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The Definitive Guide to Behave Like A Local in Spain

The Definitive Guide to Behave Like A Local in Spain

Old Sep 30th, 2015, 11:03 PM
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But the Premios Max - the Spanish scenic art prize - winners 2015 Kukai Dantza from Rentería for sure is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrqCXqV7ES8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnfJkP7YKJM
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Old Sep 30th, 2015, 11:16 PM
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After 30+ trips to Spain, the info on chicken was still news for me.

But it does explain why there was never that much choice of chicken dishes when eating out with a friend who eats almost only chicken (some food issue re. beef, combined with a certain unwillingness to try other food).

The remarks on pintxos/tapas reminded me of a business trip to Madrid a few years ago.
We had been a group of people mostly from Northern Europe and North America. And met our Spanish hosts at around 8pm for some bar hopping.
People were having a good time, and consumed a LOT of tapas/pintxos at each bar.
And we quite surprised (and already full) when our hosts told them after two hours that we better hurry up because dinner was waiting at a restaurant.

Next time, our hosts had made arrangement with a nice restaurant/asador to open just for us early at 7.30pm and serve dinner at 8pm sharp. Now that was some weird experience to sit all by ourselves in the rather huge comedor - like having dinner in a ghost town with no one else around.



While I am usually a big fan of trains and public transport, it is really cool to do leisurely-timed road trips through Spain. And notice the changes not only in landscape but also culture when you move from one region to another.

I remember one late afternoon in Teruel (very very beautiful town, by the way) when we arrived starving - but in between 5pm and 9pm. In the historic town center literally no place to eat was still or already open. Not even a bar to get some tapas or bocadillos. There were many bars/cafes to have coffee or drinks. But no food whatsoever.
Until we found a Döner stand open in one of the side streets.
Probably not the most authentic Aragonese dish, but it saved our lifes
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 12:29 AM
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>>>You must have looked hard for this one. <<<

No, I simply did a google image search for "coca cola San Sebastian". Popped right up.

mikelg, sorry you haven't been feeling well if you haven't! Didn't mean to start an onslaught -- was just curious about local attitudes toward tourists who don't conform. But seriously -- people in flip-flops can be kind-hearted too!

I don't like the attitude from tourists that because they come and spend money, people like them. In the part of Italy where I live, a lot of Italians from wealthier towns spend time here, and spend a lot of money here, and while all the businesses cater to their desires, the culture they bring is not necessarily liked, nor are they liked when they display an attitude that their money entitles them to flaut local culture. The funny thing is that the put downs from the locals are often just the opposite of what mikelg has posted here -- they won't get out of their designer clothes, they won't accept any food innovations (but there is also a considerable amount of complaining they won't eat the local food and drink).

I think push back against tourists, second home owners, summer snowbirds, disrupting local culture is pretty universal, but without any consistency. When tourist women wearing saris walk through Italy (or Spain), I very rarely hear any put downs. People just think: Oh, that's what they wear! I am never surprised to see male Japanese tourists wearing jackets wherever they sit down to eat, even at the beach.

So something else is going on in the way people calculate their put downs of tourist behavior.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 12:31 AM
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<After 30+ trips to Spain, the info on chicken was still news for me>

But nowhere I have had more delicious and juicy chickens than in Spain, and I mean every time. Pick up a roast chicken and a salad from an Asador de pollos and set out for a picnic or bring home to your apartment, have never failed in neither San Sebastian nor Nerja. Or go to chicken heaven itself, Asturian Casa Mingo in Madrid, cider and roast chickens since 1888: http://www.casamingo.es/
Watch this video, and you're sold: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKnz_X4fkwM
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 12:49 AM
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I could forgive tourists most things, including over-tipping if they have to, but ice in drinks!

I guess if you don't like the taste or the "mouth feel" it would be a good way of dulling your mouth but why drink stuff you don't like.

Unless there is some sort of addiction process going on (excess sugar or alcohol perhaps).

Anyway, maybe the difference between tourists and travellers is tourists don't want to know and protect the local culture.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 01:32 AM
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When we were in Spain, we found it very hard to pass the hours between when the museums and shops closed, and the restaurants opened. If we had a hotel in the center, we could return there and take a little nap. But in Toledo, we were staying well outside the city, and parking spaces near the center were so scarce, we didn't want to drive back to our lodging (where there were no restaurants nearby) and then risk not finding a parking space at dinner time.

I hadn't noticed the lack of chicken on menus. I seem to remember having a soup that had chicken in it, though. The first time I was in Spain (in 1986) I can remember several restaurants meals of chicken. One was a tough old bird, that I told my kids must have been a racing chicken.

Italians very often mix their wine with water, or even just add a little wine to the water glass. At meals in people's homes, we often see that just one glass is provided, and people drink either just water or wine and water mixed. Where I live, a surprising number of people drink only water, never anything alcoholic. However, when having pizza, the beverages of choice around here are either beer or Coca Cola.

With regard to ice, I've never used it. When I lived in the US, a friend of mine used to bring a bag of ice to put in her bourbon when she dropped by for a visit, because she knew I never had any. I've read several of Mark Twain's European travel books and articles, and I was interested to see that well over 100 years ago, an American was already complaining about the impossibility of finding ice.

