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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all!

I want to move to Spain for two reasons, one to learn Spanish and two to write a book. My plan is to move and join one of the Spanish language schools to improve my conversational Spanish and to rent an apartment in a town or city where there is an authentic flavour of Spanish life - so, not overwhelmingly expat life!

Being a poor impoverished writer I will have to watch my pennies!

Let me ask you all; where would you consider if you were me?

Scribbles
 

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I think if I were you I'd have to ask myself what I mean by authentic Spain!! There are the old villages around still - the classic "picture book" type, but the young folk from those areas seem to want what other european youngsters have - the fast cars, good jobs, internet, fashionable houses, clothes, surroundings..... Not donkeys or wandering thru lemon groves. So it seems to me that these old villages are gradually dying or being taken up by either expats or tourists????. But to me real Spain now is European towns which, sadly are much like any other european town!!??


But you'll hopefully get some other answers lol


Jo xxxx
 

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Ahhh ... the much asked question "where is real spain?" :D

Who knows! What is real Spain? Is it a small village where the villagers sit around the square talking about their day. Is it the busy City where people go about their day in the same frenzied rush that workers do in any other city in the world?

I dont think you will get a definitive answer :) Ex pats are part of Spanish life nowadays, whether they be French, Dutch, English or whatever. All I can say is avoid the big towns in the Costas such as Benidorm, Torrevieja etc etc. There are still Spanish towns to be found even in the Costa's.

If you are looking for total Spanish life with no expats then I guess head far inland, but I bet you still find some :)
 

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I understand from your post that money (as in employment) is not an issue? As others have said, sort of, you need to define your terms. What does "authentic" Spain mean to you?

I fell in love with Tarifa in 1970..it has changed a lot, obviously, but I am still in love with the place, and still find the same "authentic" flavour, despite the growth etc. So it depends on what you are seeking, and how you define authenticity....
 

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We live in an Inland Village, the way of life is so simple. I think it feels like the 'Real Spain', I love it here so I am a bit biased. There are some expats here, we don't have much to do with them, usually just passing the time of day. Rental is very cheap if you come Inland. You can get a 4 bed house here for 200 euros a month. The Spanish are really friendly. Some Spanish friends of ours are starting up a Language school in the nearby town for Brits wanting to learn the lingo.
 

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I've visited most parts of Spain for over 35 years and I would answer this impossible question with:

Leon. This city typifies Spainish people and the spanish way of life for me.

Clearly many of the coasts are full of Brits and Germans and need to be avoided as even the spanish that remain there are tainted by the invasion of largely sun seekers.

I'd suggest a small village wherever it maybe is not the answer unless the village supports an economy (and sadly the state of argriculture in Spain leaves very few of them). The spanish are workers despite all the 'manana' jokes.

I guess you also have to forget the regions such as Catalunya and Pais Basque. They have their own culture and unless your are a staunch Republican then you may consider them the rebels (long live the Republic ;))

You have also to ignore Galicia and my beloved Asturias as anywhere with bagpipes and so much rain cannot be taken seriously as Spanish.

The best parts of the south I feel are more moorish than spanish. If I had to choose down there I'd go for Seville. Ignore the tourists and share a beer with the Real Betis supporters - yup real spain can be found there alright ;)

awaits anti football comment from jojo :love:
 
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Come to the pueblos of the northern coast, where you can't find an expat even if you try!

I'm not keen on this bit about forgetting Galicia, Asturias, and Basque Country.
If you want stereotypical toros, paella, sevillanas, olé! go to the south. But, be forewarned that if you try to say that's all Spain is you're wrong.
 

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Come to the pueblos of the northern coast, where you can't find an expat even if you try!

