My Spanish team mate's have told me that there is a bit of a motto in spain... 'Mañana, Mañana'. Which means 'Tomorrow, tomorrow', or simply put... 'Later...' It reflects the relaxed attitude and lifestyle here in Spain and I have become quite accustomed to it.
In town, nothing seems to happen until around 9am when businesses begin to open and people emerge. Then, at 1pm, businesses shut their doors for siesta and people head back home to rest and have lunch with their family. At 5pm, doors re-open and it is business as usual until around 9-10pm.
Personally, I use siesta for exactly that. A quick power-nap after a long training session. Everything else has shut down so it's not like I am going to miss out on anything. And if I do want to head out to do something, its like walking onto the set of 28 Days Later. When I first arrived, I took a walk around town and the only people I saw were asleep in their cars!
One of the downsides of a 4hr gap in the middle of the day, however, is that it pushes everything else after it back as well. Dinner time is very late at around 9pm with a lot of restaurants not even opening their doors until then. If you eat lunch at a 'normal' time of around midday, then by the time restaurants open, you are starving!
What surprised me most of all, is that families would be out and about until almost midnight. You can here kids running around and playing into the late hours of the night when its well past my bedtime, never mind someone that has school in the morning!
In 2 days time, I head back to Australia to prepare for the races in Asia at the end of the season. I have one goal... to continue living on relaxed Spanish time. Not in that I am going to stay awake when it is daytime in Europe but in that I am going to try to continue with the late starts, siesta and late finish to the day. However, I have a few things that are not going to work in my favour...
Firstly, it is still the tail end of Winter back home in Australia so the sun comes up at around 6am and sets at 5:30pm. This is okay for my planned late start to the day but doesn't help when it is cold and dark by 5:30pm and all you want to do is get home. Although its a balmy 24-25°C during the day, as soon as the sun goes down, so does the thermometer. It just doesn't have the same atmosphere as here in Spain where the sun goes down at around 9:30pm and it is still 30-odd degrees at 6pm!
Another obstacle is the fact that everyone else gets up so early. If I want to go for a ride with friends, then I need to be out of the door at 5:30am. This means putting on layers of clothing and charging the lights up because it is still dark. I'm not keen to do either of these things.
Lastly, and most likely my biggest hindrance to keeping Spanish time is the fact that my wife cannot do it. She starts work early so leaves the house at around 6am and if she is not in bed by 8pm, she has probably fallen asleep somewhere. I can't help but think that she would be a little unimpressed if I slept in while she was preparing for the day and then made her go to bed alone while I stay up late.
It's gonna be tough, but I will give it my best!