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Issue Nยบ 5 September- December 2012

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 ... Tel: 00 34 952 48 68 06 Expat & Relocation Services

Bienvenidos! Welcome! to the the fifth edition of our Family Life in Spain Newsletter. We are now oficially One Year old! Due to the popularity of our little mag, we have changed the format to allow more people to read the publications on Kindle and other devices. This caused a wee delay in this edition! Sorry about that. This month is actually our 1st Birthday. The very first issue of Family Life in Spain was published in Ocotber 2011 … Time for a celebration! Once again we would like to thank everyone for sending in their comments and feedback on what we have published so far and what articles you would like to see in future issues. Keep the messages coming … email us at This issue welcomes back some of our previous contributors and we also welcome some new members to our team. Please remember to visit their websites to read more about their own lives and adventures in Spain. So, what are you waiting for …. Happy reading!

ain In Sp y l i Fa m

A to Z: Reasons to Live in the Malaga Province (Part Two) by Lisa Sadleir Nightlife: The province of Málaga and the Costa del Sol have one of the most thriving nightilfe nationwide. From beach bars and restaurants, bars, or pubs to nightclubs. Malaga offers both traditional and exclusive establishments. The towns come alive at night. Olives & Olive Oil: Olive groves line many a road in the Malaga province. Unlike the bitter olives tasted in some other countries, Spanish olives, particularly the manzanilla variety are juicy and even sweet. Iberian olives are usually cured and eaten, often after being pitted, stuffed (with pickled pimento, anchovies, or other fillings) and packed in brine in jars or tins. And of course, almost everything is cooked in olive oil! Proximity: The excellent location of Málaga Province and Costa del Sol, plus the effective road infrastructure make it easy to access them by air, by road, by sea or by rail. Málaga’s size, the road infrastructure and modern vehicles make the province easily accessible from different Spanish locations. Málaga Airport is located 8 miles from downtown and well connected with Costa del Sol. The airport is the chief of all Spanish airports and one of the original locations with the first airline that was established in Spain in 1919 .The most important traffic in the airport is the European Union. London Gatwick is the destination with the most travellers, followed by Manchester, Dublin, London-Luton, Paris Charles De Gaulle and Brussels. Quitapenas Bodega: Home to one of the most ancient wines of Spain. Although a relatively new DO compared with the many other wine regions of Spain, Malaga produces the distinctively flavoured wins such as Moscatel, Malaga Dulce, Malaga PX, Vegasol and Vegasur. Visit the bodegas website for more details visit this website: Recreation: The province of Malaga offers a multitude of recreational activities to suit all ages and interests. Watersports, golf, ice skating, inland rural activities, water parks, theme parks, animal rescue centres, bars, restaurants, shops. Whatever your favourite past time, you will be almost certainly able

to find it here. Sierra Nevada: Ok we are cheating a bit here as the Sierra Nevada is actually in Granada! However, it is only a 2 hour drive from Malaga and so is a popular option for day trips or weekends away. It is also possible to ski in the snow and swim in the sea on the same day! Details about Sierra Nevada here: Tapas / Tinto de Verano: Tapas are a wonderful Spanish tradition and can be found in many bars in Malaga. Tapas are small plates of food that are a great way to test the local specialities. Tinto de verano is a refreshing summer drink. A mix of red wine and lemonade poured over ice and topped with a slice of lemon. Beware of drinking too many in the sun! University: Málaga University (UMA) is a public institution which promotes outstanding research and teaching within the European Higher Education Area. The institution follows an educational model to promote competitive, quality teaching which is employment-orientated and accredited in Europe. Its vigor and growth over recent years have resulted in it becoming a reference point for universities in Spain. University School of Nursing (Provincial). Plaza Hospital Civil. s/n, 29009, Malaga (Spain). Villages: Famous for its whitewashed villages scattered around the province, this is where you can experience the “real Spain of old”. In contrast to the modern and cosmopolitain coastline areas, the white washed villages of Malaga maintain their cultures and traditions. Weather: One of the reasons why the Costa del Sol has become a world-class travel destination is the Mediterranean climate: mild all year round with an average temperature of 18º C. In the summer, temperatures rise to 25º C-30º C, whereas in winter they never go below 14º C during the day. There are hinterland areas, however, where the climate is continental and therefore marked by greater diurnal and seasonal variations in temperature.

X … marks Malaga as the spot to move to! (and if you want another substitute for the letter X: Xavier Dupre designed the Malaga font) Yurts & Glamping: Glamping (glamorous camping) is a growing global phenomenon that combines camping with the luxury and amenities of a home or hotel. Also called boutique camping, luxury camping, posh camping or comfy camping, glamping allows travelers to experience nature without the hassle of finding camp space, carrying their tents, and erecting and taking down their own tents. Lodgings at a glamping sites include structures such as yurts, tipis, pods, bell tents, safari tents, tent cabins, and tree houses. Find some glamping options here: Zoo Bioparc Fuengirola champions a new model of zoo based on respect for nature and the preservation of natural species, a model which has already established itself as a flagship for Europe. What Bioparc Fuengirola represents is a different concept of zoo. A zoological park where animals live side-by-side, recreating their natural habitat and so fostering their development at all levels. For more information: Visit For more information about this beautiful area of Spain, contact : Costa del Sol Tourist Board - Plaza del Siglo, nº2 - 29015 Málaga Tel: +34 952 12 62 72 Fax: 34 952 22 52 07 For more information about living in Malaga and the Costa del Sol, visit and

10 Interesting Facts about Spain So Spain is just sun, sea, sand and sangria right? And maybe another thing beginning with ’s’ that often happens after the other four. Well no actually it is a lot more. Stereotypes are just that of course but Spain has a lot more, some of which you may not have known. Here are ten things that may or may not surprise you about Spain.

1) Spain has more World Heritage Sites than any other country in the world apart from Italy ( the home of the Romans) It has more than Greece (the cradle of civilization) and the UK where so much history fills such a small country and of course younger countries such as the United States. It even has more than the huge country that is China! From the Moorish Palace at the Alhambra in Granada to the prehistoric caves at Altamira Spain has something for everybody. Take a look at the list in Wikipedia. /wiki/List_of_World_Heritage_Sites_in_Spain. How many have you seen? 2) Spain exports things. I know. A surprise. But despite the economic crisis enveloping the country exports continue to grow, they are ten times higher in 2012 than in 1992. Take a look at the variety of what Spain exports here 3) In Spain people speak Spanish. Ok I know you sort of expected this but some people are worried about coming to Spain because they hear that it Barcelona people only talk Catalan and the Basques only talk Basque. It's not true. Spanish is more or less universally spoken. However if you are in Andalucia expect to find it more difficult to understand as that accent is a little less comprehensible. One thing though and you probably do know it, Spanish is not actually called Spanish, it is really Castellano (Castilian)

4) Most Spaniards dislike bullfighting. Believe it or not the Fiesta Nacional is an essential part of Spanish Culture maybe but most people ignore it or dislike it. this is not so much the case in Andalucia where the appreciation of the "art" of bullfighting is much greater. Personally, and I know it may be sacrilegious to say this, I find it really boring. 5) The Spanish are not lazy and the siesta is not a national sport. Spanish people work longer hours than the vast majority of people in countries in the rest of Europe although those hours are split by a break in the middle of the day due to the heat. Do most people disappear off for a siesta at that point? No. They try to do whatever that they cannot do in the long hours that they work, ie shopping, cooking and seeing the kids among other things. 6) (I got this one from yahoo answers) In the year when the US built its first steam locomotive and Brunel built the Menai suspension bridge in the UK, the Spanish Inquisition killed its last victim. (A guy called Pont in Valencia) 7) In many provinces in Spain people still live in caves, this is especially noticeable in Granada province. Of course the caves are a little more comfortable than our ancestors had, no staring into the fire and hunting and gathering here. They don't lack mod cons and they do a single job really well of course, temperature regulation. The reason people keep on living on them is because they keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter. 8) Madrid is the highest capital city in Europe and Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe behind Switzerland. The rain may fall mainly on the plain but seriously that plain is really high. You climb up to it from the coast in most of Spain gradually and the plain is at about 800m high throughout the country. Despite this the highest mountain in Spain is not on the Peninsula, it is Teide in the Canary Islands.

As a result Spain is a paradise for adventure and risky sports. There are a myriad of ways to break bones whilst having fun all over the country.

