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11 March 2020

The sky was the colour of a Manchester City football shirt and the almond blossom reminded me of those cotton wool balls women remove their make-up with (and blokes I suppose). Every hue of pinks and whites possible.  The mountains of the Sierra Nevada had a blanket of snow on them which seemed to enhance all the colours around us.

What a stunning introduction to the Alpujarras! It was the middle of February and we were making our first visit to mainland Spain. Having left the doom and gloom of England behind, the temperature here was a pleasant sixteen degrees and the holiday was off to a good start. And that’s all it was, a holiday. Our accommodation for the week was a self-catering casita (a small house) on the Tijola road out of Órgiva in Andalucia.

On the way to our casita, we drove over some lemons and with some luck found our abode. What a beautiful place, nestled in a valley with views across the Rio Guadalfeo (ugly river) to the mountains of the Contraviesa and the hippy camp of Cigarones.
Once settled in, and with our six-year-old daughter, Alex looking expectantly at the swimming pool, we noticed our casita had nothing in stock. None of the basics like toilet paper, salt, pepper, olive oil (which could be purchased off the owners) washing-up liquid, beer etc.
Sarah exclaimed, “If we had letting houses, they would at least have a welcoming pack.”
Alarm bells should have started ringing!
Well, off we went into town to purchase all the necessary supplies. There were lots of bars and restaurants, mainly all with the same menu, supermarkets, five banks, no charity shops and no estate agents. Not that we were looking for estate agents, just curious.
You could spot us a mile away in our shorts and sandals, we were in holiday mode. While in the town we had a beer in Nemesis One. There must be a Nemesis Two somewhere? Every time we had a drink the landlord brought us a tasty morsel.
Ah, we thought, this must be tapas.
The Granada province is one of the last areas to serve tapas with beer, wine or mosto (non-alcoholic wine). Not with spirits or soft drinks though. The townspeople were well wrapped up, but to us, it was like an August day back in England.

It was not long before Alex was enjoying the pool. It was a little fresh and she tried in vain to coax us in. No chance, it’s February. Living in a rural area in England we thought we had fresh air but here we noticed how pure the air was and how well we slept. The shutters on the windows kept out the early morning light.

Our hosts were people we had known back in Somerset where they used to run the local pub. They had moved to Órgiva to be close to their granddaughter and had bought a ruin to convert into letting houses and what a great job they had done. The garden was well stocked with colourful plants, oranges and lemons providing bright orbs of sunshine and slices of fruit for our liquid refreshments.

During the holiday it was carnival time in Órgiva, normally eight weeks before Easter but the celebrations had to be spread over many weekends as only one marquee was available in the area for so many towns and villages. Friday night was the kids’ turn and we managed to get Alex dressed up as a clown. It was good to get involved and we could feel the warmth and friendliness of the local parents with children of a similar age. Saturday was for the adults.

Órgiva is the capital market town of the Alpujarras with a population of around five thousand people. It’s a bustling busy town with a very cosmopolitan, bohemian atmosphere. Mining and agriculture are its main activities but with tourism catching on. The ski resort of the Sierra Nevada is only an hour and a half away and the beaches of Motril and Salobrena just forty minutes down the road. At four hundred and fifty metres above sea level, the town has a micro-climate in which many different crops can grow, all fed from the waters of the melting snow off the mountains.

While settling into our holiday routine and thoroughly enjoying our surroundings a niggling question was emerging from somewhere in the back of my mind. What’s the price of property around here? And could we do what our hosts had achieved?

I needed to find an estate agent. These elusive characters operated in pairs, one foreign and one local. I was told they hung around a coffee bar called Galindos, and coffee time and breakfast time was at ten. So off I set to track them down.

My luck was in and I found a guy called Dharmo and his Spanish mate, Ramon (Dharmo’s corridor). Dharmo made the contacts with the foreigners and Ramon found the properties.

On introducing myself I was eyed with suspicion; they were in no hurry to show me their portfolio of property. Eventually, Dharmo pulled out of his well-worn satchel a photograph album with pictures of ruins of farmhouses, townhouses and bare parcels of land. But no prices.


