Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Travel the World - Spain

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world. By the end of 2021, I'd virtually traveled to 145 countries and plan to complete my journey to all 195 countries by visiting the last 50 this year.

This week's country is...


Spain is 85% of the Iberian Peninsula, an area it shares with Portugal

Spain shares its western border with Portugal. Meanwhile, France lies to its northeast. The principality of Andorra and the great wall of the Pyrenees Mountains separate the two European countries.

Other than these land borders, Spain is surrounded by water. It has the Mediterranean Sea to its east and southeast. By the northwest and southwest of the country is the Atlantic Ocean. Lastly, the Bay of Biscay, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, lies north of Spain.

The Canary Islands of Spain lie within the Atlantic Ocean. Black sand and white sandy beaches characterize the Canary Islands.

The Canary Islands are home to the highest peak in Spain. Teide Peak is 12,198 feet tall.

Spain is the second largest country in the European Union, second only to France.

Spain is the only European country to have a land border with an African country (Morocco).

Spain has many islands.

With approximately 8,000 beaches, Spain has nearly five thousand miles of coastline.

Spain has more tourists annually than the number of people who live there. For instance, in 2018, the country received 82.5 million tourists (which by the way, makes it the second-most visited nation in the world). Spain’s population is 46.7 million, so tourists account for almost double the population.

There are only two European cities that are physically outside of Europe, and they both belong to Spain. Ceuta and Melilla share soil with the Moroccan border, on the Mediterranean coast.

Madrid is not only the capital of Spain. It is also the geographical center of the country. And in the center of Madrid you can find the Puerta del Sol ("The Sun Gate"), which is the center of the country and the Spanish radial road system. 

Only a small portion of Spain is classified as dense woodland, mostly in the mountains. However, nearly half of the whole country is covered by vegetation. The most common trees are pines and oaks.

While Spanish is the country's official language, regional languages like Galician in Galicia, Basque in the Basque Country and Catalan in Catalonia all have official status too.

Spanish is the world's second most-spoken native language. A total of 21 countries speak Spanish.

Spaniards tend to speak loudly.

Construction began on the Barcelona's famous Antoni Gaudí-designed cathedral in 1882 and has been under construction for more than 130 years. It’s expected to be completed in 2026. It’s probably the world’s most visited construction site, attracting 2.8 million visitors every year.

The national flower of Spain is the red carnation.

There are some famous festivals in Spain. You probably know the Running of the Bulls, right? This is held in Pamplona every year. What you probably don’t know is that its part of a longer nine-day festival in honor of Saint Fermin. There are other “bull-runs,” but that one’s the most famous. 

Elsewhere, there’s La Tomatina, the world’s biggest food fight, with approximately 150,000 tomatoes thrown. It started in 1945 when some guy flew into a fit of rage and started throwing tomatoes at his friends. More people joined in and a tradition was born. It was banned in the 1950s but reinstated in 1957 when residents held a funeral for the festival – complete with a tomato in a coffin. Today, participants are encouraged to throw as many tomatoes as they can – but only once they been squashed, to avoid any injuries.

Less of a festival and more of a tradition is Concurs de Castells which takes place in Tarragona, Spain. This event involves men, women and children of all ages coming together to compete by building human towers! 

The custom of Siesta is alive and well in Spain. Siesta is an afternoon nap. Twenty minutes, max. It affects the entire country; from 2 to 5 pm, many stores and establishments are closed for siesta time.

Spaniards kiss once on each cheek when meeting someone or when greeting and saying hello.

The oldest building that you can find in Spain is the Palacio de Santa María del Naranco, an old palace built in 848 that became a church in the 12th century.

The first novel is attributed to a Spanish author. There are other claimants, but let’s say that Don Quixote, written in 1605, was the world’s first “modern” novel. Written by the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes, it tells the story of a man who has read too many tales of knights, romance, and chivalry.

The first known stapler came from Spain. It was made in the 18th century as a present for King Louis XV of France. Every single staple was apparently engraved with Louis’ royal emblem. 

Spain also gave the world the first mop and bucket (1956).