9) Life expectancy in Spain is the second highest in the World by some estimates only beaten by Japan. Why? Well the traditional Mediterranean diet and the sun help and the consumption of oily fish is also good (The real reason Japan is number one perhaps) If you want to live out a long and happy life then Spain is a good option especially for trees. (don't get the impression that it is hot all the time though, it isn’t) 10) Much of the cultural heritage of Spain is Muslim in nature as the Muslims occupied most of Spain from the 8th to the 15th century. This 700 plus years of occupation left its mark especially in agriculture, irrigation was a big thing due to the lack of water, and architecture. In fact the only part of Spain the Muslims did not occupy was the northern territory of Asturias and thus the Asturians say “Asturias is Spain, the rest just conquered lands”. King Pelayo started the reconquest in a battle at Covadonga Monastery in Asturias. However don't believe the hype. The truth is the Moorish occupiers never fancied Asturias much, the mountains are too high to cross and the weather too wet once you got there so they tended to avoid it. The famous battle was probably against some traders just crossing into Asturias to sell some stuff. ;-)

If you know anymore interesting facts about Spain why not tweet them to me on @grahunt.

Graham Hunt has lived more than half of his life in Spain. He now lives in Valencia and runs Valencia Property. He also produces a monthly magazine for the iPad called “Spanish Property Mag” find it in the app store here.

Following the Footsteps around Comares Though many visitors arriving at Málaga airport turn west and head for busy tourist resorts such as Torremolinos, Fuengirola and Marbella, if you´re looking for somewhere a little more authentic, then you should make your way to the eastern Costa del Sol. La Axarquía is the name given to the roughly triangular shape of land that starts immediately east of the city of Málaga and continues some 54 kilometres along the coast, to the border with the neighbouring province of Granada. The Axarquía region extends inland from the coast in a roughly north-westerly direction to the north of Málaga. Situated some 35 kilometres east of Málaga and 25 kilometres inland from the coast at Torre del Mar, one of the highest white villages (pueblos blancos) in Andalucía (at 739 metres above sea level), is the village of Comares. As you turn off the A7-E15 motorway (Autovía del Mediterraneo) at KM 272 and head inland, Comares can be seen from miles away, perched high on its cliff-top position, watching serenely over the surrounding countryside. After following the winding road ever closer, park just before the village and walk the final few metres into the main square (Plaza del Balcón). From here, there’s a circular walk around the village marked by series of blue ceramic footsteps set into the stone paving. The footsteps lead to the main historic sites of Comares and to some spectacular viewing points. At a gentle stroll, the walking route takes around an hour, and is steep in places but, if you don´t want to walk, you could always take a donkey taxi (burro taxi) ride around the village! As you wander around the narrow streets you may find yourself invited into the home of one of the Spanish ladies who selllocal produce such as wine, almonds, avocados, raisins, olives or honey. Be warned - they can be formidable saleswomen!

One of the interesting places the ceramic footprints lead you to is to the Plaza de los Verdiales, where there is a beautiful tiled mural, statue and plaque to commemorate the Panda de Verdiales – a band of local men playing lively music. The village name of Comares originates from the Arab word for castle Qumarix. The first fortress was built here by theRomans, but the history of the village is pre-Roman with the main traces of occupation being Arabic. When the Moorsinvaded Comares they made full use of its excellent location and developed the town into one of the areas principle defensive strongholds. One of the highest points of the village is the cemetery (cementerio municipal), from where there are magnificent viewsacross the surrounding countryside. Comares is known with good cause as the “Balcony of La Axarquía”, and it´s well worth a look. Finally, if the steep streets have taken their toll, you could always stop and have tapas or a cool drink in the main square, before you return to your car. To really enjoy the views that Comares has to offer, make sure to go on a clear day. Summer skies are often hazy, so an autumn or winter day is probably best for a visit – though if you´ve been to Comares once, you´ll surely want to return!

Marianne Elizabeth is originally from the north-west of England but relocated to Spain seven years ago. She writes about her life in the beautiful Axarquía region of the Costa del Sol. Why not visit her blog and sign up to have updates delivered to your inbox as soon as they are published? T wi tter: @ea s to f ma l a ga Facebook: Eastof Malaga

Seville Markets Municipal markets are great places to wander round admiring the produce on display, and also great places for people-watching and experiencing a part of the daily life of the locals. In Spain they are usually the best place to buy fresh fruit and veg, fish and seafood, as well as cheeses, meat and other food products such as wine and olive oil. And there are often small bars to sit and enjoy a snack. Sevilla has four main central markets, each with its own particular character. The oldest of the four is the Feria market, in the street of the same name. It's also the smallest, and feels the most like a local community market. On one side, sandwiched between the market and the wall of the 13th century Omnium Sanctorum church next door, is the La Cantina bar, one of my favourite places for a quick tapa of really fresh fish or seafood. The Arenal market can be found on calle Pastor y Landero in what looks like a splendid old building with a stained glass window at one end and lovely arched doorways, but which was actually only built in 1937 on the site of a former prison. Sadly, it is currently looking a little down-at-heel and in need of sprucing up. It's also the venue for "opera at the market", a small company performing selections of operatic works accompanied by food and drink. The newest market, at least in one sense, is La Encarnación, which is on the ground level of the Metropol Parasol, and only opened at the end of 2010 (rebuilding the market took almost 40 years). In another sense it's much older, as the original Encarnación market was built on thie site around 1840. Arguably it has the least "personality" of the four, but it does have the most modern facilities. The market hall is light and airy with glass walls most of the way round, and there are also shops and bars in a separate section nearby. The setting, however, is spectacular, with the innovative architecture of the Parasols themselves – the largest wooden structure in the world, known locally as the mushrooms – and the shade of the trees in the square across the way, not to mention the roman ruins in the basement (so much nicer than the underground car park originally

planned), and the walkways and bar complex on the top. I'm fortunate enough to live just two minutes' walk away, and do a lot of my fresh food shopping here. Not actually in the "Casco Antiguo" (the area inside the mediaeval walled city), Triana market is just across the river at the end of the Isabela II bridge. It was completely refurbished a few years ago, but still retains much of its traditional appearance, including the tiled nameplates. Recent additions to the list of vendors include a champagne and oyster bar with live music on Thursday evenings, a micro-brewery and a new gastrobar. There's also a viewing point for the ruins of San Jorge castle beneath the market, once the headquarters of the Spanish Inquisition and now a museum. If you are shopping at any of these markets the usual etiquette is to ask who is last (quien es el Ăşltimo?) as people don't tend to queue and just gather around the front of the stall. And if your Spanish is rusty (or nonexistent) you can still do quite well just by pointing at items (but don't touch!) and holding up fingers for the amount wanted. However, if you find the whole market shopping process a bit daunting then a Market & Tapas Tour at the beginning of your stay can help you get set up and feel more comfortable on future market visits.

For more details and to book your vey own Sevilla Tapas Tour: Email ,

Why Alpacas?

People always ask us ‘Why alpacas?’ Well, the answer is pretty simple really. We fell in love with them. One day, we were on a short break in Prague, and we decided to visit the local zoo. There, we met the strange animal that was to shape our destiny. He was a brown, goofy looking, long necked sheep. He was very friendly, and he came up to us for attention, and we stayed with him for ages. Over time, I must have googled alpacas, and found out that they were a lucrative business, both in the UK, and around the world, and one day, when Lorna and I were discussing her health problems I suggested moving to Spain, and breeding alpacas for income. We made some enquiries, visited a few farms, and fell in love with the animals. Alpacas come in a range of 22 natural colours, from white, through fawn, to brown, and also grey and black colours. The ancient Incan societies used to breed alpacas, and referred to the fleece as ‘Fibre of the Gods!’ The recent worldwide population of alpacas originates from the altiplano in the Andes, and in the early 1990’s people started to import the animals into the UK, the US and Australia. Throughout Europe alpaca breeding is still relatively unknown, however there is an industry built up around it that includes clothing (alpaca fleece has no lanolin, and is therefore hypoallergenic, and is considered to be of equivalent quality to cashmere), bedding, selling the animals as pets and chicken guards, and selling show quality animals to be used to compete in competitions and win prizes. Obviously the better animals you have to breed with, the better quality

the offspring, and therefore the price you can command for sale. The real reason alpacas exist is because of the quality of the fleece, but most farms make money by producing the best animals they can, and selling them on to new breeders. In 2010, there was one stud male, in the US, that sold for $675,000. One animal! We looked into buying alpacas in Spain, and found a farm that could supply us with animals, and the industry was still very much in its infancy in Spain, and we hoped that if it took off as it had done in other countries around the world, we would be getting in at the start of something very big. Sadly, it is taking a lot longer to emerge in Spain as a real alternative for farmers, as here they are very traditional, and would much rather keep a goat, that will cost a fraction of the price yet provide the family with milk, and meat to eat. Spaniards struggle to understand how you can justify high prices for an animal that stands around looking pretty and only gives you a ‘harvest’ of fleece once a year. With only three hundred or so alpacas in Spain, the fleece market is yet to take off as well. We are forever hopeful that one day, when the world is in slightly better shape, maybe, just maybe alpacas will take off in Spain. In Spain you can get alpacas ranging from pet quality males starting at a few hundred euros all the way up to show quality animals available at a much higher price. The locals around here were fascinated when we first had the animals delivered. We would have people outside taking pictures on phones and even fully armed Guardia Civil out the smiling at the girls. Nowadays people are used to seeing them here, but occasionally a family will stop and we let the children meet the alpacas, and of course feed them. Next year we are hoping to start offering alpaca trekking in the olive groves, and I have also just finished writing a book which I hope to be available soon, called ‘Bloody Hell, What’s An Alpaca?’ If you live in Spain and would like information on owning these amazing animals please get in touch with us. You can email us on To keep up to date with the book and the farm please check out the website:

The Huge and Exciting World of Spanish Wines

One of the big advantages Spain has for winelovers is that it has literally hundreds and probably thousands of wineries (bodegas in Spanish). These bodegas vary from being huge modern cathedrals of design to small traditional family run businesses. Not only are they varied in modernity but also in types of wine. They are also spread over all the regions producing an amazing variety and an interesting selection of different styles. Whether it is the reds from Rioja or the amazing whites of Albari単o or Rueda there is a wine for everyone. The range of wines is so huge that anyone can find one that suits their tastes, temperament and situation. You can drink dry Jerez(sherry) as an aperitif chilled or you can have one of those fantastic fruity dark reds from Ribera del Douro or a Mostela from Valencia as an after dinner sweet wine. The options are endless and that is the key to wines in Spain. There are so many different wines that it is fun to discover the wines you like. In my opinion it is a mistake to drink the same old wine even if it is very good. There are so many great wines in Spain that you can have a lot of fun discovering new wines pretty easily. How? Well there are various options: eg. by going down to the local shop(bodega /wine store) and asking for advice or at any restaurant listen to the waiter/sommelier and see if he really knows his stuff by trying his recommendations. Also you can get recommendations from friends who know their wines. And then you can just choose according to region, price, label etc . One of the really fun ways to learn more about wine in general and discover new wine is by visiting bodegas. Nowadays most bodegas can be

visited and some really make it an experience with grape picking, seeing the process of production, tasting and even short tasting courses. Bodegas also tend to be in the countryside and in beautiful surroundings. I can’t recommend visiting bodegas enough if you like your wine and want to learn more. The owners and/or the people at the wine producers are nearly always very open and friendly and very willing to talk about their wines and the region’s different fermented grape juices. They are proud of their wine and want to share it with you as well as their knowledge. So next time you are not sure what to do for a day out look up the best options locally and get yourself down there to taste what they have. Gastronomic fairs are also a great place to discover new foods and wines. These fairs always have wine on offer, although sometimes it can be of the rougher type! Of course , one of the best ways to discover wine is to travel in Spain. There is nothing quite like visiting a new region and sitting down to try new food and wine. Some of the best wines I have discovered have been whilst on holiday (or working) in different regions of Spain. These are three underrated and relatively unkown (for expats) regions I can highly recommend to try: Toro, Valencia and Bierzo. Choose carefully as logically not all wine from these areas is guaranteed to be excellent but I can say that they produce some very interesting and fun wines. Above all what I love about Spain is that it a myriad of different customs, traditions, foods and wine. After thirty years exploring the backwoods and the wines of Spain I still have so much to discover. I can’t wait to go on my next trip!

Paddy Waller has lived and worked in Spain for over twenty years and along with his wife Julia, runs The Spanish Thyme Traveller , a small travel company that specialises in Food and Wine Tours in the Valencia and Teruel regions. They also have a blog about all things Spanish: The Artichoke Adventures

Spain’s UNESCO Sites Spain currently has 44 UNESCO sites dotted all around the country. It made me wonder how many of these sites I had actually been to after living in Spain all these years. The list of sites is still growing. I noticed that 24 places in Spain are waiting on the tentative list. Awaiting approval are sites such as Jaen Cathedral & the Monastery at El Escorial. This year the mercury mines of Almaden, Ciudad Real were included due to their historic relevance. The reasons that sites are included in this UNESCO list are to raise their profile and ensure a good level of support and conservation of the site. After looking into this further I discovered that on my travels through Spain I have on visited 8 and a half of these landmarks. Here they are: The biodiversity of Ibiza Around the year 2000 I visited the islands of Ibiza & Formentera staying for 4 weeks on a small yacht. I remember seeing the natural mud baths and swimming in the beautiful turquoise waters there. The Alhambra, Generalife & Albayzin of Granada I live in Granada and know the Albaicin quarter well. Of course I have visited the magnificent Alhambra palace & it´s gardens many times. Archaeological sites of Tarraco When I was studying Spanish as a teenage I spent several summers in Tarragona. The archaeological sites there include fortified walls, amphitheatres and other ancient buildings and relics. Seville I visited Seville on a 3 day city break a few years ago, the monuments and historic buildings are breathtaking. I particularly enjoyed seeing the Alcazar. Historic Cordoba I visited Cordoba in August (yes I am actually mad! It´s one of the hottest areas of Spain) but my photos are excellent as no one gets in the way when taking shots of this beautiful city. The infinite line

archways in the Mosque are memorable. Historic Toledo I took a 3 day city break to Toledo. It wasn’t hot, it bucketed down with rain. Continually. The photos are all grey even so Toledo is a fairytale city. Works of Gaudi Of course having lived in Barcelona I am familiar with the Works of Gaudi. Of all of his work I believe I have seen everything in Barcelona (he has works outside the province in other places of Spain) More recently I visite the Palau Guell which is less known. I found this building to be very inspiring. (it is located just off the Ramblas) Palau de la Música Catalana. Barcelona I have actually been lucky enough to attend several concerts in the beautiful Palau de la Música Catalana. This has the feel of an Art Deco Opera house. Chocolate box pretty and of course fantastic acoustics too. 8½. On the list Ubeda & Baeza in Jaen appear, this is my neighbouring province. I actually did visit Baeza a few years ago. The thing is it was midday in August. Every step we walked was an effort. I only had 1 hour there. So that doesn´t really count. I must revisit and add Ubeda too. So I´m adding to my every growing to do list three places: Merida, Ubeda & Cuenca. I have always wanted to visit Extremadura and seeing Merida on the UNESCO list gives me just another reason to go. I am also looking forward to visiting Cuenca to see the famous Casas colgantes (hanging houses, they are perched on a cliff face) Which ones have you seen? Which ones do you plan to see? Check the list at

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, Find Molly on Twitter: /@piccavey Read her updates on her blog:

CCB Spain Updates Do you have a minimum interest rate clause in your Spanish mortgage contract? Are you aware that this could be costing you approximately €1,000 annually? Throughout 2012 the Mercantile Court in Málaga has dictated 7 sentences ordering three banks to pay back considerable sums of money which they were illegally charging their clients through what is called “minimum interest rate clause” stipulated in their mortgage contracts. The truth is that in this mortgage contracts it is established that at no point in time can the variable rate be inferior to a minimum rate fixed by the bank – this tends to be between 3 and 5%, whilst on the other hand the maximum limit is unrealistic – in the majority of cases this is between 7 and 15%. The detriment to the consumer arrives when the Euribor descends below the minimum rate stipulated in the mortgage contract – particularly at this moment in time seeming as the Euribor has descended below 1% - and the client has to continue paying as if it were at 3 or 5% because of this “minimum interest rate clause” imposed by the bank. However, the maximum rate will never be reached meaning that the consumer will never benefit from it and the only beneficiary will ever only be the bank. This banking practice trespasses on the very fundamental principles of contractual good faith and provokes a substantial and unjustified imbalance of contractual obligations, generating a loss in the economy of Spanish consumers at the same time. In fact this same minimum interest rate clause has been mainly responsible for the progressive decline of the Euribor; (this being the main variable mortgage reference rate) not having led to a widespread drop in monthly payments. Because of this, the CCB Spain recommended lawyers, are offering the possibility of demanding the annulment of the minimum interest rate clause and legally claiming back the difference between the amount which should have been paid if the clause hadn’t of existed in the first place, and the amount which has been paid up until now.

For further information, call us now, on +34 952 48 68 08 or email a copy of your ESCRITURA DE COMPRAVENTA and a receipt of a recent mortgage payment to and we will send you an evaluation of your personal situation.

