Spain to me was the most exotic destination of Western Europe. It was so different from Anglican culture, especially from that of my home country, USA.
Spain had a lot to offer but I specifically chose Tenerife in Spain because I loved island life. I had a soft corner for the sands, the suns and the beaches. It was the perfect melting pot of Spanish culture and the laid back life you could find on an island.
I didn’t want to directly land in Tenerife,Spain. I wanted to ease myself in to the island life. This made me fly to Madrid first. There I met a few of my friends.From here I took a train to the Southern coast of Spain. It was all easy till here, then I had to take a two day long ferry ride.
It was during this boat ride that I made some great Italian friends who were also on the boat like me. We din’t speak the same language but that didn’t stop us from having a blast for the next few days.
After arriving to Tenerife, I did have a few culture shocks. The first one was that the people here spoken a different kind of Spanish. It was the Canarian dialect. The people along with their sweet language were also very sweet at heart. Many a times they just helped me out of kindness and expected nothing in exchange.
One of the best part of living in Tenerife is that it is really easy to make friends here. This is because people are very welcoming and often invited me to the beaches and taught me how to surf. All they ever asked for in exchange was to teach them English.
I am from a small town in the state of Texas and I haven’t met anyone from them. Instead, I met two girls from Chicago, along with a lot of Italians. After this, I decided to learn Italian. I currently live in this small mountain village of La Laguna. This place is also a UNESCO world heritage site. Apart from that, the villge is also a short car trip away from the beautiful beaches of the Island.
During my time on this island I have been to Playa de las Teresitas, Playa de Tejita and Playa de Jardin in Puerto de la Cruz. I have also visited the most beautiful of them all Playa de la Americas in the South.
The lifestyle in Spain is generally more different from that of the USA, where I was born and raised. Throughout Spain the attitude towards life is more laidback and relaxed, it is more so in the island. At times, my experiences feel really funny to me but it is quite normal to them.
One day it took me several hours to open a bank account because in the middle of the process, the bank teller had to feed her chickens and breastfeed her baby. Siesta is a real thing and everyday the island shuts down for nearly two hours.
My journey to this island is very different from my journey to the other parts of the world. This is because at the end of all my journeys I had to go back to Texas but this time I was able to support myself financially. I have decided to stay here for now. I have not made any plans of moving back nor do I know if I will ever move back.
For those of you visiting Spain for the first time here are some travel tips:
Best time to go to Spain :
The summer months get really hot during the months of May and June, especially down South. In the North and the mountainous regions it is mostly cold and pleasant. The best time to travel to the South of Spain (Almeria, Andulusia, Jaen, Granada, Huelva) is from September to Mid- November.
The best time to visit the north of Spain (Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturia, Galicia) is in the summer months, between May and July.
Packing for Spain :
If you intend to travel to the south of Spain in summer, it is a good idea to stock up on summer wear and carry lots of sunblock. If you’re headed north, carrying warm clothes and a good umbrella is essential; the north, especially Asturias, is prone to rainfall round the year.
English In Spain :
If you are taking a guided tour and going to use Chartered buses then English is sufficient but once you step out of this tourist bubble you will have to know basic Spanish even for the most common conversations especially in village areas.
Compared to the other European countries. A meal at a small cafe will cost you an average of 4-6 Euros per person, whereas eating out in a decent restaurant could range from 20-25 Euros per person. Tapas bars are relatively cheap, especially in Andalusia, where the concept of tapas first originated, and it is easy to score free tapas with a drink or during happy hours. The prices might have changed by the time you are reading this story.
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Author: The Brown Nomad
Also published on Medium.