The Reality of Living in Spain

Everyone imagines living in Spain to be all sunshine and sangria, but the reality is nothing like that.

Sure the sun shines almost every day, but in the summer the heat is unbearable, and the winter is bitterly cold, especially in the shade and at nighttime. Darkness falls at 5pm and the sun doesn’t rise until after 8am so it is a long night.

Houses here do not have gas central heating, although I believe piped gas is available on some coastal towns. The houses are, in fact, designed to keep heat out which not only doesn’t work terribly well in summer, but means that in winter you will be far colder than you ever were in a temperate climate.

The houses are mostly built with an open fireplace, but this fireplace is extremely draughty and lighting an actual fire in it will result in a smoky room. I know, I tried. My white walls very quickly turned black, and now I have the added expense of repainting, which at €40 a 20L pot, is not cheap.

Most of my neighbours installed a large, glassed in wood-burner, of a type designed to fit right inside the fireplace so that its glass frontage blocks off the draughts and sends the smoke up the chimney where it belongs, but at €1000 each, it was a bit outside my budget.

Their living rooms are lovely and cosy, but the rest of the house is bitterly cold.

Wood to burn is expensive. I gave up trying to buy it. In small quantities expect to pay about €6 for a single evening’s warmth. You can buy a trailer load for about €250 but that will not keep you warm throughout the winter. I used to wander around skips and rubbish areas looking for old timber. We are surrounded here by the campo, unpopulated areas given over for agricultural use, and the campo is filled with olive and almond trees, both of which make great burnings.

But you can’t just wander over and cut down a tree. They are protected by law, supposedly (I have seen loads being cut down by the people who owned the land), and apart from that it is theft as these trees belong to someone, even the ones that never get harvested.

In recent years a lot of expats have moved here, attracted by the cheap land prices, and have bought fields of almonds and olives, but have no interest in maintaining the crops. It is a lot of work collecting the fruit and taking to the local olive press for changing into olive oil, or the almond to the almond factory, for very little return.

I also know of some expats who have tried to maintain the land they have bought, but need a tractor and plough to turn the land over once a year, and cannot for love nor money buy decent second-hand equipment, and the Spanish farmers will not lend or hire out theirs.

The only wood you are allowed to take from the campo is fallen branches, but generally these branches are insect-ridden, something to worry about as the scorpion lives here, and without a petrol-driver chainsaw is impossible to cut up into small enough portions to transport.

Electricity is not only expensive; the electricity ‘trips off’ if you overload the circuit. Running one heater, the water immerser and one ring on the electric cooker is about its limit. Forget what is running already and put the kettle on to boil, and you will ‘trip’ the meter and have to go round resetting all the digital clocks in the house.

Calor gas is relatively cheap here. Six years ago it was €6 – 7 a bottle but last year it rose to almost €15, later dropping back on some government directive to €12.50.

A bottle of gas will run the gas heater for about a week, if you use it sparingly and only use it in the evenings. There are many days when I sit at this computer bloody freezing during the day but cannot put the heater on for fear of not having heat when it turns even colder.

I have bought one of these new low wattage electric heaters, the ones that run on the cost of a light bulb, but the area they heat make them suitable for cupboard use only, if you wanted to heat a cupboard.

Youth unemployment in Spain is running at a whopping 40%. The economy has collapsed. Adult unemployment is around 20%, but that only counts those eligible to be on the unemployment register.

There are many others, like myself, who were previously self-employed in Spain, who lost their business with the recession, who are not on any register. The self-employed in Spain are NOT entitled to unemployment benefits.

Spain’s economy seems to have been built on tourism, agriculture and construction. With the fall-off in tourist trade and the collapse of the building industry, there is not much left.

This year the tomato crops were hit with a new virus which killed all plants in at least a 50 square mile area, including my own, and this is a major tomato growing area with what looks like miles and miles of giant polytunnels covering hillside after hillside.

Meanwhile, prices in the shops continue to rise. All the basics, bread, milk, cheese, butter, etc have doubled in price over the past 6 years.

I live on a modern estate where several houses have been repossessed because the owners lost their jobs and could not pay their mortgages. The sad thing is that the bank then sells the property on for whatever price they can get, and property is not selling at all well here just now, unless there is a drastic price drop, and then the ex-owner gets hounded, no matter where in Europe they have moved to, for the difference.