I'm not keen on this bit about forgetting Galicia, Asturias, and Basque Country.
If you want stereotypical toros, paella, sevillanas, olé! go to the south. But, be forewarned that if you try to say that's all Spain is you're wrong.
Halydia you are being most unkind. You know full well the north coast is horrid suffering bad weather, a total lack of friendly people, no interesting culture, awful scenery, terrible cuisine, campo full of nasty animals, rickety narrow guage railway, dozens of bad bagpipe players (well in the west), and it smells. Best avoided by all expats - not even worth a day trip ;)
 
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Halydia you are being most unkind. You know full well the north coast is horrid suffering bad weather, a total lack of friendly people, no interesting culture, awful scenery, terrible cuisine, campo full of nasty animals, rickety narrow guage railway, dozens of bad bagpipe players (well in the west), and it smells. Best avoided by all expats - not even worth a day trip ;)
An example of reverse psychology at its finest!!;)
 
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Halydia you are being most unkind. You know full well the north coast is horrid suffering bad weather, a total lack of friendly people, no interesting culture, awful scenery, terrible cuisine, campo full of nasty animals, rickety narrow guage railway, dozens of bad bagpipe players (well in the west), and it smells. Best avoided by all expats - not even worth a day trip ;)
So, so true! I'm sorry, all this horrid weather has made me accidentally positive again.
 
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I've been living in Bilbao since September. Last year I was in Santander.

I prefer Santander because you really can't beat a city so safe with such gorgeous beaches and bay-front. However, there's a certain grittiness to Bilbao that I really like. It's also nice to have the metro to get around both banks of the river!

My OH is from here, but we'll be moving to coastal Cantabria as soon as our apartment gets finished up. We're teachers, and the Euskera requirement in Basque Country kills us both.
 

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Halydia you are being most unkind. You know full well the north coast is horrid suffering bad weather, a total lack of friendly people, no interesting culture, awful scenery, terrible cuisine, campo full of nasty animals, rickety narrow guage railway, dozens of bad bagpipe players (well in the west), and it smells. Best avoided by all expats - not even worth a day trip ;)
Hey..we were over near to your pueblo yesterday in Luanco by the coast. Not at all beautiful. The views and coastline were OK, not much to do except relax and watch the waves crashing in. While the kids took videos of the horses..

..the weather was awful as always. The sun not shining at all and today, again it's not at all nice...

;)
 

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I've been living in Bilbao since September. Last year I was in Santander.

I prefer Santander because you really can't beat a city so safe with such gorgeous beaches and bay-front. However, there's a certain grittiness to Bilbao that I really like. It's also nice to have the metro to get around both banks of the river!

My OH is from here, but we'll be moving to coastal Cantabria as soon as our apartment gets finished up. We're teachers, and the Euskera requirement in Basque Country kills us both.
Hmmm, I can see why you might prefer Sanatander to Bilbao, but it's not a bad place is it?
Are you teachers in the state system?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi again all;

First thanks for the very helpful suggestions. Being an outsider to the forum - at the moment -I don't quite get some of the insider jokes, but I have made a note of some of the places you mention for further investigation, (apart from the Northern Coast - all the reverse psychology laid to one side!)

I see you have rerasonably asked what I mean by authentic Spain. I suppose what I meant to communicate is that I do not want to live in a place which has cafe's every 5 feet serving "full Englsih beakfasts" ( I have partaken of too many of those in my life and my bodily functions will welcome a rest!) and I want to avoid roads lined with new golf course developments.

I appreciate what someone said that expats are now a part of Spain and I do not want to cut myself off completely; I do for instance appreciate reading a British broadsheet when it is available and meeting interesting people no matter where they are from, Britain is not excluded from that. I think I want a city, (for I appreciate architecture, people watching and things to do) not necessarily big but with good train or other public transport links where I can find a reasonable rental, write, go for walks and develop a relaxed but full life reading, writing, smoking my pipe and playing chess - if necessary on-line!

So, all you "ex-pert ex-pats", for me authentic Spain is I supose somewhere not so much devoid of ex-pat presence as holding it in proposrtion to itself. I hope this makes sense and "gets the waters flowing again."

Scribbles
 

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Hey..we were over near to your pueblo yesterday in Luanco by the coast. Not at all beautiful. The views and coastline were OK, not much to do except relax and watch the waves crashing in. While the kids took videos of the horses..

