Family Life in Spain: Issue 4
64 pages of interesting and informative articles about living in Spain, written by people who live here!
Issue N� 4 July - September 2012 64 pages of articles about Life in Spain ... written by people who live here! Are you thinking of moving to Spain? Would you like advice on which area is best for you & your family? Find out how to avoid paying Import Duty if you take your UK car with you ... You can save a lot of money by talking to the experts and taking the right steps before you make your move... The first step towards a successful relocation to Spain is to contact ... www.ccbspain.com Tel: 00 34 952 48 68 06 Expat & Relocation Services Bienvenidos! Welcome! to the the fourth edition of our Family Life in Spain Newsletter. At the time of writing this, the Spanish national football team have just returned home as European Champions and record holders having won titles in 2008, 2010 and 2012. Needless to say, the atmosphere is electric and the parties will continue for a wee while yet... However, the joy and delight of the football cannot mask the negativity and doubt being smeared all over the UK tabloids with reference to the current state of the Spanish economy ... is it a case of pot kettle black? As members of a group of Writers and Bloggers about Spain (WABAS) we, along with many of the contributors to his magazine, recently took a stance against this negativity on Twitter by dominating peoples' timelines with the trending hashtag #SpainIs... It was a small example of what a few people can do when they put their hearts into something that they are passionate about. For more details, read the article here. Once again, we would like to thank all the contributors & welcome the new members to the team. We hope you are as impressed by their contributions as we are! Please remember that any highlighted text on a page is a direct weblink, so by clicking on it, you can access a minefield of useful & interesting information, by visiting the contributor's websites. Happy reading & have a fantastic summer! n Spai ily In Fa m How to complete your NIE application by CCB Spain By following these simple, step by step instructions you will be able to make your own NIE Application in Spain without having to pay a translator or a lawyer In order to apply for an NIE in Spain, we currently use the EX15 form shown above. The above application form has been completed with fictional details for the following person who is applying for NIE not Residency: Name: Susan Elizabeth Jones Passport N�(1): 123456789 Sex (1) : Female (please note: H= Male and M = Female) Date of Birth (2): 1st February 1960 (please note date format) Place of Birth: Manchester Country of Birth: United Kingdom Father�s Name: David Mother�s Name: Mary Nationality: British (please note UK is quoted not GB) Marital Status (3): Divorced (please note: S = Single, C = Married, V = Widow, D = Divorcee, Sp = Separated) Address in Spain: Urb. Las Arenas, Edificio Buganvilla N�5, Mijas Costa 29649, Malaga. In this example, Susan Jones is making her own NIE application so he does not need to complete Section 2). However, she has completed Section 3) as she does not receive post at her home address so she has requested that all notifications are sent to her post box address. This is a very good option if you regularly move house or your postal service is not reliable. The above information should allow you to make your own NIE application in Spain without having to pay a translator or a lawyer. Remeber that if you require further assistance we offer this service and many more via our Standard Membership option. Website Only Membership entitles you to access many more posts like this and will save you time and money. The current price for lifetime membership is only 23 (Rrp 47). To take advantage of this Limited Time Offer, contact firstname.lastname@example.org . You can read more details about NIE application and download the EX15 form Here . If you are unsure whether you should apply for NIE or Residency read the article on our website. Detailed instructions on how to complete your own Residency Application can also be found on www.ccbspain.com . Important Update for Foreigners living in or moving to Spain ... In order to correctly import a UK registered vehicle to Spain you will require the following documents: Original vehicle UK Logbook (V5) Copy of the Passport of the owner Copy of valid Residencia of the owner Proof of address in Spain (house deeds or current Padron certificate) The cost of importing a vehicle is based on calculations and prices decided by the official authorities, including: A registration tax (or certif�cate of exemption) � Impuesto de matriculaci�n. A road/traffic tax (or certif�cate of exemption) � Impuesto de circulaci�n del ayuntamiento. V.A.T. (or certificate of exemption) � IVA. The calculations are based on make, model, category and age of the vehicle, the weight of the vehicle and carbon emissions. Be careful of companies who give quotes without having seen your official vehicle documentation. We strongly recommend you obtain two or three quotes before proceeding with importing a UK Reg car into Spain ... you will be amazed by the differing prices companies in Spain charge! You must also budget for the special ITV (Spanish MOT) which is currently approximately 125 for cars and 197 for motorbikes. (Please check current prices with your local ITV centre). Also, any alterations required to adhere to Spanish traffic laws (usually this entails changing headlights). With the exception of commercial vehicles, most right hand drive vehicles can be easily imported into Spain without too many complications. For a no obligation quote and to find out how to avoid paying import duty, Call +34 952 48 68 06 / 608 840 692 Or contact us here: email@example.com Contact CCBSpain . ' ((( " ! ! &# ( !# !# $$ $% #$ ' $" " ! " &# % " ! # $ !# %$ %! "#!' $ ! %% #$ # # ' %% # $ %!! $% & ' % $$ $% %! ! &" %! % * %! * ' %! # $ %$ !# %!! $ !# &$ %! $$ $% *!& ( % $ $% " * $% " $%#& % ! $ !( %! ! " % " $ " " #(!# $& $ "" %! $ * "" %! '$ % % )! ! ! # $$ ! &# %* " #(!# ' !&% % # "" % ! !# % " $ " *!& ( *$ ! " % % " " #(!# *!&#$ %! " * )" $ ' $ ( % !&# ( % !&% $ $% % #$ " !# #$ " # !!! Expat Tips for Buying Property in Madrid by Pierre Waters Buying a propertyin Madrid is quite different from the typical process of house buying in Spain,which for many expats means purchasing something quaint and endearing on the coast. For one, if purchasing in Madrid you will likely be buying an apartment. Also, it's important to realise that as a capital city, Madrid has some of the most expensive real estate in Spain, and certain areas of the city are far pricier than other areas. Overall though, real estate market trends for 2012 reveal that average home prices in Madrid will fall another 20%, at least between 2012 and 2014, after having already dropped by an average of 20% since market highs recorded in 2007. In short, the current market is full of opportunities: - For investment : banks and individuals are cutting prices to up to 70 % - To buy-to-rent : the rental market is going up while purchase prices are going down - To buy to live in the long term: if you negotiate well, the prices are due to go back up at a steady rate starting in 2014, and the Madrid market is already recovering in some neighbourhoods. Thus, even if you want to sell down the line, you may be able to do so for a large profit. The market being full of risk and opportunities in Madrid, I recommend you follow these tips: -Beware of the market variations in Spain, and buy now only if you plan to hold the property for more than a minimum of five years. It's helpful to use the New York Times calculator to evaluate the minimum number of years you need to hold before selling in order for buying to be a better financial option than renting: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/business/buy-rentcalculator.html -Be aware that on top of the price, you will have to pay either 7% for second-hand ("Patrimonial Transmission Taxes) or 4% (VAT)for newly built properties. Additionally other legal and administrative expenses related to the purchase and the mortgage will amount to costs equivalent to 1 to 3% of the property price. -Location, Location, Location: Choose your neighbourhood well, and make sure it is one that suits your lifestyle and budget. Prices change considerably depending on the area in Madrid; the average price per m2 in Madrid was 3478 as of the last quarter of 2011. Housing in the cheapest neighbourhood is about 40% cheaper than housing in a moderately priced (under 2000 /m2) neighbourhood, and housing in the most exclusive area 40% more expensive (around 4800 /m2). Map Tool: displays the best neighbourhoods for expats in Madrid, with descriptions, typical prices and links to photos. Click Here - Real estate agents in Madrid usually charge commission to the seller: 6% is the average. This is different to other parts of Spain. However, some agencies, such as Red Pisos, charge 3% to each party, the seller and the buyer. Just be aware that, in most cases, you will not have to pay commission, but it may occur. -If you have kids, be aware that all quality schools are in the northern and north-western part of Madrid, which tends to be, like in nearly all capital cities in Europe, the poshest part of the city. Look at these maps to get an understanding of : a. where the best schools for expat kids are : Google Map Here b. where the best family friendly neighbourhoods are : Google Map Here -Get help, you will need support, and keep in mind that real estate agents are not your friend - they only are business people working to sell houses. It's recommended that expats use the services of a flathunter: a professional who can help get the best property at the best price. These service providers will ask for a percentage-based commission or fixed fee. Buying a property will most likely be the single largest purchase or your life, so it's expected that many more questions and details will come up. Do not hesitate to ask the local expert, Pierre, anything you want � he will come back to you within 48 hours. For more information and facts about living in Madrid have a look at http://moving2madrid.com/ , adridly Yours M Pierre A quick look at Education & the effect of the Crisis in Valencia & Spain. 1) State Schools. The schools you find in every town and village in Spain. They are funded at a regional level and therefore the situation with them is not the same across Spain. However they are generally conservative in nature regarding the way they educate children as teachers are largely stuck in a routine and not encouraged to experiment with new styles of teaching. The curriculum and passing the year to get into the next year is all important. The parents have to buy books every year and usually there is no uniform although this is changing in some areas. You should always check if the school does the majority of its teaching in Spanish or a local language (Valenciano, Catalan, Basque (there is a separate Ikostola system in the Basque country) or Gallego). 2) Concertado Schools (semi private). These schools are semi funded by the state and partially by the parents. Prices vary according to area and the school. Bear in mind that in the concertado schools there is much more emphasis usually on Catholic education as they are largely ex church schools. Many times teaching is by nuns and priests too. If you have any religious objections it may be better to look into the background of the concertado school you are interested in before placing your child there. However they do tend to have a good reputation with the Spanish middle classes (here we go back to the education the parents received in the past, conservative and religious in nature). They generally teach in Spanish except in certain parts of Catalunya and the Basque country. There is often a uniform to buy in the concertado schools along with the books and other costs. 