Many people have moved here to retire. They had the privilege of paying €1000 to the bank to pay off their mortgage, so now they are in a better financial position – though why they got charged a grand I’ll never know. But with the drop in value of the pound against the euro – it used to be €1.60 to £1, not it is less than €1.10 to £1 – they are struggling to get by on their British pension alone. Many want to sell up and return home, but can’t because the housing market is not moving.


I would like to sell up, but not to move back, not yet anyway. I’d like to sell this great big house that is too big for two people, and buy a bit of land, preferably one with a water supply. Many people living in houses on the campo have no water and have to trudge into any of the nearby villages and top up water canisters from the free public tap. Alternatively, some get huge water containers delivered by truck, but that can only happen if the truck can actually access the track. These tracks are made of just dirt and stones, have huge potholes and are extremely difficult to navigate in dry conditions and all but impossible after the rains.

Many people tell me they prefer it that way as it deters thieves. Good point. Burglaries are a problem here.

Electricity I’d like too, but there are alternatives to mains electricity in the form of diesel generators or solar panels. I’d be happy to live in a caravan like many people here do, at least until permission is granted to start building a new dwelling or permission given to renovate whatever ruin is on the parcel of land.

These permissions can take a long time to come through, and when they do, are expensive. There is great deal of corruption within local government. The town mayor gets a cut of every building work granted, and sometimes he grants permission for buildings which are illegal under Spanish Law. There are many cases just now of people who have had to stand by and watch their dream house being demolished because it was never legal in the first place, despite their having applied for and received planning permission from the local burgh. Expats especially have no chance of understanding Spanish Law, and the solicitors involved are usually just as corrupt.


Internet access in Spain is more expensive than in most other places, which is strange in a land where wages are lower, and despite some puffings from the government about increasing internet usage, there seem to be no initiatives to make it more affordable.

It is hopeful that market forces will force down prices, with the entry into Spain of several large European telephony companies over the last few years.

In conclusion, it is fair to point out that here in Spain the weather/temperature is perfect for six months out of the year (Spring/Autumn), and that if you are in work you could have a very good life here. Everything is more relaxed. Life doesn’t take on the hustle and bustle and URGENCY of life in the UK today.

But, out of work, everything is so much worse without the cushion of the welfare state to support you.

******************************************************************************

**********January 2011***********

If you fancy moving to Spain, I know of a bar business for sale in Benidorm. It's a single locale situated in the centre of Benidorm, smack bang between the Old and New Town - a few minute's walk takes you to either.

With a total of 48 covers including those on the open air terrace which is sunny and ideal for smokers (smoking is no longer permitted in bars in Spain), this would make a great starter bar for those wishing to try a new way of life.

The business is currently closed but fully licensed and so may be opened again at a moment's notice. The current owners would be happy to accept only €9,000 for the traspasso and the monthly rent is in the region of €500 per month.

For further details contact Duncan or Sue on 0034 678982028 or email duncanelliot@live.co.uk

******************************************************************************

More by this Author


Comments 52 comments

D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 6 years ago from Lancashire north west England

Not the land of milk and honey then as many are led to believe.But I agree with you Izzy about the hustle, bustle and urgency in the U.K.. However,I would miss the four seasons.

excellent hub. Thanks.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

I do miss the four seasons DAL. Mind you, I have seen it snow here and in winter the surrounding mountain tops are white. The campo gets frost.

The deciduous plants know the changing seasons but I'm sure that's only due to the changing length of the daylight hours. it's not the same as back home.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain

That's a fair appraisal of how things are here today, thanks for the correction... three plants allowed huh!

I thought it was two, OH well I don't grow it anyway so it's irrelevant.

I've been here since 1986 so I guess I'm not going anywhere now, and like you have has no income since August 2008, when I got credit crunched big time!

But we just keep going somehow and as I've waited out two recessions and one drought I guess we will survive this one also...

ps. Try putting your pictures up to half page, they would work better with the text in this hub.... sorry, I set books and magazines for years......


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Thanks mate for the advice. Know of any jobs going, anywhere? LOL

Perhaps you could email and explain what you mean about the piccies. Ta xx


Princessa profile image

Princessa 6 years ago from France

You just said it the way it is. I remember those cold Spanish winters. Even in the Costa del Sol we were cold and had to buy the 6 euro wood packs for one night heating! Thankfully it didn't last long!

Good luck there!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

It's a bit less cold today thankfully...we had lying snow the other night for the first time ever I think.

Can't wait for spring! Thanks for commenting :)


pigfish profile image

pigfish 6 years ago from Southwest Ohio

I think...I will just visit and remain in my cold, draughty, old house in Ohio (but with heat, water, a garden, and a job)


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

summer is great for a vacation here. Well, maybe not it's a bit too hot. I recommend spring and autumn. Beautiful weather!

