Nonetheless, saying adios - or more accurately, since I'm in southern Spain, adiohhhhh - is not easy.
So rather than saying adiohhhhh, I'll say gracias - or more accurately, since I'm in southern Spain, grathiahhhhh - to this country for such a fabulous year. Thank you (in random order) for:
1) Olive oil & tomato toast and cañas of beer for breakfast.
2) Manzanilla and cream sherries and ponche caballero (a heavenly concoction of brandy, Andalucían oranges, plums, raisins, nuts, and cinnamon).
3) Sangria and tinto de verano because, often, the weather demands it. And I never argue with the weather.
4) Cold Spanish lager; notable inclusions being Alhambra, Mezquita (okay, it's not a lager), Mahou and Cruzcampo (goodness, I detect a theme).
5) Tortilla - especially the tortilla baguettes served at the Europa 2 bar in Granada.
6) Andalucía's weather: 10 months of flip-flop weather (12 if you don't mind getting your feet wet) warms the cockles of my heart.
7) Gibraltar (okay, not Spanish but our drink-soddened Fridays at the Clipper very much coloured our experience here).
8) Allowing the Moors to wreck havoc from 711 until 1492 (mas o menos), but not destroying their architecture after showing them the door. After all, nothing screams 'church belfry' like a minaret.
9) Developing an anti-bull
10) Cervecería 100 Montaditos for having vegetarian tapas options (high praise indeed went to the blue cheese and walnut mini baguette which has since been inexplicably struck from their menu).
11) Potato chips - notably Santa Ana. Sadly, my chip-eating experiences will never be the same.
12) Saint Days. What's there not to like about a day (or 2 or 3) away from work, a copious amount of alcohol, and a borderline medieval procession or two?
13) Ferias - notably Málaga's. Not that I remember very much of it. A drunken nod goes to the especially incorrect ones like the festival de Moros y Cristianos in Alcoy - a costumed re-enactment which commemorates a particularly heated battle between Moorish and Christian soldiers in the 13th century. The Moors always seem to lose. Funny, that.
14) The Osborne Bull. I saw my first bull-on-the-horizon 8 years ago and I still thrill to see el toro atop a hill or standing right-in-your-face by the side of the road. Honourable mention goes to the roadside Tío Pepe bottle.
15) Kukuxumusu designs. Mr. Testes balls always make me howl, not to mention all those trans-species copulators.
16) Flamenco. How will our Camarón de la Isla cds fair outside of Spain? Will the duende still be there? And the burning question: will Señor Gato Gringo ever learn to play the box?
17) Every Spaniard who couldn't understand a word I said but still tried to make sense of what I was trying to say. An exception being the chica who works in our local pizzeria - how I ever got served a Coca Light after asking - twice - for an agua con gas still defies logic.
18) Madrid. Yeah, yeah, I know: Barcelona, Barcelona, Barcelona. Gaudí Schmaudí. Madrid is - well, Madrid is Madrid. (How obtuse is that?). And Madrid has a bear. Bears rock.
19) Fans. The corollary to 10 months of flip-flop weather (12 if you don't mind getting your feet wet) is having a fan. My favourite has pterodactyls on it. Fans are pretty. Fans work. Why ever don't men use them? - oh right, because men are stupid.
20) Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso. Love him or hate him - and I know more people who hate him than love him - Picasso was indisputably the most influential artist in the history of the crayon, paint brush or lump of coal. Born in Málaga, he vowed not to return to Spain while General Franco was in power. Alas, Picasso predeceased Franco by 2 years and never returned to the ¡hola!-land.
Note: a nod to Ms. and Mr. runners-up Penélope Cruz (Señor G.G.'s choice) and Antonio Banderas (mine). Oh, and Javier Bardem (damn!).
Anyway, adiohhhhh and grathiahhhhh. Better yet, rather than saying goodbye, I offer an hasta luego - or more accurately, since I'm in southern Spain, 'uegohhhhh. Because it is 'uegohhhhh not adiohhhhh.
p.s. Be kind to stray animals. And because this is Spain, be nice to donkeys too.