David Worboys: Living in Spain

Linda Hall: Blame Hemmingway

Image by Daniel Leppens/Shutterstock

Life in Spain is different from other European countries. Spain is very colourful with perennial flowers, sunny festivals and historic cities, but living here can require a lot of patience and a lot of adapting. Solving a problem or getting explanations can be very slow, time-consuming and fraught with complications. However, Spain is one of the world´s most developed countries.

The Spanish talk fast, drive fast and live fast, and yet institutions are terribly slow. In the time it takes to draw a sum of money at a bank counter or send a registered letter at a Post Office, you could buy a house in England. So the queues build up. As there is not much sense of time, people here seem to spend a lot of their time waiting patiently ….

And we are waiting for a refund of €284. Over five years ago, our IBI (Council Tax) was inadvertently paid twice. It took eight months for Patronato to acknowledge this and promise a refund. After seventeen visits to the local office, the sum is still confirmed as owing to us and “on its way”, but our claim will probably be statute-barred by now. Five years on, no information is forthcoming.

Water management is non-existent. The amount of water wasted every day could probably solve the current drought crisis.

There are numerous lively festivals and street processions, marking national and regional anniversaries, religious and saint days, attended by entire families. Family life is close. Elderly relatives are respected and well cared for, normally en famille. Children are adored and participate in family social life from an early age. Every Easter, people dress up, cover their faces and parade as benign members of Ku-Klux-Klan.

There are shocking examples of animal neglect, abuse and cruelty in domestic, farming and so-called “entertainment” environments. Numerous British (and some Spanish) organisations provide sanctuary for animals rescued from mistreatment and raise awareness of the situation. There is nothing they can do for chickens, cattle, pigs – and, of course, bulls.

Among Spanish successes are the recent reduction in inflation and the physical health and longevity of its people. In the countryside, many elderly people walk about eight or nine kilometres every day. Younger people regularly practise yoga, jogging, swimming and cycling.

The network of motorways and mountain roads and the efficiency of railways makes for enjoyable travel to stunning cities and spectacular mountain and coastal scenery.

If we choose to eat in season, depending on the time of year, we have access to fresh, home-grown produce. Many fruits can be freely picked and consumed, such as olives, oranges, lemons, figs, blackberries, almonds, pomegranates, nisperos (loquats) and bananas. Local plantations and orchards produce strawberries, peaches, mangoes, avocados, pomegranates, cherries, chirimoyas (custard apples) and melons. There is also a variety of vegetables, fish, seafood, herbs and spices, garlic, wine and honey.

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Written by

David Worboys

Offering a unique insight into everything from politics to food to sport, David is one of the Euro Weekly News´ most popular columnists.