Madrid has the oldest restaurant in the world - El Restaurante Botín, which opened in 1725. It is recognized as such by Guinness World Records, no less.

Having breakfast at home is not common in Spain.

When you buy a coffee in Spain, the waiter always brings something that looks like an espresso, and then he/she adds a ton of milk in front of you.

In Spain a tortilla is an omelette, not the corn bread they use to eat in Mexico.

The largest market for fresh foods in Europe is found in Valencia, Spain. Mercado Central was designed in 1914 and exemplifies the interesting Valencian Art Nouveau architectural style. Inside, there are 900 stands selling everything from cold meats, fish, and cheese to olives, wine, and spices.

Spain is home to the oldest still-operating lighthouse in the world. The Tower of Hercules was established in the late first century.

Spain is also home to the third oldest university in the world - the University of Salamanca.

It is traditional for Spanish people to have two surnames – one from each parents. The practice is dying, but some still uphold it.

In Spain, the life expectancy is on average 82 years (that’s 79 for men, 85 for women).

The second queen of Unified Spain, Juana la Loca, travelled around the country with her dead husband, Felipe el Hermoso in a glass coffin for several years. 

There is no tooth fairy in Spain. Instead they have got a tooth mouse called Ratoncito Pérez. This tradition originates in the stories of the 19th-century writer, Luis Coloma.

The Spanish national anthem, called “Marcha Real” (Royal March), is one of only four in the world that has no lyrics.

Spain is the only country in Europe that produces bananas.

Approximately 44%  of the world's Olive Oil is produced in Spain.

Spain sold Florida to the US in 1819.

Spain uses a lot of green energy. With widespread implementation of solar and wind energies, over ⅕ of the country’s electricity is now generated by wind power.

Spain has a diverse array of native animals, including a wide variety of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. The country is home to some renowned species, such as the Spanish ‘Big Five’: Bearded Vulture, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Iberian Lynx, Iberian Wolf and Eurasian Brown Bear.

Other distinctive mammals encountered in Spain include Common Genet, Wild Boar and Spanish Ibex, while various cetaceans, including Orcas, Pilot Whales and Sperm Whales, may be seen from the coast. The country has the second largest number of mammals in Europe, with 115 different species recorded.

Spain is home to 635 bird species, including kites, vultures, eagles, storks, flamingos and bustards. The impressive abundance of birds that can be found in Spain is due both to its geographical location (it is a natural migration route between Europe and Africa) and its varied landscapes and climates. 

Spain has more bars than any other European Union country.

In a lot of Spanish bars and taverns throwing dirty napkins, olive pits, and ham fat on the floor is common and acceptable.

Spanish people drop their napkin when they want to show they loved their meal.

Spain did not enter World War I, nor World War 2; it remained neutral.

In Spain and in Italy, Christmas is a bit different than in most westernized countries. Most of the gifts are actually given on January 6th instead of Christmas, to celebrate the Epiphany and the Wise Men.

The amount of out-of-school-hours childcare in Spain is limited. That’s why about a quarter of all grandparents take care of their grandchildren on a daily basis, looking after them once the local schools let out.

The literacy rate in Spain is 98%.

While public nudity may be outlawed across most of the world, there are no laws against it in Spain. That being said, it is frowned upon and regional laws prohibit it in cities like Barcelona. However, be warned that if you decide to drive barefoot or while wearing flip flops you may feel the cool hand of the law as these two acts are illegal.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Spain... To bring in the New Year, people in Spain eat grapes. Twelve grapes, to be precise.  Individuals eating one grape on each exact stroke of midnight are said to have good luck for the rest of the year.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp/Die Set: Technique Tuesday Luscious Grapes stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Sentiment Set: Taylored Expressions Simple Strips in Reverse Everyday Occasions

Paper: Fun Stampers Journey Grape Fusion and Hammermill 110# White CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles

Embellishments: Enamel Dots from an unknown vendor

1 comment:

kiwimeskreations said...

Another wonderful post Jeanette - lots of information and some smiles too.
Such a lovely card, and I think that tradition you based it on is one I could enjoy :)