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Issue Nยบ 3 April - June 2012

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 youmake your move...

The ďŹ rst step towards a successful relocation to Spain is to contact ... Tel: 00 34 952 48 68 06 Expat & Relocation Services

¡Bienvenidos! Welcome! to the third edition of our Family Life in Spain Newsletter. We are really happy to introduce some new contributors from different areas of Spain and the Islands. They will be sharing their own peronal experiences of the part of Spain they have chosen to call their home. Please feel free to contact them with any questions you may have. With Semana Santa festivities out of the way we are quickly heading towards the Summer . After such a mild and dry winter, what can we expect this year? No matter what it is, we hope you all have fun and continue to enjoy your Family Life In Spain.

Contents Page


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pg 4 CCB Spain: Important Updates for Foreigners in Spain pg 6 Move to Madrid: Reasons for moving to Madrid pg 8 Graham Hunt: A family Day out in Valencia pg10 Peter Tatford: Walking in Sevilla pg12 Rachel Webb: Ramblings from a family in Jaen pg14 Alex Bramwell: Alex introduces Gran Canaria pg16 La Rosilla Catering: Recipes pg18 Annie B´s Spanish Kitchen: Almond Recipes pg20 Molly´s Spain: Rediscovering Tradition pg22 Costa Women: It takes a long time to become young pg24 Dave J Bull: Campo or Coast pg27 Paul Ellis: Another UK Bank Rip off pg28 Money Saver Spain: A to Z Guide to Saving pg30 David Rogers: When more is less pg32 Holiday Property Expert: Child Safety Tips for Holiday Lets pg34 The Spanish Brick: The Spanish property Market 2012 pg 35 SpainPropertyWeb: The Complicated Maze of Property Sales pg36 Books4Spain: Book Reviews pg38 Jajaja Books: What are your experiences of learning ... pg 40 RoundaboutSpain: Port Aventura

Important Update for Foreigners living in or moving to Spain ...

NIE Updates ... In response to the question “Does your Spanish NIE expire after 3 months?” … The answer is “No”! Some companies are telling people that their NIE expires after 3 months. This information is not totally true and is very misleading. As we have previously explained , if you are planning to stay in Spain for more than 3 months then you no longer need to apply for an NIE , you can register as a foreign resident , receive the green certificate (which has replaced the old residency cards) and consequently save yourself time and money. However, if you require an NIE to purchase a property or a car then you will receive the white sheet of paper with your NIE number, which is a number assigned to you for life. At the bottom of this paper you will see the words “caduca en 3 meses”. This basically means that the certificate is only valid for 3 months, however your NIE will not change and can be used for legal and bureaucratic purposes.

Due to recent changes to the law in Spain, it is no longer possible for a lawyer to apply for a client’s NIE using a Power of Attorney. To apply for a NIE in Spain, you must now make the application personally at the corresponding police station. NIE numbers may still also be applied for at any Spanish Consulate or Embassy, in your home country, although this process will take longer, usually between 3 and 4 months, which will delay any planned property completion. If you are planning to buy property in Spain, you will now need to allocate extra time for a NIE application appointment, especially if you are scheduling a inspection trip to Spain.

Buying a Second Hand Vehicle in Spain … Informe de Cargas Before buying a second hand vehicle in Spain we strongly recommend that you always request an “Informe de Cargas” for the second hand vehicle you intend to buy. The “Informe de Cargas” is a document that informs you of any outstanding debts or embargoes the vehicle may have. An online copy of the document can be found here . Once completed, the document is to be submitted to the traffic department office (Jefatura de Trafico) or if you have a digital signature you can present it online at . If you do not speak Spanish or are unable to navigate the online service then it is advisable to ask the company that are processing your paperwork to carry out this service before you decide to purchase the vehicle. It is a step that should be taken before handing over any money. You should not pay any more than around €35 for this service. Unfortunately, we hear of too many expats in Spain who buy a second hand car in Spain and do not carry out the correct procedure relating to the paperwork. If you have any doubts about the correct procedure to follow, do not hesitate to Contact Us: On a final note: If you pay for a second hand car in Spain and a few months later decide to complete the necessary paperwork to register the vehicle in your name, you may well discover that it is not possible and your vehicle is embargoed due to outstanding debts of the previous owner. Is that a risk you are prepared to take for €35? For other articles relating to Traffic Laws in Spain you may like to read more on our website ... Expat & Relocation Services Providing essential information for foreigners living in or relocating to Spain Tel: +34 952 48 68 06

Reasons for Moving to Madrid In a nutshell, Madrid is a human-sized capital city. For expats, this means that you will be able to find anything you need here, including food from your home country, without feeiling the pressure and high-speed lifestyle you can feel in other capital cities such as Paris, London or even Rome. Madrid still has deep Spanish roots, and you will not feel in a cosmopolitan city, as you may in Barcelona, but rather in an international but still traditional Spanish city. Of course, if you are looking for the best weather and beaches, you already your income assured and you want to live mainly with other expats, head to the coast. Madrid is rather a great mix between good career opportunities, great lifestyle, access to verything you need and an environement where you can find exapts if you want to, but also integrate yourself with Spaniards and live the Spanish life. Madrid has a large expat community, 17% of its population being foreign (according to 2008 census The economic climate, since the start of the crisis in late 2008, is bearish in Spain. However, Madrid still is the best place in Spain to find a job in most cases. Madrid is about 25-35 % less expensive than London, Paris or New York according to the great website, which enables you to compared all cost of living thanks to user generated data. On the other hand, Madrid's average salary is also about 30% inferior to London, Paris or New York's average salary (see and for converting currecny for more data). My personal opinion is that real estate is getting cheaper in Madrid, and this is making living in Madrid even cheaper. Eating out and having a drink with friends i so much cheaper in Madrid: 10 â‚Ź for a 3-course menu any day of the week in average in Madrid, 4-5 â‚Ź for Gin Tonic or any other mixed drink. You pay twice as much for the same things in Paris, London or New York.

The only issue really is that with the crisis, salaries are not improving, and my feeling and experience is that there are some big gaps between managerial and junior positions in Madrid. In Madrid, you can start in a big company for as little as 15-25Kâ‚Ź a year, and the legal minimum salary is only 640 â‚Ź, but your salary can raise quite fast in 2 to 5 years. Housing will be your main concern when you arrive, since the quality flats are hard to find, and you have to know where to search, how to negotiate, and make the deal fast knowing all the implications of what you are signing. The healthcare system in Madrid is very good, one of the best in Europe. Either you are a Spanish employee and/or European Union citizen, and you get access to the good quality public system, or you will have to get a private healthcare coverage with Sanitas or Adeslas for instance, where you will great value deals. Madrid has as many as 40 private schools with bilingual or 100% english curriculums. You can see a map with all these schools here: 5097cf2e5905793&msa=0 The weather in Madrid is really great, since the summer (my definition being "the period during which I can have a dring at a terrace with friends without being cold") goes from March until November most of times. However, August can be very hot, with other 40-45ÂşC - make sure you have air conditionning !-, and during the winter, every other year we get snow for christmas in Madrid. But you will nearly never get negative temperatures.