Heat,water,a garden and a job? I'm coming to Ohio! LOL


paul jones 6 years ago

hi love sold everything up in UK living hear 11 monthes know now I now what its abought thankyou for the wright up.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

You're elcome. I hope this improve here soon because they can't really get much worse!


bonny2010 profile image

bonny2010 6 years ago from outback queensland

I love your attitude to life despite the situation the country's economy has put you in = I love the way you wrote this hub very matter of fact. Keep your chin up and please keep writing - cheers.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Will do, and thanks for commenting. Well I don't have much choice when I can't sell, I'm kinda stuck here, but you know when things can't get any worse, they can surely only get better?


Steve 3.0 profile image

Steve 3.0 6 years ago from Cornwall UK

Thanks for this interesting hub, I was thinking of moving to Spain for a while but house prices went up too much as the euro strengthened against the pound. Hope you find some work and it warms up soon. It has been the coldest winter in years in the UK and the last 3 summers here have been a washout, so I am still jealous of the Spanish climate.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Spain is not a good place to move to just now or in the foreseeable future. Thanks for your best wishes - and this has also been the coldest winter for years here too. Yes the UK had a long cold one this year. Wasn't there but heard all about it.


expats profile image

expats 6 years ago from UK

I can vouch for the fact the weather does get very cold in winter. The problem is that houses in Spain are more designed to keep cool in summer, and most don`t have the kind of things that we have in the UK to keep ourselves warm and well insulated. Nice hub Izzy.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

I have to laugh at our houses(I live on a new urbanisation). Designed to keep cool in summer is a joke because they are too hot in summer and too cold in winter. In other words, badly insulated crap! Still they are lovely for the other six months :)


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

Mooooore! Fascinating stuff that ended too soon! :-) Well done for making everything so interesting sounding. Even though Spain is not in our future plans by any means, you made the subject so fascinating that I wanted to read more. Any chance that you might find it in you to expand? I mean more of the engrossing details you already provided. Many thanks Izzy :-)


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Well thank you kind sir!

Yeah I'll have a wee think and see what else I can write about living here. :)


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

One more thing child. I am interested in wood burning stoves for my future move to Greece, yet I do not see them advertised on your site. Since you are currently unemployed, an income from that direction would presumably not go amiss? Google has misstep here, or you did not make a sufficiently clear reference?

And I missed yoooooooooou.. :-)


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

I can tell you right now, that you can expect to pay upwards of €800 for half-decent wood burner. They weight a ton and are difficult to manoevre, so once they are in place, they'll be in place for life.

I've shoved the word into the tags, but I doubt if it'll help much and it would cost a fortune for amazon to ship one, if they even sell them.

Written any more hubs yourself recently?


Cathi Sutton profile image

Cathi Sutton 6 years ago

Wow. I had no idea how day to day life is there in Spain. And I honestly don't know wheather to pat you on the back for your endurance, or to invite you to come live with me so you can be warm! In the states, our dollar is also falling against the euro, and prices for most everything is going up. Food, housing, clothing, utilities... I can't think of a single thing that is going down in price, and I personally expect things to get worse rather than better. I believe it is a "sign of the times", and we must just ride it out as best as we can. Thanks for a very thought provoking Hub, and my very best to you!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Cathi :)

Today the air is warm outside for the first time this year; very soon I can get started in the garden. Things are looking up :)


claudialepo profile image

claudialepo 6 years ago from Firenze

Hello, I really like your hub, it`s very informative,. It shows, it doesn`t suppose.

I`m Italian and I`m an expat in Hungary. When I moved to Budapest, a very good friend of mine moved to Spain because she got a job there. Then the economic crisis occurred. I`m working in one of the few field who can partly take advantage from the collapse of the economy: communication. Writing about economy I gained a lot of job to do and also some companies that want spend their little reserves of money in a smarter communication, more informative and interactive than advertising, such as a corporate online magazine. Moreover I live in a country poor and hit by the crisis of 2008, but CHEAP. As a result I am the only one in my community of friends to be 22 and economically independent. (even if I will never be rich in this way..) I have money to pay the rent, that is far lower than in Italy, for the expenditures, food, gym, books and to go out. Cinema, beer and discos` prices are under the average level in Europe.

My friend is still in Spain, but she lost the job because of the crisis. I am really worried about that, also because in the main time she fall in love with his current boyfriend, a very nice Spanish guy.

