We try and picture our horizontal place on this planet and find that we have a lot more in common with Southern Europeans than the Parisian French, all Germans, certainly England and just about everything north of Central Italy (Rome is almost exactly due east of us!).
Madrid is just about due east - the first of the big "Euro" cities and we like that a lot. Spain. Espana. Ferdinand and Isabella. Bull fights, matadors...ahhhhhh.
We think of Spain as to be a red hot place - sun baked, whitewashed, olives and oranges and baked out in the sun. Same sun as ours...same height in the sky...same days, same nights. Rome nearly likewise. A lot of places in the "----stans" of central Asia, lots of China, North Korea, Japan...endless list of places that are just like us to the right or left.