Culture shock and how to deal with it

What is culture shock?

Travelling is all about new experiences, and discovering the culture of a different country is part of the adventure. However, when you visit a new country it can be difficult to adjust to these cultural differences, whether you´re a few hours from home, or on the other side of the world! Read on to learn about some of the ways you might experience culture shock and how you can overcome it in order to enjoy your stay in Spain!

Food

This is one of the most common forms of culture shock and something that most people experience. Even if you´re keen to try new foods, you will probably miss some things from home and be surprised by what you can´t find in the supermarket. In cities, you will be able to find many ingredients in international food stores, but if you are headed for a more rural location it might be wise to pack anything that you can´t live without in your suitcase.

Spanish food
Language

This might seem obvious, but finding your feet can be challenging if you´re not already proficient in the language when you arrive in a foreign country. Again, in a big city like Madrid you are sure to find someone who speaks your language, but you may still feel isolated for the first few weeks. The only way to really overcome this barrier is to immerse yourself in the language, through classes or language exchanges, but it could be helpful to try and find a network of people who speak your language while you settle in.

Spanish language
Pace of life

This is something which foreigners in Spain tend to struggle with, and it can take a long time to adapt to a new schedule. In Spain, mealtimes tend to be later and longer, which can result in very long days. You may also notice this “no rush” attitude in the relaxed approach to punctuality and the way people take their time in shops and the like. If you come from a fast-paced culture where being on time means arriving early, this can be a difficult adjustment to make. Of course, if you are eating at home, you can choose your mealtimes, but there´s really no way round it if you go to a restaurant, as you are restricted by their hours of service.

Pace of life
Greetings and interactions

The way people greet each other varies greatly between cultures; what is considered normal in one country can be interpreted as an insult in another! In Spain, it is common to greet someone you know with a kiss on each cheek, which might seem very intimate if you are used to a handshake. This is true of interactions in general in Spain – people tend to stand close and it is entirely normal to touch the person you are talking to, on the arm for example. At first this might make you feel uncomfortable, but with time you should get used to this way of communicating.

Greetings in Spanish

Hopefully these tips have given you an idea of the challenges you might face when you arrive in a new country, and how you can deal with them, but the most important thing to remember is that it´s completely normal to feel a little lost at first, this doesn´t mean you won´t soon feel at home!

Where are the best Croquetas in Madrid?

One of the most appreciated aspects of Spain by foreigners, is Spanish cuisine, and with reason. If we just begin to think about the food in the country, it is impossible not to come up with a huge list of incredible dishes: Spanish tortilla with potatoes, serrano ham, paella, gazpacho, croquettes….However the problem faced by many before being able to delve into one of these delicacies, is finding the perfect place in which to try them.  For this reason, I will write about my personal favourite places to try the best croquettes in Madrid!

Santerra (C/General Pardiñas, 56)

Best croquetas in Madrid

This restaurant is critically aclaimed to to boast the best croquettes in the world. Smooth and full of flavor, they simply melt in your mouth. Some advice from a local: ask for them in the bar, given that the average price in the restaurant is 60 euros! However, if you get the chance, treat yourself to these taste sensations, you won’t regret it.

 Bodega La Ardosa (C/Colón, 13)

Best croquetas in Madrid

With over 100 years of experience, the croquettes in Bodega La Ardosa are simply unequalled. Hence their popularity, the biggest challenge is finding a place to sit down, but believe me; it will be worth your while to wait. Accompany the croquettes with a piece of tortilla and it will be impossible not to return.

Casa Labra (C/Tetuán, 12)

Best croquetas in Madrid

Tied with Bodega La Ardosa, Casa Labra is one of the most emblematic places of the capital and for this reason, one the busiest. Their large sized cod croquettes are a popular specialty. Despite its location (it is situated right in the centre of the city), this place is suitable for all budgets with prices between one and two euros per serving.