dridly, a M s r u Yo Pierre

For more information and facts about living in Madrid have a look at

A Family Day Out In Valencia We have had some friends visiting from Asturias. And today we had other mutual friends coming up from Santa Pola in Alicante to visit. This means of course that I actually took some time off from the business and we decided to go out. So, the question is what does a family day out in Valencia involve? So we get up early and quickly scoff down some breakfast before heading off out into Valencia. Meeting at 11am we find that the City of Arts and Sciences Oceanographic has never been so busy, ever. The oceanographic is one of the main attractions of the City of Arts And Sciences, Spain's biggest tourist attraction in case you didn't know. It is the biggest aquarium in Europe and has an area devoted to each of the World's oceans and a rather spectacular setting. We were clever. We avoided the queues, and the were huge, by having bought the tickets the day before (You can buy online too at and just pick up) The oceanographic tickets cost about 24 Euros but if you live in Valencia or visit often then get a yearly pass for the whole City of Arts and Sciences which costs the same as two daily passes and you can go in as many times as you like including all of the shows at the IMAX cinema for nothing. A few hours marveling at the brilliant architecture, the dolphin shows, the tunnels being surrounded by sharks and seeing walruses playing catch we leave to get a paella or three in El Palmar. El Palmar is in the middle of the Albufera lake where the rice paddies surround it. As the rice is grown in this area then rice dishes abound. The 13 of us got three rather large paellas to share, extra salads, braves, drinks, desserts, coffee and more for less than 20 Euros a head. Follow

this up with a boat ride around the Albufera, Valencia's freshwater seaside lake for an hour for the exorbitant price of 3 Euros per head ;-) and you have a perfect way to digest your meal while using the supplied binoculars to spot the ridiculous number of birds that abound in the area. So, finishing that, we go in convoy back into Valencia and park under the Plaza de la Reina to have a coffee overlooking the Plaza de la Virgen square while the kids run around the square chasing pigeons. An hour and a half of no pressure selling from the waiters, watching the shadows lengthen as the sun goes down and the Cathedral gets lit up and the end to a perfect day before putting the kids in bed. A nightcap and bed before writing this for Lisa's Monday deadline. So no mention of the Bioparc, the Beach, The Fallas museum, the Gulliver Park, The Casino, The Riverbed Park, the Carmen, the America's Cup Superyacht Port, Formula One or the nightlife.

What would you do if you came to Valencia for a few days?

Graham Hunt has an estate agency in Valencia He also produces the Spain Is Dierent magazine which you can ďŹ nd at

Walking in Sevilla ... What do you think of first when someone mentions Seville? Oranges, barbers and perhaps Don Juan? With a little more thought you might add a dash of Spanish passion in the shape of bullfighting and flamenco, the summer sun, and palaces with shaded courtyards full of a dazzling array of colourful flowers. Seville does indeed have all these things, and much more besides. For a start, it’s a city with a lot of history, stretching right back through the long Muslim period to Roman times and beyond, and fine examples of the art and architecture of almost every period can be found here, from the stretches of city wall and iconic Torre del Oro (Gold Tower) dating from Islamic times, through the Mudejar style Alcázar Palace, the Gothic splendour of the 15th century cathedral, the Renaissance town hall and the baroque splendour of the Archbishop’s palace to the neo-classical Tobacco Factory. But Seville isn’t just a museum, it’s also a living, working, evolving city, and it’s that city that the visitor actually comes to. On my walking tours I try to show how the modern city developed out of the old, and how the past has left its mark on the present, as well as take people to a few of my personal "hidden gems". Seville is a city that is designed, or has grown, to deal with a hot climate. It may come as a surprise, but it has more trees than pretty much anywhere else in Spain, including not only those ubiquitous orange trees that seem to line all the streets and squares, and whose delicate, white blossom, known as azahar, gives off the wonderful scent that is Seville in springtime, but also Jacarandas (the ones with the amazing purple blossoms), Moreton Bay Figs (the big ones with the hanging roots), and many others, all of which provide shade and breathe moisture into the dry air (as well as just being beautiful, of course). The climate is also one of the reasons for all those winding little streets it’s so easy to get lost in, and the style of building with interior courtyards and colonnades; it all serves to provide a relief from the midday summer sun. For me, there are really four specific must-see sights - the Alcázar palace and gardens (invest in the audio-guide, it’s worth it), the Cathedral and Giralda tower (yes, you do have to climb to the top, but you won’t regret it), the Plaza España, built by Ánibal González for the 1929 Spanish-American Expo in the distinctive

neo-mudejar style (along with an astonishingly large number of other buildings all over the city in a burst of modernisation), and, to come right up to date, the Espacio Metropol Parasol, an ultra-modern structure only completed and opened early in 2011, and one of my favourites for its surprise factor.

Beyond these, Seville is very much a city for just strolling around. The most famous neighbourhood is the Barrio Santa Cruz (also known as the old Jewish quarter, although its more than five hundred years since the last Jews were expelled), which despite the large number of tourists is still a delight to explore, with its narrow streets and little squares with their cool ceramic benches, balconies and tapas bars. An excellent example of the mixing of modern and historical can be found on the tramway that runs along San Fernando street and Constitution Avenue, now wide pedestrianised streets with shops and pavement cafes, but running past the Old Tobacco Factory, the Archive of the Indies, and the Cathedral to the Town Hall, some of the oldest and most historically important buildings in Seville, the whole walk having a pleasantly light and airy feel to it. I also enjoy walking down by the river. Until the early 1990s this was a rather run down area that used to be part of the port of Seville, and which in earlier times was where the ships plying the trade routes to the Americas would arrive with their cargoes of gold and tobacco, the source of the wealth that built many of the city’s palaces and public buildings. Since then, initially for the 1992 expo, the riverside has been opened up for walking along almost its whole length. Finally, no visit to Seville would be complete without stopping at one of the food markets, Triana and Encarnación being my favourites. The colourful displays of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish and meat will certainly give you an appetite, even if you’re not buying. Seville is a perfect place for long weekends and short breaks. Not too big or too small, with plenty to see and enjoy from the grand and impressive to the small details, vibrant, lively and romantic. Not for nothing is it known as the jewel of the south.

Peter Tatford Azahar Sevilla Walking Tours

Ramblings from a Family in Jaén Hello from Jaén one of the most northerly provinces in Andalucia. Pronounced “hi-en”, this is probably the least known of the eight provinces in Andalucia as well as being the most difficult to pronounce. But don´t let that put you off, it´s worth a visit. Within its boundary is the largest protected area in Spain, Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas which is the source of the mighty Guadalquivir River that crosses Cordoba, Sevilla and enters the Atlantic in Cadiz province. Jaén is the third largest province after Seville and Cordoba with 13,496 sq km within its borders; it has the least, after Huelva, number of inhabitants and the most olive trees out of the 300 million in Spain. Jaén is known as paraiso interior or inland paradise and I agree, it´s been my home for the last 16 years. I moved from the south-west of England in 1996 with my husband, Nick and then, two sons who were 5 and 3. Now three sons, four crazy escape-artist chickens and a lovable but not very clever dog later, we live surrounded by olive groves and our only close neighbour is a horse. I was, as usually happens, asked to give English lessons which has now become a four-hour every week day occurrence during term-time. A job that is both incredibly frustrating and rewarding at the same time. I´ve some lovely and not-so-lovely kids that hopefully will end up with better English pronunciation than my Spanish! I also twiddle the keyboard with my website , and I´m a great fan of Twitter which is where I first discovered this great magazine and why I´m here sharing with you today.

