Spanish Culture and News

Having Trouble With The Spanish Timetable

Like most people when they first move to Spain, when I arrived in Madrid nearly 10 years ago, I found it tricky to adapt to the crazy timetable during the first few weeks. I was eating at 1pm, but everyone else turned up at 2… or 3…. I ate dinner in empty restaurants at 8.30, the Spaniards came in as I was paying my bill.

Still, within about 2 weeks I worked out what was going on, and did as the locals were doing. Friends wouldn’t meet until 10pm on a Saturday night? No problem! Soon got used to that!

But recently something perplexing is going on. These days I get up at 7 a.m. and work from about 7.30 until 2. A quick rest after lunch, then more work until 6ish, when I am obliged (under new household laws designed to control my computer addiction and give me back some of my old life) to stop work, close the lid of the laptop, and pay more attention to my wife.

All fine… until we meet up with Spanish friends in the evening. By 11pm I’m shattered! By midnight, as the assembled locals start looking if anything even more lively, I’m sending pleading glances to Marina, hoping she’ll take the hint and announce it’s time to go home. By 1 am I’m downright pissed off!

I think I have three options to beat this very Madrileño problem:

1. Get up later (unlikely, and not very Spanish)

2. Start taking a 45 minute siesta on days we are going out (hmmm… tempting)

3. Take up coffee, in heavy doses.

How do you deal with the long end of Spanish timekeeping?