A bit of Salmantino cultureSalamanca, Spring 2012
Continuing from my last post about Spanish culture, here are a few more things that stood out to me specifically in Salamanca:
1.) Because Salamanca is a smaller city, it is possible to walk almost everywhere you need to go. Most of the streets in the main downtown area are pedestrian streets, and when the weather is nice they are filled with people taking an evening stroll. Coming from the suburbs where I need to drive to most places, the fact that I haven’t even been in a car since I arrived is quite refreshing!
2.) In general the Spaniards seem to be much more sparing with water and electricity, because it is very expensive here (along with gasoline). This has made me a lot more conscious about using natural light instead of electricity and only using hot water when it is necessary. Many times I have come home in the evening and the house is pitch dark, except for a tiny night light in the hall to show the way. (Regardless, I have still stumbled into walls several times.)
3.) Fashion here is different as well. Fur coats are popular with the older women, and leather jackets are common for all ages. Women usually dress pretty nice when they go out of the house – they seem to be especially fond of heels and scarves. Skinny jeans and boots are also popular with the university crowd. A major difference from the United States, or at least from my university, is that hardly anybody goes out wearing tennis shoes or athletic clothes (unless they are working out). Also all the children are dressed very well – I have seen some of the most adorable little designer outfits here!
4.) It seems that many people here go shopping almost daily – for example, my señora will buy fresh bread along with whatever she needs for her cooking that day. It is very convenient to do this in Salamanca because there are many stores within a few minutes’ walk. Also, there are many tiny stores for each specific type of food – for example, a panadería for bread, frutería for fruit, pescadería for fish, etc. Now more larger supermarkets are starting to appear, but not nearly as many as in the US. There are also small stores for household electronics, books, office supplies (electrodomesticos, librerías, papelerías) and pretty much everything else. Shopping this way requires a bit more walking, but I think it is more fun & a good way to support these smaller businesses.
5.) Futbol – this isn’t exactly specific to Salamanca; in general Spain is pretty crazy about soccer. There is almost always a game showing on TV and many people will head out to the bars to watch the big games (where they are projected on large screens). Some fans will cheer and sing and yell for their team, and things get especially heated when Barcelona is playing against Real Madrid. Even though I am not a die-hard fan for either team, it always creates a fun atmosphere!
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