Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Country Profile #1: Spain

Spain, is a member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Its mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar; to the north by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the northwest and west by the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal. With an area of 504,030 km, Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union after France. Since January 1, 2010, Spain has held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Spanish cuisine consists of a great variety of dishes which stem from differences in geography, culture and climate. It is heavily influenced by seafood available from the waters that surround the country, and reflects the country's deep Mediterranean roots. Spain's extensive history with many cultural influences has led to a unique cuisine.

Tapas is the name of a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, in Spanish cuisine. They may be cold (such as mixed olives and cheese) or warm (such as chopitos, which are battered, fried baby squid) In North America and the United Kingdom, as well as in select bars in Spain, tapas has evolved into an entire, and sometimes sophisticated, cuisine. In these countries, patrons of tapas restaurants can order many different tapas and combine them to make a full meal.
In Spain, dinner is usually served between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. (sometimes as late as 12 midnight), leaving significant time between work and dinner. Therefore, Spaniards often go "bar hopping" and eat tapas in the time between finishing work and having dinner. Since lunch is usually served between 1 and 3 p.m., another common time for tapas is weekend days around noon as a means of socializing before lunch proper at home.

Famous Spanish People (Natives)
  • Antonio Banderas
  • Penélope Cruz

  • Isaac Albeniz
  • Pau Casals
  • Manuel de Falla
  • Enrique Granados
  • Joaquín Turina
  • Salvador Dalí
  • Francisco Goya
  • Joan Miró
  • Pablo Picasso
  • Diego Velázquez
  • Ignacio Zuloaga
  • Francisco de Zurbarán

  • Miguel Bosé
  • Montserrat Caballé
  • José Carreras
  • Plácido Domingo
  • Enrique Iglesias
  • Julio Iglesias
  • Alfredo Kraus
  • La Pandilla
  • Raphael
  • Melody Ruiz Gutiérrez
  • Alejandro Sanz
  • Camilo Sesto
  • Camarón de la Isla
  • Severiano Ballesteros - Golfer
  • Galo Blanco - Tennis Player
  • Fermin Cacho Ruiz - Athlete, Olympic Gold Medalist
  • Pedro Carrasco - World Champion Boxer
  • Javier Castillejo - World Champion Boxer
  • Juan Carlos Ferrero - Tennis Player
  • Sergio Garcia - Golfer
  • Pau Gasol - NA Basketball Player
  • Luis Miguel González Lucas - Bullfighter
  • Miguel Induráin - Cyclist
  • Carlos Moya - Tennis Player
  • José Maria Olazábal - Golfer
  • Raúl - Football Player
  • Carlos Sainz - Rally Driver
  • Arantxa Sanchez Vicario - Tennis Player
  • Cristina Sanchez - Bullfighter
  • Javier Sanchez - Tennis Player

Unique things about Spain:

Tomato Fighting: Spectators from all over the world are surprised, shocked and impressed each year when they watch the spectacle of tomato fighting. The fiesta is one of the strangest of all Spanish festivals and carnivals is La Tomatina where more than 30,000 semi-naked people gather to throw tomatoes at each other before getting washed down by the hoses of the local fire brigade. It is truly an experience worth experiencing and on the top of the list of things about Spain while visiting the country.

Bull Fighting & Bull Running: In Spain the bullfight is called the Fiesta Nacional (The national Sport). Bull fighting and bull running of Spain is world famous. It tops the list for things to do in Spain. Bull fighting may be a ritualized killing and is many people’s idea of extreme cruelty, but to others the experience of a corrida is a breathtaking and dramatic view of the Spanish psyche.