for a coffee, beer, or wine accompanied by some tapas when you feel like it. Like I said, I could get used to it.