Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Rather than write a massive 'one off' warts and all experience post, I'll keep adding to this thread, just in case anybody moving to the Almunecar area is interested?

First of all, we sold our overpriced house in London and decided to buy a new London home a few miles down the road from our old place. A house was found soon after and then we next embarked on our search for a dream 'Place in the Sun' with the remaining cash we had from our original London house sale ...

The choices in Southern Spain would be governed by close proximity to an international school, my daughter was just about to enter senior school and we believed she had missed a crucial 'bedding in period' in Spain for state schooling? A personal opinion, which can be very different with other children ... but that's what we decided.

After a lot of soul searching, looking at valuations of areas and in some cases, ridiculous school fees! We decided we didn't want a version of the UK in the sun. We wanted a little bit of authentic Spain, but with some of the tourist benefits coastal town living can bring, we decided on Almunecar, in the Costa Tropical region.

We obviously had researched the area, in fact we considered everywhere initially from Gib' to Javea (CBN) over the last 2-3 years, but for us Almunecar had the best climate, the Spanish way of life and an authentic working coastal town feel to the place.

There are pros & cons to every location city/town/village? But the pros certainly outweighed the cons, so with a good local international school, with sensible fees! We decided to start searching for a suitable place to live full time ... to be continued.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Rather than write a massive 'one off' warts and all experience post, I'll keep adding to this thread, just in case anybody moving to the Almunecar area is interested?

First of all, we sold our overpriced house in London and decided to buy a new London home a few miles down the road from our old place. A house was found soon after and then we next embarked on our search for a dream 'Place in the Sun' with the remaining cash we had from our original London house sale ...

The choices in Southern Spain would be governed by close proximity to an international school, my daughter was just about to enter senior school and we believed she had missed a crucial 'bedding in period' in Spain for state schooling? A personal opinion, which can be very different with other children ... but that's what we decided.

After a lot of soul searching, looking at valuations of areas and in some cases, ridiculous school fees! We decided we didn't want a version of the UK in the sun. We wanted a little bit of authentic Spain, but with some of the tourist benefits coastal town living can bring, we decided on Almunecar, in the Costa Tropical region.

We obviously had researched the area, in fact we considered everywhere initially from Gib' to Javea (CBN) over the last 2-3 years, but for us Almunecar had the best climate, the Spanish way of life and an authentic working coastal town feel to the place.

There are pros & cons to every location city/town/village? But the pros certainly outweighed the cons, so with a good local international school, with sensible fees! We decided to start searching for a suitable place to live full time ... to be continued.
As I was saying ... The difficult decision between town and outskirts/campo? For us, as Londoners, the bias would always be with town living. However, we considered a few areas on the outskirts and rented for a while on the edge of Almunecar.

Although, the peace and tranquility was lovely, when it came to socialising away from home, you were stuffed, unless you drove or had a particular liking for hiking. Almunecar is banked on either side by hills, apparently the Brits live by and large on Los Pinos, whilst other nationalities occupy the outskirts in larger houses/villas, overlooking the town below. The other thing to bear in mind that during late June until the second week of September, parking is a complete lottery within town. Unless you were just shopping at Lidl, or coming into town on any day other than Friday/Saturday[which are even worse!], parking could be a nightmare. You can obviously find 'paid parking,' but in and around the beach areas, during July & August you had little or no chance of finding a decent spot. There is the main paseo underground parking at the main beach, but it isn't cheap! So with that in mind, if you plan to use a hire car, or your own car a lot? Parking in those two ultra busy months is shocking.

I ended up parking my car up on the hill going to Los Pinos, a good ten minutes stroll ... Which was nice, but the temps in July/August were touching the late 30s daily and even during the night we had a few nights where the temperature didn't go below 35c ... be warned, this is just one of the reasons this area is called the Costa Tropical.

So, after a few tentative looks on the outskirts, we decided on the old town, we love places in the UK like the Brighton lanes, so the old town was perfect. There were some lovely houses which at times were overpriced, but we found a place that needed a bit of an update, but with huge potential as the location was fantastic, with views to match. The main town sq was 50 metres away, the 'lanes' on our doorstep, the beach less than 5 minutes walk away ... a location like this in Nerja etc would cost a fortune, but this is Almunecar, which is very much a Spanish town that has yet to be discovered by the Northern European hoardes ...

Next up, the buying and negotiating ... TBC.

Any typos? Aren't you clever :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
As I was saying ... The difficult decision between town and outskirts/campo? For us, as Londoners, the bias would always be with town living. However, we considered a few areas on the outskirts and rented for a while on the edge of Almunecar.

