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In the 1st century A.D. the Roman Imperial authorities began to exploit the gold deposits of this region in north-west Spain, using a technique based on hydraulic power. After two centuries of working the deposits, the Romans withdrew, leaving a devastated landscape. Since there was no subsequent industrial activity, the dramatic traces of this remarkable ancient technology are visible everywhere as sheer faces in the mountainsides and the vast areas of tailings, now used for agriculture.
As much as it pains us to say, now is not the best time to be boarding that plane, boat or train. More and more countries are going into COVID-19 lockdown and closing their borders, which is making it virtually impossible to travel anyway. You can track the current coronavirus right now.
We've written a very extensive guide filled with insightfull comments and handy tips and tricks about all the aspects to traveling in Spain. We've summarized the most critical things below, but you can discover more information in our detailed guide to Spain.
Tipping: Not generally considered mandatory. In bars and small restaurants, Spaniards sometimes leave as a tip the small change left on their plate after paying a bill.
Corruption: Spain has a corruption score of 42 out of 100.
If your itinerary runs through Spain, watch out for muggers and beware of corrupt police officers. According to Transparency International, Spain scores average on the list of corrupt nations around the world.
Spain is not concidered to be a dangerous country, with a Global Peace Index of 1.7 out of 4.
This report is the only one of its kind that measures how dangerous or safe a nation is based on 23 different indicators, including political terror, deaths from internal conflict, murder rate, and ease of access to small arms and light weapons.
Tap Water: It's safe to drink tap water.
Drinking age: The minimum age for drinking in Ponferrada is 16.
WHO lists the drinking age as 16; other sources say that the minimum age varies by region, that it is 18, or that minors may purchase alcohol if accompanied by their parents.
Age of Consent: 16 years.
Same-sex marriage (also known as gay marriage) is legalized in Spain since 2005.
Spain scores a 9/10 on the 'Gay Travel Index'.
Timezone: UTC to UTC+01:00
Driving: Right-hand traffic.
Power adapters and converters: 230 V (50 Hz), Plug C / F
Weather: Currently broken clouds, with a temperature between 7.2 and 7.2°C (45 and 45°F)
Pollution (PM2.5 fine dust particles): 9.7 µg/m3
PM2.5 Fine dust particulates can be carried deep into the lungs where they can cause inflammation and a worsening of the condition of people with heart and lung diseases. The smaller the particles the deeper they travel into the lungs, with more potential for harm. Note that the World Health Organisation's guideline value is 20 µg/m3. So you have nothing to worry about when travelling to Spain.