We have a holiday rental house which we bought with some friends in a nearby hamlet six years ago. We renovated it and now rent it out according to the local government guidelines. Our tourist board registered house, Casa El Regüelo, keeps us fairly busy with guests but also with a fairly big garden we are learning (slowly) how to ´grow our own´. Nick is an engineer by training, a plumber, electrician and Solar Panel installer with Spanish qualifications but a gardener he is not. He´s made a rotavator and uses it along with a strimmer under my watchful eye. Otherwise I find weeds strimmed around and my prize flowers gone! My eldest son, a trained luthier, is renovating a workshop next to Casa Rural El Regüelo to make his own Spanish guitars. Maybe one day he´ll do some guitar making workshops which is what he did and when fell in love with creating from scratch a work of art that sounds so beautiful. Our part of rural Andalucia has loads going for it, day trips are possible to Cordoba, Granada, the UNESCO cities of Ubeda and Baeza as well as Jaén city and of course the numerous smaller white towns in between. All of which have an amazing amount of historical sites going back to the Roman occupation. Moorish watchtowers abound on almost every hillock between the silvery green olive trees and reddish ground. Summers get very hot and winters pretty cold. The poet Antonio Machado often referred to Jaén as ´silver Jaén´. He lived and taught in Baeza for a while and wrote many pieces about the Jaén province…. “Fields, nothing but fields - and white farmhouses scattered between olive trees” That´s my Jaén. Worth a visit?

Rachel Webb, Casa Rural El Reguelo, 23610 Fuensanta de Martos Jaen

Alex introduces Gran Canaria Las Palmas: My Kind of City It’s very fashionable for ex-pats to lounge on the Las Canteras beach front sipping cold Tropical beers and moaning about Las Palmas. “It’s too busy … there’s nothing to do except go to the beach … I miss the winter … they can’t do chips … etc”. The pettiness of it used to annoy me. Now with one-year old baby and a full timetable I’m too busy to care. I just sip my rum and coke and watch the Canarian families going by. I grew up in the hills behind the city and the bustle of Las Palmas excited me every time we came down. My parents made a weekly pilgrimage to the main Santa Catalina square for the Sunday papers, stopping for a coffee while the bucket men washed the car with water from the fountain. I explored the little bird market or pestered the old men playing chess under the palm trees. In the 1980s there were still horse-drawn carts on the streets, and the papers were always a week old. I still get the same buzz from Las Palmas now. Okay, so it’s not the prettiest city in the world! Some of its 1970s and 1980s buildings are politely best described as functional. The streets are dusty, the traffic gets ridiculous and parking is utterly impossible. But then you walk onto the Las Canteras beach front and none of it matters. Unlike the resort beaches in the south of Gran Canaria, Las Canteras is a living, vibrant, local beach. Spanish families set up camp and picnic behind screens. Tourists roast away on the sun loungers, adding some pink to the yellow of the sand and the green of the sea. The sky is almost always blue. Endless streams of surfers sniff out the best performing breaks. Sit at a table by Las Canteras for long enough and everyone you know eventually walks past. Getting from one end to the other should be a short walk. At the weekends it takes hours because of all the stops to gossip, catch-up and share a beer. It plays havoc with our son Ben’s routine. Las Palmas is a big Spanish city but it has a much more Latin feel than any-

where on the mainland. The language shares as much with Cuban Spanish as with Castilian and the music is more Salsa than Flamenco. Canarians drink rum. Everyone has a cousin in Venezuela! Away from the beach Las Palmas isn’t an instantly rewarding city. Its best bars are tucked away down dark staircases and its quality restaurants rely on their food, rather than their façade, to attract customers. I think this is what I like about Las Palmas: It doesn’t give up its secrets easily, but has to be discovered slowly. There is always one more restaurant that “does the best calamares in the city” or “has the best steak this side of Uruguay”. Everyone seems to have their own version of Las Palmas, marked out with favourite spots My version of Las Palmas is a loud, Latino city with plenty of rough edges. There’s no polish applied for the tourists who pour off the cruise ships or bus up from the south. I’m not saying that a few signs in English and a couple more pots of flowers wouldn’t improve the place. However, Las Palmas is alive in a way that the resorts in the south can never be. It has, for want of a better word, authenticity. It seems to take seven years to decide whether you like Las Palmas: Most ex-pats either leave after that time, eager for green grass and level pavements, or stay for ever. We have been here eight years: Who needs fresh pastures when you have warm sand?

Alex works as a photographer, writer and translator. His photos are represented by the prestigious Getty Images agency. He specializes in providing quality visual and written content to Canary Island tourist businesses via . He believes that the best way of promoting the Canary Islands is to show everyone just how great they are. The first broad beans of the season, are ready to be podded. My children enjoy sitting in the sun with a bowl and pod away. I love to serve them as an appetizer in a broad bean and fresh pea dip, delicious spread on warm bruchetta. BROAD BEAN AND PEA DIP. A big handful of podded fresh broad beans. A small handful of podded fresh peas or defrosted frozen peas, Juice and zest of 1 lemon. 1 clove of garlic, chopped. Good glug of olive oil. A handful of freshly grated Parmesan. 5 mint leaves chopped finely Sea Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. •With a blender, whizz, peas, beans, lemons juice, olive oil and garlic. •Stir in Parmesan, mint and seasoning. •Serve, with crudites, warm pittas or piled on bruchetta. I love dishes that you can taste the sunshine in, using fresh home-grown ingredients where possible . Here’s a favorite of mine for you, can be enjoyed as a side dish to accompany fish or barbied meat or simply , I like it for lunch, with a hunk of homemade bread, to mop up the Juices and a chilled Fino to sip. Summer Roasted Peppers Serves 4 2 Large red peppers, cut in half through the stalk. 4 ripe Tomatoes, cut in quarters. 1 fat clove of garlic Olive Oil Fresh herbs ( I use Rosemary or dried oregano that I dry myself) Anchovy Fillets. Method Oil a baking dish, and lay the peppers in it. Drizzle the inside of the peppers with Oil, season with Salt & pepper, and put in each some slithers of garlic. Stuff the peppers with the tomatoes. Drizzle with more oil, S & P, and sprinkle with herbs.

Top with anchovy fillets. Bake in a hot oven for 25 mins, till tender and oozing. Other ideas, not too keen on anchovies, top with Goats Cheese, or once out of the oven, shavings of Parmesan.. Delish too! Nothing beats putting a large rustic earthenware dish full of Mediterranean goodness on the table, for one and all to enjoy, taking big spoonfuls, tasting Summer, washed down with a ‘Big fat Rioja’, And some Mosto for the kids .