New Residency Application Procedures Following on from our recent articles relating to changes in the Spanish Residency Application procedure (read the articles HERE), we can inform you of the following information, based on recent guidelines that we have been given. We strongly advise you to contact your own local police station / immigration office before submitting your own Spanish Residency applications. Alternatively, contact us and we can make enquiries for you. All applications for Spanish Residency must present: Correctly completed EX18: Spanish Residency Application form (Instructions here.) Original and copy of applicants valid (ie not expired) passport or national Identity card. In the event that this document has expired, a copy of the expired document and proof of renewal will be required. Bank receipt to declare Spanish Residency Application taxes paid, Modelo 790 (currently 10.30€). The following documents, subject to the applicant´s personal situation… If the Applicant is employment by a third party (ie. with a Spanish work contract), they must submit at least one of the following: A letter from the employer that includes the Name, address and CIF number of the company and the Company´s Social Security number (Código Cuenta Cotización en la Seguridad Social). A certificate of employment (including the details stated above). A work contract that has already been presented at the INSS (Instituto Na-

cional de la Seguridad Social) Proof of registration in the Social Security (alta en seguridad social). If the Applicant is self-employed, they must submit at least one of the following: Proof of inscription in the “Censo de Actividades Económicas” (Modelo 036 or 037). Proof of inscription in the “Registro Mercantil” for a Company. Proof of inscription (Alta) in Social Security. Permission for your details to be checked at the TGSS (Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social) can also be given. If the Applicant is not working, all of the following must be submitted: Proof of health insurance for the period of intended stay in Spain (this does not apply to pensioners who can provide a copy of their registered E-121 or S-1 forms). Proof of sufficient funds (Pensioners must prove they are in receipt of regular pension payments). If the Applicant is a Student, there are two possibilities: A course registration document, proof of private health insurance or the EHIC that covers the intended period of residence and a declaration of sufficient funds. Proof of participation in an inter EU educational exchange programme. The above information is provided solely as a guideline to assist you with your Spanish Residency application. Always check with your local office before submitting your application. Procedures and requirements are changed on a regular basis, we will continue to publish updates as we are informed about them.

Lisa Sadleir has lived and worked in Spain for over twenty years. Her website, offers advice and assistance in dealing with day to day bureaucratic issues necessary when moving to and living in Spain. Send any question via the contact form on the website or call +34 952 48 68 06.

A Recipe for Pepi’s Spanish Tortilla by Anne Manson The Spanish are the most fantastic cooks. They cook from their hearts and not from cookbooks. They follow traditions and not recipes. They take a few simple ingredients and create dishes that you will never ever forget . You will never forget the taste of a perfect tortilla. Soft and warm. Comforting and indulgent. Like Gazpacho, people will argue that their tortilla is the best. Some cut the potatoes in slices, some in cubes and some even use Patatas Fritas! Here is my definitive recipe for Tortilla, from the hand of my master, Pepi. Pepi is Vejeriega. Her family own and run the best place for pescados fritos in town. There is nothing about fried fish, Gazpacho & Tortilla she doesn’t know. She can whisk up magic with the simplest of ingredients. No recipe required.

Pepi’s Perfect Spanish Tortilla Recipe: 1 kilo of large new waxy potatoes (they soak up less oil than old floury potatoes) 500mls Olive Oil (never use Extra Virgin for cooking) 1 medium finely chopped onion 5 beaten eggs 1 ½ teaspoons of salt Optional extras – diced green pepper, diced Jamón, chorizo, salt cod – in fact just about anything Peel potatoes and cut into large sticks the size of a large chip. Dice each chip into small nuggets. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, (preferably non-stick), large enough to hold all the potatoes. Mix 1 tsp of salt through the potatoes and when the

oil is hot enough, add the diced potatoes. The potatoes should be pretty much submerged under sizzling oil. Stir every 4 minutes or so until they are tender. After around 15 minutes or so, when the potatoes are just turning golden around the edge, add the finely chopped onion and cook for a further 8 – 10 mins until it is translucent and sweet. The potatoes will be really soft by this stage but will still hold their shape due to the fact they are new and waxy. Sit a colander over a bowl and drain the potatoes from the oil. Whip up 5 eggs, adding the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Then add the drained potatoes to the egg mixture, mixing gently with a fork. Return a tablespoon of the oil to the fry pan and after a few moments, pour in the potato and egg mixture. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, smooth over the surface of the mixture , pressing down to make sure that the potatoes are compacted. Fry for several minutes until the eggs appear to have just set throughout the mixture. Place a plate large enough to hold the tortilla over the pan and very carefully flip the pan over, in the hope that the tortilla will slip out! If not, no worries as any part of it sticking to the pan can be scraped off and placed back to where it should have been. Add a teaspoon or so of the oil back into the pan, reheat, and then slide the tortilla off the plate into the pan. Cook for a further 5 minutes on a medium heat until golden. Slide the glistening tortilla onto a plate or again, place. Plate on top of the pan and invert Enjoy with several glasses of chilled Fino , some Jamon, olives and a tomato & onion salad. ¡Buen Provecho! For more delicious Spanish recipes, visit ''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.

Warming La Rosilla Recipes As I sit in La Rosilla's country kitchen, with the sun high in the sky, and temperatures warm, it's hard to believe, that soon we may need warming up, and be craving comfort food, as winter is upon us. Luckily in Spain, Autunm & winter produce is plentiful, fruits and vegetables breathe a sigh of relief as now they can florish away from the burning summer sun. In this edition I share two family favourite recipes, which capture the taste of the season, and which will give us a glow from inside to out. Buen Provecho

Carrot & Coriander Soup A hearty sweet tasting soup, made on a budget, but big on flavour ,takes just a few store cupboard ingredients and will get thumbs up from all the family. Ingredients 15ml/1tbsp vegetable oil 2 bay leaves 2 onions, chopped 1kg carrots, washed and sliced 1 clove garlic, crushed 5ml/1 tsp coriander seeds 1.5 ltr/ vegetable stock Big handful of chopped fresh coriander Squeeze of lemon juice grated rind of an orange freshly grated nutmeg to taste salt and freshly ground black pepper Greek Yoghurt to serve if liked

Method Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions, carrots and garlic, sautĂŠ for 4mins, until they are beginning to soften but not colour. Stir in the coriander seed and plenty of seasoning and cook for 1min, to let the spices develop.

Add the stock and bay leaf bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20mins or until the carrots are really tender. Stir in the fresh coriander. Whizz the soup with a stick blender or transfer to a food processor. Add the lemon juice and nutmeg to taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Reheat gently, do not boil, Serve with the grated orange rind and a little Greek yoghurt & a sprinkling of fresh coriander. Just serve with a chunk of rustic home-made bread, satisfying, comforting & filling. Quail on Pardina Lentil Broth. A true taste of autumn on a plate. This dish looks impressive for a dinner party, or equally the lentils can be served with roasted chicken for an economical supper Lentils are a Spanish store cupboard ingredient, my favourite the Pardina lentil is dark green in colour, (similar to the Puy lentil of France) and has a deep earthy flavour, to cook they are simmered in water with a bay leaf or two, they retain their shape and texture and are delicious stirred into many dishes.

Ingredients 1 Quail per person – seasoned inside & out with S & P, stuffed with a rosemary sprig and quarter of a lemon. 250g Pardina lentils, rinsed and put in a saucepan with dbl qty of cold water and 2 bay leaves, bring to the boil & then simmer for 25 mins. Drain & reserve a cup of cooking liquor. Olive oil to saute & serve 2 carrots diced 2 sticks of celery diced 1 large onion finely chopped 2 cloves garlic finely chopped Tin of plum toms, chopped

1 tsp of Pimenton Dulce Glass of dry sherry or white wine Jamon chopped – or you could use chopped pancetta 1 tsp caraway seeds. salt flakes (I use maldon) & fresh black pepper. Method Roast the quails in the oven for approx 15 - 25 mins depending on size, till when pricked juices run clear, once cooked set -aside in a warm place to rest. In a large sauce pan saute the carrot, onion celery until softened but not coloured. Add the garlic & caraway seeds and saute gently for 2-3 mins. Add the jamon and stir for a min, or so. then add paprika. Pour in the sherry and let everything bubble for a minute, to cook of alcohol. Add tomatoes, then stir in cooked lentils. It should be a thick sauce consistency, add the reserved lentil water to if it looks to dry. Add salt & pepper to taste – Simmer very gently for 10 mins. When ready to serve add fresh chopped parsley, & drizzle with olive oil. Spoon a pool of lentils onto a plates, then top with the roasted quail. You can also top with hard boiled eggs too . – 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.


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Is it Time for Reinvention? As expats we have probably done our fair share of reinvention – living in a completely new country, surrounded by new sights, sounds and smells, new language(s), culture and even food that can bring about change both in our lifestyle and our attitude to living. People choose to reinvent themselves for all manner of reasons – because they are unhappy with where they are, or their business isn’t generating the rewards it should. Because of a need to keep up with what is happening in the business world around them, or something isn’t working for them, financially, emotionally, or environmentally.

First choose! Unless you are committed to changing something, nothing will change. Sounds a bit obvious, but it’s amazing how part of you may be niggling about not wanting to change anything. Really you like it how it is and you are “comfortable” with the habit, or the easier life. Making a change may appear to be very difficult and involve a lot of stepping into the dark and jumping out of that plane freefalling before the parachute (if there is one!) kicks in.

Waiting for the “how” will paralyse you into doing nothing! “How” can be such a big word which represents something so daunting when its actually only three letters. “How” can come later so lets replace the H of how with an N and start with NOW

If you really aren’t sure about taking the first step, then this exercise may help with your decision-making. Start by creating a square with four sections on a piece of paper, or your computer. In the first box write what you want to change. In the next box write why? In the third box what happens if you don’t change and in the final box write “the future” once you make the change.

Now you have your thoughts, use this to drive your decision forward.

