Spain

There is so much to say about this vibrant country: The major cities are Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia all of which offer unique traditions, languages and sites. Tapas is almost as much a cultural activity as a style of eating. La Siesta is the well-known nap of two to three hours in the heat of the afternoon. The Flamenco is made up of six parts: singing, guitar, dance, vocals, hand-clapping, and finger snapping - awesome! Originating in Valencia, paella is a rice dish prepared with meat or seafood. Wonderful wine from deep red Riojas to the light and sparkling Cava although sangria is probably the country’s most famous drink. . Salvador Dali was born near Barcelona is a cultural icon. Spain’s most famous architect, Gaudí’s work can be admired in Barcelona. The only downside is bullfighting has been occurring in Spain since the Roman times but is hopefully going to end soon - the last fight was in Catalonia when the majority voted for a ban in 2015.

THREE things we did not know about Spain:

  1. There are an estimated 440 million native Spanish speakers around the world, second only to Mandarin. But while Spanish is the official language of Spain, the regional languages of Catalan, Basque (Euskara), and Galician (Galego) all have official status in their respective regions.
  2. You’d be forgiven for thinking Greece or Italy produced most of the world’s olive oil, but in actual fact, it’s Spain that leads the way. The Iberian country produces some 1.5 million tonnes of the stuff, the vast majority of which comes from the southern region of Andalusia.
  3. 150,000 tomatoes are thrown every year at the legendary La Tomatina festival. Held every August, the festival sees revelers from around the world descend on the small town of Buñol, near Valencia. Visitors are encouraged to throw as many tomatoes as they can – but only once they been squashed, to avoid any injuries.

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