ONE POT MEDITERRANEN MARVEL Chop each ingredient to a similar size. Serves 6. 2 x Onions 2 x Green Peppers 3 x large tomatoes 2 x Handfuls of Mushrooms 2 x handfuls of Small potatoes 1 x Chorizo 1 x Courgette Place everything in a large dish suitable for the oven. •Add 4 cloves of garlic peeled. •1 x handful of chopped rosemary •Add Olive oil, to coat ingredients and mix with hands. •Season generously with good sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. •Cook for 40 Mins, until everything is golden and softened. •Then Sprinkle the dish with tasty grated cheese. •Make 6 ‘wells’ in the cheese and crack in 6 eggs. •Put back in oven for 5 / 10 mins until eggs are set to your liking. Enjoy with Chopped salad with fresh herbs, and Home baked bread. I bake Olive tapenande foccacia, to enjoy with our flavours of the med…you can't beat it.

La Rosilla – Lifestyle & Food. Home cooked seasonal dishes served with style. Personal inland tours of the Axarquia, bringing local food, culture & knowldge together for a true experience of real family life in Spain. Private dining, Mountain 'Supperclub' & Event Catering.

Almonds When the Moors arrived in Spain in 711, they brought with them many of their staple foods which are now part of the everyday diet here: aubergines, saffron, honey, oranges, lemons, rice as well as the glorious almond. Almonds play a hugely important role in Spanish cuisine, particularly in Andalucia where they are plentiful. Flying into Málaga in January/February, the land below looks as if it’s covered with cotton wool balls when the almond trees are covered with blossoms in full bloom. They are robust trees and develop long roots which seek out water far underground. Raw almonds aren’t just an ingredient – they are a protein and a super food in their own right. Their high nutritional value is now recognised worldwide. They contain 54% fat, as well as iron, calcium, phosphors and Vit B. In fact there is as much linoleic acid in just 2 almonds as there is in 1.25 litres of milk. Their high fat content means that they are not low in calories but even eating a few will leave you feeling quite full. They release energy into your system upon consumption which makes them a brilliant energy snack. When packing for climbing Kilimanjaro last month, my essential Kili kit contained 2 kilos of raw Andalucían almonds for the 4 of us to snack on for energy as well as to add to the porridge we were served for breakfast every morning – which also pushed the almond up there as an essential flavour enhancer! One of my favourite dishes from Andalucía is the spectacular, energizing Ajo Blanco, the famous white gazpacho made from raw almonds and garlic, then served ice cold with frozen quartered grapes acting as ice cubes. When ground with water, a whole almond releases it’s milkiness which gives the appearance of Ajo Blanco actually having milk or cream as an ingredient. The history of this delectable delight emanates from the fields of Andalucía where the workers had a plentiful supply of old bread, garlic, almonds, spring water, Olive Oil and Sherry vinegar. Using a mortar and pestle, they would pound the garlic, almonds and bread, trickling in cool water as they went along. Nowadays we have modern gadgets such as liquidizers to do the hard work but there are still ladies in my village who always use a mortar & pestle for making Gazpacho. I add an apple to my Ajo Blanco, adding yet another source of goodness. If ever I’m feeling in need of an energy boost, particularly on a hot summery day, Ajo Blanco always does the trick. It’s quick and easy to make. I will add an ice cube to the glass I serve it in if there’s no time to cool it down. Please start your soup before it gets warm! Frying almonds and cubes of stale bread together, then grinding with a mortar and pestle to make a thickener for sauces and stews is still done

in most traditional kitchens. Traditional dishes such as Perdices con Salsa de Almendras, Chocos con Almendras and Pollo con Almendras are all prepared with the precious almond. Almonds can be used in every course of a delicious dinner. As a canape my favourite tipple, Manzanilla, tastes at its best with a few salted Almonds. As a starter - the divine Ajo Blanco. As a main course – Rape (monkfish)con Almendras. As a dessert, an Orange & Almond cake, where ground almonds replace the flour content. And also as a soothing after dinner sweetness – Turrón. Spanish Turrón must be one of the most ancient of ‘sweets’ in the world. This delicacy was also brought to Spain by the Arab conquerors – honey and almonds being its main ingredients. Turrón blando, the soft turrón, is so because of the addition of almond oil to the basic Turrón Duro ingredients of almonds, honey & egg whites. AJO BLANCO x 8 2 small slices day old bread with crusts removed A little water for soaking the bread 1 large crispy apple peeled, cored & chopped 200g blanched almonds 4 peeled garlic cloves 600ml water 150ml olive oil 40ml/8tsp sherry vinegar S and P Grapes, preferably Moscatel Begin with washing and cutting in half or quarter the grapes. Remove seeds and then freeze in a single layer. Soak bread for a few minutes. Put almonds, garlic, half of the half apple and bread (squeeze slightly to remove excess water) in a blender. Whizz until a paste is formed and then gradually add the water until smooth. With motor running slowly, add OO and vinegar. Add remaining apple. Add more water if needed to reach desired consistency - it should be the consistency of single cream Season to taste then put in fridge or freezer to chill. Serve with frozen grapes, toasted pine nuts and/or diced apple floating on top .

Buen Provecho Join Annie B’s Facebook Group for up to date happenings in the world of Spanish Food and Wine ... (click the link below!)

Molly´s Spain ... Rediscovering Tradition I love Starbucks, free wi-fi connection, High speed trains and tweeting just as much as the next person, but I also love to wander around Little streets in Spain finding the most traditional shops and the oldest businesses that are still trading. I had a recent stroll around Granada to see what interesting examples I could find. I found many shops, here are some of the highlights. One of the first places I came across was this lovely grocery store, on San .Anton street right in the city centre. The sign above the window means Dairy products and the other sign Hueveria means Eggs shop but as you can see from the fantastic window display they actually specialize in all kinds local produce. Fresh Fruit from the Costa Tropical, freshly baked bread from Alfacar, Honey and Jams produced in the Alpujarra mountain villages, delicious cakes and pastries of all varieties from the most traditional villages in the province, aromatic cheeses from Granada, yummy salchichon, chorizo and other delicatessen items. Does it just make you want to eat something reading all this? I found this little gem of a shop near to the cathedral, selling wooden items made from Olive wood. They have all kinds of wicker work too, baskets in all shapes and sizes. I noticed that they also sell the traditional Andalusian wicker chairs too with painted legs with coloured flowers on. All these things make interesting and unique souvenirs or practical gifts for the home. Miroc, This Hatmakers has been trading since the 1900´s They have dozens of hat styles, Panama Hats, a varied selection of Fedoras, summery Straw boaters, the elegant Cordobes hats for the Feria, Flat caps, Bowler hat,

the traditional birettas for the University ceremonies, you name it, it´s there. This shop is just above Plaza Trinidad near the Cathedral and really has a sense of tradition to it. The most traditional place to eat an ice cream is Los Italianos on gran via who have been trading since 1936, they open on St Joseph’s Day every year and close on the Pilar festivity on the 12th October. On her visit to Spain in 2010 Michelle Obama had a 3 chocolate ice cream her in the Hot August sun. The business has been run by the same family for over 75 years, descendants from Italian immigrants, hence the name of business. For all the festivities in Spain, weddings, the Crosses in May, Romeria, Feria, christenings and holy communion ceremonies, the Spanish certainly need a lot of lace and trimmings. These Merceria´s (haberdashery shop) are dotted about all over the place. Selling lace, edging, tassles, fringing and trims in an infinite variety of colours and qualities, they decorate the colourful processions and the horses bridles in festivals all through the year. For the day you wear your Flamenco dresses to the fair they sell different accessories, scarf pins, clips, and traditional hair combs called Peineta to support the lace shawls. A real treasure trove of trinkets. These shops and businesses are dotted all over Spain they give us an insight into Spanish culture and tradition. When next wandering in a town or city pop inside and see what unusualthings you find. Certainly a different way to find conversation-starting gifts rather than buying the standard bottle of wine.

