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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 Oct 1st, 2015, 10:08 AM
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13- Coffee to go is hard to get in most places. Spaniards don´t eat on the street and we don´t drink coffee on a paper cup (except maybe in some areas of Madrid and Barcelona). We like to sit down for a coffee in a china cup.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 11:05 AM
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"A Desert Storm operation". Huh ? Shorts are not worn for desert operations. You must be thinking of the British in Cairo.
Hey, you can get and could get Coca-Cola everywhere, even at Horchers in Madrid. The fact that ice was hard to come by was simply because restaurants didn't have ice-making machines.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 11:35 AM
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I think it's great to sample the local cuisine when you travel. However, trying to dress like the locals strikes me as delusional. There's no way most people could "fit in" dress wise in a different country. You'd pretty much have to buy your clothes there, and, even more important, get your hair cut there.

Anyway, I don't see how trying to imitate the dress of a country you're visiting equates with "showing respect". Do you think it's disrespectful of the USA if a woman from India visits wearing a sari? Should a French man visiting New York order some clothes from L.L. Bean first?

I wear the same things when I travel that I wear when I'm at home and I don't think I've ever been disrespectful. Respect is not about what you wear, as long as it's decent and clean; respect is about how you behave.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 01:39 PM
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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.-

I have not spent a lot of time in the Basque country but for the rest of northern Spain... I have seen the locals drinking gin and tonics after lunch, before dinner, after dinner... and not always with a little ice. Sometimes with a lot of ice. And always a lot of gin. It's pretty impressive, actually.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 02:27 PM
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Mikel, Los Fueros it shall be! (and of course a few more places on a Sunday txikiteo).

But what is this new and huge GT thing in Spain all about? And old favourite of mine every now and then, but now they seem to be everywhere. Was in a very local restaurant in Malaga a few weeks ago, and everybody - even the small grey/blue-haired and very correct ladies - had a huge Gin and Tonic in front of them after the meal. Oysters and conchas finas was washed down with GTs in the food market at Saturday lunch. And you couldn't ask for a ginebra con tonica in the most basic bars in Barcelona without feeling like an idiot because they of course had both some five-ten gins and tonics to choose from. La crisis?
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 02:51 PM
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Kimhe - Gin is not a new thing in Spain. The big brand was Larios (main street of Malaga), but there were also many other nasty brands about. The prestige drink was "guiski", otherwise known as whisky. Dyc was the nasty brand there.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 10:33 PM
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Bedar,
Have had my fair share of GTs in Spain the last 30 years, but what's going on now is something new. "As Spain goes wild for the gin tonic...": http://www.cntraveller.com/recommend...-bars-in-spain

The Malaga newspaper Diario Sur dates the almost frantic GT renaissance to 2011: http://www.diariosur.es/20110217/loc...102161930.html

A few weeks ago in Malaga, we stayed 10 meters from the first pure GT bar in Malaga, Gin Tonic Bar from 2010 in C/ Sancha de Lara, 5. They've got 52 different gins and more tonics...:
http://www.cometemalaga.com/gin-tonic-bar/
https://www.facebook.com/gintonic.barmalaga
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 10:42 PM
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As I do not drink, I often have coke dieta or coke lite. It is the rare restaurant, that does not serve it. And I can't recall a waiter or restaurant raising an eyebrow when I ordered chicken.

Unless things have changed, one of the oldest restaurants in Barcelona, Los Caracoles, which means The Snails, has chickens roasting on the street.

Chicken is a staple on the family farm In Galicia. Though I am happy to say they do not have share the first floor with them any more. In fact during our last visit which was during a summer, it was so hot the chickens that were just were the family and had to be slaughtered and we helped.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 10:45 PM
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... and "Spain is now the world's biggest gin consumer per head of population, demand having grown by an average of 18 per cent year-on-year for the past five years."
http://www.cntraveller.com/recommend...-bars-in-spain

Might have something to do with this in a food crazy Spain with deeper social divides: "The G&T has long been a favourite of off-duty Spanish chefs, and was the default tipple behind the scenes at El Bulli. But around five years ago, observers of the local bar scene began to notice a bigger change. Hitherto served up in the long straight tubo glass, the gin tonic began to appear in a balloon glass that was so capacious it was like drinking from a goldfish bowl. And so began the G&T's renaissance as a classy concoction for discerning drinkers." http://www.cntraveller.com/recommend...gt-renaissance
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 11:11 PM
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In the early 70s I worked in Ibiza as a coach driver and distribute "hooch" . Juniper berries were plentiful and covered the foul taste of wood alchohol.Those who suffered a reaction to this heady brew were told they had Spanish Tummy.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 11:13 PM
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tonight i'm reflecting on this a new way.

i saw some young japanese tourists who were super out of place when i was travelling along the coast of oregon last week. (they were dressed in hip japanese street fashion.... and took the gravy & biscuits at breakfast in a bowl, like it was congee. precious looks on their faces when they tried it!)

