Do you already know what you are going to do this summer? Well, there are quite a few Spaniards who, without thinking about it, have their holidays booked since the beginning of spring. And this is because the vast majority choose to visit the same place on the coast year after year, either in the south of Spain or in the Mediterranean, where the warm waters invite you to swim. 

Thousands of Spaniards invade the beaches from the Costa Dorada, in the north of the Mediterranean, to the Costa del Sol, further south, where putting an umbrella on the seashore is practically an impossible mission. With the first ray of sun every morning, hundreds of people, like explorers who want to colonize new lands, leave their apartments to plant their umbrellas on the beachfront and delimit their conquered land, which they will later enjoy throughout the day. Such is the desire to conquer, that it has had to be regulated on many beaches during the summer, because every day, the beaches woke up like a garden of folded umbrellas on the beachfront, waiting to be occupied by their owners, who were happily (1) sleeping with total comfort and peace of mind after their morning feat of conquest and appropriation of the land. And one of the favorite activities of Spaniards during their holidays is to do “NOTHING”, and can you think of a better place to do it than on the seashore? Studies confirm that what Spaniards crave most from summer vacations is a beach, beer, and a siesta. And if all three can happen at the same time, it means that you are a lucky person and you know how to live your life.

Little has changed since back in the 60s, when the sun and beach tourism boom broke out, and thousands of hotels and apartments (2) sprung up like mushrooms, to welcome the first tourists who visited the coast. A coast that, in a short time, ended up converted into concrete and cement. But the money was necessary for a country still suffering from the effects of the postwar period, so there was no strict urban plan, or if there was, it needed to be taken more seriously. 

What has changed has been the length of the vacation. The month of August, high season par excellence, gives way to (3) long weekends and (4) getaways during the rest of the year, and the word ‘VERANEO’ (entire-summer holiday. The word comes from the noun Verano, which means summer) is losing its meaning. The first owners of the beach apartments tried to spend as much time as possible in their newly acquired home, so they took the entire month of August on vacation, so they could enjoy it on the seashore with their wives and children. And it was a time when not many women worked, so they were the ones who spent the entire summer there with the children, their husbands being the ones who returned for the weekend. This is when the term ‘estar de Rodríguez' was coined, referring to those men who spent the summer weeks without their wives and children, taking advantage of their freedom at home until Friday, when they traveled back to the coast to meet their families. Freedom basically consisted of (5) paying for a few drinks at the bar next to work, going for a drink during the week, playing cards with your friends until whatever time you wanted, and of course, not washing the dishes or tidying up the house at all. All week, without (7) their wife drawing their attention. Those vacations were a real ‘veraneo’, an entire summer holiday. As the Royal Academy of Language says, ‘veraneo’ is spending summer vacations in a place other than where one usually resides.

Today, second homes are still very common; although perhaps as an acquired inheritance, enjoying the apartments that the grandparents bought years before. Of course, not everyone can enjoy this luxury. Perhaps for the latter, there is still a plan B: the village of their parents. It was also in the 60s when the great exodus from the towns to the cities took place, leaving the first practically empty of people, but full of the nostalgia of those who had to abandon their roots in search of a better future. Today, rural Spain is very far from what it once was, transformed into small population centers, with the same services that a city can offer. This is why when summer arrives, the towns double their population, since there are many who, fleeing the heat and stress of the cities, return to the homes of their ancestors to spend the summer. They are large houses, where several generations live together in the summer, grandparents, children, and grandchildren. It is, on the one hand, freedom for children: getting up late, without rushing. Where (8) running through the streets and (9) taking a bike ride is still possible without parental supervision. The afternoons are for (10) a dip in the pool, playing on the towel in the cool of the trees, spontaneous games with friends... and (11) going out in the fresh air! This means (12) hanging out with friends starting at ten at night, when the heat gives us a break, and (13) returning late at midnight after enjoying the last games of the day. It is very common to see children playing at these hours while their parents have a drink on the terraces. And on the other hand, it is also the enjoyment of parents, who leave their children in the care of their grandparents while they work, so that when they return from work they can enjoy what feels like a vacation: a nap, a pool, and beer, that is, rest, relax and have fun. Besides, (14) Open-air dances and parties are waiting for you every weekend.

It seems, then, that the only thing that has changed in these 80 years is our current need to be connected to the internet. We all know that our vacation just begins when we upload our first photo to social networks!


(1)sleeping with total comfort and peace of mind: DORMIR A PIERNA SUELTA

(2)spring up like mushrooms: SALIR COMO CHAMPIÑONES

(3)long weekends: PUENTES

(4)getaways: ESCAPADAS

(5)paying for a few drinks: SACAR UNAS RONDAS (it is very common in Spain to pay for the drinks of (6)everybody you are with. Next drink will go on their side)

(7)going for a drink: TOMAR UNA COPA (something stronger than a beer)

(8)their wife: LA PARIENTA (slang word to refer to the wife)

(9)running through the streets: CORRETEAR

(10)taking a bike ride: DAR UNA VUELTA EN BICI

(11)a dip in the pool: DARSE UN CHAPUZÓN

(12)going out in the fresh air: TOMAR LA FRESCA

(13)hanging out with friends: SALIR POR AHÍ

(14)returning late at midnight: VOLVER A LAS TANTAS

(15)Open-air dances: VERBENAS