Molly originally from Nottingham, moved to Spain in the 1990´s, initially based in Barcelona, for the past 6 years is 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: /@piccavey

Read her updates on her blog:

Dear Younger Me,

This month the big number in front of our age is changing! Here’s my gift to you of 5 thoughts that I would like to have known at your age - so grab a chair and Ben and Jerry’s!:-

Never memorize something that you can look up. ~ Albert Einstein Do you remember at school having to learn logarithms – trying to get your head around something that probably 1% of the population need to know when you could have spent more time reading or painting? Einstein was pretty smart so if he thinks you don’t need to memorise things that aren’t useful… don’t!

Someday is not a “day” Why put off to “someday” what you could do and enjoy TO-day? Life is short and time is precious. Burn those candles, get the stuff out of the cupboard saved for another day (it only collects dust anyway). The problem with saving for a rainy day is that it rains! Spend time with family and friends. Enjoy your kidulthood! For each worry that comes knocking think to yourself “will it matter a day from now?” and if the answer is “no” then don’t hang about worrying about what might happen. Live in the moment – it’s fun; trust me! It’s great to plan for the future, but sometimes you need to stop saying “someday I will” and JUST DO IT.

"It takes a long time to become young." Pablo Picasso I actually don’t feel any different today than when we celebrated being 21, 30 or 40. The person who said, “behave your age, not your shoe size” probably didn’t own a single pair of Jimmy Choos.!


We live in an age of youth culture, why not continue in your youth. If in doubt, take this survey By the way, our results were:You are a twenty-something at heart. You feel like an adult, and you're optimistic about life. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences. You're still figuring out your place in the world and how you want your life to shape up. The world is full of possibilities, and you can't wait to explore many of them.”) Nuff said?

"You don't stop having fun because you get

old, you get old because you stop having fun!" An Unknown Author Make more mistakes, eat more Ben & Jerry’s and less wheat (which as you get older you will be allergic to anyway). Have lots of “moments”. Don’t spend time with negative people you can’t learn anything from them.


Become what you might have been Don’t waste time doing things that others have already done before, go and find a new path and forge it. Decide who you want to be, where you want to go, who you want to spend time with and become that person you always wanted to be. Shakespeare said “All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts;, His acts being seven ages”. Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself. Enjoy all those the seven ages!

Your older self x

P.S. On our Vision Board is a birthday card for our 90th birthday, so you’ve got a lot of living still to do! X Ali Meehan runs Costa Women, a social and business networking group for women living in Spain. Members live across mainland Spain & the islands, as well as Women who are dreaming Spain

The fun starts at: Facebook/costawomen Twitter: @costawomen LinkedIn: Costa Women Entrepreneurs


CAMPO OR COAST? For lots of people thinking about moving to Spain the decision is whether to buy that tumble-down farmhouse and spend some time and effort working on it amongst the olive trees or hit the coast and relax? I’ve been asked many times by people thinking of making the move to Spain. ‘Where is it better to live? in the country, or on the coast? I’ve done both and enjoyed both but it really depends on what you are looking for in Spain. If you have visions of living in the countryside and driving past meadows of cows and buttercups then you need to research whereabouts in Spain you may want to go as you may be looking at the wrong country... Spain being (mostly) a hot country replace that image of green fields with olive trees, or lemon, oranges, figs or vineyards. But don’t come to Spain expecting rolling hills of the Yorkshire dales or the South Downs as you won’t find them. Spain (at least the region around Alicante - where I live) isn’t all that pretty to be honest but remember that all that looks pretty doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be pleasant (look at Naomi Campbell…) and having said all that there are plenty of breath-taking views and sites to visit in the region, Gata de Gorgos is one with its stunning waterfalls (where they filmed the Timotei ads –I was busy that weekend…). The coast offers cooler temperatures in the summer and of course the beaches and larger expat communities that have established themselves close to the Mediterranean. For the new arrival it’s always tempting to head where the majority of your countrymen are where for one thing the language is less of an obstacle and along the coast as many businesses employ English speakers and are set up to cater for the expat. Inland it can be a different story and a little more challenging for some but that’s why we’re all different I guess. The richness of Spanish villages, all sun-baked in history and tradition is emphasised in small wine-growing towns in my region such as Hondon de las Nieves, La Romana, Fortuna, Abanilla, Pinoso to name but a few but here you will find more of traditional Spain than on the coast. While the seaside restaurants and café bars have adapted and evolved over the years to cater for the huge influx of foreigners during the year, but especially in summer, the ‘Campo’ is still very much the Spain of anywhere between twenty and sixty years ago. Believe me when I say too that that is not a criticism either. For those that still think that Spain is ‘behind the rest of the world’ try and remember that the farmer you saw today driving the ancient tractor will be driving about in his Mercedes a little later

(ok possibly with Sean the sheep in the back), along with his brother, the builder, who’ll have a similar badge on his car too. Along the coast you can get pretty much anything you want, somewhere – there’s often more choice too. I’m not necessarily talking about the dodgy sunglasses labelled ‘Cocoa Channell’ or the t-shirts with a puma smoking a joint and the logo ‘FUMA’ below it. but everything you need is there, whether it’s your favourite brand of tea-bags from back home or some decent fish and chips, or of course that traditional British meal of Tikka Masala. However, inland you’ll find things often harder (or further away) to get hold of but being a place where everyone still knows everyone else (and probably their business) the ‘locals’ will soon get to know you and with a bit of luck (and a few practised words in Spanish) you’ll be part of the community. Nowadays with Spain’s superb modern roads you can pretty much get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time (did I mention we rarely get a traffic jam here – inland or on the coast, unless the shepherd’s about…) and the routes either from or to the Campo to the beach and back, or into major towns and cities are straightforward and swift these days, if you want them to be. Access is also good now to all the airports including Alicante – which seems to have been built with the possibility that the whole of China (and India) might be flying in any time soon...? If you’ve not yet made the move, but are thinking about it and are reading this book to get an idea of what to expect, it’s well worth considering what you really want out of Spain, campo or coast? Traditional or convenient? Plenty of fellow expats, or just a few? Easy access to shops, bars and services, or a bit of a drive? Sheep in the car, or not? (optional). Whatever you decide it’s worth some serious thought before you spend too much money but my recommendation to anyone not sure would be to head for the coast and get into the ‘life’ first and then visit the campo once you’ve settled to see if that could be the future for you. Many have chosen that option and found that getting to know Spain (the easier way) by living along the coast before heading inland and enjoying the rural side of Spain after a few years. Whichever way you go one thing is for sure in Spain - you’ll be made to feel welcome and spluttering along in broken Spanish for a while will earn you a bucketful of respect from the natives…trust me. 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 or follow him on twitter @davejbull Follow us on @FamilyInSpain!/familyinspain

