The kingdom of Spain has a population of over 40.5 million. Most Spanish people are brought up as Roman Catholic, and family values are extremely important. It's a land of extremes; miles of endless sunny beaches along the coast and massive snow capped peaks inland. In most of Spain there tends to be sunshine all-year-round with an average annual temperature of 20 degrees.
The Spanish have a much more relaxed lifestyle than any other country in Europe. For example, most businesses are closed between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. for a siesta (afternoon nap). This long break in the day allows families to get together for a meal and spend more time together.
The Spanish people are very traditional. Old-age traditions like flamenco dancing and bullfighting are still very relevant today. There are bullfighting arenas in most Spanish cities and flamenco shows on almost every night of the week. Traditional winemaking methods, dating back centuries, are still used today. Traditional Spanish recipes are used to create most of vast variety of food that you'll find served in the restaurants.
The Spanish love to celebrate and have fun and take every opportunity to do so. You'll find a huge list of fiestas (parties) taking place all throughout the year. Locals from the villages, towns and cities dress up in traditional costumes and celebrate till the early hours. There's a fantastic range of food, wine, sangria and beer available on every corner.
Spain was once a great empire. It had numerous colonies throughout the world and the language is still spoken in many nations today. It was considered an underdeveloped country right up until the mid-1900's. During this period a rapid economic development began to take place. Nowadays, Spain is a prosperous nation with a well developed economy based on the tourism, services and manufacturing industries. It joined the EU in 1986.
In the past it was mainly elderly people who retired here. Nowadays more and more young people are escaping the rat-race and moving here permanently. The Spanish way of life has so much more to offer; friendly people, excellent climate, spectacular scenery and a very laid back, easy-going lifestyle.
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