Next create a time plan of how you will make the change, broken down into smaller chunks; small bite-size pieces so it doesn’t seem such a daunting task. Spend time on this part as it will be your plan over the coming months and years. Put some timelines in too – with dates when you will achieve each part of the plan.

If you are a visual person, why not create a board with pictures of what your future will look like once change has taken place. Look at it every day to encourage yourself to keep moving forward.

It might also be a good idea to chat through your ideas with a friend, or business mentor. Someone with whom you can share the plan and give you guidance on areas where you may see a blockage, but they see more of helicopter view of where you are trying to head and the changes you need to make to get there. Of course there will be moments, minutes, hours, days or even weeks when you will be tempted to go back to the beginning and start again. However go back through your original “Change Plan” and remember why you decided that change was for you.

Ali Meehan runs Costa Women, a social and business networking group for women living on mainland Spain, the Balearic and Canary Islands, or women planning on living in Spain as part of their life plans. Join Costa Woman free by registering at (image via

The Other Bull Run The Coastrider sent writer Dave Bull away with a budget of just 200€ and instructions to see as much of Spain as he could. Always up for a challenge Dave headed for Alicante train station (no flights allowed!) to see just how far he could get. According to some UK based newspapers the recession in Spain is so bad that we Brits are now on the streets having to resort to begging – and putting love hearts on car windscreens before giving them a clean that the drivers’ don´t want I suppose? It´s rubbish, you know it, I know it but what to do? Those who sit in big chairs at Coastrider HQ decided I should be packed off to go and check out Spain for myself – with 200€ as my budget…hmmm. So, being an obedient type of lad, late on a Friday afternoon in August I packed a bag ready for my trip – but I didn´t know to where. The ´plan’ was to choose a few random cities and see for myself whether Spain is really heading down the path of becoming the twenty first century´s ´Ethiopia´ or not. The ´plan´ had changed a little by Saturday morning as I’d decided by that point that to be truly random I should get on the first available train out of Alicante – so that´s what I did. Alicante Parking my motorbike up in Alicante and walking to the station I wondered where I would end up sleeping that evening and, more to the point, what was going to happen in between now and then? ´Valencia, ´ said the friendly lady selling the tickets, after I’d asked the question – not a bad start, I could put up with that. I handed over the oneway fare (€27.30) and headed for the platform to begin my two hour journey north. As ever the train was punctual and clean and comfortable – and just as importantly, it was full. As the train cut through the mountains (which were my constant companion throughout my journeys that weekend) I struck up a conversation with a Dutch couple opposite me although it did get a little tough at times

as all the woman said was ´Goodo!´ every time I mentioned something. Still they were happy and off to Valencia too, although my planned stay was a little shorter than theirs – a good look around the city and then onto the next available train – to who knows where. I should mention the suspicious looking guy who could have been Al Qaeda – in his bag he carried what looked like sticks of gelignite, but fortunately I didn´t need to go into full Indian Jones mode when it turned out it was a family pack of funsize Mars bars… Valencia I was met at the impressive Valencia Nord station (with its elaborate décor both inside and out) by my good friend Graham Hunt of Spanish Property Magazine who had got wind of my trip on Facebook and kindly offered to show me around his city, after a cool beer of course… Refreshed (it took two beers to fully rehydrate us…) he took me on a two hour tour of Valencia, impressing me with his knowledge of the city´s history (Marco Polo used to pop in now and again to trade) and its modern standing as (still) one of the world´s major ports. He also showed me the huge fish market, the smallest building in Valencia (which is tiny) and of course, some more bars. It’s a beautiful city and well worth a visit and will take another trip and a few more pages of words to fully do it justice at some time in the future, however one thing was for sure, it was full. Tourists; foreign and Spanish filled the pavement cafes and bustled along carrying bags of purchases and after my tour with Graham I decided I needed a hat. All the great explorers had one, Dr Livingstone, Indiana, Sid James…. So I thought I should get into the ´role´. I didn´t find one and time was getting short so it was back to the train station to find out where I was going to next. This time, rather than choose the next train out, I tried spinning a pen on my map of Spain to help me decide the direction (although South was out as that´s where I’d just come from and East would see me getting wet so I was left with two options – and ´North’ was decided – with the help of Bic. Ok, north, but how far – that was a decision I didn´t need to make as the only available seat on a train would take me to Tarragona –– another historical city – that would do, they obviously would have hats for sale for the discerning explorer there too. Tarragona By the time I arrived in Tarragona it was 7.30pm and I didn´t

have anywhere to sleep for the night so that was a priority, the hat would have to wait a bit and as I left the railway station (which is right next to the Mediterranean) and walked up the hill into town I began wondering whether I would find a bed for the night or end up sleeping on the beach – Tarragona was packed! For the next three hours I wandered Tarragona´s historical centre (up and down La Rambla and beyond) trying a succession of Hostals, Hotels and Pensions but all had the same answer, ´Sorry, were full.´ I was just starting to wonder whether I should find a pregnant woman and a donkey – at least that way I’d get a stable…maybe? I was tired by now, and I needed a wash and a shave after six hours of travelling and would have happily settled on sharing a stable –– with a horse if necessary - but luck was on my side and as I tried the last of the three Hostals in the Placa del Font (which was full of people by the way) I got an affirmative ´yes´ from the owner who (rather quickly it seemed to me) took me to my room and made a point of showing me the shower… Cleaned and changed (I hadn´t shaved as I’d forgotten my razor but I’m sure Indiana would have approved of a two day stubble – even without a hat) I went to explore the town, and get something to eat. I saw some of the roman monuments that the city is famous for (it is also a UNESCO world heritage site) and made my mind up to see the rest (or what I could), in the morning, before I headed off to somewhere else, to find a hat. Now, I needed to eat and that wasn´t difficult at all as Tarragona has an abundance of street cafes and squares all throbbing to the beat of visitors contently eating away – so I became one of them and thought about the next day – where would I go next? I got up early, rested after a comfortable night and was exploring the amphitheatre and the aqueduct (both of course Roman) by 8.30am and eventually (and a little reluctantly) I headed down to the bus station to see what awaited me. It´s also worth pointing out here that because of Tarragona´s unique climate (the seasons are all very similar) it feels like springtime – all year round. So I walked into the bus station and hopped on the first bus I came to (driven by the friendly Andres) and asked where it was heading, ´Barcelona,

´ he replied. Yes! Now that was something to look forward to on the one and a half hour journey. Andres also gave me a useful map of the city which pointed out all the ´Places of interest´ and, this being Spain, number one on the list was the Camp Nou (Barcelona´s football ground) which is understandable but number two gave me a frown. You see in this city, heavily influenced by artists and architects (not the least of which was Gaudi) the second on the list of top ten attractions was…El Corte Ingles. I think a little commercialism may have slipped into the bus company´s agenda? ´You like Michael Jackson?´ asked Andres, who really should have been looking at the road and not turned around with both thumbs up looking at me. I replied that I did and the rest of the journey was filled with Billie Jean and Thriller (at a good rate of decibels) and Andres bouncing one foot or the other off of the floor or the pedals depending on the song...

Barcelona It was 1.00pm when I arrived and I said farewell to Andres (and Michael) and decided to head straight for ´La Rambla,´ Barcelona´s famous area where bohemians, pavement artists and dodgy sunglasses sellers can be found. Here also you´ll find some of the best restaurants and hotels in Barcelona – but, of course, they come at a price. I needed a room but one on La Rambla was not only out of my budget, it was my budget for the whole weekend! No, I needed somewhere a little more economical and I was just beginning to get a little concerned about my accommodation for the night,

or lack of, as trying to find a bed in Barcelona, in August is probably a bit like trying to find a Spanish Olympic gold medal winner (sorry guys but I owe you that one!). By 3.30pm I’d called over 20 different places advertised offering accommodation – and they were all full. Not good. However, I always find the best way to deal with a problem is to ignore it for a bit – so I went to look for a hat. I had no luck (again) with the hat – I wanted to look like Indiana but whichever one I chose made me look less like an explorer and more like…well, a pratt really. I plonked myself in a seat on La Rambla and ordered a cool beer to help me think about my priorities which were rapidly changing their order. Now I was hungry, so the hat had to take second place but really I needed a room above all else or I was definitely going to end up on Barcelona beach for the night. I tried several more places all with the same answer ´lo siento, pero no…´ and by now it was dark, making it that bit harder to find my way around. Finally, I found a room at ´La Paloma´ hotel which ok, was a bit brightly painted on the outside (pink) but they had a room – and I could have it. However, the look of (at first) respect I got from the TWO concierges when I asked for a room for the whole night, soon turned to smirks as they pointed out that I was, in fact, trying to sleep in a brothel… I moved on, determined to avoid brightly painted boarding houses – especially if the concierges were built like Oak trees – and began looking again for somewhere to sleep, by now it was 10pm and I was very tired, very hungry and by now very hairy. After another dozen or so fruitless calls I found a place! Now, at this point the experienced traveller should be asking himself why a hostal has room, at the weekend, in august, in Barcelona…but I’m not the experienced traveller so I just headed for the place – and that was another mistake. I don´t think I’ve been offered so much sex in such a short space of time ever (in fact I know I haven´t – I would have remembered). I was on the wrong road at the wrong time of night and I looked like a tourist (I knew I should have got a hat…) looking for a room. Time to get a move on. I found the place that had said that they had a spare room (and conformed that they were not a brothel) – ironically called El Paraiso (Paradise) and it was after 10pm by the time I entered the rusty iron gate that ´protected´