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ANOTHER UK BANK RIP-OFF (HOW TO SAVE £000’S ON REGULAR TRANSFERS) If you currently receive on a regular basis money from the UK into Spain, whether it be for pensions, mortgage payment, salary, etc, your UK High Street Bank could be charging you hundreds of pounds each year in unnecessary fees. On top of which, many Spanish banks still apply a receiving fee (this can be a set amount or a % of the value of funds received Want to know how to avoid these charges altogether and put your well-earned money direct into your own pocket? Here is a typical example: £1,000 per month pension transfer to Spain UK Banks charge on average £25 per transaction Typical exchange rate 1.15 Less Spanish bank receiving fee Amount received

£1,000 £975 1,121 euros 9 euros 1,112 euros

Currencies Direct operate a simple UK Direct Debit system, which can be applied monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annually. You can select from four collection dates each month and there are no hidden costs, charges, fees, or commission: £1,000 per month pension transfer to Spain No Charges Exchange rate 1.17 No Spanish bank receiving fee (guaranteed)

£1,000 £1,000 1,170 euros 1,170 euros

A difference of 58 euros. Multiply this figure by 12 months and you could be looking at an annual saving of 696 euros.

For more information on how to avoid bank charges and obtain superior exchange rates, contact Paul Ellis at Alternatively telephone our office on 952 906 581

A-Z Guide to Saving in Spain A+ and above appliances save on your electric bill (tariffs to increase substantially in Spain) and in many regions you can get a grant for part of the cost (non-means tested). Break habits. If you always shop at the same stores, use price comparison sites. Try for general items, for car insurance and (available in English) for supermarket items. Cashback sites can be a great way to pay less for your online shopping. Try or if you buy in Spain, or check out sites in your home country if you buy online there. Delivery to your door can work out cost effective for heavy repetitive shopping items (nappies, soft drinks, etc.). Try Extra earnings. Don’t leave too much cash in a 0% current account, check out savings accounts rates in Spain at Foreign exchange shouldn’t be done automatically through your bank, check rates every time you need to exchange. Normally a specialised foreign exchange company will be cheaper. Gas-guzzlers can find the cheapest place to fill up their car at Just need to put in your town / city to see prices. Hire instead of buying. Need furniture or baby items for a short period of time? Don’t go to the expense of buying when you can hire in Spain. Impersonate a tourist! At El Corte Inglés just show your passport and you’ll get a 10% discount on loads of items. When your friends and family come over they can do this too. Jewellery online outlets. Check out brands such as Swarovski or Guess in Spain for 50% off bargains. Buy presents in plenty of time for birthdays and Xmas. Keep fit on the cheap. Spain has a great climate for keeping fit outdoors, but if you want to join a gym ask for special rates at times when there are less people. Also don’t pay for a year upfront even if the rate is attractive – give it a 3-month trial to make sure you use it first. Language learning can be free, without having to put up with strangers in exchange groups. Try an online option such as Mini cards have a variety of discounts and special offers for restaurants, theme parks, tourist attractions, etc. Just pop into any hotel and pick a few up, they’re aimed at tourists but why shouldn’t you use them too? Nothing, naught, nowt. Everyone loves a freebie, so when you’re in a perfume or cosmetics store ask for “muestras” (samples) – great to take on holiday when you

just have hand luggage. Online shopping is on the rise in Spain, but still lags behind most of Europe. Hence there are plenty of bargains to be found to attract shoppers. Like your favourite stores on Facebook so you don’t miss their promotions. Packages can be sent cheaply by using Spanish websites such as Rates are up to 50% cheaper within Spain and up to 70% cheaper for abroad. Qué hago? What should you do if you have a problem with a purchase (goods or services) in Spain? Request the Official Complaints Form (Libro de Reclamaciones) and you’ll get an answer from an official body. Reading in Spanish on the cheap. Use; find a new home for your unwanted books and get credits to exchange for other people’s books. Second hand goods? Sell or buy at Limiting your sales to English language publications or websites will lower your chance of getting a good price. Try supermarket own brands. All supermarkets have their own branded goods at cheaper prices: Carrefour Discount, Hipercor Aliada, Mercadona Hacendado. Just substitute one or two items in the weekly shop to see if your family notices. If you’re not convinced you can always change back. Underestimate your insurance at your peril! If you skimp on your home contents insurance and then make a claim, an inspection may decide that you’re not entitled to the full amount you’ve claimed for. Vat return. EU citizens aren’t eligible for this, but if you have friends coming over from non-EU countries, take advantage of their stay to get 18% back on goods bought. Wills in Spain should be dealt with by a specialist, this is one area where saving now could lead to major problems for those you leave behind. Xtravagance. This is what you can allow yourself after all this saving! Young at heart. If you’re under 31 (or know someone who is) make sure you get a Youth Card in Spain. The exact price depends on where you live, but it’s always under 10€ for a year and the savings soon make up for the cost. Zoos on the cheap. And theme parks too. If you use a couple of days before you go, you get good prices on tickets, no commission and avoid the queues when you visit.

Visit 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.

When Less Is More ... We have a new Government, new policies, spending cuts and new taxes; yes the austerity measures that are being introduced throughout Europe are now starting to affect us all. This has recently been highlighted by the fact that on the 31st December 2011 the Spanish Government published tax increases that apply for 2012 and 2013? The changes relate to the amount of tax levied on interest, dividends, capital gains and income from savings and investments. As a result, the tax payable has increased, as a minimum of 19%, but on average, upwards of 22% and in the worst case scenario has increased by 28%. That’s not the amount of tax you pay, that´s the percentage it’s increased. If the boot was on the other foot and you were to obtain a 28% pay rise I’m sure you´d be delighted. However for the majority of us this is not the case and simply wishful thinking. In fact most are noticing income levels fall, little or no growth on savings, with goods and service prices rising not to mention exchange rates; In short it’s tough out there and these tax increases are most unwelcome. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, in fact if I were to tell you that there was an opportunity to legitimately avoid paying unnecessary taxes, you´d be interested in that wouldn´t you? Well here´s the good news: You can. Well those of us that actually live in Spain can, because Spanish legislation allows us to reduce these taxes and in many cases avoid them altogether and by doing so there´s more left for you. What’s more, it’s a fairly simple and straight forward process. This is because as a resident of Spain you able to take advantage of the favorable way in which Spain looks at collective investments. In this regard it is possible for a person who lives in Spain to open what are generally

