Those who regularly visit the expat forum will have seen some very interesting and very informative threads which allow in-depth discussions about the subjects of the day and advice about moving overseas in general. However, this particular thread is more basic and covers the subject of the things which people love and hate about Spain.
While there are many subjects discussed, many of which you can easily guess, one of the main factors which is very apparent is that some people like one particular element and others dislike the same element. There are a number of common factors discussed but it is also interesting to see what people from countries such as the US, UK and other areas of the world like, dislike and feel indifferent about.
While vast areas of Spain enjoy some of the best weather in Europe there are some areas which are dominated by rainfall and not exactly your stereotypical Spanish holiday resort. As a consequence a number of people have put the weather forward as one of their likes and dislikes about the country.
This is one particular element of Spanish life which appears to have caught the attention of many people, the vast majority suggesting that service standards across Spain are disappointing to say the least. However, one poster has observed that areas of high immigrant workers seem to suffer from low service standards and those which have a more traditional workforce seem to escape relatively unscathed.
Telephone and Internet services
One other area which has caught the attention of a number of posters on the thread is the telephone system in Spain and in particular Telefonica. There has, over the last few years, been significant criticism of Telefonica in particular and the more general Spanish Internet and telephone market. In some ways those who move to Spain from the UK have been spoilt and expect a system open to competition and as reliable as that in the UK.
Again, this is an area which has attracted significantly different opinions with many posters suggesting the local transport network is very reliable and very efficient while others suggest there may be a lack of decent transport facilities in their area. As ever, it seems as though everything comes down to the area you live in, your expectations and where you came from.
Anybody who’s been to Spain will know that very often you will see stray dogs and other animals roaming the streets during the day and night. This is one particular aspect of Spanish life which has been noted in the thread and it is something which many people can relate to. However, on the flip side it is easy to forget that the streets of Spain are often cleaned every night, at least in the resort areas, ensuring a cleaner environment than some may expect.
The afternoon break in Spanish life is something which many foreign visitors just cannot understand and appreciate. It has been mentioned by a number of people, with some concern that shops and other facilities are closed in the afternoon, but this is something which has been ongoing for many years and is never going to change. In many ways it is up to foreigners to appreciate and acknowledge the local customs and make the most of the situation they find themselves in.
Travel to the UK
At least one person has suggested that they love Spain because of the short journey time to the UK, which is round about 2.5 hours, and often very cheap if you use the various budget airlines servicing the region. It has to be said that travel facilities to and from the UK have been a significant factor in many UK citizens moving for a new life in Spain.
This is an area which has attracted a number of different opinions and different comments. While some appreciate and acknowledge the Spanish culture others are not so keen and do not fully indulge themselves in Spanish culture and Spanish practices. However, it was interesting to see that one particular poster has Spanish culture as a positive feature and Spanish culture as a negative feature. Yet again it would appear that where you live in Spain or the areas you visit may strongly influence your opinion of the country.
One surprise element which has been mentioned in the thread is the suggestion that there are many Spanish employees who do not have a grasp of the English language. Apart from the fact you are in Spain where the official language is Spanish, although this does vary in different areas, there are significant numbers of Spanish employees who do have a relatively good grasp of the English language. Again, this particular comment would suggest that certain groups of Spanish society and some areas of Spain itself may not be as fluent in English as many had hoped.
One factor which appears to be a very positive influence on foreign visitors to Spain is the variation in scenery and the beauty which can be seen throughout the country. It seems that no matter which area of the country you reside there are some stunning views which are often complimented by the very amenable weather.
While the Spanish population and many travel publications like to paint a certain picture of the British holidaymaker, this is in many ways unfair and incorrect. However, one particular poster on the thread has noted his embarrassment with British holidaymakers in Spain, the way they act and how they represent their country. There is no doubt that some visitors to Spain from the UK do let themselves down but the vast majority are conscientious and well-behaved.
We could go on forever regarding the love and hate issue with Spain but one thing which is ever more apparent is the fact it does depend where you come from, where you are living and your initial expectations. One person may love a certain aspect of Spanish life while another person may detest the same element. It really is “horses for courses” and in many ways you get back what you give but you need to appreciate and respect local cultures and local practices.