Some observations over the past few weeks:
- Late sunset. It's still light outside until about 9:30 p.m. This is a total phenomemon to me, especially since it didn't occur in Italy. Just Spain.
- In most places, restaurants do not serve dinner until at least 9 p.m. This caused particular issue one day in Avila when we were starving by 7. Luckily, the pastelerias were open until 9.
- Outside of the city, people somehow sense you are an outsider. They will stare at you. If you smile at them, they will rarely smile back. They keep looking until you're gone.
- In many of the little pueblos we passed through, we noticed that in the early evenings the older folk take their canes or long umbrellas and walk arm-in-arm for several miles.
- Upon entering a little shop, the person working will walk towards you and follow you as you browse through the items, not saying a word.
- In bars, it seems customary to throw trash on the floors below the counter. Everywhere we went the floor was littered with food, napkins, and cigarette butts. Occasionally, I noticed signs begging customers not to throw things on the piso.
- The flavors of juice that I found in the gas station convenience stores: Wild Fruit Seduction, Apple Temptation, Lemon Obsession. Very tantalizing juice.
- In restaurants, you pay extra to eat outside.
- Spaniards are obsessed with ham. They incorporate it into everything. There is a chain of restaurants called 'Museo de jamon' and they are popular.
- Additionally, they are obsessed with carne in general. It is often impossible to find a menu with anything except meat dishes, and they do not count pollo as meat. I am still uncertain as to how the Spanish meet the food pyramid recs.
- Sheep and bulls. Everywhere. Bull crossing signs on the highways. The signs show bulls with big, menacing horns. You do not want to mess with a Spanish Bull.
- Things in Europe are expensive- this goes for electricity as well. All the places we've stayed have had motion-detector lights in the hallways that stay on for about 10 seconds at a time. Some of the rooms have required the key card to be in a special slot for the lights and other electrical things to work.
Stay tuned for my notes from Italy.