known as Spanish Compliant Bonds, these are extremely tax efficient vehicles for holding invested funds and cash whether taking income or not. Furthermore by utilising the tax efficiencies provided by these compliant structures you can further be protected from the European Savings Directive rules on withholding tax. If you held funds on deposit in the general banking system or you have funds invested in products and accounts that are not compliant in Spain you are subject to taxes that could be reduced and/or avoided altogether. On that note, there are a substantial number of Expats living in Spain that are not aware of certain advantages open to them purely as a result of the fact that they live in Spain. In this regard many Expats living here have been sold and/or invested in non-complaint “off-shore� products or accounts that do not offer any tax advantages. So if you have funds invested in this manner its worth establishing of they are compliant here because you may be paying taxes that could easily be avoided. By simply restructuring your assets and utilsing solutions that are compliant in Spain, there is not a more favorable (legal) way of dealing with invested funds and as such this should be considered as an option for anyone living in Spain or anyone that has funds invested in either the banking system or in non-complaint investment portfolios. In short this is tax avoidance, not tax evasion and should provide you significant tax savings. Why pay more than you need to?

To find out more please contact me on +34 622 345 558 or +34 952 816 442 or simply email me at The information contained in this article does not constitute financial advice and you should seek advice from a professional tax adviser before embarking on any financial planning activity.

Child Safety Tips for Holiday Lets (Part One) The number of holiday properties to rent online is on the increase. So too are the number of families who are quick to complain if things go wrong, turning to places like Trip Advisor, or worse, their lawyer! The average rental owner is protected from the laws that see the big tour operators wind up in front of Anne Robinson on Watchdog. Yet most would agree that guest safety is very important, so here are the first of my top tips for solving the hidden dangers in your holiday let. On arrival Most accidents occur within hours of arrival as children are naturally blasé about danger outside their own home. So have a think about how to “arrival proof ” your rental. Remove anything that may be a hazard for young children; bite-size objects, breakables left at toddler-height, or bottles of cleaning products within easy reach. If your babies are all grown up now you could be forgiven for missing the obvious, so ask a friend with younger children to pop round and point out anything they think should be put away. The ornamental glass vase certainly looks beautiful filled with fresh flowers for your guests, but will it resist inquisitive hands? Balcony safety The balcony can be a real style feature of your villa, from sleek glass panels to traditional Spanish balustrades, it´s easy to forget what they are there for – to prevent accidents.

Best practice is for gaps in balconies to be no more than 10cm wide. I have had many an Hotelier in my time complain that “a baby would never get his head through that!” when I asked them to remedy wide gaps. My reply was always, “well what about if they go feet first?” But please don´t panic! It is easy to rectify wide gaps in railings. The simplest method is by covering the railings with a “tela metalica” (fabric mesh) from your local hardware store, or a trellis panel with small holes like those you can buy in Leroy Merlin. These can be easily removed in the winter, or a more permanent solution would be Plexiglas panels or additional bars fixed between gaps. There is always a solution for every budget, and it needn’t put you off renting out to families. Balcony safety is also important for adults - Spanish regulations require balconies to be 90cm high, when there is a drop of 6m or less. Anything over a 6m drop needs a protective barrier of 1.10m.

Lindsay is an independent Holiday Rental Marketing Specialist and the local agent in Andalucia for award winning family holiday company, Tots to Travel. A devoted Mum, self-confessed Tapas addict & lover of all things Spanish, find out more at or Twitter and Facebook @LindsayinSpain

10 facts about the Spanish property market in 2012 ! 1. Better prices for buyers in 2012. Property prices have dropped in 2011, an average of 6,85% according to the Ministry of Public Work. Prices level has reached 2005’s figures and the economic climate suggests that further fall will come. 2. The market is touching rock bottom. 2011 has probably been the worst year in terms of property prices and sales drop. If the price fall in 2010 was by 3% compared to 2009, the mentioned fall of 6.85% in 2011 compared to 2010 confirms that the market is reaching its lowest at the right speed. 3. Cash is king not only for Particular vendors but also for Banks and Savings Banks. . 4. Buy-To-Let still being the only short-term strategy for property investors. Unless you are a high-end investor with your clients’ portfolio, the economic situation in Spain still does not give hope for reselling in the short- and mid-terms. 5. Once again and probably forever: location, location, location + property specifications. Avoid subprime properties. Subprime tends to be easy to identify. Subprime properties in Spain are in poor locations and are bad-quality properties: poor building specifications, no lifts and frequently they need expensive refurbishment. 6. The best opportunities will come from those in need to sell. If you have the time and ability to work locally, you have a higher possibility of succeeding in the Spanish market. 7. Timing. At this moment (the beginning of 2012), Spanish property bargains are most likely to be in the hands of private owners rather than in Banks’ repossessed property portfolios. 8. Banks will still be driving the market in 2012. Banks are the easiest option but potentially not the best right now. It may chance shortly if the economic climate still hitting private owners. 9. Banks’ mortgage restrictions are still tough and mortgage conditions are not improving despite the fact that Banks tend to mask bad mortgages with residual discounts: free arrangement fees, very low notary fees (the bank pays the notary bill), etc. You must shop around and find the best mortgage. 10. THE TIP OF THE YEAR: As a starting point when dealing with a seller directly, reduce your offer by 30% of the asking price. That is the way to guarantee a bargain in the negotiation process.

The Complicated Maze of Property Sales in Spain... Due to the high number of estate agents in Spain, it is common practice for agents to share properties. This basically means that you will very often find the same property advertised on several websites, often at different prices and with different information. When you contact an estate agent in Spain requesting information about a specific property, they proceed to list you as their client to protect their future business with you. Whether or not you ever actually meet up with this agent or even have any further contact with them, you will remain as their client in certain property databases. Why can this be a problem? In some situations, agents have been known to refuse property viewings on shared properties as a client appears to have registered with many agents which would result in sales commissions being split several ways. As a purchaser you may not be aware of this but as an agent it can be extremely frustrating. All in all, it means that you are not receiving the best service. How can we disentangle this maze? By registering with, we will ensure that you are assigned to a suitable agent that will look after all your property search requirements. As your representative, we will ensure that you receive the highest quality service before, during and after the property purchase process. Our trained customer service team will assist you with your search and will be at hand to offer back up support and deal with any issues that may arise along the way. Thanks to our experienced team we are aware of the many tricks of the trade that you may be exposed to and prefer to warn you in advance. So, keep your eyes wide open and let's get this property search started ...

CRIME FICTION/THRILLERS The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon Price: £3.99 with FREE UK shipping (also available as eBook: £4.99/€5.99) In an abandoned mansion in Barcelona, David Martin spends his nights spinning baroque tales about the city's underworld. But perhaps his dark imaginings are not as strange as they seem, for in a locked room deep within the house he finds letters hinting at the mysterious death of the previous owner. Then David takes the offer a lifetime: In return for a small fortune he is to write a book with the power to change hearts and minds. However, he soon realises that there is a connection between this haunting book and the shadows that surround his home...

