David Worboys – Life in Spain

Spain has some of the world's most beautiful cities, such as Sevilla, but it does not score well on animal rights.

We live in one of the most advanced countries on Earth.

Spain has a significant colonial history and consequently great global influence. It is relatively free of gun crime, racism and abject poverty. It enjoys a combination of prosperity, safety and freedom of press and speech envied by most parts of the world. Its health service is still among the best and its restaurants definitely so. It all points to an exceptional lifestyle. If we exclude Western Europe, there are very few countries ahead of Spain over all. Australia, Canada, and Japan spring to mind.

I can speak mainly for Andalucia but I can hardly think of a better country to live in. The sunny outdoor life offers easy access to a range of sporting activities and exercise. This is a land of olive oil, garlic, oranges and wine. The diversity of homegrown fruit, vegetables, fish and seafood offers a healthy quality of life, second to nowhere. Between the sierras and the sea there are great historical cities, vibrant market towns and exquisite white villages. All surrounded by scenic mountains, plantations, forests and meadows.

The Andalucians tend to be generous yet self-absorbed, which can be dangerous for road users. Pedestrians rarely notice the oncoming vehicle or make eye contact with the driver when wading over a zebra crossing. Bus times can be unreliable. Customer service in shops, restaurants and from utility companies is frequently sullen. There are queues at banks and post offices because of slow systems and complicated procedures. Appointments are rarely punctual and are sometimes not kept at all (no show). The locals have little sense of time and scant recognition that other people may have made their own arrangements.

Patience is required for the bureaucracy, the complicated tax system, and confusion over building regulations and property title.

Spain has particular issues with corruption, animal rights and domestic gender violence, which all remain at unacceptable levels. The same applies to employee rights. However, there is increasing awareness of what needs to be done. And I understand that some of these comments reflect an increasing malaise afflicting many other countries.

And the variety! The gastronomic cities of San Sebastian and Cadiz could be in two different countries. The former sits aside the Bay of Biscay and just north of the wonderful Basque scenery, reminiscent of Austria. Hotter, historic Cadiz juts into the open Atlantic facing the Americas. And there are dramatic contrasts in cities from Cataluña to Galicia and from Alicante to Salamanca.

Politically, Spain seems no more controversial than most other developed countries, and the monarchy has regained its respect. It has a rich cultural history from Cervantes to Almodovar and Velazquez to Picasso and Rodrigo. In sport there are world beaters in Real Madrid and Nadal. Spanish managers dominate the English Premiership, while In basketball, golf, formula 1 and cycling, Spain has legends of these sports.

Residents and holidaymakers alike, we all love this fascinating country.

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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.