Although, the peace and tranquility was lovely, when it came to socialising away from home, you were stuffed, unless you drove or had a particular liking for hiking. Almunecar is banked on either side by hills, apparently the Brits live by and large on Los Pinos, whilst other nationalities occupy the outskirts in larger houses/villas, overlooking the town below. The other thing to bear in mind that during late June until the second week of September, parking is a complete lottery within town. Unless you were just shopping at Lidl, or coming into town on any day other than Friday/Saturday[which are even worse!], parking could be a nightmare. You can obviously find 'paid parking,' but in and around the beach areas, during July & August you had little or no chance of finding a decent spot. There is the main paseo underground parking at the main beach, but it isn't cheap! So with that in mind, if you plan to use a hire car, or your own car a lot? Parking in those two ultra busy months is shocking.

I ended up parking my car up on the hill going to Los Pinos, a good ten minutes stroll ... Which was nice, but the temps in July/August were touching the late 30s daily and even during the night we had a few nights where the temperature didn't go below 35c ... be warned, this is just one of the reasons this area is called the Costa Tropical.

So, after a few tentative looks on the outskirts, we decided on the old town, we love places in the UK like the Brighton lanes, so the old town was perfect. There were some lovely houses which at times were overpriced, but we found a place that needed a bit of an update, but with huge potential as the location was fantastic, with views to match. The main town sq was 50 metres away, the 'lanes' on our doorstep, the beach less than 5 minutes walk away ... a location like this in Nerja etc would cost a fortune, but this is Almunecar, which is very much a Spanish town that has yet to be discovered by the Northern European hoardes ...

Next up, the buying and negotiating ... TBC.

Any typos? Aren't you clever :)
Buying ...

After selling our house in London, this was a piece of p*ss, if you can excuse my cockney slang. Months of solicitor inaction in London was replaced with a lawyer who said "two weeks, maybe three?" - Blimey, the Spanish don't hang about!

Sure enough, we had found our property and our lawyer was on the case, minimum paperwork, with an urgency to get things done before the Brexit vote [I knew what was coming personally]. I have to say our lawyer was great, slightly crazy, but in a lovable way. She let the estate agent and owners [via their representative] know precisely what the deal would be and the required discounts to reflect various things that needed sorting. We ended up saving around 6000 euros [on top of the 20,000 euros off the asking price] because of her efforts, if you need to know her name for a local purchase? Drop me a line via PM ...

Everything was sorted, we attended the notary meeting with our lawyer and the house was ours ... Onwards and upwards.

Note to potential buyers: Find a good local lawyer who can speak English and doesn't take any sh++ from estate agents.

The next step, moving in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Buying ...

After selling our house in London, this was a piece of p*ss, if you can excuse my cockney slang. Months of solicitor inaction in London was replaced with a lawyer who said "two weeks, maybe three?" - Blimey, the Spanish don't hang about!

Sure enough, we had found our property and our lawyer was on the case, minimum paperwork, with an urgency to get things done before the Brexit vote [I knew what was coming personally]. I have to say our lawyer was great, slightly crazy, but in a lovable way. She let the estate agent and owners [via their representative] know precisely what the deal would be and the required discounts to reflect various things that needed sorting. We ended up saving around 6000 euros [on top of the 20,000 euros off the asking price] because of her efforts, if you need to know her name for a local purchase? Drop me a line via PM ...

Everything was sorted, we attended the notary meeting with our lawyer and the house was ours ... Onwards and upwards.

Note to potential buyers: Find a good local lawyer who can speak English and doesn't take any sh++ from estate agents.

The next step, moving in.
After dealing with a very reluctant tenant at our property [dealt with by the former owners and our legal team BEFORE any money was handed over] we got the *keys to our Casa. *Make sure you get the main locks changed to any property you are buying prior to moving in and on completion day at the latest. The former owner should pay for this and should be demanded by your legal team!

Moving in day: Our lawyer had set up our IBI payments, making sure that there were no outstanding debts on the property. We also had the water set up for routine payments. Your lawyer will do these things, but make sure you have a Spanish bank account up and running. We used Banco Sabadell, opening a non-resident account with them is very easy, just basic info' needed, passport etc.

The only things we ended up partially arranging was Endesa (electricity) The reason being that the fuse board needed minor changes with a certificate of safety being issued. We were rubbish at the basic contacting of Endesa, so once again our lawyer stepped in to give us guidance. Everything was done and we paid the first few months bill directly at the BBVA bank, which was asked for on the Endesa bill we received. After this, everything is taken on a bi-monthly basis from our Spanish account.