An Olympic Death by Manuel Vazquez Montalban Price: £5.99 with FREE UK shipping As Barcelona prepares for the Games, the city is turned over to make way for new roads and a new stadium. Private Investigator Pepe Carvalho finds himself forced to work for Olympic entrepreneurs whose only game plan is to make a fast buck. As Montalban's overweight hero cruises the backstreets of Barcelona, finding dead bodies and broken socialist promises, he remembers an older, seedier Barcelona hidden behind the shiny new Olympic City. f £1 of s Dishe s apa T 0 0 5 0 5 S 0 TAPA C ode


500 Tapas Dishes by Maria Segura Price: £5.99 with FREE UK shipping In the sun-drenched streets of Spain, the lively tapas bar hung with smoked Serrano hams provides a focal point for every community. This comprehensive compendium of tapas dishes enables you to bring a taste

of Spanish culture into your life. Choose from scallops with morcilla and sage, boqueronies, patatas bravas, and pannetone with rhubarb, to name but a few. Be it an informal barbecue or sophisticated dinner party you wish to cater for, your only difficulty will be in the choosing!


Sleeping Arrangements by Sophie Kinsella (writing as Madeleine Wickham) Price: £4.99 with FREE UK shipping (also available as an eBook) Chloe needs a holiday. She's sick of making wedding dresses and her partner Philip has trouble at work. Her wealthy friend Gerard has offered them the loan of his luxury villa in Spain – perfect. Or is it? On arriving at the villa they soon find Gerard has double booked, and offered his villa to his old friend Hugh and his family, also in desperate need of a holiday. An uneasy week of sharing begins, and tensions soon mount in the soaring heat. But there's also a secret history between the families - and as tempers fray, an old passion begins to resurface...


The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon Price: £3.99 with FREE UK shipping (also available as an eBook) 1943. As war sweeps across Europe, Max Carver's father moves his family away from the city to an old wooden house on the coast. But as soon as they arrive, strange things begin to happen: Max discovers a garden filled with eerie statues; his sisters are plagued by unsettling dreams and voices; a box of old films opens a window to the past. Most unsettling of all are rumours about the previous owners and the mysterious disappearance of their son. As Max delves into the past, he encounters the t errifying story of the Prince of Mist, a sinister shadow who emerges from the night to settle old scores, then disappears with the first mists of dawn ...Originally published in Spain as a young adult novel, THE PRINCE OF MIST is a mesmerising tale of mystery, romance and adventure.

If you would like to order any of these books or to see the range of Spain related books available at great prices, just visit the website by clicking this link

What are your experiences of learning a language? Do you have memories from school, feeling awkward and embarrassed or did you embrace them whole heartedly and recite verb tables in your sleep? When I was a private language tutor, I was often told “I just want to learn conversational Spanish, I don't want to learn the grammar ”, however the unfortunate reality is that if you want to learn a language you have to learn a bit of everything …..but you can make it fun!

The reason I started to write my books was firstly to combine all my passions, but also to change people's perception of language learning and encourage parents to give their child that opportunity earlier. A young child when reading one of my stories is unaware or is certainly not put off by the foreign pieces of vocabulary slipped into context because it is set within a familiar context. When I then hold up a flash card picture of a snake and ask “¿ que es esto?” they already know I am saying “what is this” because of my intonation and soon reply “SNAKE” (usually very loudly).Then when I ask “ but can you say SERPIENTE?” - they shout even louder “SERPIENTE”.They love the challenge, they love the idea of the competition and even more when I let one of them hold the card. It's almost like a prize. They see this as a game and often don't want to stop! Admittedly you have to have quite an animated way about you and a sing song voice but anyone who wants to teach children knows this.

Another trick I have learnt along the way is to always use a learning tool such as a twister mat or some music- anything that perhaps detracts from the fact that you are trying to make them learn. This is especially great

for young children. I take a twister mat and talk them through the colours with repetition and then I ask “ who can get to rojo first� and so on- they all rush to get to a circle and even if they don't pick up the colour word instantly they soon learn by copying the others. I then often finish a session with a song which is incredibly helpful in getting children to just listen and absorb. They may not know what every word means as they dance along with actions but it is the submersion into that language that develops their listening skills.

Look for interaction and reactions- develop your communication skills. Keep it lively and interesting and they will develop a thirst for language knowledge- it's not just science that has to have the exciting big bangs- language can too!

Genevieve Yusuf

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!

SPAIN’S BIG BOY OF THEME PARKS For the Europeans who don’t want to travel across the Atlantic to visit the Universal Studios theme park, PortAventura in Cataluña is an excellent alternative. PortAventura is the sixth most visited theme park in Europe and is the biggest resort in the south of Europe. Located in Salou it is about an hours drive from Barcelona and sees some three million visitors through its gates every year. The idea for the theme park was conceived and built back in 1995 as a joint venture by the Tussauds Group (which own Alton Towers), AnheuserBusch (Busch Entertainment Corporation) and Universal Studios. In 1997 Universal bought most of the park’s shares and the park was re-branded as Universal’s PortAventura. In the year 2000 two hotels and a water park (Costa Caribe) were built and then a few years later in 2004 Universal sold all its interests in the park. Today it is owned and operated by La Caixa banking group’s investment vehicle Criteria and has also since reverted back to its original name. The park is divided into six areas. Visitors enter into the Mediterranean region which recreates a charming fishing village. Other zones are Polynesia, China, Mexico, Far West and Sesamo Adventura which is themed on the Sesame Street characters and aimed at the younger children. Meanwhile there are five resort hotels to choose from and over 40 rides. You can stay in a choice of hotels within the resort, which then gives you express passes for rides as well as close proximity, or you can stay in one of the many hotels outside the park in Salou. For the 2012 season the park will open a new rollercoaster ride in the China area of the Park, Shambhala will open as a new major attraction and

there will also be an enlargement of the Aquatic Park. Shambhala is said to be the tallest coaster in Europe and reaches a height of 76 metres and is named after the mythical Tibetan kingdom.

PLUS POINTS: Lots of shows and acts - up to 25 per day during the high season. Fantastic theming and landscaping and it is great to explore. NEGATIVE POINTS: Long queues for the rides during peak season, as with any theme park. Reports of pick pockets, as there often is at big venues, so watch your wallet. OPEN: March to January PRICES: Adult tickets are anything from €44 for one day at PortAventura or €38 for kids and €25 (adults) and €20 (kids) for the water park. There are special two day tickets and promotions to include transport often too. Book online and avoid the queue to enter the park HOW TO GET THERE: There are two airports within 30 minutes of the park including Reus Airport just 10 minutes away. There is a train station for PortAventura which has connections to Barcelona and Salou. PortAventura is located just over an hour from Barcelona airport by car and has a direct exit off the AP-7. CONTACT: Tel: 977 77 90 90

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: Email: Find us on Facebook & Twitter @roundaboutspain

Sunday 3rd June Lauro Golf driving range, alhaurin de la Torre, malaga Enjoy The big jubilee lunch sports day races, live music, bouncy castles & games galore ...

Family Life In Spain: Issue 3