For this week's Travel Tuesday we will visit Spain. Spain has much to tempt the curious traveler. It is the home of visual artists Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. Flamenco music and dance originated here. The cooking is rich and flavorful. The architecture has a mix of influences from European tradition and the Muslim sphere of North Africa and the Middle East.

There are many things travelers and curious folk can learn about Spain by reading through the country profile in Global Road Warrior. Listed below are 5 more quick facts to get you started.

  • Names: "Spanish people traditionally have a given name (which may have two parts) followed by two surnames: their father’s and then their mother’s. Parents in Spain choose their child’s given name. Middle names are not used, but two-part compound names (such as Juan Carlos or Ana Lucía) are common. Spanish women do not change their names when they marry."
  • Religion: "Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion in Spain, representing almost 94 percent of all Spaniards. Muslims, largely expatriates from Morocco, Algeria, Pakistan, and other Islamic countries, make up 3 percent of the population, 2 percent is Protestant, 1 percent is Jewish, and there are small minorities of Orthodox Christians, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and members of the Baha’i Faith."
  • Greetings and Conversation: "The Spanish love to talk and can maintain a conversation for hours. This practice of lengthy chatting is called tertulia and often involves several people talking at once and interrupting each other at will. One of the more popular topics is family. However, unless the relationship between the speakers is very close, personal problems within the family are kept private. Another frequent topic is food. Spaniards take great pride in their cuisine, especially local products such as their world-famous wines, hams, and cheeses, or homemade specialties like aioli."
  • Attitude Toward Time: "Spaniards take life as it comes, and tend to assume time is unlimited. What doesn't happen today will happen mañana (tomorrow), or the day after if necessary. However, as internationalization gains ground, especially in the business sectors of Spain’s larger cities, this tendency to procrastinate is becoming less prevalent. In characteristically polychronic fashion, relationships take precedence over deadlines and schedules in Spain. Keeping time with the clock is widely viewed as unnecessary, while keeping up with friends and family is vital. The adage that the only events that start at the appointed hour are in the theater or bullring is not farfetched, especially in Southern Spain."
  • Transportation--Auto: "One of the facets of Spanish traffic laws that foreigners find perplexing is traffic stops by the Spanish National Police or the Guardia Civil. Drivers do not receive traffic tickets and then pay the court via mail or in person, Spanish police authorities may levy fines on the spot and issue a receipt for the payment. This is done to ensure the traffic fine is paid by foreigners who rarely come back to Spain to pay the fine."

    Language Learners: Spanish is available through both Mango Languages and Pronunciator.

    Music Lovers: Visit our Freegal music service to explore more music options from Spanish music artists.

    Recipe Corner: For an example Spanish recipe, try Pimientos del Piquillo al Ajo.

    Piquillo ("little beak") peppers are a favorite appetizer and ingredient when they are in season (September and October). Often they are simply pan-roasted whole with a bit of salt and no oil, but they can also be part of more elaborate appetizers. For example, they may be stuffed, usually with cheese or seafood.

    Recipe Serving: Serves 4

    1 lb (450 g) piquillo peppers
    6 cloves garlic, halved
    Olive oil
    Salt and pepper to taste
  • Heat a little olive oil in a heavy saucepan. Lightly brown the garlic in the oil.
  • Add a pinch of salt and the piquillo peppers. Sauté, stirring constantly, until peppers are soft.
  • Serve immediately with sliced fresh baguette.