Ten resolutions to make the most of life in Spain in 2018
Stuck in a Spain-sized rut? Need to add some sparkle to your life in 2018? The Local offers you ten easy-to-achieve resolutions that will make the coming year in Spain one to remember.
1. Improve your Spanish (or Catalan or Basque etc)
Photo: The LEAF project/Flickr
If you’ve decided your Spanish is already good enough, or that the language is just too hard, now is the time to get out of your comfort zone. Buy a book, get an intercambio (language exchange partner), takes classes, or just watch more Spanish television: whatever you do, stop putting it off and take the next step .
If you're looking to learn some offbeat vocabulary a class might not teach you, perhaps start with our list of 'false friends' you need to watch out for when speaking Spanish.
And if you want to work on sounding a bit more local when you speak, try these outrageous, rude expressions.
2. Take up the sport of padel:
You've probably spotted them around Spain — strange half-sized tennis courts with wire mesh fences. Welcome to the wonderful world of padel. Part-tennis, part-squash, this is a great, fun game. Why not join a club, improve your fitness and meet some Spaniards at the same time?
3. Cook up a storm:
Photo: Pierre-Philippe Marcou / AFP
Make 2017 a culinary watershed by learning how to make a new Spanish dish every month of the year. Set yourself the target of making a sublime salmorejo, a terrific tortilla and perfect pincho. Then invite your friends over and amaze them with your cooking prowess.
You may not be able to compete with some of the world's top chefs who reside in Spain, but at least there is plenty of inspiration. And while it's still chilly, cold weather tapas could be a good place to start on your culinary education.
Photo: Josep Lago/AFP
One of the few positives to come out of Spain's economic crisis is a renewed passion among Spaniards for volunteering, or giving back something to the community. You could try working at a local soup kitchen or a food bank. Or you might want to volunteer with Age Concern España which helps older English-speaking people living in Spain.
And there are also many opportunities to get involved in helping newly arrived refugees in the country through donations, volunteering and more. Madrid for Refugees holds regular fundraising events.
5. Walk (or cycle) the Camino de Santiago:
Photo: Miguel Riopa/AFP
Say Camino de Santiago and most people think of the 800km 'French Way' from southern France to the city of Santiago de Compostela. But you can start the route from pretty much everywhere in Spain, with major routes linking Seville, Madrid and Barcelona with the pilgrimage city. You can decide to do just part of the trail too. So whether your motives are religious, spiritual, or just sightseeing, this is a great way to experience Spain.
Just follow the signs and don't get lost like this British couple did over the summer.
6. Learn to do something typically Spanish:
Photo: Arnaud Guillaume/AFP
Make 2017 your year for learning something unique to Spain. This could be anything from getting to grips with the fine art of slicing jamón to learning how to pour cider the way they do in Asturias. Or maybe you want to try flamenco dance or guitar. Take a course and get a whole new perspective on Spain.
7. Head to a crazy Spanish festival:
Photo: Rafa Rivas/Flickr
You’ve seen all the pictures and you've heard the stories, but you’ve never quite managed to get there. So why not take the plunge in 2018? With everything on offer from getting splattered with tomatoes at the Tomatina festival to watching people swing from the necks of dead ducks in in the Basque fishing town of Lekeito, there is a wacky Spanish fiesta for everyone.
8. Read Don Quixote:
Yes, Cervantes' classic novel about the The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha is hundreds of pages long. Yes, it’s a serious piece of literature. And yes, most Spaniards have never actually read it.
But this story of this genius/fool on a personal crusade to bring back chivalry is also seriously fun. One hundred of the world’s top authors have also called it the best book of all time.
So whether you read it in English or Spanish, just read it.
9. Get off the beaten track:
Photo: the secret valley/Wikimedia Commons
Think you've been everywhere in Spain? Think again. Why not use 2018 to start exploring some of Spain's lesser known regions. Take a trip to the wetlands of the Ebro Delta or visit the stunning castle of Gormaz in lonely Soria province. Or you could check out some of the places awarded amonth the Most Beautiful Towns in Spain in a ranking this year.
10. Meet the love of your life?
Or at least, have some fun along the way.
Navigatating the dating scene can be a minefield especially if you are looking for love in a culture different to your own. But don't let that put you off. Follow the Local's dating guru Sally Fazakerley's tips to dating online in Spain.