3) Private Schools. The best known of the private schools are the international schools but there are also totally private Spanish schools. The international schools are generally the ones that expat parents are interested in. They range from almost totally Spanish in nature, ie over 90% of the children in the schools are Spanish, to having a majority of immigrants in the school (usually Northern European and Russian) this being the case on many of the Costas. The results of the international schools are usually different to the state and concertado schools as their primary focus is a different set of exams but they more often than not also achieve university entry for the students in Spain or even abroad. The cost of the international schools varies from region to region but expect to pay more in Madrid and Barcelona than elsewhere. Costs in Valencia range from around 600 euros per month for ten months of the school year but rise for children coming into the school for just a year. However, as usual we need to make reference to the crisis with some facts, salient facts to tell the truth about the current situation. 1) In Valencia many state schools have not received the money they should have from regional government meaning they lack for basic things like a decent school meals service, pens, books and facilities. 2) The situation is even worse for the concertado schools. 3) In Spain as a whole the central government want to lose 20% of the teachers and therefore is cutting back on education spending at all levels from primary up to university and beyond. Teachers are protesting and there is a wave of strikes by both teachers and pupils. 4) Many private schools are losing class numbers in certain parts of Spain as the parents cannot afford to send their children to the schools due to unemployment. There is one area where the crisis is not really affecting the schools in many places, private international schools. According to NABSS (the National Association of British Schools in Spain) class sizes are being maintained and waiting lists are up in most areas. (This is not the case on the Costas). Why?The international schools are viewed by Spanish parents as giving their children an escape and greater opportunities than the state and concertado schools that still stick to old style teaching or rote learning and repetition with a high number of exams. Those schools do not generally encourage children to think around a problem, something that is massively reflected in Spanish society too with most politicians and businesses blinkered by their own prejudices and the limitations of the way they were taught, whereas the international schools concentrate on a curriculum where investigation and individual learning plans are largely encouraged. If you are bringing your children to Spain and are looking to get them into international schools then bear in mind that there are often waiting lists and your preferred school may not be available. Graham Hunt has an estate agency in Valencia www.valencia-property.com. He also produces the Spain Is Different magazine which you can find at www.houses-for-sale-in-Spain.net/Spain-is-different-magazine A to Z: Reasons to Live in the Malaga Province by Lisa Sadleir Airport: Malaga's International Airport is a modern state of the art terminal that is being continually improved and updated. It is the fourth busiest airport in Spain after Madrid, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca. It offers flight to over 70 destinations worldwide with passenger numbers in 2011 close to 13 million. The majority of traffic through Malaga Costa del Sol Airport (or Pablo Ruiz Picasso Airport as it is also known) comes from within the EU, although there are regular flights to Moscow, Riyadh, Kuwait, New York and Montreal. Beaches: The extensive beaches on the Costa del Sol, their diversity and climate have transformed the region into the best holiday destination. Enjoy them in the summer and almost all the year round! Malaga boasts more than 160km of coastline with a multiplicity of beaches. Malaga is proud to be home to many blue flag beaches. Chiringuito: Malaga's coastal region is simply littered with beach bars of all types. The most traditional and the most frequented by both tourists and residents alike are the little chiringuitos who traditionally serve locally caught fish and seafood. The image of sardines being cooked in a sand filled fishing boat is a popular image of this region. Donkey Taxis: In Mijas, in the early 60s, visitors to the village asked if they could photograph the workers travelling home on thier donkeys and have a ride themselves.This soon became a regular occurence and the Donkey Taxi was born. DonkeyTaxis are today an institution in Mijas and one of its main attractions. Education: Whether you are looking for a state run Spanish, or a private International school for your children, you have plenty to choose from. Educational options exist from pre-school nurseries, primary, junior, secondary and further education. (Read more about International Schools in M�laga here). Feria & Flamenco: Malaga is home to flamenco and fer�a. Every village and town in the province enjoys ferias throughout the year. The main M�laga fer�a takes place each year in the month of August. If you have not experienced the Feria de Malaga, be sure to add it to the top of your "to do" list! Flamenco is performed by young and old, male and female. Flamenco is passion! Golf: Spain has a huge number of golf courses, approximately 500, more than 70 of which are in Andalucia. What is more, the Costa del Sol is home to the highest concentration of greens and fairways to be found, not only in Spain but, in the whole of Europe. Not without reason has the Costa del Sol, with the finest golf facilities in Europe, become known as the Costa del Golf. It�s simply a golfers paradise! The 160 km stretch of coastline, from Nerja in the east to Manilva in the west, is home to over 50 golf courses all of which are ideal locations in which to enjoy this popular sport. Add the fabulous year round climate and it's most definitely golfing heaven. Holidays: Where better to spend your holidays. The Costa del Sol in Malaga is one of Spain's most popular holiday destinations for a multitude of nationalities. It is a great place to own a holiday home whether it be for your own use or as a source of income. International: Due to the diversity of nationalities who live and also visit the Malaga province, there is a very international and cosmopolitan feel to many areas. This applies predominantly to coastal areas however there are many inland towns and villages that are also inhabited by a high percentage of non-Spanish citizens. Jamon: Jamon Serrano, Spanish cured ham. A local delicacy and a common starter or tapa. Kids: What does Malaga have to offer children? Here are just a few options to look out for: water parks, Tivoli, Crocodile Park, Selwo Adventure safari park, Selwo Marina, Sealife Benalmadena, numerous outdoor free parks inc Parque La Bateria, Parque la Paloma .... Lifestyle: The number one reason for moving to Malaga! Montes de Malaga: Montes de Malaga Natural Park is located quite near the capital of the Costa del Sol and can be said to serve as a "green lung" for the city. This park - found in the central-western zone of the Baetic Range - encompasses a mid-mountain landscape of gentle topography, criss crossed by small valleys populated with extensive pine forests. It offers a range of outdoor activities and some amazing food. Look out for the famous "plato de los montes". To be continued ... www.movetomalaga.com Santa Elena � A Small Town with a Big History Santa Elena is one of those towns that you normally only notice by the signposting on the side of the road. Well next time you pass it, and I�m sure many of you do when driving back to the UK, stop and explore. You�re probably saying umm that sounds familiar but I can�t think where I�ve seen it. Well Santa Elena is the most northerly town in Jaen province and Andalucia. As you head up the Autovia de Andalucia towards Madrid, leaving Jaen city and its sea of olive groves behind the terrain gets more rugged and fields of young bulls line the main north to south road. Or it is the first town you come across leaving the flat vinecovered and golden plains of Castilla-La Mancha heading south. The Gateway to Andalucia the craggy pass, once guarded by bandits, of the Natural Park of Despe�aperros is an area of natural beauty and home to the small town of Santa Elena. So how many of you have driven the route and not given Santa Elena a second thought? It might be a small town but its history is unique as is its location. The old road that snaked around bends with delightful stopping places at the several roadside bars and produce stalls lays unused. The new flyover, impressive as it was while being built, has now taken the stress and crawl out of the journey speeding it up no end but at the loss of many ancient businesses. On the other side of the road is the town of Santa Elena and the visitor centre for the Natural Park as well as the Battle of Navas de Tolosa Museum. Monday is market day and an ideal time to stop and buy some of the popular organic mountain honey. If it�s a meal you�re needing then the local venison is the typical dish on most menus. The streets become alive on August 16th, Santa Elena Day for the town fair but the largest festival this year is the 800th Anniversary of the Battle of Navas de Tolosa held from 14th to 16th July. It�s said this was the battle that broke Moorish power in Spain, the Muslims having been subdued by the Almohades who then threatened the Christian state. Pope Innocent III began to preach for the defence of Spain, a call to which thousands of armed crusaders responded and began gathering in Toledo, the capital of King Alfonso VIII. The troops of Mohammed An Nassir camped in Navas de Tolosa, Navas meaning plain, a vast plateau soon to become a bloody battlefield, and controlled the Losa Pass the only evident passage into the lowlands. When a local shepherd told the King of another, though difficult route, the army struggled all night to reach the plains and the enemy camp. Rumour spread through the ranks that the shepherd was an angel sent by the Almighty to lead his people to victory. The victory is to be celebrated annually with medieval fairs, re-enactments, falconry displays and concerts � a great time to visit this small but not forgotten town. Read more about the activities taking place at Santa Elena Tourism or about the Battle de Navas de Tolosa. Rachel lives in Ja�n and writes Andalucia for Holiday website, Andalucia Explorer blog and runs Casa Rural El Reguelo holiday home. The Canary Islands: The Galapagos of Europe by Alex Bramwell A few weeks ago renowned British journalist John McCarthy came to Gran Canaria on holiday. As a veteran newshound he wasn't satisfied just soaking up the sun on the beach. Instead he rounded up an eclectic selection of locals and ex-pats and interviewed us for a radio programme. I was called in as the local animal and plant expert and we chatted away about the Canary Islands' incredible nature. It was an easy gig as the islands really are one of the world's biodiversity hotspots. If you stand anywhere in the Canary Islands outside the towns and resorts you are guaranteed to be within 20 yards of a plant found nowhere else on Earth. There are over 800 of them, 100 on Gran Canaria alone. This density of unique species makes the Canary Islands Europe's equivalent to the Galapagos Islands or Hawaii. We're not just talking about little tiny plants here: the Gran Canaria dragon tree grows to well over 10 metres with a fat trunk and bright orange berries. Remarkably it grows on steep cliffs just 15 minutes drive from the island's main tourist resorts. There are less than 20 left! The best place to get an overview of the biodiversity of the Canary Islands is in Gran Canaria's Jardin Canario, also known as the Canary Garden. It is open to the public every day but is dedicated to protecting the archipelago's rare and endangered plants. Testament to its success as a conservation powerhouse is that not a single Canarian plant has ever gone extinct. At different times several species have vanished from the wild and been saved thanks to the plants growing in the Canary Garden. Set in the stunning Guiniguada Valley just outside Las Palmas city, the Canary Garden is one of the world's largest and prettiest botanical gardens. Almost all the island's animals can be spotted in the gardens, as well as hundreds of plants, both native and exotic. Look out for orange bellflowers in shady corners, blue- and pink-flowered echium bushes, pink Mayflowers, and the spectacular yellow or red flower spikes of the different Canarian houseleeks. It's not just the plants that are unique to the Canaries. The pine forests are home to blue chaffinches, the laurel forests