I don’t know what it’s like in other parts of Spain, but in Andalucía siesta is a very real thing. A quick trip into town to run an errand could be a complete waste of time between the hours of two and five PM. Some restaurants are open, and the Mercadona (supermarket) is open, but almost everything else is closed. At five o’clock, the town comes alive again and continues to go strong well into the night. We’ve adjusted to siesta now and can see the benefits of it: reduced stress and increased happiness. Perhaps siesta is something the rest of the world should adopt.
Sundays in Andalucía are also quite different from the US. Except for some restaurants, almost everything (including the Mercadona) is closed for the day. In the states, Sunday was often our day for shopping, but here, not even IKEA is open. We are adjusting, learning to plan ahead for groceries or other needs that might arise on Sunday.
Another reality of Spain is that it’s very old. The streets are so narrow that your Toyota Camry is going to feel like a stretch limo on some turns and you’ll shy away for most parking spaces. When we first got to Spain, we had rented a Volkswagen Tequon, not a gigantic car by any means. Still, it was uncomfortably large in Mijas so we exchanged it for slightly smaller Nissan while we looked for a car to purchase. Even the Nissan was bigger than we wanted so we soon bought a Peugeot 207. It small, maneuverable, and fits into almost any parking space. The manual transmission and diesel engine are great on the hills and very fuel efficient.
Coming from Florida, we were accustomed to hot weather. Now that it’s July, it has gotten quite hot here in the valley, most days reaching the upper 90’s. But, the humidity is nowhere close to Florida and it hasn’t rained in almost sixty days, so, all-in-all, it’s a pleasant change. We’ll see what winter is like in a few months. Our friends say it can get cold but not freezing.