Getting to know the neighbours? We didn't speak Spanish, but we didn't care as that is NOT a requirement of owning a home in Spain! Our neighbours were a little bit surprised by our appearance, but we are very polite and reassured them that their own homes were in a very up and coming part of the coast. Our immediate neighbour began painting the exterior of his family home straight away, it looks lovely now, so we are happy.

Pros & cons: Furniture by and large is expensive in Spain. If you are offered any furniture when you find a house/flat? Don't turn it down, unless it's a pile of old crap. Replacing furniture can be hard to do on a budget and the often mentioned 'journey' to the nearest IKEA makes very good sense!

If you are left any rubbish furniture? Most councils have a large item collection day [find out your local day] and the nearest drop off point. We are located up in the old town with the nearest proper road at least 300 metres away, but there are fairly narrow streets where the local council have to use tiny little vans/lorries for collection.

So we are up and running, soaking up the constant sunshine and the neighbours are very polite people, not the miserable bleeders that sometimes you read about on forums! We know we're outsiders, there are one or two locals who really struggle to acknowledge a "hola" — but we don't care, just smile and move on. Our advice is if you can't speak Spanish? Don't worry, just say "hola" and smile ... Being polite is very British, so don't let the side down!

School: Our youngest first day ... Easy, Almunecar International School was a lovely place for a child to attend. We did all the pre-attendance paperwork and payments for the first term as per school request. We didn't know how long we would be sending our daughter to the school for? So we opted for a term by term payment. We had previously collected her uniform from the school and confirmed with the school which bus stop she would be picked up from in town. We had taken her by car on the first day, but subsequent days were her catching a huge tourist coach with fellow AIS pupils, very lush for a school bus/coach journey!

Lunches were included in the school fees, my daughter loved the choices, so the UK to Spain school switch [UK State to Spain private] was easy. Don't let it worry you, the private schools are very accommodating, as I'm sure the Spanish State schools are as well?

Day to day life in the sun? Well, for the first month or so it felt like we were on holiday, beach, swimming, sunbathing, eating out ... etc. OK, after a while it settled down, but the lifestyle change from living in London was quite a surprise. Things were/are going well, we had started to learn the language and realised that Spanish slang made things a little more interesting ...

Next up the heat!:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
You write well. So enjoyable to read.

I would never have thought about changing the locks..something to think on..thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
947 Posts
That was really useful LDN2ESP, thanks, we are meeting with our lawyer and the notary on Friday to do the deed and pick up the keys of our new casa. I hope it all goes as smoothly as yours. Although the lawyer (who is excellent) has POA she suggested she wait until we arrive on Friday to complete.


It is a new house, so it's kitchen and all furniture, so I think to start with, it will be a trip to Ikea , which I don't have a problem with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
After dealing with a very reluctant tenant at our property [dealt with by the former owners and our legal team BEFORE any money was handed over] we got the *keys to our Casa. *Make sure you get the main locks changed to any property you are buying prior to moving in and on completion day at the latest. The former owner should pay for this and should be demanded by your legal team!

Moving in day: Our lawyer had set up our IBI payments, making sure that there were no outstanding debts on the property. We also had the water set up for routine payments. Your lawyer will do these things, but make sure you have a Spanish bank account up and running. We used Banco Sabadell, opening a non-resident account with them is very easy, just basic info' needed, passport etc.

The only things we ended up partially arranging was Endesa (electricity) The reason being that the fuse board needed minor changes with a certificate of safety being issued. We were rubbish at the basic contacting of Endesa, so once again our lawyer stepped in to give us guidance. Everything was done and we paid the first few months bill directly at the BBVA bank, which was asked for on the Endesa bill we received. After this, everything is taken on a bi-monthly basis from our Spanish account.

Getting to know the neighbours? We didn't speak Spanish, but we didn't care as that is NOT a requirement of owning a home in Spain! Our neighbours were a little bit surprised by our appearance, but we are very polite and reassured them that their own homes were in a very up and coming part of the coast. Our immediate neighbour began painting the exterior of his family home straight away, it looks lovely now, so we are happy.

Pros & cons: Furniture by and large is expensive in Spain. If you are offered any furniture when you find a house/flat? Don't turn it down, unless it's a pile of old crap. Replacing furniture can be hard to do on a budget and the often mentioned 'journey' to the nearest IKEA makes very good sense!