shelter unique pink pigeons, and Canaries are everywhere. Many islands also have their own species of giant lizard. The largest and most common lives in Gran Canaria and reaches 80 centimetres. They are everywhere on the island and will do almost anything for a ripe tomato. Even the nudists that crowd Maspalomas' sand dunes are likely to come across at least one endemic Canarian species. The dunes are home to fat black beetles that live nowhere else. It is polite to get out of their way as they bumble about looking for scraps of vegetation. Combined with their rugged volcanic landscape, the natural richness of the Canary Islands makes them a spectacular walking destination. The best time to hike is in April and May when the temperatures are pleasant and everything is in flower. Wherever you go the sights and sounds you experience are uniquely Canarian. You may even walk past something that is still unknown to science: the Gran Canaria dragon tree was only discovered 15 years ago and new species are discovered almost every year. Listen to the Radio 4 interview here. My bit is from minute 40 onwards. Alex Bramwell is a photographer and writer from Gran Canaria: http://www.grancanariasunshine.com/ Summer Nights in Seville Summer days in Seville tend to be drowsy and soporific, and people generally try to avoid too much activity, or even venturing out if it's not absolutely necessary. But at night, as the temperature drops and the evening breeze kicks in, it's a different story, and by the time the sun sets (just before 10pm on June 21st, an hour earlier by the end of August), the main streets are full of people socialising, looking for tapas and a drink, or just going for a walk and enjoying the fresh air or watching the swallows wheeling and shrieking around the beautifully lit-up cathedral at dusk, and the sky turning that perfect deep cobalt blue. You can do all those things too, of course, and it's a great way to while away an evening, as well as an integral part of the Seville experience. Take a walk through the Murillo Gardens and into Maria Luisa Park to Plaza Espa�a, or down by the river; the final section of the riverside walkway, the New York Wharf, is due to open soon. If you just want to hang out your choices of where to go are almost limitless, but both the Alameda de H�rcules, and Calle Betis, with its views across the river from the Triana bank, have lots of places to eat and drink in the open air. In fact, finding a great terrace to enjoy some tapas and a few drinks with friends is probably Seville's most popular summer evening pastime, but if you're looking for some extra special things to do, any of the following offer a combination of top class entertainment, fresh air, and beautiful settings. Noches en Los Jardines del Real Alc�zar (Nights in the Gardens of the Alc�zar Palace) Every year from early June to late August there is a series of musical concerts in the gardens of the Alc�zar Palace, featuring everything from classical and flamenco to jazz and blues. The setting is stunningly beautiful and the artistes of consistently high quality. The concerts start at 10.30 every night (last entrance 10.25, so don't be late), but you can go in any time after 9.00 and enjoy a stroll and a drink at the bar. Noches en el Palacio de la Buhaira (Nights in the Buhaira Palace) Another cycle of open air performances, including dance and theatre, can be seen at the Buhaira Palace, one of the city's oldest but less well-known monuments a few minutes walk outside the centre on Avenida old Eduardo Dato. Tickets are 12, and can be purchased by telephone (902 021 952) or at the box office during the evening before the show. Summer Cinema at the University of Seville The University of Seville hosts a season of international films, both classic and modern, in original version with Spanish subtitles in the patio of the Centro de Iniciativos Culturales in Calle Madre de Dios. Films start at 10.30, and admission is free. Whatever you choose to do, the best place to finish the evening is in one of Seville's rooftop terrace bars. At the moment there seems to be a new one opening almost every week, but the pick of the bunch are at the EME hotel (trendy and pricey, but great views), the Do�a Maria (the most traditional), the Hotel Inglaterra on Plaza Nueva (the newest), and my personal favourite, the Fontecruz Hotel in Calle Abades, cool and chic with spectacular views of the Cathedral. A summer evening in Seville is just one of the unique outings offered by Seville Concierge Peter Tatford. http://azahar-sevilla.com/sevilleconcierge Learning Spanish in Barcelona by Simon Harris If you know that Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and have seen those massive 'Catalonia Is Not Spain' banners at major sporting events, you might wonder whether Barcelona is such a good place to learn Spanish. The first thing to point out is that, despite having its own vibrant and sometimes militant identity, Catalonia is part of Spain ... for the moment, at least. Consequently, Castilian as the Spanish language is known here is one of the two official languages in Barcelona, along with Catalan. This makes Barcelona a pretty exciting place linguistically as the majority of its inhabitants are bilingual, and from my 25 years in language teaching, I can testify that the Catalans in general are extremely good language learners. Furthermore, the Barcelona publishing industry is the largest in Spain because we don't only publish books in Catalan but also publish as many, if not more books in Spanish than Madrid. Barcelona is also home to some of Spain's most prestigious universities. The Universidad de Barcelona, the Universidad Aut�noma de Barcelona and the Universidad Pompeu Fabra are frequently the highest ranking universities in Spain according to Council of Europe figures. Being such an education-oriented city also means that Barcelona is a magnet for Spanish teachers coming to take their ELE (Espa�ol como Lengua Extranjera) qualifications. The Universidad de Barcelona offers a Master's Degree in ELE and also supervises the month-long starter courses at IH Barcelona, widely recognised as one of the best ELE qualifications in Spain, but just one of many on offer in the Catalan capital. With so many Spanish teachers qualifying in the city, the standard of teaching is extremely high. So where can you learn Spanish in Barcelona? The Escoles Oficials de Idiomes (EOIs) are Official Language Schools run by the Generalitat de Catalunya. Their main purpose is to teach the locals foreign languages but EOI Drassanes in the centre of town and EOI Vall d'Hebron at Barcelona's main hospital offer courses for foreigners at veryreasonable prices. The Universities: The Universitat de Barcelona has an on-campus language school called the Escola d'Idiomes Moderns and the Universitat Aut�noma de Barcelona has the on-campus Servei de Lleng�es and an off-campus service at Hospital Sant Pau. Language Academies and Private Teachers. There are so many language academies and private teachers that it would be impossible to list them all here. So why not visit the Barcelona Language Learning website? You'll find links to accredited Spanish language schools. You can contact me directly and I'll put you in touch with a private Spanish teacher close to you.. Simon Harris has lived in Barcelona since 1988. He is a published Applied Linguist, who has worked at the British Council and the Universitat Auton�ma de Barcelona and speaks native-level Spanish and Catalan. Following his acclaimed Going Native in Catalonia, he is currently working on a book on Barcelona and his culture and language website www.barcelona-language-learning.com. Simon is a fervent FC Barcelona supporter. Going Native in Murcia by Deb Jenkins "Eh, hombres, enhorabuenas!" Miguel El Gordo shouted at me and my husband Marcus, over the din of that night's entertainment. The second night of our fiesta was punctuated with the clamour of a heavy rock band. It was two in the morning and they had only just begun, over three hours later than advertised. But that wasn't their fault; the electrical generators in the disused quarry just couldn't cope with the 10,000 watts of sound and 24,000 watts of light! They had already blown two generators the size of small cars and were now on their third! The quarry was heaving. The sobrasada and cerveza were flowing. Young children were screaming with glee and racing around the legs of tables, adults and the makeshift beer tents. Even the oldest partygoers were raring to go on all night, dancing, gyrating and generally enjoying the party atmosphere. "Congratulations for what?" we screamed back in between the chorus and the big guitar solo. "You're on the fiesta committee for next year!" Miguel grinned and then he winked, coughed, spat and ambled off to tell his good news to our other friends in the village. So, we'd been accepted. After 18 months living in this totally Spanish village of 101 people, we were now on the inside of the most important part of village life, the Fiesta Patronale. Three years earlier we'd decided to leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and find a better quality of life where the climate and the people were much warmer. Before we moved we lived in a three storey Victorian terraced house in the UK's second largest city, Birmingham. My husband, Marcus, had a well-paid career with an International consulting company and I ran my publishing business from offices in the city centre. Our family was in striking distance, we had plenty of friends and what most would consider a good life. But we yearned for something more. What we really wanted was to live somewhere where we felt part of a bigger whole, where people still had time to just stop and chat, where they enjoyed life and made time for each other. So we wanted to swap grey concrete, monotony, anonymity, rain, crime and stress for mountains, oceans, trees, variety, a sense of belonging, sunshine, adventure and relaxation. We got La Murta on the Costa C�lida in Southern Spain. Perfect. I say on a regular basis that the Spanish "take having fun seriously". They live a full life here. They spend time with friends and families. They make an effort to enjoy themselves on a regular basis and fill their lives with fun. By being selected for the fiesta commission (which we've now been active participants on for 5 years!) we've effectively been accepted into the most important aspect of village life. The fact that we're foreigners is also testament to the inclusiveness and warmth of our new neighbours and validates our reasons for moving here. We found it very difficult ten years ago to find out information about this area of Spain so we decided to write our own book, Going Native In Murcia. When we were researching, writing and subsequently updating the book (we're now in the third edition) we had the privilege of visiting every town and village in the region. Of course we also had to eat at hundreds of restaurants; sample thousands of plates of tapas; watch Jazz, Flamenco and Blues bands; go scuba diving, horse riding, sailing and quad biking; visit bodegas and spas; mud baths and mountains, all in the name of research. We hope you enjoy our book as much as we enjoyed writing it! Debs Jenkins is a British writer living in Spain with 2 dogs, 6 cats, 5 chickens and a horse - she loves scuba diving, writing, horse riding, boats & painting. She's the author of Going Native In Murcia, the only English language dedicated guide to the Murcia region. Buy it at www.NativeSpain.com Discovering the Interior of Valencia. by Paddy Waller When people talk about Valencia, the image they normally have is one of a famous city with a very Mediterranean character and an interesting history which in recent years has had added some cool modern style in the form of some amazing architectural gems such as The Arts and Science Museum designed by Santiago Calatrava. However, there is an inland part of Valencia which is relatively unexplored. The inland towns like the historical gem of Xativa and the mountain towns of Bocairent, Ayora, and Chulilla are all towns with character, history and plenty of interesting and excellent local food. Arroz al Horno (Rice Oven) and Gazpachos (a pasta type game stew) are just a couple of the many regional recipes which are easily found in local restaurants. Both of these dishes are quite unique and well worth trying in any of the towns previously mentioned. Besides having beautiful and impressive mountain ranges such as the Sierra Mariola (a Natural Park), which boasts a mountain(Mont Cabrer 1390m) higher than any in the UK, Valencia's interior has some spectacular canyons and deep dark forests between Enguera, Bicorp and Ayora. These areas have well signposted footpaths, an abundance of wildlife (e.g. Golden Eagles, Mountain Goat, Wild Boar and Red Squirrel) and a natural beauty difficult to match. For anyone interested in nature or walking it is an area full of opportunities to explore and enjoy. Another interesting option when visiting the interior of Valencia is to visit the remains of Ibero fortified towns which are always strategically placed on mountain tops .The Iberos were warrior tribes that inhabited most of southern Spain from 800 BC to 100 AD and were conquered by the Romans. Not only were they impressive warriors they also had amazingly complex societies, with art, music and an organised hierarchical structure. This is reflected in the remains of their towns which show us that they built roads carved out of stone, had complex defence systems, as well as organised urban planning and logistics. And they had a type of writing which was used on lead tablets. It was a mixture of hieroglyphics and words, and is yet to be fully deciphered. Remains such as Les Alcusses (near the town of Mogente), Puntal de Llops (near Lliria) and the spectacular Castellar de Meca(near Ayora) make for interesting and fun days out in touch with nature and the amazing past of this region.