I don't think any tourists other than Americans worry about blending in.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 01:45 AM
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CowBoy

Your story reminds me of my first business trip to Barcelona. I arrived at hotel around 9 pm and found all restaurants closed, the place dull. When My boss arrived 1 hour later, I told her that we were too late and that everything was closed. she laughed and we went out - the street had been transformed into a very lively place, and customers were starting to arrive.

Didn't know about chicken either. I usually eat a lot of fish in Spain.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 03:48 AM
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IMDonehere...shorts, in fact. NF jackets are widely used by Spaniards on the street, but not the shorts...
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In the north I do not recall many Spaniards wearing shorts at all, except at beach areas.
__________________________________________________ _____
By the way, a last one...Sangría does not form part of the drinking culture of northern Spain.
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As noted above I always thought the same but our young cousins who live in and around Santiago, now think it is a hip drink.
_______________________

As far as chicken is concerned, there are few tapas with chicken but it is probably the most common entree. Other entrees vary according to the region, especially fish.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 05:23 AM
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Mikel says it is not common to put ice in water, not all drinks. But I am curious about Robert's remark that it would be difficult to find ice in bars and restaurants in the Basque country. Is there no gin and tonic obsession there like in many other parts of northern Spain?

Where there are gin and tonics, there is ice.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 06:48 AM
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Sandralist,

The foie gras with Coca-Cola sauce seems to be a hit now, even in Bilbao. In Los Fueros in Bilbao, they're serving a kalimotxo (the infamous Coca-Cola and red wine drink) emulsion on top of foie gras in their star pintxo - the so called Fualimotxo, and they even serve the Fualimotxo in Michelin star restaurant Etxanobe ;-) http://www.cocinatis.com/chefs/cocin...082700065.html
http://loquecomadonmanuel.com/2014/1...y-generosidad/
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 07:25 AM
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Ok

so let me amend my post :
- People who mix water with wine commit a major crime and should be crucified to teach them a lesson;
- people mixing wine with coca-cola should be beheaded, they have gone over the side already.

arrgh... we are already looking crossly at a guy who doesn't drink a Sauternes or Monbazillac, or at least a 'moëlleux' with a foie gras...
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 07:40 AM
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Spainards, and Basque, typically don't drink gin and tonics until after dinner (not before), and yes, the drink is served with a little ice. You don't want to water that good gin down too much!

The only restaurants I've seen coca-cola served are ones that deal with a lot of tourist, principally Americans, but I don't remember seeing any ice cubes in the glass, although the drink is served cold in most cases. And yes, when we've been out with a guest who asks for a coca-cola (not a Fanta) with their meal, the waiter always gives them a strange look.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 08:16 AM
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We drank kalimotxo years ago when only "green" wine was available during fiesta, but today kalimotxo is what teens tend to consume, and the headaches will kill you.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 08:21 AM
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< a guest who asks for a coca-cola (not a Fanta) >
Isn't this a distinction without a difference?

<I don't think any tourists other than Americans worry about blending in.>
Good for us Americans, then! (Although I don't agree entirely with the statement.) I repeat that the desire to blend in, however imperfectly, is a sign of politeness, and also indicative of a willingness to have and to learn from a new experience. How dull to go everywhere eating and wearing the same things one does at home in exactly the same way! Why not make an effort to adjust to one's environment? Doing so does not in the least indicate insecurity but rather the opposite, no?
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 09:06 AM
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Kimhe, I was in Los Fueros the other day...the owner is a friend of mine...and the Foielimotxo is a major hit!!

Funny many of you did not notice about chicken in restaurants...most of my visitors ask for chicken and when they receive a negative answer, they kind of look very puzzled...
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 09:33 AM
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Interesting insight from a local. I did not know that about chicken. I just love ice in my drink especially during the hot Spanish summers, and when I have a hangover there is no better remedy than a cheeseburger and a coke with ice!
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 09:44 AM
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"Spainards, and Basque, typically don't drink gin and tonics until after dinner (not before), and yes, the drink is served with a little ice.

That's a shame. You should try it. A GinTonic on a 100-degree afternoon in Toledo is pretty damned refreshing. We also drank them before dinner on occasion (I guess behaving like a local just isn't for me). I had my fair share of ice in my GinTonics, and more than my fair share of gin. I also liked the addition of fruit (healthy drinking).

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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 09:49 AM
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Mikel - your visitors probably ask for chicken because it's recognizable and safe, unlike "dangerous" rinones or other mystery meat. Here in the US chicken is also considered a cheap meat served at a lot of banquets because of that. We have been going to Spain for over 50 yrs, lived there for 20, and this last June noticed that every single male Spaniard was wearing shorts, something one never saw even though we were in a beach area. TG one doesn't see that in Madrid.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 09:59 AM
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Bedar, nothing against shorts...I was referring to those shorts that seem more appropriate for a Desert Storm operation!!
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 10:01 AM
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Cafe con leche gets you the best drink in the world. Strong coffee in a glass topped with a small amount of hot milk.

If we are going to widen this out Spanish Architecture has been wiping the floor with what Italy has offered over the past 20'years.

"The only restaurants I've seen coca-cola served are ones that deal with a lot of tourist, principally Americans"

Are there any which cater for Americans? I've been to Spain over 50 times in the past 30 years, never once encountered a septic. As opposed to Tuscany where you can hear then from three restaurants away.
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