If you are left any rubbish furniture? Most councils have a large item collection day [find out your local day] and the nearest drop off point. We are located up in the old town with the nearest proper road at least 300 metres away, but there are fairly narrow streets where the local council have to use tiny little vans/lorries for collection.

So we are up and running, soaking up the constant sunshine and the neighbours are very polite people, not the miserable bleeders that sometimes you read about on forums! We know we're outsiders, there are one or two locals who really struggle to acknowledge a "hola" — but we don't care, just smile and move on. Our advice is if you can't speak Spanish? Don't worry, just say "hola" and smile ... Being polite is very British, so don't let the side down!

School: Our youngest first day ... Easy, Almunecar International School was a lovely place for a child to attend. We did all the pre-attendance paperwork and payments for the first term as per school request. We didn't know how long we would be sending our daughter to the school for? So we opted for a term by term payment. We had previously collected her uniform from the school and confirmed with the school which bus stop she would be picked up from in town. We had taken her by car on the first day, but subsequent days were her catching a huge tourist coach with fellow AIS pupils, very lush for a school bus/coach journey!

Lunches were included in the school fees, my daughter loved the choices, so the UK to Spain school switch [UK State to Spain private] was easy. Don't let it worry you, the private schools are very accommodating, as I'm sure the Spanish State schools are as well?

Day to day life in the sun? Well, for the first month or so it felt like we were on holiday, beach, swimming, sunbathing, eating out ... etc. OK, after a while it settled down, but the lifestyle change from living in London was quite a surprise. Things were/are going well, we had started to learn the language and realised that Spanish slang made things a little more interesting ...

Next up the heat!:)
Back again! ... Where was I?

They all tell you "it's going to be hot in the summer" ... Well, 35c around 1am in the morning was unexpected! Ok, the direction of the breeze can cause the temperature to rise massively, but when you're there for months on end you realise just how nice a day of cloud can be? NEVER underestimate the heat, you think you've got use to the blistering sun, only to find those painful red marks on your shorts/swimsuit material line. Be careful at all times during the hotter months.

So we've found all the important shops for food, the water/electricity and IBI billing have been arranged with direct debits at our Spanish bank sorted, so things are going well. This is the point when you try to create a little bit of 'home' in Spain? Maybe a touch of renovation? A piece of furniture or maybe a gadget you would normally pop down the high street to purchase ... think again. Unless you live in a very tourist laden areas? You'll be scratching your heads looking for things that you regard as must haves. An example, shops like B&Q only exist near very large towns/cities. The Spanish almost appear to create a 'protectionist' attitude towards selling items. Only the local chino shops will try to sell everything [within reason] in the same shop. Another frustration is building materials ... You can buy the basics, but not the tools needed to do the job in the same store? There always seems to be 'another' ferrateria [hardware store], but their items for sale are limited. The other thing is the expense, hand tools/electrical tools are very expensive here.

Whitegoods:

Buy them with the condition that they are delivered to the place in your flat/house required and that the old knackered item [if applicable] is taken without charge. Also remember, the shop will quite possibly deliver the next day, if buying locally. Sometimes the extra cost locally can be worth it as the aftersales service can be so much better. Weigh up all the costs associated with a 'whitegoods' purchase. Find a good local shop and stick with them.

Learning the lingo ... again.

It makes sense obviously, but you get to a point where you try to converse in Spanish and they [locals] will always reply to you in English? WTF ... But don't give up, keep being polite trying to learn at least the basics. Secretly, most Spanish I've met are far more desperate to learn English than you are Spanish? But then again, who can blame them ... :)

Shopping for your English must haves?

There's always a local spar/Lidl/Mercadona which will have some of your favourites? If you find an English shop, just ask them if they can get hold of something on a regular basis from the UK. In Almunecar, if you find the Spar in Calle Bikini [San Cristobal] back of Hotel Casablanca, they will get you anything [within reason] foodwise for a supplemnet charge. A great little shop and life saver when looking for UK items not available in the big Lidl/Mercadonas.

Parking:

In my town it's crap for the entire summer months when looking for free parking. Think very carefully before hiring a car, if you live in a central town [like i do] I have little use for the car for days on end. Everything is on my doorstep and a car just gathers dust. If you live more than 15 minutes out of town? Check out any hills to and from your abode. They [hills] are a nightmare when the temp' is touching 40c.

