10 myths about Spain
Myth: It’s always beach weather in Spain. Let’s look at that: in Andalusia´s tastily-named Morón, the average temperature in July is a scorching 34.6C while up in Burgos in January, that figure is a chilly 6.7C. Meanwhile famously damp Santiago de Compostela sees nearly 2,000mm of rain a year, which is quite a few bucketfuls.
Photo: Francisco Martins
Myth: Spanish is the only language in Spain. No. There are actually five official languages, with Castillian, Basque and Catalan being the most widely spoken. Madrid-based Catalonian Clara Melus says she uses two languages regularly. “It really depends, some Catalans feel more comfortable with Catalan, others Castillian.”
Photo: David Dennis
Myth: Spain is broke. While there’s no doubting many people are struggling, the IMF still lists the country as the 13th biggest economy in the world. The Financial Times also points out a few positives: Spain has a trade surplus, for one, and the debts of the regions only make up 17 percent of the national total.
Photo: Timothy Krause
Myth: Spanish women have moustaches. “No, but they’re certainly hairier than your average female in the top lip department,” says English journalist James Montague.
Photo: Joe R. Terrell
Myth: Spanish men are machos. “Whoever thinks that has never been to Chueca,” jokes Italian PhD student Anna Demartini in a reference to Madrid’s gay district. “Spanish men are fiery and to-the-point, but not really macho.”
Photo: Enric Juv
Myth: Spaniards are lazy. “I think foreigners say we’re slack because when they come here, they see us on the beach and think we’re always on holiday,” says salesman Fernando Sanz.” But our office hours are actually longer than in Germany!”
Photo: Flickr/francia NTT
Myth: Spaniards are great lovers. José Pinto from Tomares argues the whole Latin lover buzz started 50 years ago when desperate Spanish men started chasing tourists because the local women here were neither available nor sexually liberated.
Photo: Don Schuetze
Myth: All Spaniards listen to flamenco. “I respect flamenco, but I don’t really understand it,” says José Martín, a heavy metal musician from Seville. “Perhaps it’s because you have to grow up with it to really get it, and because when I was younger American and British music were much more popular.”
Photo: Michal Osmenda
Myth: Spain is a Catholic country. In theory, sure. But back in 2005, Eurobarometer found only 59 percent of Spaniards believed in God and 21 percent in a higher power. That’s about the average for Europe. These days Spanish churches are mainly for baptisms, communions, weddings and funerals.
Photo: Kimba Howard
Myth: Spain is noisy. Ok, so this one’s true. Back in 2010, the World Health Organization labelled the country the second noisiest in the world after Japan. About two million Spaniards also suffer from hearing loss, which could be why everyone seems to be shouting all the time.