I found a job in Hungary, she finds love in Spain...


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Thanks for sharing your insights into people movement and job in Europe. If your friend is lucky maybe her boyfriend has a good job and can support her. If not, she will be entitled to social security for a whie anyway. If her job was legal her employer would have paid social security for her so she will have something to live on now. Like I said I was self-employed and paid into social security, but there is no entitlement to benefit for the unemployed self-employed person.

You sound as if you are doing well in Hungary. I'd friends lived in Bulgaria for a few years. It is cheap to live there too.


claudialepo profile image

claudialepo 6 years ago from Firenze

yes, in fact she`s getting the social contribution since almost a year I guess.

I like Hungary but I think that when the Euro will arrive here, the cost of life will become just like in Italy...although Euro is not coming too soon!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

You're right, it's nice to equalise the monies between countries, but man! it pushes inflation up!


expats profile image

expats 6 years ago from UK

It wouldn`t surprise me if we didn`t see parity between the euro and pound before too long.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Which is bad for the tourism that Spain depends on. I believe that those holidaymakers changing their money in the UK are now getting less than a euro for a £. They'll get a better rate out here. Eurotabac give a rate of 1.10 today. - http://www.eurotabaco.net/eurochange.php


Ramblas profile image

Ramblas 6 years ago from Barcelona

Its so amazing for me to live in Spain. I am from Finland and we have complitely different life style. Its 9 months dark and people are depressed and drinking a lot. Here otherwise people are happy and its bright. I just love it!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Hi:) Glad to hear things are working out for you.

Welcome to Hubpages:)


Emma Haynes 6 years ago

Fab article, you couldn't have described Spanish life better. I have a love hate relationship with Spain. It is paradise to me, but the worry of money became far too much for us and we came home in November last year. I miss it terribly, but I don't miss worrying where my next meal will come from...


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

I keep hoping against hope that I will not have to go home. After taking all this time to learn the language and about the Spanish way of life,it would seem a shame to waste that experience. Sorry to had to finally go home, but knowing you have enough money in your pocket for your next meal is underrated IMO. You have to have lived a different life to understand and appreciate what home offers.

Thanks for commenting :)


Anolinde profile image

Anolinde 6 years ago

Well, we have the heating problem here in Japan, too. We use kerosene heaters here and it can get pretty expensive! We barely ever get any sunshine, so I guess I'll take Spain anyday :P (Okay, the unemployment rate sounds pretty bad ..)


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Apparently Spain is officially out of recession - they grew by 1% or something last month. Unemployment rates haven't chnaged though, and still no sign of work. Even the sun has been slow to show itself so far this year - May and we are still waiting for the warm weather!

Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)


blue parrot profile image

blue parrot 6 years ago from Madrid, Spain

Hi IzzyM: Things are not so bad in the center of Spain. If you can teach English there's work for you in one of these big towns around Madrid. Most flats have good heating and air conditioning. You will have to give up your garden but you might get a big terrace to fill with flowers. I think you got caught in a trap there on the coast. Of course the economic situation is bad all over but here there is still no gnashing of teeth.


blue parrot profile image

blue parrot 6 years ago from Madrid, Spain

:-) I see the other parrot has been here -- we are three of us. Yet I was here first! But my internet connection is erratic, and I typed without knowing that I was again off-line:

To get rid of the itch, have you tried soap? Simply diluted soap on a hanky? It does not work instantly, but works for sure after about five minutes.

I live in the south of Madrid, and if a mosquito gets me, the swelling becomes big and lasts long. So in summer I keep a spray with water and a little piece of soap and a hanky ready beside my bed.

And I have an anti-mosquito spray called Hansaplast. It is 100% effective, but it is old, and now the spray button is blocked, and so I only push the nozzle against the back of my hand, and it works! Only on my hand, and the mosquitoes stay away!

Maybe there are some telepathy ingredients in the formula of the spray.

The spray will last for ever and ever. Forever.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

BlueParrot - your comments really confused me until I looked up your profile LOL about there being 3 of you!