At this point I thought it polite to mention our lawyer, Maria Velasco [Velasco Lawyers, Almunecar]. Personally, I would give her 10/10 for the way she sorts out any problems. She's very funny, in a slightly mad Spanish way and will make life so much easier by her indepth knowledge and that EVERYBODY knows her in Almunecar. All Spanish towns/cities have legal people like this, seek them out and keep them on your side for all those important moments.

Late nights, late mornings ... To be continued.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,345 Posts
Back again! ... Where was I?

They all tell you "it's going to be hot in the summer" ... Well, 35c around 1am in the morning was unexpected! Ok, the direction of the breeze can cause the temperature to rise massively, but when you're there for months on end you realise just how nice a day of cloud can be? NEVER underestimate the heat, you think you've got use to the blistering sun, only to find those painful red marks on your shorts/swimsuit material line. Be careful at all times during the hotter months.

So we've found all the important shops for food, the water/electricity and IBI billing have been arranged with direct debits at our Spanish bank sorted, so things are going well. This is the point when you try to create a little bit of 'home' in Spain? Maybe a touch of renovation? A piece of furniture or maybe a gadget you would normally pop down the high street to purchase ... think again. Unless you live in a very tourist laden areas? You'll be scratching your heads looking for things that you regard as must haves. An example, shops like B&Q only exist near very large towns/cities. The Spanish almost appear to create a 'protectionist' attitude towards selling items. Only the local chino shops will try to sell everything [within reason] in the same shop. Another frustration is building materials ... You can buy the basics, but not the tools needed to do the job in the same store? There always seems to be 'another' ferrateria [hardware store], but their items for sale are limited. The other thing is the expense, hand tools/electrical tools are very expensive here.

Whitegoods:

Buy them with the condition that they are delivered to the place in your flat/house required and that the old knackered item [if applicable] is taken without charge. Also remember, the shop will quite possibly deliver the next day, if buying locally. Sometimes the extra cost locally can be worth it as the aftersales service can be so much better. Weigh up all the costs associated with a 'whitegoods' purchase. Find a good local shop and stick with them.

Learning the lingo ... again.

It makes sense obviously, but you get to a point where you try to converse in Spanish and they [locals] will always reply to you in English? WTF ... But don't give up, keep being polite trying to learn at least the basics. Secretly, most Spanish I've met are far more desperate to learn English than you are Spanish? But then again, who can blame them ... :)

Shopping for your English must haves?

There's always a local spar/Lidl/Mercadona which will have some of your favourites? If you find an English shop, just ask them if they can get hold of something on a regular basis from the UK. In Almunecar, if you find the Spar in Calle Bikini [San Cristobal] back of Hotel Casablanca, they will get you anything [within reason] foodwise for a supplemnet charge. A great little shop and life saver when looking for UK items not available in the big Lidl/Mercadonas.

Parking:

In my town it's crap for the entire summer months when looking for free parking. Think very carefully before hiring a car, if you live in a central town [like i do] I have little use for the car for days on end. Everything is on my doorstep and a car just gathers dust. If you live more than 15 minutes out of town? Check out any hills to and from your abode. They [hills] are a nightmare when the temp' is touching 40c.

At this point I thought it polite to mention our lawyer, Maria Velasco [Velasco Lawyers, Almunecar]. Personally, I would give her 10/10 for the way she sorts out any problems. She's very funny, in a slightly mad Spanish way and will make life so much easier by her indepth knowledge and that EVERYBODY knows her in Almunecar. All Spanish towns/cities have legal people like this, seek them out and keep them on your side for all those important moments.

Late nights, late mornings ... To be continued.
I agree with you about using small independent local suppliers of items like white goods, their service is always excellent. Never mind next day delivery, there have been occasions when we've been in to buy something one morning and have been asked if we'd like it delivered that morning or that afternoon! If we are getting rid of something which is still in working order, we always ask a Spanish neighbour first if they know anyone who could make use of it, and up to now there has never been a need to get the deliverymen to take the old one away, because the offers have always been taken up gladly. Same with furniture, someone is always pleased to have it.

My husband is a fan of the ferreterias here, they are so helpful and keen to solve whatever problem you may have, will happily come up with a solution which often only costs a few centimos rather than getting you to buy something new because "it would be too expensive to repair". One we use routinely rounds down the bill to the nearest euro, sometimes reduces it (without asking) by a few euros. You don't get that in B&Q - nor Leroy Merlin for that matter! Maybe things cost a tiny bit more in the smaller ferreterias, but that has to be balanced against the extra time and cost of driving to a larger store.