Author: Andy Bailey

Bio: We moved to Spain 20 years ago and have been compiling a book by observing and integrating since we arrived. The book is now published. Órgiva: A Chancer's Guide to Rural Spain. Chris Stewart has given it a good review.


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Visit Andalucia's Wolf Park
24 January 2020

The Lobo Park in Antequera is an unspoilt nature and wildlife park in the heart of Andalusia; where you may look at a wolf eye to eye for the first time in your life!

The wolves in the park live in big enclosures so they have enough space to roam, play and hide when they want to. However, out of curiosity the wolves often come close to the observation points where you would go as a visitor, allowing you to see them very well. Some wolves are socialised and some have never been touched by a human hand, yet still they will all come up close because they have learnt from the pack to have confidence and that no one will bother them. No human interferes with the social development of the pack and therefore one can observe the natural behaviour in the enclosures.

You reach the enclosures by a path which leads you not only to the different enclosures but also to the individual platforms that offer you an excellent view of the wolves. In the park there are  4 breeds of wolf:

Timber (Canis lupus occidentalis) - The Timber wolves in the Lobo Park originate from the vast forests of Canada. This also explains their distinct colouring.

Alaska Tundra (Canis lupus tundrorum) - These wolves originally live in the Tundra of Alaska, where they survive extreme weather conditions from very cold winters to very hot summers. This subspecies is close to extinction and there are only a very few in the wild and in captivity.

European (Canis lupus lupus) - Still today, we find European wolves from Russia to Poland and Romania. Meanwhile, we find the European wolves also in many European countries such as in Scandinavia, Germany, along the border of Switzerland, France and Italy.

Iberian (Canis lupus signatus) - These native wolves live in Spain and Portugal and are a subspecies of the European wolf. Spain, together with Portugal, has the biggest population in Western Europe. One estimates that there app. 2000 wolves living in the wild in the North of Spain in provinces such as Asturias, Castillo y León, Cantabria, Galicia and Zamora.



The Lobo Park arranges guided tours for visitors in both English and Spanish. Visitors can obtain insights into how wolves behave in the real world. The Lobo Park is built to provide the wolves with an environment that resembles their natural habitat. This allows the wolves enough space to display their innate traits, as well as play and run around freely. The tours are designed so that this natural behaviour can be observed, and the fear that most people have of wolves is notably reduced. 

If you are looking for a very special evening out, don’t miss the regular Wolf Howl Nights on every full moon evening all year round and from May until October on weekends. 

See the wolves in the evening and you’ll experience them in a different light. As the air cools down and the sun starts to set, the wolves get livelier. It is also the best time to hear them howl.

When asked how wolves communicate, most people would respond that they howl. However, they actually communicate in a variety of methods through sound, smell and body language. Wolf sounds range from the hair-raising howls that call the pack together and play a huge role in socialisation and bonding, to the rough short bark-like sound that signifies fear and is used to warn other pack members of threats or to scare away intruders. Other sounds include the whine, whimper, yelp, growl and snarl, all of which are probably heard more often than the howl, and yet it's the howl that defines the wolf and fascinates us. Definitely an unforgettable evening! 



[Post sent by Jane Evans - Málaga]


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The Ultimate case for Cava
18 December 2019

[Bio: Author: Becky Russell, a British native, who has visited Catalonia on many occasions]


We've all had a giggle at cava's expense. We've laughed and pointed at those subtly placing cheap Spanish bubbles on the sideboard before helping themselves to something French, white, crisp and awfully expensive. 

Well - we all need to revisit our well-worn prejudice. If you know cava - beyond that it's Spanish and fizzy - then stop reading and go and pour yourself a glass. Me? I'm new to all this and so respectfully present some modest insights, hoping that we'll be able to start wandering the Cava road together.

Cava is largely produced in the Penedès region of Catalonia. Only wines made using traditional champenoise methods are permitted to be called cava. Other methods result in merely 'sparkling wine'.

In order to control cava volumes, Spanish law - after years of debate - mandated that there are only eight wine regions permitted to produce cava. Catalonia's Mediterranean climate with baking summers and kind winters quietly help along the macabeu, parellada and xarello grapes which are the traditional cava producing varieties. Although mostly white (blanco), rosé (rosado) cava can also be produced by adding limited quantities of still red wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha or Monastrell.