its front entrance. I sent my son a photo of the entrance hall (see photo) and he began to worry for my safety… Fortunately, for me, the staff in El Paraiso were great and very laid back even when one of the guests came running into ´reception´ (a small window in the entrance hall) screaming that there was a rat in the shower, the reply was an understated, ´it´s probably gone by now…´ so the woman, nervously, headed her way back to the communal bathroom. I checked into my room – I’d had to pay for a double as it was all they had left - it was comfortable (as in it had a bed) and furnished (as in it had a bed…) with bright orange walls and a view of a wall carrying some cables and the drain pipe. Still for 44 euros near to the centre of Barcelona, at the weekend, it wasn´t half bad – if you didn´t mind a big mouse popping in now and again… I still hadn’t spoken any English for some 30 –plus hours by now and it felt strange, but good and I’d not even heard an English voice since leaving Graham in Valencia. Lots of French but very few Brits were on the streets as I headed down the narrow alley ways and streets that line either side of La Rambla and what a place La Rambla was, I discovered. A place full of the cool, the trendy, the bohemian, the lovers, and me. But it was alive with the bustle off locals and tourists either heading up or down the central part or seated at one of the many fine bars and restaurants that line La Rambla. At the bottom I found the pavement artists, a varied lot of all ages, cultures and creeds but all clearly talented in art and PR judging by the way they all had clients waiting. I walked around the area near to Gaudi´s cathedral and where his influence is richest in this city of magnificent buildings and I could write pages about the sights in Barcelona, but they are there – go see them for yourself and you´ll see why I haven´t room here. In the end I settled into a little square just off of La Rambla and ordered a cool beer ready to indulge in a spot of people-watching. Within five minutes a young lad and his girlfriend sat down and began playing guitar (and smoking something rather exotic judging by the smell) - five minutes later he was joined by another guy who had a saxophone. Now, for me, listening to ´Baker Street´ being gently played in a Barcelona square at the weekend, with a beer has to be one of the best experiences I’ve had in a while (ok, I don’t get out much…) but seriously the city is full of places and people like this,

and its wonderful to be a part of it. With the music relaxing myself and my purse strings I ordered a beer or two more before switching for a glass of Spanish red wine which came in a glass so big I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to drink it or swim in it – but it did the job, either way I reckoned. At this point I should say that it´s not cheap in Barcelona (what city is?) for example, I paid 2.80€ for a small beer and the large wine was 4.50€ - not cheap, but I should also say, that by this pint…I didn´t care… I returned to find my room rodent free (for now) and had a go at getting some sleep. I say ´had a go´ because being a hostal this place was full of young people enjoying themselvesin every conceivable way by the sound of it – all night. It was too hot to shut the windows but eventually I managed to tune out most of the noise and drift into a Rioja-induced semicoma. It was 6.30am when I confirmed to the confused Norwegian standing on the other side of the door threshold that I wasn´t his brother and had no idea who/where he was. Sleg (I think that’s what he said his name was) apologised politely and left – to bang on the next door to mine and go through the same routine. Apparently his brother Thomas had disappeared with another guest the night before and now they needed to leave to catch a train, which is exactly what I needed to be doing –– ok I had another hour of sleep if I wanted but thanks to Sleg I was wide awake now. The beauty of Barcelona (apart from all the obvious stuff)was that there are plenty of places open early to get a good coffee and as I started the 45 minute walk to the train station to catch a train back to Alicante I found several that served the purpose very well indeed.

Homeward bound I´d imagined catching the nine o´clock train to Alicante - which would see me arrive at around 2.30pm - which would be useful as the dogs were

under the care of my son and therefore were probably crossing their legs with watering eyes in desperate need of a walk. What I hadn´t imagined was that they would be full…and the first available train to Alicante would be a 3pm, too late for me. My other option was to go the ´long way’ which meant a slow train to Valencia and then another from there to Alicante – total travel time seven hours. I had no choice as I had work to do, in the evening, back home too. As the mountains followed me as I (and the train) headed south I reflected on the weekend, four cities and lots of people. And I still hadn´t spoken English for 48 hours. But four great cities with plenty to see and do, two hostals that cost me less than 75€ for the two nights and the whole trip done on a budget of less than 200€. Not bad eh? I wonder where I’ll end up next month…?

By the way…anyone need their windscreen cleaned?

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

How to Attract More Families to Your Holiday Villa (and when you shouldn’t try) Spain is one of the best destinations for family holidays and over the years I´ve seen many changes in the travel industry here on the Costas. A huge trend now is that families are moving away from half-board hotel packages in one of two directions – budget conscious families are headed for the new raft of All-Inclusive holidays by operators like First Choice, while others are gathering up their extended family and booking one of thousands of private holiday villas available to rent in Spain. The recession hasn´t affected the affluent market so much and sales of “luxury” holidays are still on the up, so villa owners based in the Spanish resorts could be looking at a golden ticket for more bookings. I wanted to share some tips for attracting more families but firstly just a little word to the wise - being family friendly is a mindset, so if your idea of catering for children is offering a travel cot for a small supplement, then perhaps this niche is not for you… Contemporary Sells Affluent families want their villa to be like a “home from home” but take note - they may be bringing the grandparents with them but that does not mean they will forgive lace table cloths, flowery bedspreads and net curtains! Contemporary and modern décor photographs well and sells holidays - by all means showcase the antique hand-carved heirloom but think “Vintage” not “old fashioned” (check out our Pinterest boards for inspiration) The quickest way to be more contemporary is to clear all clutter, swap bedding to white cotton and accessorise with gorgeous cushions – aim to style your villa like something out of Red Magazine, then book a professional photographer to bring it all to life and you won’t go far wrong! Keep the Kids Happy If the children are happy then the parents are happy, it’s a simple as that. In summer the swimming pool is the centre of entertainment, but by providing plenty of toys and games as well as facilities for Mums with babies, you can extend your season and appeal to a very lucrative niche market. Autumn/Winter is the best time of year to buy kiddie kit thanks to the pre-

and post-Christmas bargains, so invest a little in making the children happy, and Mum and Dad will love you for it! Think Mod-Cons The biggest shift we have seen this year is that villas without internet facilities are now losing out on bookings, and if you can offer WiFi free of charge then even better. Think about it, who doesn’t know someone with a smart phone or iPad full of apps? Sadly, Parents may even need to stay connected on holiday due to work and if your place doesn’t deliver, they will find a property that does. Be Real Holidays are a chance to explore new places, cultures and gastronomy, but staying in a private villa may leave families cut off from the information that would otherwise be available in a hotel. We encourage owners to build a relationship with guests before their stay and answer any questions they may have. Even better if you can compile an info book full of insider tips about the best restaurants, beaches with good facilities, the best times of day to visit the local attractions with children, etc What we see repeatedly is that when your guests feel connected with you as owners, they will treat your property with the respect it deserves and more than likely become loyal repeaters. Treating families as VIPs can bring amazing success to your lettings business. But if you still are not convinced, just check out this recent testimonial from guests staying in one of our villas in Andalucia. Lindsay is the local agent in Andalucia for award winning family holiday company, Tots to Travel. She has recently set up the website using her passion for fabulous holidays to help holiday home owners run a more successful business. A devoted Mum, self-confessed Tapas addict & lover of all things Spanish, you can get in touch via or on Twitter and Facebook @LindsayinSpain

