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When in Spain offers practical advice, real-life observations and travel ideas for anyone figuring out Spain and Spanish life

When in Spain offers practical advice, real-life observations and travel ideas for anyone figuring out Spain and Spanish life
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When in Spain offers practical advice, real-life observations and travel ideas for anyone figuring out Spain and Spanish life






Spain’s most famous market: El Rastro de Madrid, sights, sounds & history – WIS024

A wander around El Rastro, Madrid's sprawling outdoor market where you can find almost anything. Whether visiting as a tourist or living in the Spanish capital, El Rastro flea market is a must-see. I survey what's on offer at the weekly market, from antiques, to denim jackets, to plastic dolls and pots and pans, the Rastro almost has it all. Even the largest collection of rubber bands you've ever seen. Taking in the sounds of traders, live music, bird whistles and music boxes, I trace the...


Are Spaniards vampires? Shutters, bars & balconies – WIS023

Do Spaniards like the dark despite Spain being one of the sunniest countries in Europe? Maybe you can have too much of a good thing! I ponder the Spanish obsession with window blinds and shutters and wonder why they never seem to use their balconies. This episode was inspired by this article in El Pais newspaper: Why are Spaniards the only people in Europe obsessed with window blinds?


Trains, planes & automobiles – Transport in Spain WIS022

How to get around Spain on public transport, using national and regional train networks, bus services, internal flights and metro systems. I look at the transport options available, destinations, prices and how to make bookings.


A weekend in Asturias, a cow, a puncture & the most local bar in Spain – WIS021

A weekend tour of Spain's northern region of Asturias, the Picos de Europa mountains, a visit to the place where the reconquest all began and a spanner in the works. Well, a blown out tyre that left us stranded in the most remote part of Asturias late at night. Gracias to the kindness of strangers we managed to get on our way again...even if we didn't make it back to Madrid in time for work on Monday morning. At least we got to spend a few hours in a bar in someone's house in a village...


Bonus Episode! Answering your questions: Alternative things to do in Madrid & more – WIS020

In this bonus episode I answer a few questions from listeners...Alternative things to see and do in Madrid, Advice for moving to Barcelona and a future episode on healthcare and health insurance in Spain. Also, how about some When in Spain episodes in Spanish? Over to you...


Trains in Spain and a trip on the AVE from Madrid to Barcelona – WIS019

I talk trains - my favourite way to travel. Sit back and enjoy the ride as I take us on a trip from Madrid to Barcelona on Spain's high speed train, the AVE (Alta Velocidad Española). From Madrid's Atocha station with its indoor jungle to Barcelona's modern Sants terminal, I describe the journey as we rocket across Spain at nearly 300 km p/h. I look at routes, destinations, tickets, prices, how to book and give advice on how to get the best value across the rail network.


Bullfighting. Art or bloodsport? A trip to Madrid’s Las Ventas bullring – WIS018

An episode on Spain's most controversial tradition, bullfighting. During the show I attend a 'corrida' at Madrid's Las Ventas bullring with a Spanish friend to see this ancient spectacle in the flesh. I didn't enjoy or agree with what I witnessed, that I expected. But I wanted to see if I could understand why others are so passionate about it. A few things surprised me about the bullfight. In the episode I also attempt to trace the origins and history of the Spanish bullfight and look at...


Ben Curtis and Marina Diez from Notes in Spanish – WIS017

Spanish podcast pioneers, Ben Curtis, an Englishman from Oxford and Marina Diez, a native Madrileña have run the Notes in Spanish podcast since 2006 for all Spanish language learners. They also produced the Notes from Spain podcast series about Spanish life and culture. Ben and Marina and their podcasts were a huge inspiration for me when deciding to embark on a new life in Spain and indeed to start this, my very own podcast show When in Spain. I had the great pleasure of meeting up with...


Siesta & fiesta! What’s up with Spain’s crazy daily routine!? – WIS016

Evening meals at 11pm! Two-hour lunch breaks! Hitting bars until 7am! In this episode I try to stay awake to look at Spain's daily routine, timetables, mealtimes and work schedules and try to work out if Spaniards really do ever sleep. I examine the history of the infamous Spanish siesta (Think ancient Rome, Franco and the Spanish Civil War) and find out of it really does still exist or has just become a tired stereotype. I discuss my struggles with eating dinner at inhumane hours of the...