We are also of the same mind as yourselves when it comes to having a car. We too live in an old town area with no vehicle access closer than about 50m away, and parking further away than that. We have excellent public transport links and never any problems in getting heavy items delivered (although we are thankful that the deliverymen don't turn a hair about carrying very heavy stuff for quite some distance) so in the 10 years we've lived here not once have we had to hire a car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,935 Posts
My husband is a fan of the ferreterias here, they are so helpful and keen to solve whatever problem you may have, will happily come up with a solution which often only costs a few centimos rather than getting you to buy something new because "it would be too expensive to repair". One we use routinely rounds down the bill to the nearest euro, sometimes reduces it (without asking) by a few euros. You don't get that in B&Q - nor Leroy Merlin for that matter! Maybe things cost a tiny bit more in the smaller ferreterias, but that has to be balanced against the extra time and cost of driving to a larger store.
I'm a fan of independent ferreterias too. But you do have to be prepared to have a conversation, you can't just wander round browsing until you find what you want. That can be quite an alien way of shopping to people used to B&Q - the same applies to local food shops vs supermarkets.

So my OH (whose Spanish is excellent BTW) would still rather drive a 100 km round trip to Leroys to buy something that's kept on a shelf at the back of the local shop, which you have to ask for!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,345 Posts
I'm a fan of independent ferreterias too. But you do have to be prepared to have a conversation, you can't just wander round browsing until you find what you want. That can be quite an alien way of shopping to people used to B&Q - the same applies to local food shops vs supermarkets.

So my OH (whose Spanish is excellent BTW) would still rather drive a 100 km round trip to Leroys to buy something that's kept on a shelf at the back of the local shop, which you have to ask for!
When we first got our house here and my husband used to be at the ferreteria most days buying something or other, the assistant just used to tell him to go down to the basement and have a look for what he wanted! The level of trust is amazing, he could have walked out with his pockets stuffed had he been dishonestly inclined. As a former plumber he's still often amazed just how cheap a lot of building/plumbing supplies are here, anything made of wood being the exception, of course (it's always way more expensive here than in the UK, certainly).

A lot of the Brits we know will drive to Málaga and back (a 1.5 hour round trip) to go to Bauhaus or Leroy Merlin so that they can, as you say, have the supermarket type experience and pick things off the shelves - but it's because they don't speak any Spanish and can't cope with asking for things in the ferreterias. One guy, seeing my husband coming back from the local wood-yard (which is in the centre of town) told him he could go to somewhere on an out of town industrial estate - and they speak English there! OH pointed out that he could manage to ask for a piece of wood to be cut to size and didn't fancy having to take a bus there and back just to be able to ask for it in English.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,935 Posts
When we first got our house here and my husband used to be at the ferreteria most days buying something or other, the assistant just used to tell him to go down to the basement and have a look for what he wanted! The level of trust is amazing, he could have walked out with his pockets stuffed had he been dishonestly inclined. As a former plumber he's still often amazed just how cheap a lot of building/plumbing supplies are here, anything made of wood being the exception, of course (it's always way more expensive here than in the UK, certainly).
And I love the fact that you can buy screws, curtain hooks etc individually instead of a plastic-sealed pack of 25...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,345 Posts
And I love the fact that you can buy screws, curtain hooks etc individually instead of a plastic-sealed pack of 25...
We were looking for a replacement hinge for a wardrobe door a couple of weeks ago. Went to a few different ferreterias with no luck (it appears to be a very specialised type, and unfortunately the manufacturers of the wardrobe are no longer in business so we can't get one from them). One of them had one he thought might be suitable, and solemnly wrote me out a receipt so that I could bring it back and get my money back if it wasn't. The hinge cost all of €0.90!

Another time our automatic watering system was broken and my OH took the broken bit in to try to get a replacement. The lady behind the counter at first said no, sorry, so he thought he was going to have to buy a new one. Then an old chap also behind the counter said "un momento", disappeared into the stock room and came back with two plastic parts which he fitted together, hey presto problem solved for the grand total of €0.60.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Back again! ... Where was I?

They all tell you "it's going to be hot in the summer" ... Well, 35c around 1am in the morning was unexpected! Ok, the direction of the breeze can cause the temperature to rise massively, but when you're there for months on end you realise just how nice a day of cloud can be? NEVER underestimate the heat, you think you've got use to the blistering sun, only to find those painful red marks on your shorts/swimsuit material line. Be careful at all times during the hotter months.