(And if your Spanish is up to it you can visit the Museo de Prehistoria in Valencia to get the full story on these ancient civilizations of Spain). There are also excellent remains of the Iberos in Jaen, Teruel, and parts of Catalonia. Like so many parts of inland Spain , the interior of Valencia has a lot to explore and experience: Great regional dishes, impressive mountains, forests, unique flora, history, customs and the inevitable soaring eagles. Paddy Waller runs The Spanish Thyme Traveller with his Spanish wife Julia. The company specialises in special interest holidays to the regions of Valencia and Teruel. Website: http://www.thespanishthymetraveller.com/ Blog: http://theartichokeadventures.blogspot.com.es/ Bizarre Foods in Madrid by: Lauren Aloise Madrid is a great city for food lovers, offering upscale markets and some of the best in modern Spanish cuisine. Among its traditional taverns and avant-garde dining rooms, adventurous eaters can experience some of the city's most bizarre food specialties. Just take a seat at tapas bars and restaurants all around the city, where fellow patrons pull up their chairs to enjoy these strange Madrile�o delicacies - would you care to join them? 1. Tripe Stew: Callos a la Madrile�a is one of the city's most emblematic dishes. This Madrid style tripe stew uses veal or lamb tripe, and the pig's snout and hoof for flavour. It is cooked very slowly and often accompanied by chorizo, blood sausage, serrano ham and garbanzo beans. Rich and flavourful, it is a popular winter dish. 2. Grilled Pig's Ear: Oreja a la plancha is another popular dish served around the city. Crispy and flavourful, try your pig's ear with garlic, or in a spicy bravas sauce. 3. Fried Blood with Onions: Sangre frita con cebolla is a Spanish dish for the daring. Made by cutting boiled blood into thin slices and frying them in olive oil with some sliced onions, it may not be the most popular dish in the city, but those who love it defend it dearly! 4. Stewed Oxtail: A good rabo de toro melts in your mouth and leaves you asking yourself why you haven't been eating this all your life! The thick sliced oxtail is stewed in tomato, garlic and wine until it falls away from the bone and makes for a delicious Spanish delicacy. 5. Fried Squid Sandwich: Crispy fried calamari rings stuffed in fresh bread make this traditional Spanish bocadillo de calamares all the rage in Madrid. Eat one when you are on the go, or to accompany a few Spanish beers while relaxing in one of Madrid's beautiful plazas. 6. Kidneys in Sherry: Made with very fresh veal or lamb kidneys, ri�ones al jerez is a common tapa in Madrid's most traditional taverns. The tender kidneys are stewed in sherry wine with some garlic and onion. 7. Marinated Partridges: Cooked and marinated in vegetable stock, wine and vinegar, perdices en escabeche are left to marinate at least a few days before being served at room temperature with hard boiled egg and tomato. A classic recipe that originates from the need to preserve food, many Madrid families have their preferred version. There is no doubt that these bizarre choices are not the city's average fare, but for a unique experience the next time you visit Madrid, why not try something new? Photo Credits: jlastras, deramaenrama, Lauren Aloise, jlastras, lwy, eltito, jlastras Lauren Aloise is the founder of Madrid Food Tour. An optimistic entrepreneur and self-proclaimed professional tapa taster, she writes, tweets, and cooks out of her tiny Madrile�o apartment. Madrid Food Tour: http://www.madridfoodtour.com Blog: http://www.spanishsabores.com www.larosilla-catering.com Living in an idyllic mountain setting in Spain, I am lucky throughout the year to have many visitors from other countries, family, friends and those looking to explore new "foodie" places. I often have to think on my feet and rustle up some tasty treats, or to cater for a large number of hungry people. With temperatures on average in their high 30's, salads, cool dishes, easy one pots are on the menu. Here I share with you some 'party' dishes for your Fiestas in Spain. ... Buen Verano from La Rosilla! Summer Salmon: This dish is perfect for large gatherings. A 3kg salmon will feed about 30 people if serving with accompaniments like, minted new potatoes, salads & Allioli. It looks wow too ! Ingredients ; You will need a large fish kettle, or large roasting tin, to fit your whole salmon in. One large whole salmon, gutted and de-scaled. 1 onion chopped 2 bay leaves 1 glass of white wine 1 lemon sliced quartered sea salt & cracked black pepper. � a cucumber finely sliced, (I use a mandolin) 3 radishes finely sliced. 1 lemon sliced. Place the salmon in a fish kettle. If you haven't got one a large roasting tin will do fine. �Add enough cold water to cover the fish (it must be covered). Add the onion, bay leaves, wine and lemon and a good pinch of salt and a little black pepper. �Bring the water up to the boil, and then let simmer for 10 mins, cover with foil or lid, turn off the heat and allow the fish to sit in the water, poaching itself. Leave in the water until completely cool, this can take a few hours, or you can leave until you are ready to serve. ( This stage can be done a day in advance ) �Carefully remove the salmon and place onto a serving platter. Carefully scrape off the skin. Now decorate the salmon with the cucumber and radish slices, as if they were it's scales, leave head and tail free. Use also lemon slices on the plate for decoration. Lovely served with Allioli. Here is my recipe it makes 600mls, easily halved. 2 large free range eggs. 2 tbsp of white wine vinegar. 4 cloves of garlic crushed. 1 tsp of rock salt. 2 tsp of mustard. 600 ml of olive oil or if you prefer a lighter taste 300ml Olive / 300ml sunflower. �In a liquidiser or in a bowl put in all ingredients except oil, blend or whisk until a frothy emulsion is made. �Then little by little add the oil, whisking/blending as you go, until all oil is used and you have a thick glossy mayo. You can add other ingredients, omit the garlic, try adding lemon zest, or chopped chives. Happy Whisking With their Moorish influences, Andalusian dishes lend themselves perfectly to spices, such as cinnamon & cumin. This Fish Tagine is a little spicy, but wonderfully flavoured and so easy to prepare. Again, quantities easily doubled or trebled, to cater for your number of guests or the size of your pot: Ingredients (Serves 4) 1 large onion � sliced finely 1 fat clove of garlic � crushed 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes 1 heaped tsp of cumin seeds 800 grams of mixed white fish 1 tsp of harrisa paste � tsp of cinnamon 1 bag of spinach salt & pepper. �Gently saut� onions in olive oil until softened but not brown. �Add garlic and fry for 1 min. �Add cumin seeds and fry for 1 min. �Add toms & harissa paste. �Simmer gently for 5 mins for flavours to infuse. �Add the spinach, and allow to wilt in sauce for 5 mins. �Stir in fish and allow to cook gently in the simmering sauce for 10-15 mins until opaque/ cooked. �Season with s & p. Once all cooked, I like to put a layer of cous-cous in my tagine, ladle the fish sauce onto it and add summer vegetables that are roasted in the oven. Present your big pot full of goodness in the centre of the table , with plenty of flat-breads to mop up the sauce. Buen Provecho. La Rosilla � Lifestyle & Food. Home cooked seasonal dishes served with style. Personal inland tours of the Axarquia, bringing local food, culture & knowledge together for a true experience of real family life in Spain. Private dining, Mountain 'Supperclub' & Event Catering. When is a Boqueron not an Anchovy? by Anne Manson Living on Costa de la Luz is paradise for anyone who adores eating fish. And now that it's summer, platters of pescados fritos are being devoured in the shade of the summer sun, all along the coast. Feet in the sand, chilled wine in the glass and a platter of boquerones fritos is my idea of heaven. The humble boqueron(anchovy) must be one of the most versatile fish in the world. It can be served fried, pickled or salted. Boquerones tend to be available all year round and are tremendous value for money. Sometimes they cost as little as 2.50 per kilo. They are fresh every day and should be consumed on the day of purchase. Remember that fresh fish should not smell of fish but of a whiff of the sea. Lots of people come to my kitchen protesting that they don't like anchovies � most of us only know anchovies as the salty brown things on top of pizzas. But when students get back to the kitchen with bags of fresh, glistening, bright eyed, silvery boquerones and get stuck into gutting them, anchovy perceptions can be changed forever. We immediately shallow fry a few fillets to consume with our first chilled Manzanilla of the day. Then move onto some Boquerones en Vinagre, wrapped around a pico. Then we sample anchoas (salted anchovies) on top of a wedge of local Payoyo (hard goats cheese), on top of a finger of Pan de Campo. A degustacion of anchovies has never failed to impress anyone yet. A tapa of Boquerones en Vinagre must be one of the most delicious taste sensations when accompanied by a perfectly chilled Manzanilla. They are not as difficult to prepare as you would think. Once you have mastered the gutting, you can whizz through a medio kilo in no time. Here's what you need to do. Select the largest boquerones you can find. Place your fish in a bowl of cold water. Deal with each one individually by holding the body in one hand and the head in the other. Squeeze just behind the head with your thumb to snap it off. Allow head and guts to fall into the bowl. Turn fish onto it's back and run your thumb inside the cavity, all the way along the back bone until it opens out and you have reached the tail. Holding the tail between your left thumb and forefinger (I'm right handed), use your right thumb and forefinger to snap off the back bone by the tail, and discard. Place gutted fish on a plate. When all are done, rinse in several changes of cold water until the water runs clear. Keep the largest fillets for dusting in flour and pan frying. The others, place a layer of fish in a ceramic dish, sprinkle with the tiniest amount of sea salt and then cover with white wine vinegar. Repeat with another layer, salt , vinegar and then another, until all fish are layered and covered with vinegar. They will start turning white as the vinegar begins to cook the fish. Drain after 4 hours and then cover with mild olive oil and LOADS of finely chopped garlic. Leave for at least 6 hours before eating. Hey Presto � your own Boquerones en Vinagre! Glossary: Boquerones � Anchovies Boquerones en Vinagre � Pickled Anchovies Boquerones Fritos � deep fried Anchovies Anchoas � salted anchovies (Brown). The best are from Cantabria. Fino � Dry Sherry from Jerez & El Puerto de Santa Maria Manzanilla � Fino from Sanlucar Annie Manson www.anniebspain.com - check out our new website ''Annie B's