Fun Learning Spanish

After an amazing summer of sport, we are certainly left with many great memories: Andy Murray becoming the first British man to win the Olympic tennis singles; ‘the fastest man alive’ Usain Bolt running even faster to defend his sprint titles; Oscar Pistorius storming to victory in the final event of the Paralympics. But the question is: how much of the Spanish sportsrelated vocabulary do you remember? Here’s some Spanish sports-related vocab and phrases that might be handy to know when making friends or discussing sport in Spanish: ¿Eres hincha de...? = Are you a fan of...? ¿Qué jugadores te gustan? = Which players do you like? ¿Cuál es tu deporte favorito? = What's your favourite sport? ¿Quién ganó? = Who won? ¿Cuál fue el resultado? = What was the result? ¿Haces algún deporte? = Do you do any sport? ¿Puedo jugar? = Can I play? ¿Dónde está el campo de golf más cercano? = Where is the nearest golf course? ¿Hay una piscina aquí? = Is there a swimming pool here? Juego al/a la... = I play... Hago al/a la... = I do/practice... Me gusta... = I like... No me gusta... = I don’t like... Me encanta... = I love... Yo prefiero... = I prefer Tíramela = Throw it to me. ¡Cógela! = Catch! ¡Dentro! = In! ¡Fuera! = Out! ¡Haces trampas! = You're cheating! ¡Corre! = Run! Me divierte ver jugar fútbol = I enjoy watching football Explícame las reglas del juego = Explain to me the rules of the game. Sports – Deportes

el ajedrez = chess el alpinismo = rock-climbing el atletismo = Athletics el bádminton = badminton el baile = dancing el baloncesto = basketball el balonmano = handball el balonvolea / el voleibol = volleyball el béisbol = baseball los bolos = bowling el boxeo = boxing el buceo = scuba-diving las carreras de galgos = dog racing las carreras de caballos = horse racing el ciclismo = cycling el cricquet = cricket el dardo / el juego de flechillas = darts la equitación = horse-riding la esgrima = fencing el esquí = ski-ing el esquí acuático = water ski-ing el excursionismo = walking/hiking el fútbol = football el fútbol americano = American football la gimnasia = gymnastics el golf = golf el hóckey = hockey el hóckey hielo = ice-hockey el judo = judo el kárate = karate el lanzamiento de disco = discus throwing el lanzamiento de jabalina = javelin throwing la lucha = wrestling el motociclismo = motorcycle racing la natación = swimming la natación sincronizada = synchronised swimming el patinaje artístico = figure-skating el pentatlón = pentathlon la pesca = fishing

el piragüismo = canoeing el polo acuático = water polo el remo = rowing el rugby = rugby el salto de altura = high jump el salto de longitud = long jump el salto con pértiga = pole vault el squash = squash el surf = surfing el tenis = tennis el tenis de mesa = table-tennis el tiro con arco = archery el triatlón = triathlon la vela = sailing

Spo r ts C r ossw o rd Fu n



1.The Spanish word for SCUBA-DIVING 2.The Spanish word for CYCLING 3.The Spanish word for BICYCLE 4.The Spanish word for RACKET 5.The Spanish word for BASKETBALL 6.The Spanish word for CHESS 7.The Spanish word for TO LOSE 8.The Spanish word for BALL 9.The Spanish word for CHAMPION (masculine) 10.The Spanish word for TO DRAW 11.The Spanish word for TO SWIM 12.The Spanish word for PLAYER (masculine) 13.The Spanish word for SAILING 14.The Spanish word for REFEREE 15.The Spanish word for GOALKEEPER 16.The Spanish word for RACE 17.The Spanish word for TRACKSUIT 18.T.he Spanish word for TO SKI 19.The Spanish word for DANCING 20.The Spanish word for COURT 21.The Spanish word for TENNIS 22.The Spanish word for ROWING

1.The Spanish word for TEAM 2.The Spanish word for SPORTS CENTRE 3.The Spanish word for GOAL 4.The Spanish word for FOOTBALL 5.The Spanish word for FAN 6.The Spanish word for FENCING 7.The Spanish word for STADIUM 8.The Spanish word for EXERCISE 9.The Spanish word for TRAINING 10.The Spanish word for MATCH 11.The Spanish word for CHANGING ROOM 12.The Spanish word for DRAW 13.The Spanish word for SWIMMING 14.The Spanish word for CHAMPIONSHIPS 15.The Spanish word for TO WIN 16.The Spanish word for HORSE-RIDING 17.The Spanish word for ATHLETICS 18.The Spanish word for FISHING 19.The Spanish word for TO PLAY 20.The Spanish word for NET

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Ja Ja Ja Tips for helping Children to Learn Spanish In our past articles I have always been a big advocate of making learning fun. Children learn by reading our books due to the engaging nature of our stories. Take the emphasis off of learning and children will naturally become absorbed in the task at hand, without even realising they are picking up knowledge along the way! This obviously isn't always possible in school settings and with every subject, and naturally as children get older the style of learning changes too, but I always believe you should make it relevant. If I had known how learning percentages would have helped me now in my business I would have concentrated a bit harder in my maths class! If you are going to start a language class for young children out of school hours then you will want to make it as fun and lively as possible. You could include songs, games and activities as part of the lesson- however be aware- leave the really exciting games until the end as if you have a big class it can be hard to bring them back down to earth!!

For vocab: We love using our flashcards for guessing games- you can also lay them out on the floor and see how many words they remember. If they can remember the word, they can keep the card. For numbers: You can play LOTTO- older children love to play a little game of bingo. For colours: You can purchase a play parachute and get children to throw a bean bag into the correct colour sector as you shout ROJO, AMARILLO

whilst everyone holds a part of the parachute. For stories: You can create sock puppets or buy some in for the characters and get the children involved in the story. For body parts: I often purchase a large roll of paper and get one child to lay down whilst the other draws round them and then they can take turns labelling it up For songs: I have been creating my own songs for my classes however there is a whole host of popular songs that you can choose from – here is one as an example to set you on your way! Los cinco patitios fueron a pasear y en la colina fueron a caminar Papá pata les dice – cua cua cua Los cinco patitos nadando van a regresar (repeat losing one more duck each time until you are left with one little duck. Have Mamá duck call and end with “Los cinco patitos regresaron nadando”) Lastly, enjoy your class. If you are loving your class, your students will sense your enthusiasm and they will love it too!

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!

Preparing for Christmas in Spain Without Breaking the Bank

Even though the sun may be shining outside, many of us will undoubtedly already have started to think about planning for Christmas, even though you may be going away during the festive season. Also if your kids have convinced you that you need to celebrate with gifts both December 25th and January 6th (King’s Day), it works out even more expensive. Here we’’ve rounded up some tips to ensure that your bank balance won’t be suffering until Easter! Greetings Cards: Even in the internet age, greetings cards and postage are still a major expense in December. If you have relatives in the UK why not take a look at personalised online cards? It’s a fun activity to do with children (a chore for adults!) and a great way to save. Marks and Spencer: 3x2 on personalised Christmas cards (cheapest free) use code XMAS2012. Standard card price £2.99 each, postage from £0.49 per recipient. Great choice for all family members, just use the drop-down menu. May be a good idea to split orders, as often you’ll get a “£1 off next order” voucher code. Funky Pigeon: Use their “refer a friend” scheme: you get £3 and friends get 50% off their first order. Postage can be free if you order 2 or more cards together, otherwise from £0.60 each. Hallmark: Free delivery on orders of £20 or more. Standard card prices £2.99. Drinks: If you want to stock up make sure you take advantage of online offers, with the added bonus of delivery right to your front door. Bodeboca: To get a 10€ voucher to spend on your first order, search for Bodeboca on Google and enter the site via the Google ad. Guaranteed low

prices or difference refunded. Delivery free on orders over 150€. VinosEnLaRed: Delivery costs only 3.99€ for up to 12 bottles, free on orders over 125€. Get points for purchases to convert into discounts on future orders. Your local supermarket: Note down special offers when in store, then order online in bulk – you may get free delivery if you have a points card (depends on stores). Hampers & Hams: Great for discovering new delicacies, maybe not so great on your pocket. Carrefour offers 10% off all hampers ordered for delivery between 15 and 30 November. Free delivery on orders over 150€. Lotes de España: Good selection (terrible music on web!). Can search by price or product. They also have a competition on to win an iPad2. Free membership of their Club Premium gives you free delivery on orders, discounts and special offers, however you have to make a minimum of two orders in a year. DIY solution: Get a basket and tissue paper at your nearest “everything for 1€” store and buy a selection of products from your local supermarket. An easy way to save (when you don’t need delivery) and if you can theme it even better! Toys: If you buy early to take advantage of offers, watch out with electronic items as if they’re faulty you may have to deal directly with the manufacturer rather than the store. Waiting for pre-Christmas offers may sometimes be worthwhile, however stocks may run out (at the same time as your patience!). Sign up for the Toys R Us newsletter to get info about their online flash

sales and free delivery days in Spain. has prices in euros and offers free delivery on everything, but they don’t delivery many electronic items to Spain. Argos online in Spain has nearly 2000 items in their toys department. Single delivery charge regardless of weight: 9.95€. Gifts: The inevitable toiletries for her and socks for him! Take advantage to stock up with discounts of up to 50% off, 3x2 offers and freebies with orders at online stores such as The Body Shop, Yves Rocher or Bodybell – you’ll easily find a way to order enough to beat the threshold to get free delivery. Forget the socks and check out Curiosite for weird & wonderful gifts – delivery flat rate 6.90€ (OK, if you must have socks then get 3x2 offers at El Corte Inglés!!) With all this extra expenses don’t forget to get all your purchases on a credit card that gives you cashback or points and pay back in full at the end of each month to avoid interest charges.

