My first memory of Spain, from way back in 2003 when I came to study abroad, was seeing people light up cigarettes as soon as they were off the plane. Madrid Barajas was filled with smokers, and from then on, if before the smell of smoke bothered me, now it reminded me of Spain. But, as so many other European countries have adopted new smoking bans, Spain's smoking ban came into full force on January 2. No smoking inside any bars, restaurants, clubs, or other public places and smokers must be 50 meters away from a hospital or playground. Spaniards were up in arms-saying that although many people are actually happy about the change-such a law is infringing on their freedoms. I have to say I can't wait to go out now, coming home still smelling like perfume, not getting smoke in my eyes, and not having that scratchy smoke throat in the morning...wonderful! And another benefit: more terraces all year! Diego was surprised by the number of Parisian terraces that were up in the December cold, but in the European mindset of a long lingering drink and smoke with a newspaper or people watching, even bundling up in the cold under a heater isn't too bad. I think it's going to make Spain even more charming.
12 hours ago