As is the case for Champagne, cava comes in varying degrees of dryness: brut nature, brut, brut reserve, sec (seco), semisec (semiseco), and dolsec (dulce). If you're persuaded to try a bottle from one of the major Cava houses, you can't go wrong with Codorníu or Freixenet. 

While staying over at Catalan Manor, I chatted with the owner, Paul, about his recent venture into cava manufacture. Although an ecological approach has been used to cultivate vines on the estate since 1890, it was only in 2008 that he decided to make his own branded product. The estate produces a brut nature cava using the best 20% of the xarello grape harvest and traditional production techniques. On the 340 acres of estate, 10% is southern facing and dedicated to wine growing. 

Paul reflected on the first season, "I knew I enjoyed drinking cava, and that the potential was there to make some. The decision to engage local expertise was critical. Without this knowledge, it would have much more difficult to ensure success." 

The grapes are carefully monitored throughout August and September in order to judge the precise moment of harvest. In September, picking is done by hand in in the vineyards of the Penedès Appellation and grapes are moved by road in small boxes to Can Ramon winery to avoid bruising. The grapes are de-stemmed, crushed and transferred to large vats. The must settle and clears allowing for the removal of solid parts such as grape skins and pips. The must is then transferred to temperature-controlled stainless steel vats.

The outcome is a gracious and sensuous, boutique cava limited to 4000 bottles in any vintage. A small amount is sold and the remainder is saved for guests staying at the Catalan villa. 

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The Calendar of Christmas Events in Spain
10 December 2019

Christmas is all but upon us. A time for traditions, celebration, gifts and, above all, joy: the day of the “Santos Inocentes”, cribs, family dinners, Three Kings’ parades, New Year’s grapes… Should you decide to spend your Christmas in Spain you will find a country transformed although not as it is back in the UK.  Excessive Christmas decorations, lights and cheesy Christmasy TV adverts are few and far between. If you are not careful you could even miss that fact that Christmas is around the corner... but then again, Christmas is celebrated differently here.

Calendar of Christmas Events:

December 8th – This is the public holiday of Immaculada (Feast of the Immaculate Conception) which marks the beginning of the religious Christmas celebrations. Most notable in Seville.

21st December – In a few cities including Granada the celebration of Hogueras (bonfires) takes place. This date marks the winter solstice (shortest day) and where it is celebrated involves people jumping through fires to protect themselves against illness.

22nd December – All over Spain people never stray far from a TV or radio as the Christmas lottery is drawn over a period of many hours. Everybody in Spain buys tickets for this lottery in the hope of winning El Gordo (the fat one) and the winning number usually means that a good number of people from the same village become a lot better off overnight. Besides the big three prizes there are thousands of smaller prizes shared by people all over Spain. You can buy Spanish Christmas lottery tickets online.

24th December – Christmas Eve is called Nochebuena in Spanish (The Good night) and it is the most important family gathering of the year. In the evening people often meet early for a few drinks with friends then return home to enjoy a meal with the family. Most bars and restaurants close in the evening. Seafood platters followed by meats or roast lamb would be a typical meal rounded off with a typically Christmas sweet called turrón which is a nougat made of toasted sweet almonds. Another typical festive sweet is called Polvorones which is made from almonds, flour and sugar. Cava, Catalan 'champagne' and Asturian cider, would be the chosen drinks for the Christmas toast though plenty of fine Spanish wines will also be consumed with the meal.

25th December – Children may receive a small gift on Nochebuena or on Christmas morning but the day for presents is still 6th January, The Epiphany, when the Three Kings bring gifts for the children. However, this tradition is starting to change with the younger parents as everyone realises that if they give their presents on Christmas day the kids have more time to play with them. Christmas Day is a national holiday in Spain so shops are closed yet it is not a day of great celebration but rather a calm day when people go out for a walk, drop into a bar, visit relatives etc. Another large family meal at lunchtime is common though it’s becoming more common to see families eating out on the afternoon of Christmas day.

