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CHRISTMAS

Ten resolutions to make the most of life in Spain in 2022

Stuck in a Spain-sized rut? Need to add some sparkle to your life in 2022? The Local offers you ten easy-to-achieve resolutions that will make the coming year in Spain one to remember.

Ten resolutions to make the most of life in Spain in 2022
Photo: Maridav/Depositphotos

1. Improve your Spanish (or Catalan or Basque etc)


Photo: The LEAF project/Flickr

If you’ve decided your Spanish is already good enough, or that the language is just too hard, now is the time to get out of your comfort zone. Buy a book, get an intercambio (language exchange partner), takes classes, or just watch more Spanish television: whatever you do, stop putting it off and take the next step .

If you’re looking to learn some offbeat vocabulary a class might not teach you, perhaps start with our list of ‘false friends’ you need to watch out for when speaking Spanish.

And if you want to work on sounding a bit more local when you speak, try these outrageous, rude expressions.

Most importantly, check in to The Local regularly for the Word of the Day series. 

2. Take up the sport of padel: 

 
You’ve probably spotted them around Spain — strange half-sized tennis courts with wire mesh fences. Welcome to the wonderful world of padel. Part-tennis, part-squash, this is a great, fun game. Why not join a club, improve your fitness and meet some Spaniards at the same time?
 

3. Cook up a storm: 


Photo: Pierre-Philippe Marcou / AFP

Make 2022 a culinary watershed by learning how to make a new Spanish dish every month of the year. Set yourself the target of making a sublime salmorejo, a terrific tortilla and perfect pincho. When we’re allowed to meet up again, you can amaze them with your cooking prowess.

You may not be able to compete with some of the world’s top chefs who reside in Spain, but at least there is plenty of inspiration. And while it’s still chilly, cold weather tapas could be a good place to start on your culinary education.

4. Volunteer: 


Photo: Josep Lago/AFP

In 2020, there was of course a renewed passion among Spaniards for volunteering, or giving back something to the community to help during the pandemic. You could try working at a local food bank.

And there are also many opportunities to get involved in helping newly arrived refugees in the country through donations, volunteering and more. Madrid for Refugees holds regular fundraising events. 

5. Walk (or cycle) the Camino de Santiago:


Photo: Miguel Riopa/AFP

Say Camino de Santiago and most people think of the 800km ‘French Way’ from southern France to the city of Santiago de Compostela. But you can start the route from pretty much everywhere in Spain, with major routes linking Seville, Madrid and Barcelona with the pilgrimage city. You can decide to do just part of the trail too. So whether your motives are religious, spiritual, or just sightseeing, this is a great way to experience Spain.

Just follow the signs and don’t get lost like this British couple.

6. Learn to do something typically Spanish:


Photo: Arnaud Guillaume/AFP

Make 2022 your year for learning something unique to Spain. This could be anything from getting to grips with the fine art of slicing jamón to learning how to pour cider the way they do in Asturias. Or maybe you want to try flamenco dance or guitar. Take a course and get a whole new perspective on Spain.
 

7. Head to a crazy Spanish festival:


Photo: AFP

You’ve seen all the pictures and you’ve heard the stories, but you’ve never quite managed to get there. When the festivals are back on and we’re allowed to travel again, you’ll be able to do everything from getting splattered with tomatoes at the Tomatina festival to watching people rise from coffins in Galcia, there is a wacky Spanish fiesta for everyone.

WATCH: Paraded alive in coffins? This has to be Spain’s strangest fiesta

8. Read Don Quixote:


Photo: Davidd/Flickr

Yes, Cervantes’ classic novel about the The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha is hundreds of pages long. Yes, it’s a serious piece of literature. And yes, most Spaniards have never actually read it.
 
But this story of this genius/fool on a personal crusade to bring back chivalry is also seriously fun. One hundred of the world’s top authors have also called it the best book of all time.
 
So whether you read it in English or Spanish, just read it.

9. Get off the beaten track:


Photo: the secret valley/Wikimedia Commons

Think you’ve been everywhere in Spain? Think again. When we’re allowed to start travelling between regions again, 2022 could be the year to start exploring some of Spain’s lesser known regions. Take a trip to the wetlands of the Ebro Delta or visit the stunning castle of Gormaz in lonely Soria province. Or you could check out some of the places awarded as the Most Beautiful Towns in Spain.

We also recommend stopping by small, undiscovered villages, or perhaps some quaint seaside ports. And don’t forget about Spain’s 44 different Unesco World Heritage sites.

IN PICS: The 15 beautiful small towns you must visit in Spain in 2020

10. Meet the love of your life?


Photo: MandyGodbehear/Depositphotos

Or at least, have some fun along the way. 

Navigating the dating scene can be a minefield, especially during a pandemic and when you are looking for love in a culture different to your own. But don’t let that put you off. Follow the Local’s dating guru Sally Smith’s tips to dating online in Spain.

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WEATHER

Will anywhere in France get a white Christmas this year?

A white Christmas might be at the top of many people's festive wish list but will it actually come true for anyone in France this year?

Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France.
Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France. Non-mountainous parts of the country will not see snow this year. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)

If you’re in France and have been dreaming of a white Christmas, you are probably out of luck. 

It has been freezing in recent days with temperatures falling to a low of -33.4C in Jura on Wednesday morning, but the cold spell isn’t going to last. 

Temperatures across the country will hover around the 10C level in most of France by the afternoon on December 25th according to Météo France, with parts of the country including Brittany and some parts of eastern France experiencing rainfall. 

By the afternoon on Christmas Day, the chances of snow look extremely limited. Source: www.meteofrance.com

On Saturday, there will be some snowfall, but only if you are high in the mountains at an altitude of 1,800-2,000m. On Sunday, places above 1,500m could also see snow – but this rules out the vast majority of the country. 

Roughly half the country will see sunshine over the weekend. The French weather channel said that this Christmas could be among the top five or six warmest since 1947. 

Last year, Météo France cautioned: “While we often associate snow with Christmas in the popular imagination, the probability of having snow in the plains [ie not in the mountains] during this period is weak in reality.”

One of the last great Christmas snowfalls, outside of France’s mountainous areas, came in 2010 when 3-10 cm of snow fell in Lille, Rouen and Paris. In Strasbourg, 26cm fell. 

On Christmas Day in 1996, 12 cm of snow fell in Angers – ironically, this was also the day that the film, Y’aura t’il de la neige à Noël? (Will there never be snow at Christmas?) was released. It had been ten years since France had seen such snowfall outside of the Alps and Pyrenees. 

Météo France directly attributes declining rates of Christmas snowfall to climate change. Compared to 50 years ago, even the Alps receives the equivalent one less month of snowfall per year. 

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