Txirimiri (C/Ferraz, 38)

Best croquetas in Madrid

This Basque restaurant has croquettes de boletus, truffle and ham. Perhaps you thought that these were three different types of croquette? Not at all, in fact, it is a mixture of flavours which explode in your mouth which really deserves a try.  They have various premises in Madrid, my personal favouite being the one which is located next to Retiro Park (Calle de Ibiza, 25) because it is the perfect destination to relax and refuel after a long walk.

La Gastro (C/del barco, 7)

Last but not least, I recommend this restaurant for its originality. If you still want to experiment with something new after trying croquettes in the previously mentioned places, then this is the perfect place for you. Here you can find croquettes of all forms: pisto (similar to ratatouille) with egg and ham, or with mushrooms and caramelized tomato, of cuttle fish and alioli…in other words, the tapas is to die for!!

The Tapas Fast food: 100 Montaditos!

Spain is famous for its Tapas. In Spain’s capital, Madrid, you will find Tapas restaurants at every corner of the street. But… did you know that there is a fast food variant of Tapas? A variant that is typical Spanish, cheap and really tasteful. This place is called 100 Montaditos!

Tapas Fast Food

What is 100 montaditos?

100 Montaditos is a Spanish Tapas concept with more than 350 restaurants worldwide. A montadito literally means a staple of the culinary arts from Spain. The first restaurant opened its doors in the year 2000.

100 Montaditos is known for its bread (Bocadillos in Spanish), they even have a patent on their secret bread recipe! They sell more than 150.000 montaditos every day.

Where in Madrid can I find 100 Montaditos?

It will not be hard to find 1 of the many restaurants they have in and around Madrid. They have 90 restaurants based in the community of Madrid. For example, there are two in our school area, just 10 minutes walking distance from Inhispania.

Things you need to know

Every Wednesday and every Sunday there is a special offer: every item in the menu (toda la carta) is just 1€!! Their menu is really big and you have plenty of options.

Keep it in mind for your next visit to the city. It is a cheap, easy and tasty option for a Spanish lunch!

https://spain.100montaditos.com/

Madrid’s best rooftop bars

Tired of all the museum visits and long walks? Looking for beautiful views over the city of Madrid? Roof terraces will offer you the solution! The views over Madrid are impressive and there are a lots all over the city, from fancy and exclusive ones to local and folksy ones. Below you will find the 5 best roof terraces in Madrid.

5. Gau & Café

The Gau & Café is a hidden gem, located in the brisk and multicultural area of Lavapiés. The restaurant is located inside an ancient monument that is part of a national heritage, 500 meter from the heart of Madrid.

On the roof you will find a restaurant area (Mediterranean cuisine) and a part where you can enjoy a drink. The best time of the day to visit the terrace is during sunset, the atmosphere is enchanting by then! Certainly worth to mention is that this roof terrace is not as expensive as, for example hotel roof terraces.

Where: C/ Tribulete 14, fourth floor. Metro: Lavapiés.
Opening hours: Open the whole year. Mondays to Fridays from 11 – 23.30. Saturday from 13.30, closed on Sundays.

4. La Terraza del Urban

The fanciest roof terrace on the list is definitely La Terraza del Urban. You are already warned because it is part of a 5 star hotel. This 5 star hotel is located a stone’s throw from the Spanish Parliament and offers supreme quality, from luxury cocktails to quality tapas (caviar and oysters for example). For a tapa and a cocktail you will pay around €25 and twice a week they offer live music shows.

Where: Carrera de San Jerónimo, 34. Metro: Sol
Opening hours: Wednesdays to Saturdays from 11:00 to 03:00 and from Sundays to Tuesdays from 11:00 to 02:00.

3. Hotel Óscar

In the Chueca district you will find Hotel Óscar. This fancy hotel has a luxury swimming pool, lounge beds, cocktail tables and a beautiful panorama over the highest buildings of Madrid.

The entrance to the roof terrace is free but do not be shocked by the high prices for drinks and snacks. For a normal juice you will normally pay around €5. Using the pool costs €40 a day or €20 for half a day.

