I love Spanish culture
Earlier I wrote about a bunch of things I can’t stand about the Spanish culture (here and here). In order to both not sound ethnocentric and to remind you guys that I promise I love Spanish culture, I’d like to touch on a couple things that I really wish my home culture would take from Spain’s culture.
Oh my dear lord do I love this! In the United States, we have countless diets and exercise regiments and, of course, health experts recommending 60 minutes of activity every day, which most people don’t pay attention to (though now that I’m back home, I brought this bit of culture with me!). When you live in Spain, or Europe for that matter, and you’re forced to deal with a culture that lacks the car-heavy culture that the States have, you walk everywhere and it feels absolutely amazing. I could see my body changing and feel my body getting healthier, and all I was doing was going to work every day! If that’s not a reason to love Spanish culture I don’t know what is.
Everybody travels to Europe. Of course, there are two different kinds of international culture, and Madrid has an expat culture, which I appreciate so much more than being surrounded by tourists. Because Spain has so many expats, I find Spain to be much more open-minded than the United States. Spaniards are generally much more accepting of those who are different from them (it’s worth noting that Spain legalized gay marriage over a decade before the US did) and are thus happier, more loving, and much kinder.
Spain, and specifically Madrid, is well-known for their public transportation. While their metro system obviously only serves Madrid, the country as a whole has very well-developed and comfortable bus and train stations. You can get anywhere you could possibly want to go, and for very reasonable prices; for example, my bus from Madrid, in the center of Spain, to Seville, in the south, was only 20 euros! Also, Madrid has recently upgraded their abono joven system – if you’re under 26 years of age, you can go anywhere in Madrid (even to Toledo!) on an unlimited bus pass for only 20 euro a month.
The best reason to love Spanish culture: coming from the United States, a country that’s only 300 years old, being able to walk through history on a daily basis is an amazing feeling. From Barcelona, with its medieval walls and fragments of Civil War memories, to Toledo, with architecture left untouched from the 1500s, to Andalucia, where its Muslim roots are still portrayed proudly; when you have the ability to share streets with ancient Monarchs, you’re left with a feeling unlike any other.