Spanish Kitchen included in The Sunday Times Top 100 Holidays for 2012'' - January 2012 Follow what�s happening at Annie B's Spanish Kitchen Group on Facebook www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=75297567843&ref=ts or read my blog at http://www.anniebspain.com Molly�s Spain ... Coping with heat! I have been away from the UK since 1998 and one of the challenges of living in Southern Spain is dealing with the heat during the long summer months. In Granada where I live, temperatures are extreme. The lowest minimum temperature recorded was in 1987, a freezing -14 � C (equivalent to 7� F ) and the highest maximum on record for Granada was in 1995, a blistering 43�C which is around 110�F In the city we have the interesting contrast of skiing all winter long in the nearby Sierra Nevada and red hot summers where you really have to think about going outside to buy bread! After several years living here I have prepared this list to offer some tips for coping with heat. If you follow a few of the tips it should make things so much easier to handle when the mercury rises. Clothes: �Stick to natural fibres: wear Silk, Cotton, Linen (or Ramie) or a mix of lhese fibres. It�s important to avoid polyester, lycra and nylon as they don�t allow the skin to breath. �Always choose pale colours, white, beige or pastels as they reflect the heat better than darker colours. �When outdoors wear a hat. It protects you from overheating and sunstroke. It also helps you to keep your hair from drying out in the sun. If you have highlights or dyed hair, it will help to protect your lovely locks from discoloration. Choose pale colours for your headwear, don�t wear a dark colour on your head as this will cause you to sweat and overheat. �Parasols are quite typical in many Asian countries but in Spain recently I have seen that the trend seems to be catching on too. There are paper parasols in summery colours, or you can use a pale coloured umbrella to shield you from the powerful sun rays. �.It is important to wear sunglasses and make sure they have protection against UV radiation. Also, be careful not to look directly at the sun. Skin: �I always keep a bottle of Aloe Vera in the fridge for calming heat rash, relieving sun burn, or as an itchy skin or prickly heat remedy. �Using talcum powder when it�s hot can help with skin problems (If you are concerned with chemicals used in talc there are now cornstarch natural powders available) �If you are hiking or doing an outdoor activity in the heat a good tip is to wet a cotton neck scarf and tie it around your neck, this cools you down and gives immediate relief. (You can dampen in the sea, river or in a fountain it doesn't have to be drinking water) �Take cool showers rather than warm ones �Put a colourful fan in your bag like the Spanish. This can make a difference and is particularly useful on public transport in the summer heat. Food/Liquids: �Drink a lot of water, you need to increase liquid intake and drink more than usual when temperatures rise. Sip continually during the day to keep hydrated rather than working up a thirst. �Please avoid alcoholic drinks and caffeine as they dehydrate you, not good in a heat wave. I often choose fruit juice cocktails or alcohol-free mojitos in the evenings, there are many places offering them. �Keep in the shade or in air conditioned places at the hottest times of the day. In Spain this means from 1pm to 5pm, more or less. Plan to do activities in the cooler hours - first thing in the morning or in the early evening. In Spain in Summer people tend to make the most of 10am to 12 noon to run errands and shop, then from 7pm9pm. No one is about at 3pm! �Avoid hot and heavy meals as this will slow you down and make you feel uncomfortable. �Eat lots of fruit, particurly melon and watermelon. Choose foods with a high water content, such as salad and cold soups like vichysoisse or gazpacho. Molly, originally from Nottingham, moved to Spain in the 1990�s, initially based in Barcelona and for the past 6 years has been living in Granada, Andalucia. Working in Technology sector in PR & Communications, she has also a Postgraduate in Institutional Relations & Protocol from Granada University. Find Molly on Twitter: ww.twitter.com /@piccavey Read her updates on her blog: http://www.piccavey.com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li' ! 'R!-;.-#'N '.-'`$!+.(0'*4'W.4%'R!-;.-#'?-6%EX''A!(B%&('?-(%"-!(.*-!+'a%"&*-!+'Q!-;.-#:'' ()' !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE DAY I BECAME A VAGRANT ...and loved it by Dave Bull Locking your keys in a vehicle is bad luck... but there�s always a bright side if you don�t mind a little walk... Can is start this article by congratulating Peugeot for manufacturing what must be one of the most secure motorcycle storage spaces (under the seat) in the world. I'll explain in a bit. Firstly, of course, festive greetings to all our readers who, if I know anything about All Abroad readers, will be warming up for Christmas and New Year rather nicely by now. I must also thank Elena Pei Shi Chen from BSA school Alicante who won our competition to design this month's front cover � I'll be seeing her at the school this month with her prize. Right, the motorbike seat then. I'd gone to Elche to meet someone and after buying a few bits from a local supermarket I headed back to the bike. As I fumbled in each pocket (gradually getting more anxious and doing it faster and faster) it dawned on me �with a hail of swear words � that I'd locked the keys under the seat with my helmet when I'd slammed it shut. After appraising the situation to find a methodical way of solving the problem for about two seconds, I tried shoving my hand through the tiny gap I saw beneath the seat in the hope of forcing it upwards. Have you ever shut your hand in a car door? That is what it felt like as the seat didn't budge an inch (and I could have sworn it actually `bit back'). So there I was in the middle of Elche, on my knees, with my hand stuck under the seat and making a kind of whimpering noise. Time to get the bus. I headed towards the bus stop but as I approached and saw one that would be heading in my direction, my sense of adventure kicked in (or common sense was kicked out?) and I decided that it was such a nice evening (it was about 6pm by now) I would walk the 18 kilometres home. It's not easy carrying groceries in a plastic bag while trying to keep up a brisk pace so I decided that I'd have to sacrifice the Edam cheese and magdalena cakes that I'd bought to lighten my load (by `sacrifice, I mean I was going to transfer the load from outside of my body to the inside as I was hungry by now). That just left me the fruit juice and the red wine... Glass is heavier than plastic, so I began on the wine. This was at the 12 kilometre marker and my pace was still good � two hours in and about one to go � but then (thanks to the Swiss Army supplies store) I opened the wine. That helped and soon after I was chatting away with wildlife, and trees, as I strolled along. I reached the bottom of Gran Alacant (that's where I live so that was handy...) a little over two hours later � looking for a recycle bin. By now I was in very good spirits following all that walking and had even managed to make up several songs about `the lights of Gran Alacant are a shinin' (that's it) as I'd approached and seen my home on the hill. My son came down and picked me up to save me walking up the long hill but for some reason wasn't too happy with me shouting to all the lampposts, `I'm home!' Dave Bull has lived in Spain for twelve years and now writes about his experiences in expat publications and on blogs. Read more of his observations on everything from getting arrested by the Guardia Civil to cutting his lip (and his son's eye) while fighting a wasp (and losing) in front of a packed bar terrace at www.loadofbull.es or follow him on twitter @davejbull Culture Spain by Nick Snelling Have you ever wanted to look into the depths of Spain � to see what lies below the surface? Fortunately, over the years, I have been commissioned to write articles on a wildly varied number of topics (some outrageous!) which you should find intriguing, whether `Spain' is a place that attracts you or not! I suppose top of the outrageous list must come Confessions of a Call Girl in Spain , the first few lines of which should give you some idea of what I encountered: `"Madre mia!" exclaims Michelle, roaring with laughter, "I have seen just about everything!"We are in a small anteroom within the Majestic brothel in Valencia City and I have just asked Michelle to tell me about her craziest experience. ..' And then there was Hooked � the Gateway to Hell in Spain � an investigation into the drugs scene in Spain, during which I heard the memorable rhyme: `Listen to me, and please listen well When you ride with cocaine, you are headed for hell' Stepping back in time, I recently wrote about one of the great heroes of Spain , the life of whom was famously captured on film by Charleston Heston and the lovely Sophia Loren � El Cid (needless to say!): `El Cid is one of the great heroes of Spain and, unlike Britain's beloved King Arthur, he is someone who really existed....' El Cid, of course, was `knee-deep' in Moors � the very people who most Spaniards still naturally dislike (despite most Spaniards having some Moorish blood!). Indeed, to call a Spaniard `Moorish' is unlikely to be taken as a great compliment. However, life is nothing if not complicated and an article I wrote called `What did the Moors do for us? shines a new light on the Moors and their astonishing contribution to Western civilisation � what they did will take your breath away... `One of the curiosities of Spain is the seeming denial by the Spanish of the past existence of the Moors in their country. Certainly, much is made of the `heroic' Christian Reconquista...' Of course, at Culture Spain, I tackle the realities of daily life in Spain and you would have to be inhuman not to fall in love with three classic videos on Spain today that show the Spanish in a light that no-one could find anything other than enchanting � the third is my longtime favourite and absolutely hilarious! Meanwhile, Spain has a massive corruption problem that I have tackled time and again but perhaps never quite like in Meltdown in Marbella, the Godfather, a face lift and Mr Clean � a tale to have you gaping with amazement! Like anyone in Spain, I have been writing about the property market in Spain for years and I have been harping on about the on-coming crisis for the past six years. Like Cassandra, my predictions have been consistently right (damn it!) � but what do I think about buying property in Spain now? Well, I think I coherently summarised the good and bad aspects in a recent article: Spanish Property � the right time to buy?I wonder if you agree with my conclusions? Of course, living in Spain has its ups and downs with some of the downs being heart rending (in every sense of the word), so I have also tackled the realities of the Spanish health system,important to anyone coming on holiday to Spain or living here permanently: `So, I owe a very big thank you to the Spanish state health service! A couple of weeks ago, I had a heart attack!...' I think that was as good a way as any of showing how seriously I look into Spain � from its history and culture through to its fiestas and daily life. It is a great country and far more interesting (and rewarding) than its longstanding and unfair sun, sand and sangria image! Nick Snelling is the author of five books including `How to Buy Spanish property and Move to Spain � Safely! http://www.movesafelytospain.com/ and runs the information site http://www.culturespain.com/ www.familylifeinspain.com Follow us on @FamilyInSpain http://twitter.com/#!