28th December – This is the day of Santos Inocentes (Holy Innocents) and is the equivalent of April Fools’ Day when people play practical jokes on one another. Often the national media will include a nonsense story in their broadcasts. In some villages youngsters light bonfires and one of them acts as the mayor who orders townspeople to carry out civic tasks such as sweeping the streets. Refusal to comply results in fines which are used to pay for the celebration.

31st December – New Year’s Eve is known as NocheVieja. To get involved, don’t forget to buy 12 grapes in advance. Why? According to Spanish tradition, everyone has to eat one grape in time with the striking of the clock at midnight. If you manage to eat them all on time, you will have a New Year full of luck. Although the New Year is broadcast on television, you will have an amazing time if you head for the main squares of towns and cities, normally the location of their clock towers. One of the most emblematic places to experience the celebration? Following the clock at Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid. There you will find thousands of people decked out with hats and squawkers joyfully toasting and welcoming in the New Year. Later on you can join one of the many parties held until dawn at hotels, bars and clubs 

1st January – A low key public holiday with plenty of people sleeping off their excesses.

5th January –  To ensure smiles on the children’s faces at Christmas, nothing better than the Three Kings Parade held on 5 January, the day before the feast of the Three Kings. In Spain it is the three Wise Men of the East, Melchoir, Caspar and Balthazar, who bring Christmas presents to children who have been good. Three Kings Parades, with their page-boys, camels and all kinds of weird and wonderful characters, make their way through the streets of villages, towns and cities all over Spain, to then leave gifts and toys at the houses. They are all spectacular, but special mention should be made of the one in Alcoi, in the province of Alicante, one of the oldest in Spain. Another is in Sierra Nevada where the Three Kings (Wise Men) can be seen to ski down to the village from the mountaintops.

6th January – This is the Feast of the Epiphany (Día de Los Reyes Magos) when the Three Kings arrived in Bethlehem. For many Spanish children, this is still the most important day of the year when they wake up to find that Los Reyes Magos (the Three Kings/Wise Men) have left gifts for them in their house. Santa may leave them some token gifts on December 25th but the Three Kings are their favourites, but this may not be the case in years to come, Santa is gaining ground on the Kings. During the day of 6th, the Three Kings continue their good work and are seen distributing gifts to children in hospitals all over Spain.

7th January – The day after receiving their gifts children return to school, their parents go back to work and Christmas in Spain is all over for another year.

Depending on where you are this Christmas ...

“Feliz Navidad” from Spain
“Bon Nadal” from Catalonia and Valencia
“Gabon Zoriontsuak” from the Basque Country
“Bo Nadal” from Galicia


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A Medieval watchtower, where you would NOT expect to find one...
20 November 2019


A part of one of the oldest towers in Madrid is nestled among the cars in a nondescript underground car park. Stumbling upon it is a treat for those looking for a place to park before heading to the Royal Palace in Madrid.

The Tower of Bones (la Torre de los Huesos) was built in the 11th century by the area’s Muslim inhabitants. It received its name because it was near Huesa del Raf, the ancient Islamic cemetery. The tower was built two centuries after the 9th-century construction of the walls of Mayrit, the medieval Muslim city that predates the Spanish one.

The looming structure was situated outside the citadel, where it functioned as a surveillance post over the old Arenal stream. When King Alfonso VI of Castile conquered Madrid in the early 11th century, the watchtower was incorporated into the Christian wall.



The Royal Palace now occupies the space the tower was built to guard. Bits of its base were discovered in 1996 during renovation work on the Plaza de Oriente by workers constructing an underground parking lot. The partially preserved remains are on display where they were found.

The carpark is situated in front of the Royal Palace in the heart of Madrid. The nearest tube station is "Opera."


[Contributed by Jane Alice Parker - Galicia]

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An Unusual Museum
01 November 2019

In the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, one can find an abundance of stately buildings, from ancient and medieval structures to modernist masterpieces. Amongst them is the Palau Mornau, a grand Renaissance-cum-modernist structure that now houses a museum – not of portraiture, or decorative arts, or even Catalan history, but of grass..but not any grass.