Desperate Literature – Books that explain Spain WIS015

Do you have to be mad to open your own bookshop in Spain in this day and age? Well, Terry Craven from Madrid's Desperate Literature bookshop assures me that if you're not brave then you must be stupid! I spend a morning surrounded by books while Terry talks through some lesser-known Spanish literature that helps get under the skin of Spain and Spanish society. He recounts how he came to set up an international bookshop in the heart of the Spanish capital. Along the way I find out about...


Shops, shopping Spanish style and opening hours – WIS014

Let's hit the shops! Need a stamp? Run out of milk and everything's closed? Fancy some churros? I'll take a look at Spain's traditional shops their names and how they continue to survive in the face of the big supermarket chains. I'll also talk about how to navigate Spain's sometimes frustrating opening hours and look at restaurants and bars if you're starving and it's only 5pm!


Spanish Beer – Brands, Bars and how to order like a native – WIS013

Cerveza! Yes, a whole episode dedicated to beer! Salud! Spain is the 4th biggest beer producer in Europe and the 10th biggest in the world. But, ordering a beer can be a confusing experience. Do you order a caña or a tubo? What’s the difference between a copa and a doble? How big is a tanque? Can I just order a pint? Maybe. Beers in Spain come in all shapes and sizes, and how you order them will often depend what region, city or bar you’re in. I try to clear up the confusion in this...


Spain vs England – The cultures collide! WIS012

I examine the cultural differences between Spain and the UK with the help of some of my Spanish friends who live and work in England. Let battle commence! I chat with Paula, Diego, Pedro and English ally Dan about the pros and cons of living in Spain and the UK, the things we miss, annoyances and frustrations from each country and share our observations on jobs, working conditions, corruption, families, politeness, bureaucracy, daily routines, the going out culture, outdoor life, food,...


How to open a Spanish bank account – WIS011

This week I explain how to open a Spanish bank account whether you're a resident or non-resident in Spain. I look at the process and paperwork whether opening an account online or in person. I give a rundown of the major Spanish banks and some lesser-known ones and assess what kind of bank accounts are available and talk about how to avoid hidden bank charges and fees. All that plus my own personal experience of opening an account with CaixaBank.


The Spanish NIE & Residency – Why you need it and how to get it WIS010

In Episode Ten of When in Spain I look at how to get the all-important Spanish NIE number and residency card. In this show I'll explain why it's crucial to get the NIE if you're planning to live, work, study, retire or buy a property in Spain. I'll guide you through the application process and talk about the frustrations and challenges of getting hold of this piece of paperwork that is the key to living in Spain.


Thinking Spanglish – A survivor’s guide to learning Spanish WIS008

In episode eight of When in Spain I talk to Melissa from Thinking Spanglish, a blog described as a 'survivors guide' to learning Spanish, aimed at helping people overcome their fear of learning and improving Spanish. We answer the 'dreaded' question, should you or shouldn't you learn Spanish to live in Spain? Can you survive without it...? We find out. We also look at language learning resources, the challenges and rewards of learning Spanish, some top tips for language learning and of...


Teaching English in Spain WIS007

Ever contemplated ditching the 9-5 office job and escaping to sunnier climes to teaching English abroad? In this episode I interview friend and fellow EFL teacher Liam Hoofe about teaching English as a foreign language in Spain. We compare notes about our experiences in the classroom, job hunting and teaching English around the world. We offer advice on how to get into teaching EFL, what qualifications you need, how much you can expect to earn, the different places where you can teach in...


Why are Spaniards so obsessed with milk? Linguistically speaking! WIS006

In episode six of When in Spain I go out to buy milk and get thinking about the strange and colourful Spanish expressions that revolve around milk or 'la leche'. Learn some of these milky expressions in this episode and find out about their origins. Also, I take a look ahead to future When in Spain shows and talk about collaborations, subjects and themes you can expect to hear in the coming months. More colour pieces on culture and lifestyle, more practical how to guides and a look at the...


Where to rent in Spain – Cities & Neighbourhoods WIS005

In episode five of When in Spain we take a whistle-stop tour around Spain's four biggest cities in search of the best neighbourhoods to rent rooms and apartments. We compare Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and Seville. Paul gives a flavour of dozens of neighbourhoods, from the hip and trendy, to the studenty, traditional and family friendly. He also looks at what kind of properties you can expect to find and sorts the cheap from the expensive. There should be something to cater for every taste...


Renting a room or apartment in Spain WIS004

In episode four of When in Spain I look at how to rent a room or apartment in Spain. The focus is on Spain’s four biggest cities, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville. Advice, costs, resources and as always my personal insights to help you avoid any pitfalls. For much more info visit https://wheninspain.org/?p=399