And Have Yourself A Money Saving Christmas Time… is an English language website full of information, tips and advice about how to save money in Spain with in-depth articles split into different areas. There’s also a separate section for latest offers, freebies and competitions. Follow us on Twitter @MoneySaverSpain and like us on Facebook. Make sure that you sign up for the newsletter out every Thursday to make sure you don’t miss any of the latest offers – why pay more?

To QROPS or not to QROPS QROPS - Qualified, Recognised , Overseas, Pension, Scheme, they are everywhere, being touted by the qualified and the non-qualified, being promoted by the regulated and non-regulated, indeed being pushed by all, but are they really the answer for all? Despite the fact that there are some useful benefits associated to transferring UK pensions schemes to certain QROPS, it may not be the best solution for the entire expat community, indeed as a result of the recent changes in legislation and the current economic climate it may not be the best solution for quite a few. It might help you to know that transfers to QROPS represented an estimated 70% of the business transacted by overseas advisers, qualified or non-qualified over the past number of years. Indeed one could argue that if QROPS never existed, would they have survived this period of austerity themselves? Maybe that’s why they have been promoted so heavily? No I´m not that cynical and to add some balance to this article, for many expats, QROPS have been a very beneficial transaction and continue to provide a useful and tax efficient pension platform and will continue to do so. Alone the simple fact that there is no tax charge on death will be justification for some, and I´m happy to admit that I have used QROPS in the past and will continue to do so in the right circumstances. However, due to recent changes in legislation, the QROPS market has been shaken up and tightened up and after a period of quiet, with little or no mention of them in the papers, magazines or the radio, they are back, like a heavy weight giant awaking from slumber. Yes, they are back and in many different guises, however they have some very worthy opponents. In deciding what solution is right for you, it’s first advisable to consider the alternatives. Not that easy when, in general, we are only being sold QROPS. Consider the Alternatives Of the worthy opponents to QROPS, one of the most underutilised of all pension schemes are Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPS). These are

available to all expats and they provide a cost effective platform whereby investments can be made in the ever popular “alternative Investment” space. This tends to drive far greater returns and in some cases provide fixed returns. Very useful when you consider that the equities market as not been performing over the past 12 years. Possibly the number one contender is a scheme that competes head on with both QROPS and SIPP´s and is proving extremely popular, especially in these tough economic times. This is an occupational scheme that allows the policy holder access to alternate investments that look to return 8 – 10% per annum. In such schemes there are often opportunities to gain access to fund at any age. These schemes allow you to transfer your existing pension benefits, whether they are private or occupational, indeed even existing QROPS schemes into them and allow you to access the cash, in the form of a lump sum regardless of age. This is proving to be a popular solution for many people and should in my view at least be offered to any would be client especially when you consider that the majority of our pension funds are exposed to equities that are simply not performing, indeed one could argue that it is better to get some of your money out of this heavily indebted system, sooner rather than later. Overview In my opinion there is still a place for QROPS, however they have become a little more expensive and the benefits have been reduced somewhat and they could be the answer for some, but certainly not ALL. In my view what is most important is that the product chosen meets your personal and financial objectives and this alone should be the deciding factor by which the product is selected and not simply what the company wishes to push or in many cases the only thing the adviser knows. As briefly highlighted above there are a number of alternatives open to the expat community some of which have benefits that may far outweigh those offered by a QROPS. Therefore in my opinion it’s only right that you are presented with more than one option, then and only then is the decision truly yours. To get an independent view of what solution is best for you or to see if you are able to access some of the cash held within your pension, call me today on +44 (0)8450 040925 or +34 622 345 558 or email me at

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Currencies Direct Market Commentary October 2012 Euro Climbs as Draghi Says ECB Ready to Start Purchasing Bonds The euro rose as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the currency was irreversible and the ECB’s decision to start buying bonds helped ease tensions. The 17-nation currency gained the most in almost three weeks versus the US dollar after Draghi said the ECB was ready to start buying government bonds from nations such as Spain as soon as the necessary conditions are met. The US dollar stayed lower versus most major peers as claims for U.S. jobless benefits rose less than forecast, encouraging investors to buy higher- returning assets. A measure of volatility declined to the lowest level in almost five years. The euro jumped 0.9 percent to $1.3017, gaining the most on an intraday basis since Sept. 14. The Federal Reserve will release the minutes today of its Sept. 12-13 meeting, where it decided to buy $40 billion a month in mortgagebacked bonds under the quantitative-easing stimulus strategy until the economic recovery is well under way. Spain sold a combined 3.99 billion euros ($5.19 billion) of two-, three-and five-year notes today as investors debated whether the nation will ask for an international bailout. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy this week denied he has any immediate plans to do so. Spain was told today by Europe’s economic overseers that its 2013 plan to cut the deficit to 4.5 percent of gross domestic product relies on excessively optimistic assumptions, two people familiar with the issue said. The 2013 budget assumes the economy will shrink 0.5 percent. The European Central Bank kept its benchmark rate at 0.75 percent today, “Economic growth in the euro area is expected to remain weak, with ongoing tensions in some euro area financial markets and high uncertainty still weighing on confidence and sentiment,” ECB President Mario Draghi said at a press conference after the decision. The pound strengthened versus the dollar after the Bank of England left its asset-purchase target at 375 billion pounds ($604 billion) at its monthly gathering. The central bank kept its main interest rate at a record-low 0.5 percent. Sterling appreciated 0.7 percent to $1.6181 and declined 0.2 percent to 80.45 pence per euro. The minutes of today’s decision, showing how each MPC member voted, will be released on Oct. 17. Deputy

Governor Paul Tucker raised questions in an interview last week on the efficacy of more stimulus. “We still think Quantative Easing works, even if in some respects it does not have the same bite it used to have,” he said. U.K. inflation cooled to 2.5 percent in August. The BOE sees it averaging 2.1 percent in the first quarter of 2013 and reaching the 2 percent goal by the end of the year. The debt crisis in Europe, the U.K.’s biggest trading partner, is clouding the outlook, and recent reports have cast doubt on the strength of Britain’s recovery. Services growth slowed more than economists forecast in September, while manufacturing and construction shrank. House prices fell for a third month and will probably remain little changed into 2013 amid a “weak” economy. Information provided by Currencies Direct, leading providers of foreign excange. Call to find out how we can help you get the best rates and save your transfer fees. Contact the La Zenia office on +34 965 994 830 or email

The contents of this report are for information purposes only. It is not intended as a recommendation to trade or a solicitation for funds. Currencies Direct cannot be held responsible for any loss or damages arising from any action taken following consideration of this information.

Fun at the Fair Work initially began on the Parque de Atracciones in Madrid back in August 1968 and the park opened its doors on May 15 1969 and became the first and only park of its kind in Spain. At the time visitors paid just five pesetas (€0,03 in today’s money) and this stayed the same for the following two years until it was upped to the grand price of 15 pesetas (or €0,09). When the park opened it had 30 rides including novelties such as Los Ponys for the children and Pintoyo, Labyrinth and Mirrors. Later on in 1990 the first flume ride was built followed by a major refurbishment in 1998 which cost €48m but transformed the park into a true theme park. In that same year the Parque de Atracciones de Madrid together with the Zoo Aquarium de Madrid, Aquopolis and Teleferico de Madrid founded the company Parques Reunidos. Today you can often find price deals for all these group facilities on one discount ticket. The refurbishment saw the park divided into five zones - Maquinismo (Machines), Gran Avenida (Main Avenue), Naturaleza (Nature), Tranquilidad (Relax) and Infantile (Kids zone) and today it features 40 modern rides and attractions and has a capacity to cope with 27,000 people per hour and has seen a total of 100 million through the gates since it opened. It has some great reviews especially by hard core roller coaster and theme park enthusiasts who are impressed with the adrenalin rides and the fact it also has water rides. Top attractions include the Abismo (Abyss) which is the most spectacular roller coaster at the park reaching 49 feet high and top speeds of 100km per hour. Meanwhile give yourself about six hours minimum to visit the park and get round all the facilities.

PLUS POINTS: Great park for all the family as plenty of kids zones and roller coasters for the adrenalin junkies. Lots of surprise features – do your research or you may miss them NEGATIVE POINTS: As with most theme parks food isn’t very impressive so maybe eat before you go or picnic outside in the Casa de Campo picnic area. Busy at weekends and summer. Go out of season if you can. OPEN: All year but in winter only weekends and holidays and various times throughout the year so always check the website for schedule. PRICES: Adults €29,90. Children under 8 (or under 90cm in height) are free and ages 8-12 years (90-120cm) are €23,90. You can book online. HOW TO GET THERE: By car the park is accessible directly via the NV (Carretera de Extremadura) or on the M30 towards Badajoz. Or Linea 10 on the Metro or Bus link Linea 33 or 65. CONTACT: Tel: 902 345 009

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

Wishing Everyone a Fantastic Christmas

Here’s to 2013!

Family Life in Spain: Issue 5  
Family Life in Spain: Issue 5  

Interesting and informative articles written by expats living in all parts of Spain.