So we've found all the important shops for food, the water/electricity and IBI billing have been arranged with direct debits at our Spanish bank sorted, so things are going well. This is the point when you try to create a little bit of 'home' in Spain? Maybe a touch of renovation? A piece of furniture or maybe a gadget you would normally pop down the high street to purchase ... think again. Unless you live in a very tourist laden areas? You'll be scratching your heads looking for things that you regard as must haves. An example, shops like B&Q only exist near very large towns/cities. The Spanish almost appear to create a 'protectionist' attitude towards selling items. Only the local chino shops will try to sell everything [within reason] in the same shop. Another frustration is building materials ... You can buy the basics, but not the tools needed to do the job in the same store? There always seems to be 'another' ferrateria [hardware store], but their items for sale are limited. The other thing is the expense, hand tools/electrical tools are very expensive here.

Whitegoods:

Buy them with the condition that they are delivered to the place in your flat/house required and that the old knackered item [if applicable] is taken without charge. Also remember, the shop will quite possibly deliver the next day, if buying locally. Sometimes the extra cost locally can be worth it as the aftersales service can be so much better. Weigh up all the costs associated with a 'whitegoods' purchase. Find a good local shop and stick with them.

Learning the lingo ... again.

It makes sense obviously, but you get to a point where you try to converse in Spanish and they [locals] will always reply to you in English? WTF ... But don't give up, keep being polite trying to learn at least the basics. Secretly, most Spanish I've met are far more desperate to learn English than you are Spanish? But then again, who can blame them ... :)

Shopping for your English must haves?

There's always a local spar/Lidl/Mercadona which will have some of your favourites? If you find an English shop, just ask them if they can get hold of something on a regular basis from the UK. In Almunecar, if you find the Spar in Calle Bikini [San Cristobal] back of Hotel Casablanca, they will get you anything [within reason] foodwise for a supplemnet charge. A great little shop and life saver when looking for UK items not available in the big Lidl/Mercadonas.

Parking:

In my town it's crap for the entire summer months when looking for free parking. Think very carefully before hiring a car, if you live in a central town [like i do] I have little use for the car for days on end. Everything is on my doorstep and a car just gathers dust. If you live more than 15 minutes out of town? Check out any hills to and from your abode. They [hills] are a nightmare when the temp' is touching 40c.

At this point I thought it polite to mention our lawyer, Maria Velasco [Velasco Lawyers, Almunecar]. Personally, I would give her 10/10 for the way she sorts out any problems. She's very funny, in a slightly mad Spanish way and will make life so much easier by her indepth knowledge and that EVERYBODY knows her in Almunecar. All Spanish towns/cities have legal people like this, seek them out and keep them on your side for all those important moments.

Late nights, late mornings ... To be continued.
The summer comes to and end, then reality really strikes!

Well, as a Brit expat the first thing you realise, as a jolly foreigner, is just how conservative Spaniards are? Yes, it can be a skimpy clothing fest' during the warmer months, but as an older git, you notice how the local lads have freedom to party, whilst the local girls ... disappear in the cooler months without trace?

The above caused us much concern, our youngest was faced with a reality of a deeply conservative locality which meant she was pretty much left with ****** all to do during the early evenings. Take note if you have a female in senior school, in this town [cooler months] they vanish long before dusk? All very strange, very 60s UK, I kid you not!

So, with all the above nonsense, we decided that this wasn't the way to go for our youngest. Move quick was the best way to go, we see out the autumn term and decided it was back to the UK for our youngest. If you land in different town, with a more social attitude for early teens etc? Lucky you! We couldn't take the chance as borrrredom would have struck long before we reached the Spring term, so we changed our plans.

We've been back in the UK now for a couple of months, our youngest is in her new UK school and very happy. I [dad] is returning in the next week or so to Spain. The house will now become a 'bolt hole' - 'summer retreat' etc.

We love our 'Place in the Sun' but you really have to think about your kids and schooling before and when you arrive in any Spanish town/city. We haven't done a runner, we have just adjusted our plans to suit our kids needs [my son was missing us as well in the UK] - don't be put off by doom mongers, the miserable bleeders that inhabit some of these forums. In the politest of ways, tell them to "f' off" and worry about their own boring lives and try to carve out your own Spanish dream?

Spain is fabulous, stay away from the Brit ghettos and be YOUR own person/family. NEVER listen to moaners going on about how much they dislike Spain or want to go back to the UK. Just put your arm around their shoulder and say quietly in their ear "well, why don't you f' off then mate, you ain't no expat bruv".

:nod::wave:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,449 Posts
The summer comes to and end, then reality really strikes!

