Ah, España. Tapas, siestas, fiestas, the rolling hills of Andalucia, and drunk lads from Yorkshire vomiting on themselves.
Oh, and castanets and flamenco.
Spain, particularly the southern coast, has been the hoiliday destination of choice for my countrymen presumably because it's the nearest we get to 'Abroad' that isn't France. I'm actually quite fond of Spaniards having not long returned from there, and can say with some authority that their women are some of the most stunning in the world. Many do look as if they're turning into brown leather wallets though. And heritage or no, I'm still in two minds about the merits of dressing up like a drag queen and stabbing a disorientated bull in the neck with spears.
Spain's a great country, and in the 10 years since I was last there, I was surprised at the lack of English they spoke and quite right too. It is Spain after all so I had to muck in with the rest of them and shout "Habla Inglés?" to get '¿Qué?' in response.
Like most of Europe (excepting the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, btw), Spain had its very own dictator in the form of Franco, the Generalísimo who did the usual harsh repression thang so beloved by his ilk, reigning unchallenged for nearly 40 years. He also presided over the growth of the south coast when it was realised they could cram loads of Brits and Germans into shit hotels to drink loads of sangria. Hey, another uniquely Spanish product.
For over 700 years southern Spain was Islamic, having been conquered by Moors when they landed at Gibraltar (now British and full of holes) on April 30, 711. Some fanatical Islamists still demand the return of Spain as it was once Muslim land. Using that logic, Chritianity could rightly reclaim Turkey as it was once part of the Byzantine Empire with Constantinople (now the Turkish capital Istanbul) its Christian capital. But that's for another day.
The Spanish eat a shed-load of meat and you don't have to go far to see the cured dismembered legs of pigs hanging conspicuously from bars, restaurants and high couture clothes shops. In fact, the Spanish probably eat so much pig because they'd had three-quarters of a millennium of Halal and were about ready for a change. You could even say that chorizo sausage is the Spaniard's Guantanamo Bay. But that would be odd and potentially offensive.
Like most of mainland Europe, in Spain a pedestrian crossing is largely an irrelevance to drivers. General politeness is also an alien concept, but all these things have to be taken with a pinch of salt once you go south of Dover.
My most overriding memory of Spain is that the courting ritual seems to involve ignoring each other. The greater the level at which you blank your potential paramour, the higher the regard in which you hold them. How Spain remains populated is still a mystery to me.
Pros: Inexpensive. Good weather. Phenomenal aloof women. Sexy barladies who fill gin half way into the glass before adding tonic.
Cons: Gangs of British criminals living there refusing to do anything vaguely Spanish. Stifling heat inland. Going 4am clubbing in Seville and finding one club - then discovering it was gay.