SPANISH CUSTOMS – PART I
Every new-comer to Spain gets some cultural shock – it is inevitable. I guess depending from where you come from it is a different thing that culture “shocks” you more. For me it was the kisses for hello. I am coming from a country where we shake hands. You kiss only close friends who you haven´t seen for a long time. So the first couple of months I had the awkward situation when I was giving my hand and the person was leaning towards me. The result was some weird “crash”. So:
Greeting people, including strangers with kisses. If you are one of these people who like their personal space – you will have to change it. I am speaking about women – to avoid confusions. It is accepted to greet with kiss between women or women and men. In case of men usually is used a hand shake or a loose hug
Siesta: It is true that every country has different opening hours of the shops and the bars and restaurants, but the siesta is very typical Spanish tradition, especially in Southern Spain and in the smaller (not so touristic) towns. Nowadays you can´t see it so much, especially if you live in Barcelona, as all the big chains are working without break and because of the tourist many of the shops stayed open from 10 to 10. Still if you work in a Spanish/Catalan owned company it is very possible that you also have a small siesta – a lunch break that lasts two hours or in some cases even three.
When is the breakfast/dinner/lunch time in Spain: Very difficult question. Really. Breakfast could be separated in two parts – one before you go to work and another around 11. The lunch is usually between 1 and 4 and includes 1st, 2nd and 3rd. I think the most difficult is the dinner time. In some countries people have dinner at 5 (yes, too early but healthy), most around 7-8, some maybe at 9. In Spain the dinner usually is after 9, in some cases around 10:30-11.
Tip: When you go to a restaurant, you can try to be there at 8- 8:30 (when the restaurants usually open) and you will get a table, and moreover your food will be cooked very fast as you will be probably the only ones there so early!