..the weather was awful as always. The sun not shining at all and today, again it's not at all nice...

;)
Yup it's a tough life.

Have you visited the Anton museo in Candas? Incredible even if you don't like museos or art. Stroll threw the Euclyptus woods and breath in the rain released fragrance heading down from the lighthouse and chapel. Visit the museo (small but amazing). Then take a beer in Nautico on the harbour side. Stroll the coastal path to Xivares by the old railway line route. Return by FEVE (narrow guage railway) then visit number 4 (little tiny house) and await hot bread removed from the oven that must be centuries old. Home for tea with bread dripping in butter. Then on the sofa with a cava just in time for the match to begin.

O a perfect day :D
 

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Sounds to me Salamanca might be worth a look. It seems to tick all the boxes unless the coast is important. That bit between Madrid and Portugal contains many treasures.

Yes the in jokes can be a bit weird but this place is full of helpful folk with really good info. Hope you enjoy and fill us in as your adventure unwinds.
 
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Hmmm, I can see why you might prefer Sanatander to Bilbao, but it's not a bad place is it?
Are you teachers in the state system?
Bilbao isn't bad at all, and it probably wasn't all that fair a comparison. I adore both cities!

He's a teacher in the state system, I'm an assistant in a state school doing a program run by the state. I hope to participate in the 2012 round of oposiciones and become a real teacher! We'll see if I get all my paperwork in line by that time...
 

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Hi again all;

First thanks for the very helpful suggestions. Being an outsider to the forum - at the moment -I don't quite get some of the insider jokes, but I have made a note of some of the places you mention for further investigation, (apart from the Northern Coast - all the reverse psychology laid to one side!)

I see you have rerasonably asked what I mean by authentic Spain. I suppose what I meant to communicate is that I do not want to live in a place which has cafe's every 5 feet serving "full Englsih beakfasts" ( I have partaken of too many of those in my life and my bodily functions will welcome a rest!) and I want to avoid roads lined with new golf course developments.

I appreciate what someone said that expats are now a part of Spain and I do not want to cut myself off completely; I do for instance appreciate reading a British broadsheet when it is available and meeting interesting people no matter where they are from, Britain is not excluded from that. I think I want a city, (for I appreciate architecture, people watching and things to do) not necessarily big but with good train or other public transport links where I can find a reasonable rental, write, go for walks and develop a relaxed but full life reading, writing, smoking my pipe and playing chess - if necessary on-line!

So, all you "ex-pert ex-pats", for me authentic Spain is I supose somewhere not so much devoid of ex-pat presence as holding it in proposrtion to itself. I hope this makes sense and "gets the waters flowing again."

Scribbles

I guess what you mean is "ye olde" Spain LOL. Certainly from what I've seen, there are some of those around but the tourists have infiltrated the prettiest ones. I went to a cafe in Fuengirola this morning and it was serving full english breakfasts, the owner and staff were Spanish as were all the people eating and yes, the Spanish customers were tucking into full english breakfasts. We were the only brits there - very nice it was too!

Jo xxx

jo xx
 

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My recommendations are
Burgos - north of Madrid. Easy town to get around and has some beautiful bits by the river and cathedral, is definitely Spanish, but is on the Camino de Santiago so you get lots of pilgrims and walkers around. Very cold in the winter though.

León - similar to Burgos (I mean my description of it). Even colder than Burgos??

Salamanca - is amazing, but I don't know if it would be a bit too much to live there. The whole city is a historical monument. In term time there are a lot of students so there should be a lot going on entertainment wise, and there are always a lot of tourists, but more arty historical types, not lager louts.

Bilbao - Up North. The city has changed incredibly since the Guggenheim museum opened. It's much more international and there are many pleasant areas in the city.
You do NOT need Basque to live in Bilbao. My husbands family are Basque and out of 14 members of the family only one person speaks it and that's because she's a teacher and you have to speak Basque in that profession.
Negative point obviously the politics and if you have kids, sending them to a Basque school...
 
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