Learning Spanish Expressions – Vaya Tela!

May 10, 2011

Here is a great email we got recently from a listener (when it was still cold here in Madrid!):

“Hola Ben, I’m a big fan of your website and podcasts. They definitely helped me make the leap and move to Madrid. I’ve been here for a year and am having a great time.

Some real Spanish for you that you might like to share with the other users. This morning, I left home at 7.30 and it was freezing cold. I saw my “portera” on the way out of my building and she said to me “¡Vaya mañana!”

I think this use of “vaya” is very common in Spain and can be translated as “What a morning!” in English. I don’t know if you’ve written about this already, if not it could be interesting. All the best, E.”

That is a great use of Vaya, we love it! You could also use ‘Vaya mañana’ (What a morning!) if it was pouring with rain, or incredibly hot, or just if you’d had a hard start to the day!

Vaya is also often used in response to bad news, to mean ‘oh dear’:

Enrique: Me han despedido – I’ve been fired
Ben: Vaya, lo siento mucho – Oh dear, I’m really sorry

Here is another typical use of Vaya, in this wonderful and common expression:

Vaya tela – What a nightmare

For example:

Vaya tela que tienes con tu trabajo, además de tener un jefe inaguantable te han asignado el cliente más complicado – What a nightmare you?ve got at work. As well as having an unbearable boss, they’ve given you the most difficult client!

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