Thank you so much for the tips about mosquitoes - am again covered in bites because one got into the bedroom last night! Will try the soapy water suggestion. Apparently the TODO shops are selling a lemon solution spray too that works although I haven't tried it. I have a lemon-scented geranium plant which I am seriously considering moving into my bedroom to deter them! Only kidding the por thing would die from lack of light as I have to keep the blinds closed all day to keep the sunlight and therefore the heat out. Thanks for the tips about working as an English teacher. Moving to Madrid isn't really an option at the moment but thanks anyway. My best bet is to write loads of SEO websites and make money through affiliate marketing! Just need to learn the ropes LOL


Lisa K profile image

Lisa K 6 years ago from Wales, United Kingdom

Hi Izzy, Interesting article, I too live in Spain in the Murcia region so see prices of food, electricity and gas etc going up, this year I have doubled the size of my vegetable patch as last year that saved us loads of money, hopefully this year the produce will be even better. I have set up a bartering site for Southern Spain taking into mind the struggles we all have out here, where people can swap items instead of having to buy, it has become much more than a bartering site as well and includes social networking etc, the link to it is on my hubpage if you are interested.

Keep your chin up, things are improving slowly.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Lisa :)

Here is a link to your site in case any future visitors to this page want to access it :)

http://barterpointmurcia.ning.com/

Great idea!


Durbanite profile image

Durbanite 6 years ago

Hi

I'm moving to Alicante in 2 months time, to study naturally. Good reading on your hub! Any other advice you'd like to pass on...please do :)


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

I've got another hub on Spain that might be of interest

http://hubpages.com/travel/Moving-to-Spain

Alicante is a wonderful city and the reputation of their university is very good I believe.


A Dane in Spain profile image

A Dane in Spain 6 years ago from Torrox, Malaga. Spain

I very much enjoyed your Hub which describes "life as we know it" at the moment in Spain. It is a very frightening experience - coming from the North European welfare states and all of a sudden finding yourself "living on the edge" in Spain without anywhere to turn for help. I could write for hours on this subject...but I think I will save it for a new hub. Thanks.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

And I'll look forward to reading it! Thanks for commenting and I'm glad you enjoyed it - it helps when you can relate to it.


irene 6 years ago

i live in spain and i am desperate to go back to the UK

-bureaucracy is unimaginable!

-the dishonesty of the people, always trying to rip me off because i am a guiri

-the inefficiency

sorry but i cant take it anymore, many brits come here so naively thinking they will be in paradise, so relaxed and happy and living in luxury and come spend their money and then become desperate to go back to the uk.

i cant believe i did such a stupid move!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Irene, I can relate to everything you say. I am so sorry you've had it rough. I think I would be off too if I could sell my house.

This is a third world country masquerading as a first.


Madog, Burgos 5 years ago

So many comments SO typical of Brits who think they can move to paradise on a whim, make NO effort to learn the lingo or integrate with the locals, insist on having their 'British' foods and bars on tap 24/7 and then have the audacity to complain about the Spanish!! Well, when in Rome ..... Most of the people now finding it tough thought they could buy up cheap properties or land and make a killing as they think anyone who can't speak English must be stupid and deserve to be ripped off! If you can't stand the heat amigos then bloody well get out of the kitchen and go live on benefits back home instead.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Madog, if you read the whole article and all the comments here you would see that it is not that type of Brit we are talking about. We all know the type you mean,and most of them have gone home by now. I think more or less all of the expats here have gone to the effort of learning the language and integrating with the Spanish. I myself speak Spanish and my partner is Spanish. Things are bad though in the whole of Spain and being out of work is dreadful. This is a third world country unless you live in a city. The people are lovely I am not talking about them, but they should be a lot more modernised than they are.There are too many corrupt officials keeping the people down.


PropertyinSpain profile image

PropertyinSpain 5 years ago from Portsmouth, UK

Izzy

This is a very interesting overview of the reality of living in Spain and it is good that you have been thoughtful enough to share your experience.

We write articles in the Costa Blanca News. They are designed in the main, for UK readers, and among other things, they try to give a flavour of how difficult it can be to relocate to a foreign country. It is essential that people really understand the areas that they choose to live in, and that they have visited the area at various different times in the year. And yes, Spain is a frustrating country. It is laid back, it is red hot, it is freezing cold. But it can be rewarding if you work at it. If you have at least a little Spanish when you arrive, the population give you some credit for trying.

You comment that Spain is a third world country masquerading as a first. But for us, we would not willingly return to the UK after our recent experiences...cold, damp, dull, depressed, with a constant air of agression...and that was the summer!!

That, of course may not be compatible with everyone's view, and living in a foreign country can quickly lose its edge. It is exceptionally difficult to sell up without dramatically dropping the price...but the recession is apparent across the whole of Europe, not just Spain. The grass may not be as green anywhere else?

Good luck and we hope it all workis out for you.

