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How NOT to behave when visiting friends in Spain

By Mr Grumpy - Fri 24th Jun 2011

The Ayatolla and I have been quite fortunate in our move to Spain, in that the vast majority of our visitors have always been thoughtful and respectful and have never really taken advantage of the 'free holiday' in any way at all. But I know from talking to friends and neighbours that this isn't always the case with those visiting from the UK.

It's usually only after an expat has been settled in Spain for a few months, and has made it be known that he has a spare room, that the visits begin.

It is always nice to have visitors come over from the UK to stay but maybe a check-box which popped up on the computer screen when confirming flight details online would be a good idea - Tick appropriate box for reason of visit : Holiday / Business / Visiting expat friends.

Upon ticking the 'Visting friends' being ticked, an etiquette guide should then automatically be dispatched to the corresponding e mail address along with the flight confirmations. The guide would inform the visitor of the appropriate behaviour and etiquette when visiting friends in Spain from the UK :

1) Although I live a 2 hour drive to the nearest airport, there is no need for you to hire a car. I am sure I will have nothing better to do than to wait in an airport arrivals lounge for you ready to ferry you back to mine. I've nothing better to do than taxi you around all week.

2) Don't worry about contributing to the cost of the petrol or motorway tolls, it's fine.

3)The weather in Spain is always hot. All year round. It never changes. Don't express surprise if you turn up in your shorts and tee shirt in November and find it a little chilly. Rain does happen occasionally.

4) You may be on Holiday, but some of us have work and schools etc.. to get up for in the morning. Excuse us if we don't wish to stay up drinking wine with you until 4am in the morning.

5) If we walk into the village in the morning to grab a coffee or something, please god, do not wear those ridiculous shorts, the bum-bag and the sandals with socks underneath. I have to live here all year round.

6) As a rule of thumb, dress like I do. Wearing bermuda shorts and a string vest to nip to my local bar is not appropriate at 11 O'clock on a Friday night - would you do that at home in the UK ?

7) When I am in a bar / shop / restaurant etc... and talking in Spanish, please wait for the appropriate moment to interject in the conversation and speak English. Even if the person I am speaking to does not speak English, you should not assume that they do not understand it. Proclaiming that the produce in the local shop looks way below standard won't exactly improve my standing in the community once you have gone back to blighty.

8) If you have a spare corner in your suitcase please let us know. Although we can readily get tea bags etc... over here, have you seen the prices ?

9) Excuse us if we don't want to come to the beach or sit around the pool with you every single day that you are here - we've seen it before and once a week is quite enough, thankyou.

10) Ditto eating out at a restaurant every night

11) No, honestly, a midnight flight arrival time is fine. I'm more than happy to wait 40 mins for you to arrive and get your bags and then drive the two hours back to mine, ready for me to start work at 8 o'clock in the morning. Not a problem.

12) You might be on Holiday, we're not. We can't fall into the same mentality. You don't, and we don't expect YOU to when we return to the UK to visit you...

13) Please, make the effort to say "Gracias" when the waiter brings you your drink. I don't expect you to order in Spanish, or hold a conversation on the state of the economy, but the use of one little word can't really hurt, can it ?

14) Ditto Shouting. Not necessary when ordering a drink at the bar in broad English.

15) No, go on, please tell us again how warm / wet / windy it has been in the UK this last week, we're fascinated.

16) Read point 5 again. It's very important.

Comment on this Blog

Ha ha, very good! My friend's're not on holiday anymore you know!
Karen - Sun, 11th Mar 2012
Love this blog!! At last! Someone who understsnds and thinks like me.....keep em coming Mr. G ;-)
Lisa - Sat, 7th Jan 2012
I see what you mean. Some of our visitors haven´t understood that we eat at very different times here and that there´s not much we can do about it. We´ve also seen that they´re completely uninterested in the country of Spain itself, away from sun, sea and booze (well, no sea in Alcalá, but swimming pools, yes). As for Point 5, one guy insisted in going around with no shirt on. So Tumbito, it´s our job to educate so we better get to it!
Mo - Sun, 21st Aug 2011

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