(Kingdom of Spain, Reino de España)
- Location: Europe
- Capital: Madrid
- Language: Spanish (Amarese, Basque and Catalan are also recognized languages)
- Population: 46,030,109 million
- Total Area: 504,030, 109 km sq
- Currency: Euro
- Curious Alcohol fact: The Spanish drink Cava was originally made as an alternative to champagne.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption: 11.62
- The Most Popular Drink: Sherry or Sangria
Outsiders find it difficult to comprehend the Spanish demographic. They have 17 autonomous communities, including Aragon, Catalonia and the Basque country and two autonomous cities- Barcelona and Madrid. Madrid is the capital, but it is a fact some parts of the country don’t appreciate. The Basque terrorist group Eta has attacked the city in its bid to state its will to become independent from the Spanish state. What most outsiders find unusual, however, is that the Spanish constitution lists regions like Catalan and Basque as separate nationalities. They even have their own official languages.
The Spanish identify so strongly with their regions that some regard their region as separate nations and themselves as a separate nationality. While Spanish is the official language, only 74% of the population regards it as their first language. Other languages include Catalan, Aranese and Basque. As mentioned above the Basques push the strongest for independence and this is a reflection to just how different their culture is to the rest of the country. Their language is not even close to Spanish and people think (it has not been ascertained) that they were among the first Indo-European settlers to arrive on the continent.
One rarely hears about Spanish food, but the country certainly has its fair share of culinary delights. If you arrive around October you will be just in time for the snail season- not to everyone’s taste, but with a similar texture to seafood and usually served in a thick sauce, it was something I personally enjoyed. I also enjoyed their tapas. Tapas are a selection of small dishes, almost like starters and usually served in cafes. People will buy two or three as a whole meal or one to accompany their drinking. According to Wikipedia, the Spanish initially served tapas to encourage conversation during meal times. In contrast to larger meals, which they think people concentrate on more than on socializing.
Drinking is a unique experience in Spain. Younger people often buy a case of drink from the supermarket and drink it in the town center with their friends. Sometimes a musician will drop by and like a bar room singer add the final touches to an already relaxed atmosphere. You don’t want a musician to arrive too early, however, as their presence can mean an abrupt end if those living nearby think the party has become too loud. The Spanish drink more cocktails than they drink beer. The beer you can buy will rarely be the quality of northern European beer, but bars will always serve it ice cold.
Currently Spain is soccer’s superpower, their clubs and their national team holding all the international trophies most consider worth holding. In 2008, the national team won only their second European Championships. In the 2010 world cup, they not only got beyond the world cup quarterfinals for the first time, but also won the competition. It is the team’s reward for play the best football of anyone since the Brazilian teams of the 60s and 70s. The national team’s rise has coincided with success of Barcelona, but this is no coincidence. In the world cup final, seven of the Spanish players played in the Barcelona side. Barcelona’s rivalry with Real Madrid, known as the El Classico, is one of the fiercest rivalries in world soccer.
Story By World By Shotglass
©2013 World By Shotglass. All Rights Reserved
Special thanks to our contributors:
Simon Arms (Berlin, Germany) for story editing.