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“Why do Spaniards eat dinner at 10pm  or 11pm?….

Do people in Spain still do the siesta?”….


These are two very common questions we hear at our Luxury Travel HQ in Madrid Spain while talking to potential American customers.

Here is a bit of back story on this unique part of the Spanish culture, the siesta and the schedule.

Spain is a great place to enjoy a relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle and has a daily routine that is 100% unique in the world.

It is one with very uniquely late Spanish rhythms and one is which some studies show that Spaniards sleep up to an hour less than the rest of Europe. That is because, the day starts nearly as early as in other countries but it seems endless, especially when the Mediterranean sun shines brightest in the ultra-long days of summer in Spain.

For vacation travelers who enjoy cultural adventures and luxury Spain travel this can be unique, fun and memorable.

In an age of homogenized cultures in much of northern Europe, the culture shock of  2pm lunches and 10pm dinner in Spain, can seem charming, as long as you had a sturdy breakfast with some protien and healthy fats. Tapas, the ubiquitous Spnaish small plates, are often available an hour or two before those traditional meal times.

Meanwhile there is a growing anti-siesta movement to change time itself  by turning back the clocks an hour for starters, at least in winter.

“We want to see a more efficient culture,” said Ignacio Buqueras, a most outspoken advocate of changing the Spanish schedule.

For the moment, Spain’s government seemed to treat the “adios siesta” campaign seriously…..

This would put Spain, in the southwest corner of Europe, in its natural geographical time zone with Portugal, Ireland and United Kingdom in Coordinated Universal Time, the modern successor to Greenwich Mean Time.

Under Generalisimo Franco, Spain changed to a time zone that includes Germany and Italy during World War II.

So as Spain recovers from a deep Europe economic crisis, the reform movement contends that the country can become more in sync with the rest of Europe and more productive, with the typical Western schedule.

A plan for a more regular timetable would cut lunch to an hour or less and allow working mothers and fathers more time with their children.

Of course this seems way to logical to many non-Spaniards would represent a HUGE cultural change to Spanish life.

And the long erractic Spanish working day  (8am to 8pm in some cases with a 2 to 3 hour lunch and siesta break) would be changed to a 9-to-5ish schedule.

In September 2013, a parliamentary commission recommended that the government turn back the clocks an hour and introduce a regular eight-hour workday. As yet, the Spanish government of Mariano Rajoy, a slow moving relaxed man in general not known for boldness, has not taken any action.

We doubt they will in 2014 based on past experience but perhaps 2015?…..

So come enjoy Spain and the unique siesta schedule while you still can.   See more on Spain luxury travel tours

More info on Spanish culture:  siesta and schedule culture shock

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/18/world/europe/spain-land-of-10-pm-dinners-ponders-a-more-standard-time.html