Where: Plaza Vázquez de Mella, 12. Metro: Chueca
Opening hours: 24/7

 2. Café el Viajero

This tropical roof terrace is located in the trendy area of La Latina, very close to the 2 most famous tapas streets of Madrid, Cava Alto and Cava Baja. The bar resemblance to a reggae-beach bar and normally reaches younger audience. You’ll get an amazing view of the basilica of San Francisco el Grande!

Where: Plaza de la Cebada, 11. Metro: La Latina
Opening hours: Tuesdays to Thursdays from 17:00 to 00:30. Fridays: 15:00 to 01:30. Saturdays: 12:00 to 01:30 and Sundays: 12:00 to 00:30.

1. La Terraza del Círculo de Bellas Artes

According to many Madrileños, the Círculo de Bellas Artes has the best roof terrace in Madrid. It is very close to our school, Inhispania, and for only €4 you can visit the roof terrace of this impressive building. Furthermore, the location (close to Plaza Cibeles and next to Banco de España) is excellent!

From the rooftop you have a beautiful view over the Retiro Park, Plaza Cibeles, the city hall, Paseo del Prado, the Prado museum and the Alcalá street. Go enjoy the view over ‘Madrid by night’ while chilling on one of the loungers and drinking a cocktail!

Where: Plaza Cibeles 1. Metro: Banco de España
Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays: 09:00 to 02:00 and Saturdays and Sundays: 11:00 to 02:30.

Where to find the best Spanish tortilla in Madrid

Are you unsure of where to go to try some of the best tortilla española? To help you out, we have chosen our top 5 places to eat the famous tortilla here in Madrid. But first, a little information about tortilla and an astonishing fun fact!

The traditional tortilla is served either hot or cold and consists of egg and potatoes. Adding onions to them is a question of personal taste and causes a lot of controversy! There are regional variations of tortilla and are also now many places where you can try many different flavours. Just some of the many ingredients that can be added to a tortilla include: chorizo, mushrooms, goats cheese, caramelized onions or peppers!

TOP 5 PLACES TO EAT TORTILLA:

  • Pez Tortilla (Calle del Pez, 36)

Mejor tortilla Madrid

This is a buzzing, small, local hotspot with ´´buen rollo´´ (good vibes) where you can find many different types of tortilla in Malasaña. It is usually very busy so it´s hard to get a table but most people stand. The flavours are exciting and different. Along with the many tortillas, there are also unique flavours of croquettes and artisanal beer. It is 3 euros for a generous slice of tortilla with bread.

  • Sylkar (Espronceda, 17)

 Mejor tortilla Madrid

If you like your tortilla runny, then Sylkar is the place to go – with their award winning tortilla! The still use the same recipe as they did in 1970… so it be really good! Their tortilla is recognized as one of the best in the city.

  • La Buha (Calle de Gravina, Plaza de Chueca, 6) / (Plaza de la Cebada, 10)

Mejor tortilla Madrid

There are two La Buha´s (Chueca and La Latina). Both have enormous tortillas weighing a kilo. If you ask any local person, they will undoubtedly tell you to go to this restaurant and try the filled tortillas. Make sure you go on an empty stomach as the portions are very generous! If La Buha is busy, fear not because it has another restaurant called El Buo (Chueca and La Latina).

  • Casa Dani (Calle de Ayala, 28)

Mejor tortilla Madrid

Although in one of the smartest neighbourhoods in Madrid, Salamanca, it nevertheless offers authentic Spanish tapas for great prices. It is located in a market, Mercado de la Paz.  You can have the tortilla here with or without onion, pleasing both crowds!

  • Juana La Loca Pintxos Bar (Plaza de Puerta de Moros, 4)

Mejor tortilla Madrid

This is a cool tapas bar in La Latina with a great reputation. Although it is not the cheapest, it is still a very popular place to go. It has taken the traditional Spanish tortilla and added a little twist to it – they fill their tortillas with caramelized onions. If you are looking for a tapas bar for a nicer occasion then what´s not to like!

Make your own tortilla!

If you are feeling adventurous and want to try making a Spanish tortilla yourself, here is a step-by-step recipe to have you feeling like a native in no time!