And I saw a similarly out of place french family in portland at a food truck.

both of these groups of tourists entertained me and sort of made my day. maybe the day of the 'ugly american' not fitting in is old fashioned... maybe not fitting in around this incredibly small world is so rare now, that it's sort of wonderful!!??
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 11:27 PM
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... and when we're into drinks: Vermouth, or more correctly vermú/vermut, has been a huge thing for ages in Madrid and Barcelona, especially for the Sunday lunch hours, but it's now rapidly gaining new ground also in many other parts of Spain. "Tomar un vermú" now means have a glass of whatever, but more and more often it's actually vermú people are drinking before lunch or dinner: http://www.saveur.com/how-day-drink-spaniard
http://elpais.com/elpais/2013/03/04/...91_180233.html

And inventive vermouth drinks are now everywhere, had a couple of great variants early evening in Barcelona not long ago (still something to drink before meals):
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/bea68...44feab7de.html
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifes...51c_story.html
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 12:42 AM
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maybe the day of the 'ugly american' not fitting in is old fashioned.
On Tuesday a group of several were trying the hardest wearing a selection of Dubya, Rash Limpopo and Hannity xxxxl tee shirt.I have also notice with the advent of Trump, comb overs seem to be de rigueur with Americans in Chester.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 01:30 AM
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<i>Hitherto served up in the long straight tubo glass, the gin tonic began to appear in a balloon glass that was so capacious it was like drinking from a goldfish bowl. </i>

At least in Barcelona, I can say that it is correct that you get G&T in those big balloon glass, usually with 5 or more gins to choose from. They take G&T seriously and are pretty generous with the gin. And add LOTS of ice.
But mostly drink them at night at the bars, and not as aperitif or late afternoon refreshment. In these quantities, it would just be a bit too much in the afternoon, I think..
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 02:18 AM
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Barcelona is now considered to be one of three GT capitals of the world together with London and New York: http://www.drymartiniorg.com/drinks-...best-gin-bars/

And on top when it comes to GTs in Barcelona reigns Javier de las Muelas and his bar Dry Martini in fun and local feel Carrer Aribau. http://www.timeout.com/barcelona/mus...fe/dry-martini
http://www.drymartiniorg.com/
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 02:38 AM
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Funny...when in Bilbao everybody was having GTs in big glasses, with a very good preparation, and with different premium brands, in Madrid and Barcelona and the rest of Spain EVERYBODY had their drinks in long, useless glasses, drinking just one or two brands, and with an awful preparation. I remember we had to tell them to prepare our GTs in balloon or cider glassess...puzzles faces of waiters. And now Barcelona is the capital of GTs...what a world...London surprises me too, they used to serve the worst GTs in the world, using very small glasses, no ice, tonic from a big open bottle with no gas, no lemon skin...
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 03:41 AM
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Same in San Sebastian, balloon glass GTs in Plaza de la Constitucion as long as I know (since late 80's).
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 04:48 AM
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Back to Fanta vs. Coke. Please clarify.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 05:14 AM
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I get a kick out of some of these generalizations. We just returned from a 2 week adventure in Spain and had chicken, expertly prepared, in Madrid, Valencia and San Sebastian. Casa Mingo, as previously noted, in Madrid is a gem, Valencian paella contains chicken as a primary ingredient, and the menu of the day at a little out of the way place in San Sebastian (Gure Arkupe) included a delicious roast chicken. We ate at Gure Arkupe after a trip on the Monte Igueldo funicular, which is a 100 year old icon in San Sebastian and painted a bright red for its sponsor, COCA-COLA, which was available and served with a smile, everywhere, for those who might want to choose it for their drink.
Sorry, but almost every pintos place we visited in Bilbao and San Sebastian had plates for your pinxtos and I'm not sure how some would be consumed (the veal at Borda Berri or cheesecake at La VIna for two delicious examples) without a plate. And plenty of folks, not just tourists, actually had the audacity to sit, at the tables and chairs provided by the establishment.
I appreciate the helpful local information (how else would I know to have gone to some of the places listed here?), but some of these tourist warnings (not necessarily the post here) are just over the top nonsense.
Be polite and courteous, treat others as you would like to be treated, try to speak at least a little of the local language and have fun.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 07:32 AM
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I just remembered a VERY old Spanish joke but it makes a point.


A peasant is walking down a country road and walks right by Franco. Franco stops the peasant and says, "Don't you recognize me?"
"No," says the peasant.
"My name is on signs all over Spain."
"Oh yes, Senor Coca-Cola."
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