The Palau Mornau was originally built in the 16th century as a city palace for the noble Santcliment family. Owned by the family for two centuries, the building was bought in the late 18th century by Josep Francesc Mornau (the “honorary war commissioner of the Royal Armies”) and later changed hands again in the early 20th century, coming under the ownership of one Joan Nadal de Vilardaga, the brother of the mayor of Barcelona.
The new owner undertook a major renovation of the palace, transforming the building into a masterpiece of the Modernisme style that was changing the face of Barcelona at the time and continues to be a major architectural signature of the city. The renovation included stained glass windows, floral wrought-iron balconies, a faux stone facade, and exquisite interior design that imparted every room with uniquely styled floors, ceilings, walls, and windows.



By 2001, however, the building had fallen into disuse and disrepair, when it was a discovered by Ben Dronkers, a Dutch entrepreneur and philanthropist who had started Amsterdam’s Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum in 1985. Seeking to expand the museum’s facilities and mission beyond Amsterdam, he purchased the Palau Mornau and embarked on a ten-year project of meticulous renovation – a sensitive task, given the building’s status as a national monument. Once the restoration was completed, the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum Barcelona opened its doors to great fanfare in May of 2012, with the grand opening featuring drug policy reform advocate Richard Branson. 


The museum’s permanent collection contains approximately 8000 objects related to cannabis cultivation and utilization throughout human history, including medicine bottles, apothecary kits, prescription bottles, paintings, pipes, sculptures, and film posters. Exhibit topics deal with not only recreational and medicinal uses of cannabis, but also industrial applications, legislative history, and the horticultural considerations of cannabis cultivation. 


[Contributed by J.Z Feren]

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BREXIT Q&A for UK nationals and their family members regarding residency in Spain
27 September 2019


Compiled by Maria de Castro - Lawyer 


We have compiled below a number of Questions that will certainly solve some of your doubts regarding Brexit and residency in Spain:




1. I live in Spain but have never registered as a Spanish resident, should I do it before withdrawal date?

Yes, if you do not have a registration certificate as an EU citizen in Spain ( the Green Certificate) by the Central Register of Foreign Nationals ( Registro Central de Extranjeros), you need to get an appointment and obtain one

2. Where should I get that appointment?

At the police station in your province

3. Can I obtain it through the Internet?

Not all police stations offer appointments via the internet. You may need to contact them by phone as some police stations are also overloaded by this. 



With a Withdrawal Agreement

4. What will my situation be if I am already a resident in Spain?

During the transition- after Brexit period which will last, at least till 31st December 2020, UK Nationals and their family members resident in Spain—who are nationals of non-EU countries—will keep their EU rights ( with the exception of two: (1) the right to vote and stand in elections to the European Parliament and (2)  the right to use the EU Citizens Initiative..

Once the transition period ends, the Withdrawal Agreement stipulates that your rights of residence, work, study and social security will be maintained.

Green cards obtained before the end of the transition period will subsequently serve to accredit legal residence in Spain and benefit from the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement.  For this reason, during the transition period, you may request the issue of a Foreigner Identity Card that explicitly mentions your condition as a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement. This will facilitate both administrative procedures and any crossing of the external EU border.

This European Commission document includes questions and answers on who benefits from the Withdrawal Agreement and what their rights are.


5. Will UK nationals resident in Spain have to obtain a work permit to continue their professional activity in Spain?

No. The Withdrawal Agreement protects the rights of EU citizens and British nationals, as well as their respective family members, to continue living, working or studying as they do now and under the same basic conditions as under EU law. You may, therefore, continue to work as now without any additional permit.


6. Do family members of a UK national who are nationals of non-EU countries and resident in Spain have a special status?

Family members will maintain their status of family members of an EU citizen during the transition period and after it.


7. What if I arrive in Spain during the transition period--after Brexit and  before 31st December 2020? 

During that period, you must directly request the residence document ( Green certificate) at the office for foreign residents (Oficina de Extranjería) in the province where you live. After the necessary checkings by the Spain administration, you will obtain the same Foreigner Identity Card, explicitly maintaining your condition as a beneficiary under the Withdrawal Agreement.


8. What about those UK citizens who will begin their legal residence in Spain after the transition period?

 These will have those rights established by the Withdrawal Agreement regulating future relations. In case no rights are stipulated, the situation will be governed by the general arrangements governing foreign residents in Spain.


