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Time to move to Spain

Medically retired at short notice our plans to move to Spain are brought forward by a few years. With little time to spare, this is our story.

'Caca de la vaca' and other things
24 October 2015 @ 11:38

Caca De La Vaca and other things…

We are well into week two in our new life in Spain. It’s completely different than our previous lives. Having spent my first 50 years in Liverpool, then moved to leafy Appley Bridge to be with Sue we are on a steep learning curve. Our apartment is clearly a holiday apartment and it doesn’t have an awful lot of spare room for our various possessions. We have ten packages and two large suitcases on their way and nowhere to store any of them. Our landlord is very understanding and agrees to empty the drawers and cupboards in readinejss for our delivery. So the old Spanish books, ornaments and spare bedding are removed together with the excess crockery and TV set. 

We do feel a little cut off from the real world at times but it doesn’t really matter as it’s hot and sunny. We try to keep up with what’s going on locally by reading the numerous English publications on offer. 

The Post, South (free)
Costa Blanca news €2
RTN (Costa Blanca, Costa Calida)
The Courier (Free)

All of them keep you up to date with things going on as well as local news and events. The devastating news we discover in one of the papers is that we have missed ‘Caca De La Vaca’. I swear to you, if we had known about it we would have taken part. We recover our composure and decide that next year we will definitely take part. Caca de la Vaca is inspired, translated, for those who haven’t worked it out is roughly ‘The cow poo game’. A field is marked off in to square metre portions and contestants buy themselves a ticket corresponding to a one metre plot. A cow subsequently gets released onto the field, here’s where it gets clever… the cow has been fed and is due a poo! Wherever the cow dumps its poo is the winning plot and the winner wins anything from 2000 Euros upwards. Genius! If it catches on in the UK, I wonder if the BBC would take it on. I believe it will give X-Factor a run for its money, or knowing ITV like I do, they will more likely have a celebrity version – “Celebrity Caca de la Vaca, with Piers Morgan!”

A typical caca de la vaca poster

We have a bit of an issue to resolve once we recover from missing the cow poo game. Sues mobile phone contract is deemed pretty much useless here in Spain. While I have an ‘EE extra’ contract which means unlimited calls and texts to EU countries, even though my internet allowance is unusable, Sue doesn’t. Luckily for her she’s out of contract, her phone is unlocked and she is able to look for a sim only deal. Easier said than done! We try all the usual suspects such as Orange and Vodafone and end up buying a 10 Euro pay as you go from Orange. We were warned that the internet connection was slow, and it was, desperately so. They didn’t tell us that calls that went over the 10 Euro limit would be taken off when you renewed the sim. I’ve never heard of that before. Seems very strange and it’s something we have to look into further…

We haven’t got a car yet so we decide one day to walk out to Habaneras, which is the big shopping centre at Torrevieja. It takes us just over half an hour from where we are based by the coast and is actually quite decent if not as big as we thought. It has a Carrefour supermarket which sells English stuff, but to be honest we are getting used to buying local stuff now. The clothes and food are cheaper here unless you want specific English items. We walk pretty much everywhere give or take the odd bus. When we do get the bus we find its 1.35 Euros to go pretty much anywhere. Back in England it was £3.60 for the short ride into town… on an empty bus. I wonder why? 

In the short time we have been in Torrevieja, we are unsure whether we want to make our future here. Of course there’s an amazing country to explore and we are happy to do so. For now we have this town to explore. There are over 100,000 people live in Torrevieja and it’s clear that this is a holiday resort mainly for Spanish families. Of a night the front is heaving and the restaurants and bars are busy. There are lots of heladerias selling the biggest selection of ice cream I have ever seen. We go to the harbour on a Saturday night for a drink. What we can’t figure out is that the bars are a lot quieter than the main strip and we cannot understand why. I believe ‘Niki Lounge’ is quite a brand yet it’s quiet. The drinks are more expensive but that’s also the case for some of the bars along the front. It is very relaxing however and we enjoy our drinks in front of the large array of yachts. It’s not very well advertised but it’s only a five minute walk away. Things are often not as they seem. The Irish bar for example is the most Spanish bar in the town, but they do sell Bulmers. It’s the only bar where we are that has a smattering of English speaking people. There are another two Irish bars to the north towards Le Mata with English speaking staff. I’m always wary of ordering a ‘Grande cerveza’ in case I get the glass the size of a bucket but then, if I did, I would have to drink it. Life’s so hard sometimes! One of the bars, which is owned by a Norwegian has a big TV outside which shows VH1. One evening a family sat near to it and one of the children stole the remote control and put the football on. The bar staff couldn’t work it out until she saw them waving it about. 


Sue and her Bulmers, with lots of ice of course! 

The dangers of ordering a Grande Cerveza 

All in all, we are starting to get into a routine. We are eating on our patio each evening and eating more fresh fish and salads. Then we go and ruin it all by hitting the bars of a weekend. Our Spanish is extremely limited and our online course is inaccessible at the moment so we try and learn as we go along. Our attempts are pretty useless and it reminds me of a routine by the comedian Kevin Bridges who tried to learn Spanish. (Look it up on YouTube, live at the Apollo) It’s called “Una mesa para cuatro por favour” (A table for four please) Of course, if you are a tourist you don’t need to learn the language, but we aren’t and we do. 

Until we get our TV and internet we go out and buy some dominoes as this seems to be the local game. I haven’t played that game since I was a child. We play dominoes and cards like the locals only we do it on the patio rather than the road. We have also brought over our box set of ‘Breaking Bad’ which we are about halfway through and watch it in the evenings. 

We are also informed that our belongings are on their way. If there is any advice I can give to anyone coming to Spain and shipping belongings over, its make sure you know the terms and conditions. We are originally told to pay half up front and the other half on arrival. We are also told our items are delayed because of the ongoing problems at Calais involving migrants. To cut a long story short, our items are delayed because we didn’t pay all up front, yet despite numerous phone calls, this was not given as a reason until weeks after they were collected from the UK. We are living out of two suitcases and we treat it like a holiday because we have to and we are wearing our holiday stuff for weeks. Still, we know our belongings are on their way and we go for a drink to celebrate!

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foresternige said:
26 October 2015 @ 12:33

Hi guys, thanks for the post, it's great to follow your story.

I'm not sure if I clicked before with you going out to Torrevieja - I went there for a week last year as a friend of work has a place out there (his Dad bought it in the 80's I think). We don't have too many tips as it was such a short time, but it did seem a great place with lots of other nice places around it too as you start to explore and broaden out.

I'll be interested to follow how you approach learning Spanish as I'm not sure how/what I'll do prior to me moving out to Galicia next year.

Take care of each other, and enjoy the challenges!

foresternige said:
26 October 2015 @ 12:36

ooh except extra comment : maybe for the spring if the weathers already to cool but try : except I recommend NOT scaring yourself unnecessarily on

I'm all for lifeguards and being prepared, but on the boomerang the spinal injury stretcher board being that close to the ride freaked me out a step too much!

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