Myth #1: People dress formally in Spain. They don’t wear shorts or t-shirts and they especially don’t wear sneakers unless they are exercising. BUSTED!
This is definitely not true. People wear shorts pretty often around here. It gets hot during the day, what do you expect? Also, the sneakers situation is very similar to the United States. When you see sneakers, they are probably worn by a man. However, it is not weird or strange to see a girl wearing sneakers. And as far as dressing more formally, I guess I will concede to that a little bit. I think this part of the myth came from the fact that these people you see walking around in fancy or formal clothes could be going to work. In Florida, you wouldn't see these people because they would drive to work in their car.
In the city of Alcalá, many of the businesses do close between 2 and 5 each day for a siesta. However, don’t think that everyone finds the nearest bed and takes a nap! Siesta time is a break during the day where families and children can return home for lunch, which is the biggest meal of the day. People can nap, watch tv, or do whatever else they want to do. This may have to do with the fact that many businesses stay open until 9 at night and yet they only operate with one shift. So, they give their workers the break during the day instead of closing early.
Myth #3: People are protesting all the time! CONFIRMED
This one is actually true. Both times that we have been to Madrid we have seen a protest. We also saw a protest in Alcalá on Friday. However, they aren’t anything like what we expected. The people do not seem angry or rude. Instead, they are just walking around the plaza or roundabout waving their flags as they go. In fact, it seems to be treated as something like a fun outing. Afterwards, we saw many protestors relaxing in the park, playing with their children, and sharing some ice cream. They would take happy pictures, posing in front of Spanish monuments, for what I’m sure is their newest facebook profile picture! Haha!
So, yes, the cars are small, but they aren’t as small as I suspected. I had envisioned lots of electric little cars, very compact. I think the main difference to me is the width of the car rather than the overall size. Since the roads are so much narrower here due to their age, the cars must be designed to fit. So, there are bigger cars, they are just narrow. We even saw a pink hummer limo! Whoa!
Myth #5: People don’t drive very often. They walk or take the bus. CONFIRMED
People are walking all the time. The streets are alive with activity. At any time that you walk you are sure to see people around you. Whether they are sitting outside at the nearest restaurant or walking to their next destination, you will not be alone as you explore the city. We have also ridden the bus many times while we are here and have figured out that part of city living, which could sometimes be entertaining for the bus drivers as we learned the customs.