Without a Withdrawal Agreement

9. What will my situation be if I am already a resident in Spain?

Spanish Government has provided for a period of 21 months from the date of the UK's withdrawal without an agreement for the UK nationals resident in Spain before withdrawal and their family members to obtain the new documentation (Foreigner Identity Card - TIE) that provides proof of your residence in Spain.

Until you obtain the necessary documents, for a period of 21 months your residence will continue to be legal.

Registration certificates (the Green Certificate) and the cards of family members of an EU citizen will serve as proof of their legal residence in Spain for a period of 21 months after the UK's withdrawal from the EU without an agreement and until they obtain the TIE. This document will be definitive proof of your residence in Spain.


10. Where will TIE be obtained after  UK's withdrawal without an agreement?

At Police Stations. You will receive your TIE within 3 months after your application.

11. What will happen after the UK's withdrawal without an agreement if I reside in Spain but don't have a registration certificate? Will I be able to continue to reside in Spain? 

Yes.  Your residence will continue to be legally provided that you were resident in Spain before the withdrawal. However, before the expiry of the 21-month period following the date of withdrawal without an agreement, you must obtain the Foreigner Identity Card (TIE). This document will be definitive proof of your residence in Spain.

12. Obtention of the TIE

    How is the process?

 1. An application form needs to be presented by either you or your representative at the migration office of the province in which you live or by electronic means.

 Among other requirements, you must prove that you were a resident in Spain before the withdrawal date. Means of proof are:

  • Certificate of registration with the local authorities
  • Rental contract
  • Ownership of property
  • Employment contract
  • Enrolment at a study centre.

2. Once the authorisation has been granted, you must request the TIE at the corresponding police station. This procedure must be done by you in person.

      How long does it take to get a TIE?

The authorisation is granted within 3 months from application. After this, you must apply for the TIE within a month from the notification.

     Do the documents need to be originals?

Yes, documents must be original.

If you apply for the authorisation online (this procedure will be available for people who do not have a registration certificate) you must submit copies of them.  IN order to apply online, you must have an electronic signature.

Any official documents required must be translated and notarized if necessary.

     Do I have to provide proof of income?

Yes, you do IF (1)  if you do not have a registration certificate and (2) do not engage in a professional or employment activity in Spain.

     Do I have to submit a criminal record certificate?

You do not have to submit a criminal record certificate but the competent authority may check it.

       Can I keep working or studying in Spain while I obtain the new documentation?

Yes. Provided that you are a resident in Spain before the withdrawal date, your residence during the 21 month period will continue to be legal, and you may, therefore, continue to work and study in Spain.

      What will happen if an application is rejected? What are the deadlines for appealing the decision?

If your application is rejected, you must file an administrative appeal. The decision itself will indicate the procedures for filing an appeal, the deadlines and where you must file it. After this administrative examination, you may take judicial action.

13. I have been a resident in Spain for more than 5 years. Will I be eligible for long-term residence if there is a no-deal withdrawal?

Yes, provided that you meet the eligibility requirements.  See Article 5 of Royal Decree-Law 5/2019 of 1 March. You should take into account the following:

  • If you already had a permanent registration certificate ( green certificate), obtaining the TIE will require a procedure at the police authorities
  • If you did not have the registration certificate or the registration certificate is temporary in nature, another procedure at the foreign nationals office will be required in addition to one before at police authorities.

In both cases, your passport must be valid.


14. What documents do I need to cross borders within the Schengen Area?

You must have a valid British passport and the document proving your status as a resident in Spain (TIE).

Within the period of 21 months from withdrawal, the provisional document (e.g. registration certificate or family member's card) will allow you to cross borders within the EU: Work is being done with the Commission to extend the provisional documents.


15. What documents will I need to move to another EU Member State for a period of more than 3 months?

You must obtain the documentation that proves your residence in Spain as a third-country national (TIE). However, this documentation only authorises you to reside and work in Spain. If you want to do so in another Member State, you will have to request the corresponding authorisation in that Member State under the requirements for each case in the legislation of the said country.