/familyinspain https://www.facebook.com/FamilyLifeInSpain To Sign Up for our next FREE newsletter just click the link below: https://www.facebook.com/FamilyLifeInSpain?sk=app_4949752878 Please send any comments, feedback and suggestions for future issues via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org Popular international tenor Stephen LloydMorgan releases album to aid Spanish and Welsh cancer charities Tenor Stephen Lloyd-Morgan's new album 'In My Father's Footsteps' is to be released on 1st July. The album is dedicated in memory of his Dad Bryant, who passed away 18 months ago hav beenosed with cancer only 5 week's previously, and its primary purpose is to aid The Cudeca Hospice in Spain www.cudeca.org and Welsh cancer charity Tenovus www.tenovus.org.uk � with 100% of sales income being donated. The album will be released on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/stephen-lloydmorgan/id358994655 and all leading download stores, including Amazon MP3 & Spotify. CDs are available from Amazon on Demand and a limited number are available directly from Tenovus and Cudeca shops. For further details see www.slmlive.com/album.htm The choice of recording studios brings a personal story full circle for Steve! He recorded at the famous Pop Factory Studios in The Rhondda, South Wales. Located in Porth where he was born, it was originally the `Corona Pop' factory and depot where his Dad once worked as a delivery driver. "The treatment and care of those suffering from cancer is something that is very important to me. It is a cruel disease that rips the heart out of families, mine included. There is no discrimination; it can hit anyone and at any age. Anything that can be done by any of us to raise money to improve the odds, whether in terms of treatment or palliative care is similarly vitally important. Cudeca and Tenovus both provide a vital service to cancer sufferers on the Costa del Sol and in Wales. Tenovus gave my family an amazing amount of support while my Dad was in hospital; and this is my way of giving something back - trying to give back what I can!" � Steve The album itself is divided into two distinct halves! One, the popular classical, musical theatre and crossover-opera that Steve is best known for, the other a mix of tracks from the 60s through to the 80s that were his Dad's favourites and with which Steve grew up. These include covers of tracks by the likes of The Everly Brothers, Bread, Simon & Garfunkel, Don McLean and Tom Jones among others! A total of 14 tracks, in English, Spanish, Italian and Welsh! Are YOU a Success in Spain..? by Maya Middlemiss What does `success' mean to you and your family in Spain? When I use the word `success' in the UK so many people seem to define it in financial or career terms � but surely there is so much more to it. The financial side might be a challenge here in Spain, but how many other ways are we happy and thriving..? Seeing your kids growing up healthy and strong, playing out of doors and using their muscles, building bone density and challenging themselves physically might be one definition. Watching them develop linguistic skills beyond the dreams of any adult learner is another one... Simply knowing they are growing up in an international community as global citizens, with friends from so many different countries and cultures, for me is a huge indicator of success, and that we made the right decision to raise them here. When planning our family relocation some years ago there were many encouraging stories from those who had gone before, and fuelled by endless `Place in the Sun' episodes, it was a good time to try and turn dreams into reality. But now, if you look at the British media, it has come full circle � apparently we are all crawling home penniless and regretful, or trapped in our `nightmare' unsellable villas starving and resentful. But that doesn't reflect the expats I see around me � many of whom have indeed had financial challenges, but are committed to their lifestyle here and working hard to hang on and keep their kids growing up in the sunshine and safety that Spanish life offers. After all the negative reports back in Blighty I have had family and friends really worried about us here, but honestly what I see around me is no worse than anywhere else in Europe, UK included. I know I for one fully intend to hang on in Spain and make the best of things, and that I am not alone � Spain is full of expats who have chosen to design the lifestyle they love for their family and themselves, and are working very hard to hold on to it. To offset some of the negativity I want to tell those stories � hugely varied and diverse as they are, the common threads uniting us are a love of Spain and the things that make us rich in quality of life here. If you'd like to be part of the `Success in Spain' project, please do join the mailing list and grab the enquiry form here or find us on Facebook and join the conversation there. What I love most about this project is the way it has brought me into contact with so many inspiring people, many of whom have overcome real hardship, and worked through it to accomplish `Success' in whatever way they define it: financial, spiritual, sometimes in terms of their relationships, or health and well-being. From those raising families with freckly faces to finding the right business niche, or simply relaxing in the sun as a reward for years of hard work, everyone has a story. And I would be honoured to read and share yours, as part of setting the record straight about expat life in Spain. Maya lives in Denia on the northern Costa Blanca, with her husband and two daughters aged 7 and 12. They have lived in Spain for 4 years, and love living right next to the sea. She works from home doing market research, social media and freelance writing, and loves the technology that allows her to send emails to clients around the world whilst standing on the beach, watching her kids enjoy the kind of freedom and lifestyle that reminds her of her own childhood. Website: http://costaconnected.com/success-spain/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SuccessinSpain Euro Updates by HiFX... Euro falls as Spain pays its highest yields ever to sell 3 and 6 month government debt The Euro remains low and vulnerable as it continues to head south against the Pound and the Dollar with the markets sustaining a very negative sentiment towards the prospect of a solution to the 2 � year old debt crisis. The first EU summit following Greece's elections began last week but it appears there are still vast differences of opinion on what the next move should be to strengthen the single currency block. The Euro's health wasn't helped by an auction of Spanish government debt that saw investors demand interest rates of 2.3% to lend money for three months and 3.3% for six months. Whilst they managed to sell the full amount, the demand for the debt was weaker showing investors are clearly growing ever more sceptical about Spain's ability to repay even short term debt considering the yields Spain are having to pay. This came less than 24 hours after Spain formally requested EU aid needed to recapitalise its bank and Cyprus became the fifth eurozone country to seek an international bailout. As EU leaders met in Brussels there appeared to be little hope of any new significant agreements for further integration of the 17nation bloc which has been identified as a key flaw in the monetary union created 10 years ago. The quickest solution is seen as issuing debt jointly through Eurobonds as opposed to individual nations all selling their own debt, preventing the problem of individual nations facing soaring borrowing costs. However, Germany remains firmly against this, and you can understand to a certain extent why, when recently investors have been paying them to buy their debt for certain maturities! They don't want to have to pay higher borrowing costs due to their profligate neighbours and want to ensure they maintain a quid pro quo for any nation they bail out. Whichever way you look at it Germany is going to have to continue to support its neighbours. The question is whether they can afford to have another summit without reaching firm agreement on measures to bring an end to this crisis as a bailout of Spain as one of its largest economies would surely be the beginning of the end. Information courtesy of Keith Spitalnick from HiFX. Click here to see how much you can save with HiFX's Foreign Exchange Service. Avda Manolete, Centro Plaza Local 12-13, Nueva Andalucia, 29660, Marbella, Malaga Tel: 951 203 986 Email: email@example.com Click this link for more information! Use Your Smartphone Agenda For Money Saving Ideas That Really Work These days it's easy to load into your smartphone agenda a note about those allimportant dates that can save you money if you follow these handy tips: 1.Car insurance: Diarise a day to check your policy 6-8 weeks before renewal, by which time you should have already have received the renewal cost information from your current company. Insurance companies love clients who don't question their renewal quote, as that's where they make their profit. How to save: �Not made any claims on your car insurance during the last year but the company has put up the premium anyway? Tell them that this is unacceptable, you'll be surprised at how many companies back down and will at least equal the previous year's price. �Have your circumstances changed in the last year? For example, if you've been paying extra on your policy for your son/daughter who's since left home or got their own wheels, let the company know so that they can recalculate your insurance. �If you're thinking of changing to third party insurance, logic says it should be considerably cheaper but don't always assume this and check fully comprehensive too � you may get a good deal for just a few euros more. �Compare online your renewal quote, but don't forget those companies that online comparison sites in Spain miss such as Linea Directa. Also remember to compare like with like, comparison sites can be time consuming but it's easier than phoning companies when you may forget to mention some details that affect your policy. �Found a better deal? Then threaten your current company with changing to a competitor � at the least they may equal your best quote or even beat it. If your company won't budge then ditch & switch. �If you are going to switch, check cashback sites in Spain to see if you could get some money back. For example, on CuestaMenos.com Click Seguros offers 27, Genesis 21 and Linea Directa 18. 2. Home insurance: Again diarise for 6-8 weeks before renewal. Tips for saving: �Regarding changing circumstances, reassess your contents � is the value accurately reflected on the policy? What about garden items - not all policies cover these and they can be costly to replace. �If you have a property abroad that you rent out, make sure your contents insurance only covers the minimum (eg kitchen & bathroom furniture) - your tenants should take out their own insurance for their contents. �Watch out with "friendly" monthly payments, as the interest charged can be quite high. �Use online comparison sites and cashback sites in Spain as in the "car insurance" example above. �If you live in an area in Spain that's prone to flooding or if your house is left unoccupied for long periods you may find it difficult to lower your premiums. In this case it may be easier to speak directly to an insurance broker in Spain to see how you could lower the cost. 3.Savings accounts. Remember that great 3/6/12-month high-interest savings account you opened? Diarise for a week before the offer period ends as the interest rate will plummet. �Check current offers at a Spanish comparison site such as HelpMyCash or Bankimia. �Don't put all your eggs in one basket � only 100,000 per person is covered per financial entity. Be careful with bank mergers, you may have money in different banks that end up becoming one and the same. �Check conditions at a new bank, you may be tied in to various products that wipe out the higher interest offered. �Remember to check cashback sites too � ING Direct gives between 28 to 36 for new clients. 