Ray


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Ray, thanks to my online writing I am at last beginning to find my feet again here. Your post reminded me of the 'air of aggression' that exists in the UK, and you are so right there - thanks for the reminder. But I do wish we could get rid of corrupt officials - you are from the CBnews - have a look at the story surrounding the alcalde of Relleu (its been in the national press and online). There is going to be more trouble for people living on the campo thanks to him and his rule-changing. His own house is illegal! Coastal living in populous areas is completely different to living in the sticks. No phone. No public transport. No filling station. We obviously thought those things were coming when we arrived - in fact we were assured they were. But they never happened and don't look as if they ever will. Yet Telefonica got grants from the EC to install phones in remote communities? Oh I can have a radio phone (no use for DSL) yet we are less than 20 metres from a phone cable. Anyway, enough of that - the sun is shining even though its a cold December day :)


PropertyinSpain profile image

PropertyinSpain 5 years ago from Portsmouth, UK

Izzy

Corruption is a big, big, problem, I agree and it is difficult to see how many years of this culture will be wiped out overnight. But there does seem to be more reports of corrupt officials being removed from their posts. Perhaps being in the EU brings pressures from other governments, as well as diplomatic pressure supporting expats who have suffered from policies like land grab or the demolition of their properties. Personally, I know it sounds bizarre, but I half expect it here and I am not surprised when it happens...I don't expect it of English/British politicians, so I was appalled at the expenses scandal that swept Westminster

I have posted a hub which I wrote recently asking questions about the Spanish road network. We either travel at a snail's pace on local C roads, or pay through the nose to travel on empty motorways. (Go from Alicante to Barcelona and back and see how much change you get from 100 Euros). I go on to ask where all the local tax money goes. We have a lot of 'developments' going on that seem totally pointless...but provide lots of work for the lucky contractors!!

We do live near the coast...but...our phone is analogue so we can't get ADSL...our broadband is via microwave and costs the earth and sometimes works....but is still a lot better than the Vodafone dongle I used to use!!

We have no public transport to write about. Yes there is a bus to somewhere, and a light railway to Alicante or Denia...but you have to get there first and it's a long way to walk to the station.

We are pleased that you feel better about Spain. It's easy to say it, but I think if you move abroad you have got to embrace the new culture at least in spirit. Many people we have met do nothing but complain about how this is not like the UK......it wouldn't be would it? Also, like any immigrants, expats tend to centralise so they have a safety net of like minded people around them. In doing so they don't quite experience the cultural change.

You have a great advantage having a Spanish partner...someone, presumably who understands the politics and historical reasons for the things that happen here. Have you read George Orwell's 'Homage to Catalonia'? I'd recommend it. It gives an intelligent and unbiased (I think!) overview of the Civil War, and tries to explain the politics. But even he tells the reader that you haven't got a chance of understanding if you are not Spanish born and bred.

Please note that we are not part of the CBN and we do not represent them. We simply submit articles to them that are published.

Ray


mymovetospain profile image

mymovetospain 5 years ago from Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz, Spain

Hi Izzy,

I have become a fan!

I really like your style of writing and it's a great post, even if I don't agree with all you say.

I have lived in Jerez, Cadiz for about 8 years, moved from the UK and I run my own Relocation & Property Management business. Yes, times are hard but I still think my part of Spain is a fantastic place to live!

I think your views are slightly negative although I don't disagree with you but I would suggest that your part of Spain might not represent the whole country.

I have fallen into the same trap, at times, by criticising Andaluces or regarding Andalucia as being Spain. It's not, Madrid, Barcelona, Salamanca, Valladolid are very much different in terms of the people who live there.

Just like the UK, I don't think you can say London is England for example.

Spain isn't pretending to be anything though,I agree in some senses it is (or at least the part where I live) is, some what 3rd world but that does have its charm and what makes it Spain. The country has come a long way in the last 20 years, even though it may not seem that way to you.

Lets face it the world seems a much darker place when you are unemployed. Spain actually can be a good place to start a business in the times of crisis if you offer a service that is needed. Find the problem and offer the solution but remember learn Spanish first.

I wish you well and keep up the great hubs.

BR

Paul


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IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Thank Paul :)

Yes this was written while I was feeling extremely negative about Spain! I should add also that they are way ahead of the UK in some aspects - like having all your medical records computerised so that no matter where you go, all they have to do input your SIP card number and all your medical records are there!

Or linking children's medical records to their school reports, so that teachers know when they are ill and can offer extra tuition accordingly. There is a lot of good things about Spain.

Hope your neck of the woods has not suffered the terrible flooding I've been watching on the TV news!

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