Living in Spain
Spain: so many things to do and so many places to see. There is the cordiality of the people, the incomparable scenery, the beaches of fine sand, the days of sunshine, the high mountains, the vast plains, the nightlife, the evenings, the magnificent cuisine, the restaurants.
Too many hours or too many pages are necessary to say what Spain has to offer. There is only one way to be sure: come and see it for yourself. Coming to Spain to work, for a long-term stay or for retirement can be a step into the unknown. But if some simple preparation is undertaken it can be a step into sunshine and happiness.
Apart from those following a career, why do people move to Spain? Well usually the family has grown up and left home, so for the first time people are free to decide how to spend the rest of their lives. Getting to know another country and its culture is an attractive idea, and so is saying goodbye to cold winters. Perhaps more important is a feeling of not wishing to continue for the rest of one's life doing exactly the same thing. A desire to broaden horizons, to see new places, to meet new people, to enjoy new hobbies, to have a challenge are all the ingredients for a new lifestyle.
Many thousands of British, German and Scandinavian couples move for these reasons. Over the years they have holidayed in their thousands in Spain, enjoying the country, the people and the climate. It is still a relatively cheap country where one can enjoy a standard of living that is just not possible in any Northern European country. It is close to home. Travelling by air, rail and sea or by using the Channel Tunnel can be quick and it can be cheap. Keeping in touch is easier and visits by friends more likely.
Permanent residence is not just a continuous holiday. It starts with a honeymoon period, going to many parties and making new friends. Of course this does not last. But there is no returning home; there is no office, no salary and no pressure. It is important not to get bored. Cerveza drinking and sun worshipping can take its toll. Keep active by working part time in a non-demanding situation, or by joining several social clubs and partaking in the many sporting activities available. Have a full and busy life, do the things you enjoy, keep happy, healthy and feel young.
Of course there are some problems. Charming people as they are, the Spaniards do tend to speak very rapidly in a regional language which seems to be quite different to the Spanish learned at night school back home. They have a different body clock too. They can be noisy. Then there are the frustrating delays. People do not rush about. If you need something repaired, it often takes longer than it should. But one adjusts and learns to be patient.
Today's Spain is a young vibrant country barely three decades old. Tourism has changed its face forever. Fishing villages have been replaced with skyscraper hotel blocks. It now has a rapidly expanding economy reaping the benefits of membership of the EU. Major international companies are investing in the country against a background of stable political government and a multilingual labour force.
Yet only a few kilometres inland villages, towns and cities lie untouched retaining their own distinctive lifestyle. The old links to agriculture still exist. Orange and lemon groves, almond trees, thousands of acres of vines and millions of olive trees still remain. Lots of people have now spent many years here and if they were still living elsewhere would not hesitate to make the same decision again. They feel Spain is now home. They have been revitalised, enjoy a different lifestyle and feel young again.