4.Credit cards with introductory offers. Diarise for when the offer finishes, recheck the conditions on that card and your pre-existing cards (points, airmiles, etc.) to decide which one to use in the future �Always check offers for credit cards � some insist on paying by instalments with high interest rather than paying off in full each month. �Iberia Sendo card offers a free return flight with a 400 spend in the first three months and the card is free the first year. Get your free flight, diarise for one month before the year is up and then cancel the card before you pay for the second year. Often companies will offer another free year if you tell them you want to cancel. �Get the 3% cashback credit card at Deutsche Bank and use it every time you shop at large stores and supermarkets in Spain. With the price of food nowadays you could be looking at getting over 150 back per year. �Watch out that you don't request too many credit cards � this could negatively affect your credit rating. Visit www.MoneySaverSpain.com for lots more info on how to save in Spain. Sign up for the weekly newsletter out every Thursday - includes great deals and offers in Spain as well as news for consumers. Also on Twitter @MoneySaverSpain and Facebook too. Consider the Alternatives by David Rogers There are four major issues that affect your savings, investments and retirement planning; these are Stock Market Performances, Interest Rates, Inflation rates and Annuity Rates. All of which, in the main, are outside your control. This is made even worse when you consider that over the past 15 years; traditional savings, investments and pension funds have been negatively affected by the performance of the Stock Markets and in many cases, excessive management charges have also affected the level of returns. In addition, during the same period the amount pension funds can now buy in the form of an annuity has also reduced dramatically and funds being held of deposit are not only at risk, they also provide little in the way of returns. Due to the perceived lack of value for money (i.e. performance achieved in relation to charging structures) and the prospect of low interest rates for the foreseeable future, classic fund based pensions and investments are fast becoming a thing of the past. TailorMade Alternative Investments open doors to new investment opportunities providing clients with DIRECT access to a DIVERSE portfolio of alternative investments, rather than through traditional fund based routes. This cuts out many of the associated costs and can help provide true diversification in a variety of asset classes, stabilising an investment portfolio in volatile times. Within this ever changing economic landscape, both private and institutional investors strive to identify the best sectors and niches in which to invest their future. Never before has it been so important to take control of your funds and reducing your exposure to a heavily indebted system could not only prove smart, but could be vital if you wish to protect against loss. It is also vital to ensure your savings, investments and pension planning "move with the times" for example investing in Gold over the past number of years proved to be a shrewd investment, however investing in the same in the preceding decade may have turned out to be somewhat less rewarding. In short, we live in a boom and bust times and markets move with exceptional volatility and in far too many cases a client's portfolio remains stagnant, exposed to this volatility and the same dreary asset classes that in the main, most clients, indeed many professionals, don�t even begin to understand. In the majority of cases clients are exposed to a faceless fund manager that gets paid whether your funds, win, lose or draw. If you, like many others are fed up with the lack of performance, which is further compounded by excessive charges on what is in fact "your money" then maybe it's time to "Consider the Alternatives" Alternative Investments provide a solid platform and in many cases provide your portfolio with fixed returns from the outset. Furthermore you can invest in Alternative Investments, via a SIPP (Self Invested Personal Pension), QROPS (Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme), and certain off-shore structures and/or as a direct investment for those funds that languish on deposit and with banks that may go under. Additionally in most cases an Alternative Investments allows you to directly hold the asset, in other words you actually own a tangible asset, surely a better solution in the long run and a vast improvement on the majority of client�s portfolios that exist today. Amongst the most popular Alternative Investments, one can name real estate, commercial property, commodities, land, farmland, renewable energy and fractional property ownership. In these types of investment we have seen returns in excess of 60% over a 5 year period, one such example is GREEN OIL which today affords an 80% return on investments over 5 years. Due to European legislation and the demand from emerging markets, recycling (48% over two years) and Farmland (66% over 5 years) have also performed well and this looks set to continue for at least the next 5 to 10 years. We are facing a 360� shift in economic power, isn�t about time your portfolio reflected that? To obtain further information as to the benefits of Alternative Investments, please contact us on 0034 952 764 083 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Please feel free to visit our website:www.tailormadegroup.co.uk TailorMade Alternative Investments International Ltd Ramon Gomez de la Serna 8,1a Planta,29602 Marbella,Spain Tel: +34 952 764 083 Fax +34 952 765 038 Child Safety Tips for Holiday Lets (Part Two) In the second part of this series, I will share some more tips on how to easily make your holiday property safer The danger of glass panels: Full-length glass panels can cause accidents, from a simple bump on the nose to serious injuries should the glass fall (often if an adult walks into it!). Very simply placing identifying stickers at adult and child-eye height can greatly improve safety. It could also be a bonus for your branding if you choose a sticker with your logo, or an image which represent the villa in some way? In the Garden: With the sunny weather and outdoor life here in Spain, children are far more likely to be exploring the outside than wondering what lurks under the kitchen sink! Whilst it is impossible to make a garden completely child, there are steps you can take to reduce the dangers to an acceptable level; � Take care with spiky plants such as roses, bougainvillea and citrus trees for example. Try and plant them away from areas where the children will play. � Poisonous plants should be removed completely if possible, or fenced off to prevent access. You can find a list of poisonous and non-poisonous plants here. For safe colour, try Petunias or Impatiens instead; a 60c plant bought at the beginning of summer will literally bloom and bloom � and it's a great game to get the children to do the dead-heading! � Steps and drops can often be resolved with a simple child gate or safety railing. A huge variety on the market can fit almost any width and can be permanently fixed or easily removed at the end of season. Another idea is to provide a play pen if you are expecting babies or toddlers. If these solutions are complicated in your property, then a bit of information for the parents might be all that is needed to help them decide if its suitable or not. Tots to Travel address these by using our "Parent Points" to help families make an informed decision. Personally, steps would not put me off booking my drea holiday villa, but at least I would have peace of mind in knowing what's what! In the final part of this article I will share some tips on what lurks in the kitchen, as well as out in the garden! Lindsay runs the Andalucian branch of www.holidaypropertyexpert.com on behalf of family holiday company Tots to Travel, and is Director & Founder of http://rentaltonic.com Twitter and Facebook @LindsayinSpain Useful Phrases & Vocabulary for Car Hire It is probable that if you hire a car at an airport in Spain in one of the more touristy resorts, the sales-person will speak fairly good English. However, don't take the chance � make sure you learn a few key phrases before you go. Familiarising yourself with the key aspects of Spanish vocabulary relating to car hire will ensure that there are no surprises and you don't fill the tank with diesel instead of petrol by accident! Here's some Spanish vocab that might be handy to know when hiring a car in Spain: Car hire � Alquiler de coches To hire a car - Alquilar un coche Where can I rent a car? �D�nde puedo alquilar un coche? I would like to hire a... Me gustar�a alquilar un... car = coche small car = coche peque�o large car = coche grande automatic = autom�tico Is the car a manual or automatic? - �El coche es est�ndar o autom�tico? I would like to rent a four door car for one week Me gustar�a alquilar un coche de cuatro puertas por una semana What's the minimum age to rent a car? �Cu�l es la edad m�nima para alquilar un coche? Is there a CD player in the car? � �Hay un reproductor de CD en el coche? Is insurance included? - �Est� incluido el seguro? How much is the insurance? - �Cu�nto cuesta el seguro? Can you give me the price list? - �Me puede dar la lista de precios? How much does it cost per day? - �Cu�nto cuesta al d�a? How much does it cost per week? - �Cu�nto cuesta por semana? What's the deposit? - �Cu�l es el dep�sito? Does the hire include unlimited mileage? � �El alquiler es kilometraje ilimitado? How many kilometres can I go? - �Cu�ntos kil�metros puedo ir? Is there a charge per kilometre? - �Hay alg�n cargo por kil�metro? Here is my driving license - Aqu� mi permiso de conducir Sign the hire form here - Firme el formulario aqu� Here are the keys - Aqu� est�n las llaves The car-park - El aparcamiento My hub caps have been stolen � Me han robado los tapacubos The headlight does not work � El faro no funciona Is there anyone I can call in case of breakdown? � �Hay alguien que puedo llamar en caso de aver�a? If you have car problems, phone this emergency number � En caso de aver�a, llame este n�mero de emergencia Where do I leave the car in the airport carpark? � �D�nde debo dejar el coche en el aparcamiento del aeropuerto? Where do I have to return the car? �D�nde tengo que devolver el coche? Return the car with a full tank of petrol � Devuelva el coche con el dep�sito lleno de gasolina What kind of fuel does it take? - �Qu� tipo de gasolina utiliza? This car is diesel/petrol � Este coche es diesel/gasolina Is there a petrol station nearby? - �Hay alguna gasolinera cerca? Do you have maps of the region? - �Tiene mapas de la regi�n? Do you know the parking costs in town? �Sabe el costo del aparcamiento en la ciudad? Some info about us: Fun Learning Spanish (F-L-S) is run by a father and daughter team: Mike and Natalie Stephenson. Natalie is a Spanish graduate, Mike is an enthusiastic Spanish learner and they have created Fun Learning Spanish for lovers of the Spanish language and culture. It offers a range of interesting resources and articles on the language, culture and travel guides to Spanish and Spanish American destinations. An idiom is a phrase where the words together have a meaning that is different from the dictionary definitions of the individual words, which can make idioms hard for learners to understand. However, if a learner can introduce idiomatic phrases into their everyday speech, it will demonstrate their fluency and deeper understanding of the language. Below are some of our favourite `animal-related' Spanish idioms: "Ver los toros desde la barrera" refers to watching the bulls from behind the barrier, but is used to mean "to keep out of harm's way". "Hay cuatro gatos" meaning "there are four cats", refers to when there are only a few people, such as at a party. In English, you would say "There's hardly a soul" or "There's only a few people". "Estar como pez en el agua" means "to be like a fish in water". The English equivalent would be "to be in one's element". "Revolver el gallinero" literally means "to stir up the henhouse". In English, you would say "to set the cat among the pidgeons" . "Tener un humor de perros" literally "to be in a dog-like mood", the English equivalent would be "to be in a foul mood". . Website: http://www.fun-learning-spanish.com/ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/funlearningspanish Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/funlearnspanish Email: email@example.com As with anything, there are always lots of different reports and views about the wrong and right ways to learn a language. A report found in the Washington post quoted an Andrew Eil - a staffer who works at the U.S. State Department on international climate change, who recommends that foreign language students start with "boot camp". He believes in studying grammar very hard, doing drills of vocabulary every day, and forcing yourself to talk. This regimen, he claims, put him in a position to develop high levels of competence in several languages; he now speaks Russian and French fluently and can converse in Mandarin and Kazakh. Others would disagree and find this system just doesn't work for them and I have heard many people say they have studied incredibly hard in