There’s a sense of simplicity and joy in Andalusian living. I looked back at how I have spent my years there. What it is that kept me there and what it is that still calling me back. What made it feel like Home.
Is it the sun, the landscape, the gastronomy or the siesta? If I had to choose one headliner it would be the way of life.
There are more than a thousand ways of doing the things and most of them depend on cultural traditions. The little pleasantries and etiquette make life much more enjoyable. Spain has it down when it comes to the little stuff in life.
Friendliness, connectedness. At the South, the people are very open-minded and warm. Little by little, you will notice something really positive, that the people don’t have any kind of problem to socialize, ask for favors or simply cutting the line. Everyone is friendly in a way. People smile and address one another in passing. People from all walks of life tolerate and generally enjoy each other's company.
“Take something”, it isn’t about the drinks or tapas, it is about the ritual of spending open-ended time. Social gatherings rather than nutritional intake. It is a time to enjoy your company. Hanging out with family or friends, strolling without a specific destination at the slowest pace imaginable, just sitting, chatting, catching up, laughing for relatively long hours are a thing here. One day meet for a pre-dinner affair and not return home until tomorrow. They aren’t slaves to their calendars.
Rushing is not something what particularly adept at nor inclined to here. There is some truth in old stereotype of “Spanish time” especially when it comes to enviable work-life balance. The average workweek is less than 40 hours, lunch breaks often go on for hours, and a siesta shuts almost everything down in the middle of each day. When a holiday falls on the middle of the week, it is respectively not uncommon for the other days to be taken off too.
The strong familial ties defines Spanish culture. Family meals are sacred, so are get-togethers celebrating various festivities through the year too.
Life doesn’t sink into boredom and an endless series of chores in the transition through various phases of life. A certain playfulness seems to be ever-present. It isn’t uncommon to see lively groups of grannies, grandpas or parents accompanying young children dressed up and enjoying a drink with tapas at bars and outdoor terraces.
It shows that they make time to enjoy life. Immersing myself in Spanish culture has meant learning to slow down and to appreciate all of the little moments.
Gibraltar is the "key to the Mediterranean”. Linked to Spain by a narrow isthmus. It has been an important naval base for thousand years. Spain continues to claim sovereignty over the territory, which has been British longer than the United States has been American. The Rock has been ruled by Britain since 1713. A self-governing oversees territory.
Free travel between them was fully restored in 1985, but travelers occasionally continue to suffer delays at the crossing. There are few theories for that: different customs rules, political reason or Spanish just slow things down to annoy the British. However, it is generally easily accessible in many ways.
Gibraltar is small but imposing.
It has also a long tradition of respecting different beliefs, religions and cultures. A melting pot.
A shining example what peaceful coexistence can deliver.
An outstanding model of tolerance with people of all faiths and cultures living in harmonious relations within such a small area. An idyllic, safe place.