May 23, 2024

Today is it, August 31st, the last day of Summer for Spaniards. For most students, summer lasts until school starts. But for adults it lasts until you have to go back to work – and in the case of Spaniards, summer ends either on July 31st or August 31st.

We all know that many Europeans take an entire month “holiday” (or, as we in the USA say, “vacation” – the British influences here in Spain have somewhat altered my vocabulary) and Spaniards are no different. To those unemployed Spaniards, however, I’m sure they’d rather be working. But for the working, floods of vacationers will be on Spain’s highways today, clogging the arteries between major cities on their return home.

People will return to the office sporting their enviable tans, new hair-dos, painted nails, and stories ofย  things they did and saw. Others will have spent a relaxing month in “el pueblo” with family and visiting old friends.

Regardless of how Spaniards spent their summer, on hot beaches or cool northern villages, none of them are happy to be home. No one looks forward to returning to the daily grind and facing daily responsibilities, back to public transportation or constant traffic, standing in long lines, cooking and cleaning. For others, usually the women, they might even be more relaxed back home as they may have been busier on vacation. “Send those kids back to school. Please!” parents will say.

I spent only 2 weeks in a tiny village in northern Spain, in the province of Cantabria, about 45 minutes south of the nearest beach and next to some beautifully green mountains. While the relatively cool temperatures were nice (relative to the heat wave which passed through Madrid while I was gone, that is), I could have done without the humidity and the insects which accompany such lush, green, rural landscapes. Guess I’m a city boy now.

July was quiet in Madrid, but August was even quieter when I was here. That’s nice. What’s not nice is going to your favorite bar or restaurant only to find a “Closed Until 1 September” sign in the door. That’s frustrating. But everyone needs a break and, thinking socially, I’m glad Spain still follows this custom of shutting down for a month or so, totally disconnecting and focusing on family, travel, and even romance – new or old.

Tomorrow’s the day. “BACK TO WORK, SPAIN!”

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4 thoughts on “Last Day of Summer in Spain 2011

  1. Hello Madridman!

    Yes, Spaniards are now back at work (I can hear my Spanish friends whining from afar)!
    You were in the North of Spain this summer? I was in the North as well, for a few days. What a difference from the South, where I used to live! What was the weather like in the area where you were? What was the name of the little town?
    I went on a roadtrip from the South-West to the North-West, and it was pretty incredible. I already want to go back so badly. I think that I am just as obsessed as you about Spain…what’s not to like about this country?
    My trip was this: Sevilla-Salamanca-Islas Cies-Santiago de Compostela-Lugo-Vigo-Gijon-Oviedo-Tazones….and then all the way back ๐Ÿ™‚
    It was quite cool in Asturias, and very wet. I actually had to wear jeans every day while in Asturias. What a difference from Sevilla, let me tell you! I loved the green lushness of the North, but I am just in love with the dry heat (and relaxed lifestyle) of the South. I guess both have their pros and cons.
    If you feel like looking at some of my pictures that I posted on my blog, go right ahead ๐Ÿ™‚ There are some neat ones in there…boy, what a great trip it was…oh, and you MUST go to Galicia (if you haven’t already) to sample all the fresh fish (try the pulpo de feria) and eat their amazing bread. I don’t know…their bread just blew me away…it’s just made differently.
    Oh, and Estrella de Galicia is a good beer, too ๐Ÿ™‚
    Can you tell I enjoyed the food in Galicia? They had a ton of great bars in Santiago, as well.
    I hope you’ll continue posting in here often enough, I enjoy reading your entries.

  2. A month long holiday sounds great, and may be the case if one is a typical Spaniard living in a multi-generational household where the Abuelos don’t work and can be on cooking, cleaning & babysitting duty all day. Unfortunately, as my partner works and I ‘work’ from home, I am called into a 2 month long Babysitting marathon. My own work can only commence once my partner is home from here work to take charge, and as such I look forward to a time when ‘the holidays’ end and normality can resume !

  3. I wouldn’t want to be in Madrid in the summer…hot enough here in the Costa del Sol in August. But a lovely place to visit at any other time of year. Starting to look at maybe heading there for an Easter break and looking at self catering accomodation in Madrid.

  4. Great article! Yeah, Spaniards really take vacation really serious…. It would be nice if things here were like overthere….. wishful thinking…. so looking forward in visiting my country in June….. :0)

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