Sunday, March 22, 2009
A bridge as you may know is usually something that gets you over a hole, let's say a river, gorge or something and to the other side. In Spain though a bridge is a cultural phenomenon, it is a Puente. A bridge has just happened. Thursday was San Jose, father's day to the uninitiated. This is a holiday in many parts of Spain (In Valencia we had the Fallas burning that night as described below) You may have noticed that the holiday fell on the Thursday meaning something had to be invented to get us to the weekend without working, thus the bridge. So what are they and why are bridges so special? Here we go.
1) If a holiday falls on the weekend or a Monday or Friday they are considered bad holidays in Spain because no bridge can be applied. A Wednesday is a great opportunity but more difficult to swing.
2) The magic days are Tuesday and Thursday. If a holiday falls then the vast majority of Spain will see that as a great opportunity to have a Monday or Friday skive.
3) What do people do on bridges? They join traffic jams and swap sitting in their offices for sitting in an overheated car heading for the coast or mountains
4) A new lexicon enters the language during the Bridges, Muertes en la carretera" "Deaths on the road". A count is kept of the number of deaths, mostly caused by overtired or ridiculously impatient drivers going the wrong way down the motorway or misjudging that overtaking maneuver they didn't really need to do. The numbers are always compared to the previous year and are regarded as a successful operation if the are reduced even just by one.
5) The Puente par excellence is the December bridge. The 6th and 8th of December are holidays in Spain and this usually means that people can take advantage of this one to start December as they mean to go on, not working. You obviously take the 7th off too as it is in the middle of two holidays, but if the first one falls on a Tuesday then you are spoilt for choice of how to swing the Puente. Do you take the Monday off and add the previous weeekend or the Friday and add the following weekend, or do you be really innovative and take the whole nine days off? Problems and consdierations eh?
What is your experience of the Puentes in Spain?