The Siesta is something that can take a bit of getting used to, as can shops shutting on Sundays. Both traditions are slowly disappearing in the coastal holiday resorts and towns but are still very firmly up-held in the less touristy places. The laws on Sunday trading were relaxed in some areas as a result of the financial crisis so shops could maximise opening times and therefore hopefully generate more income. Not opening up until 10am and then closing your business, whether a shop or a legal firm, for most of the afternoon is just not ‘British’! However once adjusted to the idea of an afternoon rest most people come to like it. In the height of summer, when it is too hot to go to bed before midnight, it makes sense to hide away somewhere cool at the hottest time of the day and take a nap to recharge your batteries for the cooler evening’s entertainment. A long lingering late lunch with friends is also a social event, not to be rushed.
Seeing young children out playing late at night is another tradition Brits are quick to criticise. But these children will have slept for two or even three hours during the day and taking your children out with you in the evening is not only acceptable in Spain but expected. In summer an evening meal starts around 9pm at the earliest so there is certainly no plan to be tucked up in bed by 10pm – the evening is just warming up then!
If you holiday in Spain in a resort you will find it easy to find some shops open all day and a full menu available from 6pm, but if you are in a traditional area either living or just visiting you need to accept that things are not geared towards northern Europeans timetables, it’s Spain so the timetable is Spanish.