Well, as a Brit expat the first thing you realise, as a jolly foreigner, is just how conservative Spaniards are? Yes, it can be a skimpy clothing fest' during the warmer months, but as an older git, you notice how the local lads have freedom to party, whilst the local girls ... disappear in the cooler months without trace?

The above caused us much concern, our youngest was faced with a reality of a deeply conservative locality which meant she was pretty much left with ****** all to do during the early evenings. Take note if you have a female in senior school, in this town [cooler months] they vanish long before dusk? All very strange, very 60s UK, I kid you not!

So, with all the above nonsense, we decided that this wasn't the way to go for our youngest. Move quick was the best way to go, we see out the autumn term and decided it was back to the UK for our youngest. If you land in different town, with a more social attitude for early teens etc? Lucky you! We couldn't take the chance as borrrredom would have struck long before we reached the Spring term, so we changed our plans.

We've been back in the UK now for a couple of months, our youngest is in her new UK school and very happy. I [dad] is returning in the next week or so to Spain. The house will now become a 'bolt hole' - 'summer retreat' etc.

We love our 'Place in the Sun' but you really have to think about your kids and schooling before and when you arrive in any Spanish town/city. We haven't done a runner, we have just adjusted our plans to suit our kids needs [my son was missing us as well in the UK] - don't be put off by doom mongers, the miserable bleeders that inhabit some of these forums. In the politest of ways, tell them to "f' off" and worry about their own boring lives and try to carve out your own Spanish dream?

Spain is fabulous, stay away from the Brit ghettos and be YOUR own person/family. NEVER listen to moaners going on about how much they dislike Spain or want to go back to the UK. Just put your arm around their shoulder and say quietly in their ear "well, why don't you f' off then mate, you ain't no expat bruv".

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7aPp-4z-uw :nod::wave:
Yes, it's difficult factor everything in, isn't it? You're right, Spaniards can be very conservative. My experience of this is in Bilbao, right in the opposite end of the country to where you were, but even there you'll see loads of young people in the streets. Where I live, a large town near Madrid again you'll find loads of young people out and about in the street or going to and from after school activities at all hours, so maybe where you were was too small or too suburban perhaps.
Anyway, your experience sounds expensive and not everyone will have the money to ride out something similar so what you've written should be helpful for someone.
Most people on this forum do point out to people that moving with kids is not just a case of planting them in the sun and letting them grow roots in Spain. It's difficult and shouldn't be under estimated.
I think we've got very few doom mongers and miserable bleeders on this forum and especially if you compare to other forums. We do have a lot of people who know a lot about their bit of Spain and who are prepared to share the good and the bad with people who want to know, and that seems like a really valuable resource to me.
Save
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,345 Posts
I still see lots of young teens out and about in the evenings where I live. of both sexes. They're going to or from sports sessions, hanging out at the local indoor shopping centre with their mates, going to the multi-screen cinema at the shopping centre, etc.

However, one reason why you don't see as many people in general out and about in the winter is that the Spanish really don't seem to like cold or especially wet weather (at least the Andalucians who aren't used to it don't). They keep to their homes instead, and where I live it's like a ghost town when it rains. When I was doing an intercambio with a young Spanish guy, he said to me one evening "oh, I didn't think you'd come tonight, it's raining". "Jorge", I said "I am from Manchester. If I didn't go out in the rain I would never have left my house".:D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,935 Posts
I still see lots of young teens out and about in the evenings where I live. of both sexes. They're going to or from sports sessions, hanging out at the local indoor shopping centre with their mates, going to the multi-screen cinema at the shopping centre, etc.

However, one reason why you don't see as many people in general out and about in the winter is that the Spanish really don't seem to like cold or especially wet weather (at least the Andalucians who aren't used to it don't). They keep to their homes instead, and where I live it's like a ghost town when it rains. When I was doing an intercambio with a young Spanish guy, he said to me one evening "oh, I didn't think you'd come tonight, it's raining". "Jorge", I said "I am from Manchester. If I didn't go out in the rain I would never have left my house".:D
I'm with Jorge. I no longer go out when it's raining. i guess I've acclimatised.

The kids in our village seem to be mad for sport and keeping themselves fit. We have two gyms and they are always fully occupied all year round. They are, almost without exception, slim and beautiful - both sexes. Also very polite and friendly. Most of them know me because I go into the secondary school every now and again to help in the English classes. I can't compare them with English teenagers because I hardly know any, but I think Spanish kids are great. :)
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top