Nomadic Living

Fast Reminders That I’m in Spain

I’ve been in Valencia for 6 weeks and I’ve become so accustomed to living here that sometimes I forget how far from “home” I actually am. That is, until I experience one of the following – instant reminders that I am in fact abroad, and in Spain.


Ambulance sirens make a distinctly different sound

Beer, wine, soda and water are equally priced in restaurants, around $2

Coca-Cola is served in a classic glass bottle, accompanied with ice and a lemon slice

Dinner starts at 9pm or later

English is a luxury to speak or study

Fanny packs are hip and seem to have never gone out of fashion

Granola is not popular, nor is it common to buy

House keys look like they could open a treasure chest

Interaction in elevators is expected, it’s polite to say both hello and goodbye

Jamon Iberico, a whole cured ham leg, is found in restaurants, groceries and even homes

Kissing both cheeks is the proper greeting, even when first meeting someone

Lunch isn’t until 2 or 3pm, only “apertivos” are served before then

Military time, or the 24-hour clock, is the standard way to communicate time

Not everyone has met an American before

Ovens work in Celsius

Pinning clean laundry on a clothesline outside is the way to dry them

Quiet time called “siesta” is a country-wide tradition, both for naps and when many stores close

Receiving change from a bus driver is possible

Sundays most everything is closed including groceries and pharmacies

Tipping is unnecessary – the exact price you see on a menu is what you will pay

Unrefrigerated milk and eggs are sold in stores

Very cheap flights to the surrounding area can be found, as low as $20

Weighing and pricing your own produce in the grocery is a must before hitting check-out

Xenophobia is uncommon and in fact people are excited to meet foreigners

Yoga is not yet very popular here, but starting to become a thing

Zara and Mango and other affordable, fast fashion stores are the standard

All of these things have, and still do make me take pause. At the same time, they’ve shaped my expectations. Surely I’ve been conditioned by these to now expect them in the next place I go, especially siestas!

What do you notice that is characteristic of your surroundings, wherever you are?

Comments (2)

  1. Great post, I’m living in Valencia too. It’s such a great city. I have been here for 3 months and enjoying every moment of it. So many great things to do and see here.

    1. Hi Chris! Thanks for your response. I miss Valencia. Hope you’re still there and enjoying it. Please have some paella and an Agua de Valencia for me. 🙂