Manzanares el Real

6 Things I’ve learned living in Spain

I love Spain. I love the culture, the weather, the food the people, the nature and everything else! But there are a few things that I still don’t really get, or that I’ve had to learn to adapt to since moving here. Most of the things I’ve noticed are small little thigns that irritate me, but I’d like to vent them out to you all the same.

1. You can’t drink without ice!

ice cubes

Of course I agree that Ice cubes are important, especially in a country that can get VERY hot in the summer. But if there’s a lack of ice, Spanish people won’t drink it, it’s DOOMED! I guess it’s just what they’re used to. But personally I don’t like so much water in my drink (melted ice) . And if my spirit and mixers have been refrigerated, is ice really so important? Well, in Spain, yes it is 🙂

2. You can ski and sunbathe in the same day

skiing and sunbathing

Sorry what!? Yes you can go skiing and sunbathing in the same day! I know it because I did it. The only time I’ve actually gone skiing in my entire life was in Valdesqui in the mountains north of Madrid on a day trip from my erasmus. When I arrived home that day, I was chilling by the pool in my bikini. ABSOLUTE MADNESS!

3. Being barefoot indoors is weird

shoes in the bed

And when I say indoors I mean at home of course. I’m not a big fan of shoes, in the summer the first thing I want to do when I arrive home is to whip them off and feel the cool tiled floor under my feet. But in Spain this is seen as a little bit rude and uncomfortable. I have decided that it’s because in the UK we are used to carpeted floors and as it’s often raining, we don’t want to bring mud indoors on our shoes… In the UK we think the opposite as the Spanish, that shoes indoors are in fact, rude.

4. Table Manners are very important


I’ve had too many arguments with my boyfriend about where to put my napkin and how to hold a fork. I also made the mistake of tucking into a meal before the rest had sat down and a few days later, shamefully watched my friends do the same when they came to visit. Table manners are a big thing in Spain and so is eating in general. I mean for them it’s special, you won’t catch them eating their lunch out of a paper bag whilst running back to the office.

5. There are more hours in the day than you think

clock face empty, timeless

When I was living in the UK, I used to have dinner (later than most families) but still at around 7 /8pm and afterwards settle down watching a film, chilling out and going to sleep. Here, I’ve realised I don’t need more than 8 hours sleep and therefore I can stay out until 12pm eating, drinking, talking, being outside and not wasting a whole evening. I think maybe it’s the heat or the cheap food and drink, but I definitely do much more with my week-nights here than I ever did before living here. And hey you know, we might as well live to the fullest!

6. Not to take everything your Spanish friend says to heart

girls talking

Maybe it’s more of a personal thing rather than a cultural, but I’ve noticed it’s very common for Spanish people to passionately make empty promises. Or to say things that they know aren’t going to happen, just to be nice. For example, the first time my parents in law met MY parents, they told them they’d come to visit England. My mum then practically got out a calendar and asked when they wanted to visit,  afterwards my boyfriend told me his parents had no plans to go and it was more like a wish. I think it’s also quite common for the Spanish to say they’ll meet or talk in the future and it never happens. You’ll often hear ‘Luego, Te Llamo‘ or ‘Te digo cosas!’ meaning ‘I’ll call you later’ or ‘I’ll let you know soon’ but then never hear from them. And that’s OK, just don’t take it personally. Take it with a pinch of salt, as we would say in the UK 😉


What have you noticed while living as an expat in Spain? Does anything not make sense or aggravate you? Or tell me what you LOVE! Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear 🙂

You might also like my post 5 things I love about Spanish Culture


5 thoughts on “6 Things I’ve learned living in Spain

  1. I agree with most of the things (havent been sunbathing and skiiing yet though). The last one especially made me laugh because it felt too familiar. I noticed it too and I stopped counting all the “promises” that people made me that I thought was a plan to finally realized it would never happen.
    “We should do that” clearly means “don’t count on me” ahah


    1. I’m glad you agree 🙂 Yes I am still learning to not take everything literally hehe. Thanks for your comment!


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