Friday, 12 July 2013

Siesta time

Although we've been living in Spain for over five years now, I've never taken a siesta.  Unless you count dozing off on the bus back to Jumilla, after having had a good lunch in Murcia with several glasses of wine?

Since moving here we have adopted several local customs. We go out for desayuno (breakfast) with a Spanish friend several times a week, having a cup of coffee and some toast at 11.30. This is actually my second breakfast, as I start the day with a very English cup of tea and bowl of breakfast cereal. I like to have the best of both worlds!

Lunch is usually taken between 2 and 2.30, whether we have gone out for a menú del día or we are eating at home. Whereas the Spanish tradition is to then have a siesta after lunch, we usually take our dog out for a walk during the cooler months. However, when it's very hot outside in summer, we are sensible and stay indoors during the heat of the afternoon, but we still don't take a siesta. John usually watches sport on TV or reads a book, while I may read a book, browse my favourite blogs or write my own blog. We also enjoy going to our nearby supermarket during summer afternoons and making the most of its air conditioning and also the comparative peace.

Dinner at home may be any time between nine and ten, depending on whose turn it is to cook and what we've been doing that day. When we go out for tapas or a meal with Spanish friends, we usually arrange to meet them at 9.30 pm, but they rarely turn up before 10.00. I'm not sure whether they take a siesta, but they always seem to be a lot livelier in the evening than we are, so I suspect that they do.

So far, so good. We are definitely adjusting to life in a foreign country. However I have been looking at the programme of events for the forthcoming Feria y Fiestas de Agosto, between 9 and 18 August. Ten days of celebrations, with folk music, processions, a festival of bands, Moors and Christians re-enactments, flamenco music and dancing, jazz and lots more: August is definitely going to be party time. There is just one slight problem - most of these events don't start until 10 pm or even later, and that is assuming that they actually start on time.  Have we got the stamina to cope with so many late nights?

This may be a good opportunity to start copying what our Spanish neighbours do and have a siesta - what do you think?


  1. I guess siesta is an intrinsic part of Spanish culture. what do you say? I am not that much aware other than of course what the romantic fiction novel Mills and Boon have fed me. But I think having a siesta is a good option if you are planning for late nights, as it helps in compensating for the sleep loss.

  2. Sounds so wonderful! What could be better than two breakfasts, a late lunch and an afternoon nap? I love the idea of a siesta followed by a late dinner. I usually keep the late hours but don't get the benefit of the nap. Love the idea!

  3. I would definitely need the siesta to make it to events past 10 PM! Yes, you might light want to try that!

  4. I guess I would have to have a siesta as I am usually thinking about getting ready for bed at 10 pm!

  5. It looks as if you are all voting in favour of the siesta, so I will give it a trial over the next few weeks. Apparently a siesta should only be for 20 - 30 minutes, so I think I would need to set my alarm, or I would probably be asleep for several hours! I think it stems from my days of working shifts in the communications centre when I was in my early 20s. I learnt to fall asleep easily and could even go to sleep in my chair when it was a quiet night shift!

  6. Definitely recommend a siesta if you're planning to join in the evening events. I never got used to the late night fiestas although we gave them a go. San Juan night at midnight was always a challenge, but great fun. I do miss fiesta season being back in thr UK.

    1. Jacqui, we went to a party at the country house of some Spanish friends' last night. I decided to take a straw poll amongst the Spanish guests, all of whom must have been in their 30s or 40s. They all said that they take a siesta and the consensus seemed to be 20-30 minutes, though a couple of the guys said 1-2 hours. We were home after midnight on Friday night and about 23.45 last night, so we are getting a bit of practice before August! People here in Spain definitely know how to enjoy themselves!