16. What is my situation if I arrive in Spain after the withdrawal date? What do I have to do?

From the day following the withdrawal date, UK nationals will have the condition of third-country nationals and the general arrangements for foreigners in Spain will be applicable to them. 

17. Will UK nationals have to obtain a work permit to continue their professional activity in Spain?

They must request the documentation corresponding to their new condition as third-country nationals within 21 months from the withdrawal date. During this period their residence in Spain is legal and they may engage in their professional activity. In any event, once they obtain the Foreigner Identity Card it will definitively accredit their residence and employment status in Spain.

18. Do family members of a UK national who are nationals of third countries and resident in Spain have a special status?

Family members must obtain the documentation corresponding to their new condition as family members of third-country nationals within 21 months of the withdrawal date.

If they hold a residence card as a family member of an EU citizen, they must apply to have it replaced by a Foreigner Identity Card ( TIE)  at the corresponding police authorities.

If they do not have the card of a family member of an EU citizen, they must apply for a residence and work permit as a family member of a UK national, at the office for foreign residents of the province where they reside. This application will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and if it is accepted, they may then apply for the Foreigner Identity Card.

NOTE: In any event, the validity period of this temporary residence and work permit will be linked to the validity of the residence and work permit of the family member who is a UK national.

19. How long will a UK national be allowed to leave Spain without losing the long-term resident status?

You may leave for a maximum period of 12 consecutive months.

You must take into account that at the time when your status becomes one of a long-term residence, a check will be made to verify that your residence has been continuous. This is not affected by absence from Spain in the terms provided for by the law on foreign nationals.

20. How long will third-country family members of a UK national be allowed to leave Spain for without losing their resident status?

They may leave for a maximum period of 12 consecutive months.

You must take into account that at the time when your status becomes one of a long-term residence, a check will be made to verify that your residence has been continuous. This is not affected by absence from Spain in the terms provided for by the law on foreign nationals.

21. I am a UK national and reside in Spain. Can I travel to another Member State?

To travel to another Member State of the Schengen Area, you must have a valid passport and the document proving your residence in Spain (TIE).

If what you want is to travel to another EU Member State that does not belong to the Schengen Area, you must also take into account whether the EU country requires a visa.

NOTE: The European Commission has presented a proposal to waive visa requirements for UK nationals for stays of less than three months, provided that European citizens receive reciprocal treatment for entry to the UK. This proposal is in the legislative procedure phase for adoption by the Council of the Union and the European Parliament.

22.  I am a UK national resident in Spain who wishes to study at university in another Member State. What do I have to do?

To study at a university in another Member State you must apply for the corresponding permit in accordance with the national law of the corresponding Member State.

Take into account that the residence permit arranged by Spain under Royal Decree-Law 5/2019 does not allow you to move to study in a university in other Member State.

If you participate in an EU or multilateral programme that includes mobility measures, or measures that are covered by an agreement between two or more higher education institutions, it may be a good idea to request an authorisation study associated with such an agreement under Article 44 of Royal Decree 557/2011 of 20 April, approving the Regulation on Foreign Residents with respect to the right to movement within the EU for study purposes.

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A reminder to what was the world's greatest source of mercury
13 September 2019


Mercury, also known as quicksilver, is a beautiful, mirror-skinned metal that is liquid at room temperature. Unfortunately, it is also extremely toxic.

For many years, the world's greatest source of mercury were the mines at Almadén, Spain, which produced some 250,000 metric tons of mercury over nearly two millennia of operation.

So when Spain decided to build a monument to the mine (which was long worked by criminals and slave laborers, most of whom died of mercury poisoning), they commissioned American sculptor Alexander Calder to build a graceful fountain which, instead of water, would pump pure mercury. It was to be displayed at the 1937 World's Fair.

At the time, the inherent beauty of the liquid metal was well understood, but its toxicity was not. Today, the fountain resides in the Fundacio Joan Miro in Barcelona, Spain, and continues to pump pure mercury, though now it does so behind a pane of glass to protect viewers from touching or breathing fumes produced by this deadly work of art.