this fashion for an exam, only to find they couldn't remember hardly anything the day after! I personally feel that different people work in different ways and brain function and capability can differ from person to person. I remember as an A Level student I liked to write lists and learn vocabulary in a methodical fashion- but how much of that stuck in my brain, I don't know. What I do know is that when I moved to the North of Spain and I could see the language working for me in its own environment, is when I truly became confident with my Spanish. Whether this was due to immersion or because I was putting the language to use and seeing it in context, is unknown. Our books, however are very different because I wrote and "designed" them in a way, that the words are not just new vocabulary but make sense to that child. An average child who is not brought up in a completely bilingual setting may never have come across the word "Socorro" before in their life, yet put it in an English context of where Lucia is struggling in the pool and all of a sudden it makes sense! The real test however, is can that child use it out of context? YES! I have heard testimonial after testimonial of parents contacting me saying "My child got stuck on the slide and shouted `Socorro!' from the top" or "My child was being chased wildly by his siblings and shouted `Socorro, socorro!'" This tells me that although our books do not claim to make your child bilingual, they DO start to gently introduce your child to foreign vocabulary and enable them to really learn and understand the words. The 32 flashcards reinforce the new words and make it even more fun, by using brightly coloured illustrations. Language learning should always be something to enjoy but it should also have relevance. To become truly bilingual takes time but give your child a chance to start and develop their linguistic skills because it can never be a bad thing! Genevieve was born in Colchester, Essex in 1978. She studied at the University of Sussex and has a degree in Linguistics and Spanish. Writing the books has brought the two of her passions together. She has been a private Spanish tutor to children for many years and picked up along the way, what interests children and what makes them tick! www.jajaja-books.com Suggested Summer Reading ... Part 1 Cocaine Nights by J.G. Ballard Price: �4.99 with FREE shipping to UK and Spain (eBook) The remarkable bestseller from the author of Empire of the Sun and Crash � both an engrossing mystery and unnerving vision of a society coming to terms with a life of unlimited leisure. Charles Prentice arrives in Spain to investigate his brother's involvement in the death of five people in the upmarket coastal resort of Estrella de Mar. What he soon realises is that beneath the civilised, cultured surface of this exclusive enclave for Britain's retired rich there flourishes a secret world of crime, drugs and illicit sex. What starts as an engrossing mystery develops into a mesmerising novel of fascinating ideas, and a dazzling work imagination. Malaga Footprint Focus Guide Price �2.99 with Free UK Shipping A very useful guide to the Malaga province. It's easy to spend years on the coast without ever getting to know Malaga city which is well worth a visit. So much more than just an airport. This little book is user friendly. Lots of practical information to make planning your trip easy and ensure you get the best out of your visit. In addition to the usual tourist stuff lots of useful and interesting information for walkers and history buffs. A well structured and comprehensive guide all that's missing are a few photos. A Bull on the Beach: Enjoying the good life in Mallorca by Anna Nicholas Price �5.99 with FREE UK shipping Having settled in her Mallorcan idyll Anna teams up with organic farmers and smallholders to learn how to tend sheep, make cheese and honey and grind flour while her husband the Scotsman creates havoc with his friend Pep in an attempt at winemaking, and tries to fathom what's troubling the wriggly inhabitants of his beloved wormery. In this latest adventure Anna links up with a unique Angus cattle farm on the island and is persuaded by her former PR client Greedy George to create a media storm for his new Spanish leather store, involving an elderly bullfighter and a gigantic bull on a Barcelona beach. The Spanish Game by Charles Cumming Price: �4.99 with FREE shipping to UK and Spain (eBook) A vivid and gripping novel from "the master of the modern spy thriller" (Mail on Sunday) which sees Alec Milius coaxed back into the secret world to face the uncontainable danger of 21st century terrorism. Even after years spent escaping the past and rebuilding his life in Madrid, Alec still possesses a fatal attraction to secrets, and when a prominent politician mysteriously disappears, he is lured back into the spying game. Only this time he operates without the protection of any official agency -- isolated and expendable, with nobody to turn to if things go wrong. And they soon do. But when Alec is confronted with the nightmare of modern terrorism, he is given one last chance for redemption. Dali and the Path of Dreams by Anna Obiols Price �4.99 with FREE UK Shipping Once upon a time, there was a little boy whose name was Salvador, though everyone called him Salvi. One afternoon, as he was playing in the sea, he noticed something gleaming under the water. Looking closer, he saw it was a key that the sea had left there. Wondering what the key might be for, Salvi hopped up on to his long-legged elephant and let his imagination lead the way...This charming new story takes Salvador Dali's most famous motifs, including melting clocks, long-legged elephants and magical chests of drawers, and weaves them into a fantastical story introducing the work of the artist to the youngest child. It provides a child-friendly introduction to the work of Surrealism's greatest artist. The story explores the limitless possibilities of the Surrealist vision while the vibrant illustrations reflect Dali's own style. Larger-than-life format is perfect for the subject matter. For further details and to order any of these books visit: http://books4spain.com/ Suggested Summer Reading ... Part 2 A Death In Valencia by Jason webster Crime writer Jason Webster speaks out about neglect and destruction of Valencia's historic fisherman's quarter. A DEATH IN VALENCIA, the electrifying second crime novel by JASON WEBSTER set in the Spanish city of Valencia. A DEATH IN VALENCIA is set in Jason�s adopted home of Valencia, and features the main character Chief Inspector Max C�mara of the Spanish National Police, described by UK newspaper the Independent as `one of the most attractive figures to enter recent detective fiction'. Having tackled bull-fighting in the first Max C�mara book Or The Bull Kills You, this latest book addresses the abuse of land-planning laws and the threat to the historic fisherman's quarter on Valencia's sea front, El Cabanyal. Passionately opposed to the destruction of the city's historic quarters, Jason Webster says: `Valencia Town Hall has been steadily bulldozing a large swathe of El Cabanyal (the old fisherman's quarter) over the past few years. It's a tragedy, as this area is very picturesque and full of character and could easily become another tourist attraction for the city. As it is, though, much of it is now very run down. Read more & order a copy here: http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/editions/a-death-in-valencia/9780701185084 More Ketchup than Salsa: Confessions of a Tenerife Barman by Joe Cawley. When Joe and his girlfriend Joy decide to trade in their life on a cold Lancashire fish market to run a bar in the Tenerife sunshine, they anticipate a paradise of sea, sand and siestas. Little did they expect their foreign fantasy to turn out to be about as exotic as Bolton on a wet Monday morning. Amidst a host of eccentric locals, homesickness and the occasional cockroach infestation, pint-pulling novices Joe and Joy struggle with `Brits abroad' culture and learn that, although the skies might be bluer, the grass is definitely not always greener. More Ketchup than Salsa is a mustread for anybody who has ever dreamed about jetting off to sunnier climes... or anybody who has even momentarily flirted with the idea of `doing a Shirley Valentine'. Available for Kindle on Amazon.co.uk , Amazon.com and Amazon.es. Also available for iPad and other readers at Smashwords.com. Print copies available summer 2012 from Joe's Blog . Follow Joe on twitter @theWorldofJoe. Going Local in Gran Canaria: How to turn a holiday destination into a home. Gran Canaria first separated us a family. For aged just eight months, our then youngest son Alex contracted leukaemia. To help us out, his older brother Dani went to live with his aunt in the island's capital, Las Palmas. GC then brought us all together again when following six months of effective quarantine in Great Ormond Street Hospital, Alex, my native Canarian wife Cristina, and I travelled over to reunite with Dani. Going Local in Gran Canaria, my first book, offers a guide to relocating to foreign shores. Peppered with personal experiences, it's a book I never thought I'd write because I felt very settled in the UK. But it's a book I felt I needed to write for new expats; to smooth what can be a bumpy ride. I also had in mind the more discerning tourist who wants to explore the island beyond the mindnumbing confines of the all- inclusve resort. Visit Matthew�s blog at www.matthewhirtes.com To read more and order his book via Amazon: Click Here FORTY YEARS AND GOING STRONG Although not one of the major theme parks in terms of ride appeal, Tivoli World in Benalmadena, is an historic and very traditional part of the Costa del Sol. As tourists began to flock to the area in the 1970s a period of construction began starting with the marina and following by Tivoli World. The park celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The park has 40 attractions and two of its unique features are reasonable costs and opening times. For the best part of the year it doesn't open until 5pm (July) or 6pm (August) but then doesn't close until 1am (July) or 2am (August) allowing visitors to enjoy the park in the cooler night time air. Rides include Tivoli Dragon, Russian Mountain, Hall of Terror, go-karts, Free Fall Tower which drops visitors from 60 metres, Pony Express, merry-go-rounds and the Mystery Boat floating on Tivoli lake which the kids thoroughly enjoy. The park is also well known for its shows and activities for both kids and adults. This year entrance to the park is 6.95 which will however just get you in through the gates. Individual rides are 2 bought from ticket machines dotted around the park. If you buy a Supertivolino band for 14 this gives you unlimited access to the majority of the attractions in the park. The toddlers can buy a Mini Combi ticket for just 5 giving them access to three of the smaller rides. It does mean however that the adults, who don't want to go on the rides, can just pay the entrance fee making it a cheaper visit. Tivoli is not a park for adrenalin junkies and if you want major rides go elsewhere. It is however a real family park for those with younger kids rather than older teenagers. It's also a great venue for a birthday treat and there are also plenty of restaurants and areas to sit and chill. If you are feeling adventurous you can also get a cable car from Tivoli base up to Mount Carramolo to see the views of Morocco, see the birds of prey or go on a nature trail. PLUS POINTS: It's a very reasonably priced park and great for young families. NEGATIVE POINTS: Not for the older teens as rides are not `hard core' enough. Bit dated after 40 years and needs a good revamp at some point OPEN: April � October and from 12 midday in spring and then 5pm/6pm in summer PRICES: 6.95 entry. Supertivolino band for the rides is 14 for unlimited access. Check website for offers. HOW TO GET THERE: From the autovia N340 take exit 222. There are also bus links and trains. CONTACT: www.tivoli.es Tel: 952 577 016 RoundaboutSpain is the only online directory listing 'things to do' and 'places to go' for children and families, living on, or visiting the Costa del Sol. Web: www.roundaboutspain.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Find us on Facebook & Twitter @roundaboutspain #LoveSpain #SpainIs... Wishing Everyone a Fantastic Summer! www.familylifeinspain.com