[Contributed by P. Spokes]

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The Pink Salt Lakes of Torrevieja
05 September 2019


Two colourful salt lakes flank the northwestern edge of the seaside city of Torrevieja on Spain’s Costa Blanca. Together, they form a nature reserve called Las Salinas de Torrevieja. One lake, in particular, stands out, as its eye-catching 'bubblegum' pink colour overshadows its green-tinted neighbour.

The sight is caused by the work of bacteria and algae. Halobacterium (also known as “salt bacterium”) thrives in salty places, as does a micro-algae called Dunaliella salina. These are the two magical ingredients that concoct the lake’s bizarre pinky hue. Despite its funky colour, the water is perfectly fine, though it can get rather smelly.



Torrevieja relies on its salt lakes. People have been collecting the mineral from the waters for centuries. In the early 19th century, they officially became a hub for Spain’s salt industry. In addition to boosting the city’s economy, the lakes also act as a natural spa. Supposedly, the sludge of mud and salt at the bottom have healing properties that can relieve common skin and respiratory ailments. The water’s high salt concentration makes it a fun place to relax and enjoy floating around with ease.


Flamingos, much like the local people, also frequent the pink lake. Feasting upon the algae-filled shrimp that live there giving their feathers that characteristic rosy tint that almost matches the water.


[Contributed by  Jane McGregor - Torrevieja]

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Basque Cod - worth a try!
05 July 2019

Bacalao a la vizcaina is yet another example of the very tasty yet very simple dishes that come from the northern Spanish region of the Basque Country. The main ingredient of Bacalao a la vizcaina is codfish. Cod is perhaps one of the most consumed fish in Spain, although historically this fish was mostly a product eaten during Lent. It is also a fish that is easily fished around the coasts of Spain, of which there is a lot!

Originally from the Basque Country, Vizcaina sauce on the other hand, is a sauce that is extremely versatile and is used in a number of dishes from the region. It is often used for many stews and products such as the pork dish called 'Manos de cerdo con salsa vizcaína'. In some parts of the Basque Country, they even use the sauce in an escargot recipe. However, most people will associate the sauce immediately with cod. Nowadays it is a rather polemic recipe - as is the case with most traditional recipes - the argument whether tomatoes should be one of it's ingredients or not is a very alive debate among gourmets and cooks, though many say that the red ingredient is pepper. Either way, the sauce is a rich red colour and is tasty with either ingredient. So when you come to make this dish, the choice is up to you!

The pepper theory seems historically more plausible, as tomatoes were not used as food in Spain even 200 years after they were imported; first, they were used as ornamental plants. Perhaps, pepper was used originally and then, once the tomato became more commonly used in Spanish cooking, the sauce was adapted. But it doesn't really matter, in truth, there are many formulas to prepare this sauce, and despite how much people may argue about its historical accuracy, they are delicious anyway.

You might find that certain people use a type of Spanish biscuit, often a 'galleta maria', when they are making the sauce. These biscuits are used to help thicken the sauce, but it can often make it much sweeter. The sauce may be thick or runny, depending on your personal taste. If you don't want to use biscuits to thicken your sauce, you could always use plain or corn flour instead, which I prefer.

One of the great things about vizcaina sauce is that it is fairly simple to make and generally uses common and inexpensive ingredients. This means that it is a great option for those people who love Spanish gastronomy, but want to enjoy it on a budget!


Bacalao a la Vizcaina | Cod Bizcaine Style


1 large salted cod loin (or fresh cod loin)
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
2 roasted peppers (preferably chorizo peppers
1 tomato
1 tbs of flour
Extra virgin olive oil


  • Soak the cod loin in water for 24 hours, changing the water every 8 hours to get rid of some of the salt.
  • Then put the cod loin in a pan with cold water and heat. Remove from the heat when it begins to boil.
  • Cover the bottom of a frying pan with olive oil. Stir fry the diced onion until it begins to brown, then add the garlic cloves, peppers and tomato.
  • When all the ingredients are lightly fried add the flour, you need to cook it a little.
  • Add some of the broth in which the cod was cooked (two teacups) and let it boil at low heat. This broth has the flavour and jelly of the cod.
  • When the sauce gets a good thick consistency, add the cod and keep on low heat, only enough time to heat up the cod and then serve!


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