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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.

Our first visitors
04 December 2015 @ 13:04

Thank you to all who posted a comment following my last blog. We read them all and are taking your advice on board. 

After a period of settling in we have our first visitors. We both miss our families in particular and we await any visits with excitement. My sister and dad are on their way. We also have five sons between us, all in their 20s and hope to see them soon also.

The journey between Alicante airport is about an hour by public transport and our visitors take advantage of the bus which costs only 6.92 euros - a bargain. We don't have a car yet so we cannot collect them. It's reassuring to know that this two hourly bus service is available. It's a mixed first few days for them. In our limited time we show them around as best we can and are pleased that they seem to like it here. The first big shock is when dad, who is nearly 80, goes to the local Friday market and has his wallet taken. The market in Torrevieja is big and very busy. None of us realise he has taken a lot of his money with him, luckily his cards and passport etc are safe. Sue and I are really vigilant regarding crime prevention and I know there are plenty of posts on this website about the issue of crime. It's a sharp lesson for us and another of the concerning features of the ageing process and that criminals prey on the most vulnerable. The victim here would not have had that happen to him twenty years ago! The trouble with dad is that he still thinks he's twenty something. He dives into the sea with gusto but on a blustery day the waves knock him over. We keep a close eye on him at all times but on one occasion he was helped onto his feet by locals after the surf knocked him over! He had to take out quite a hefty travel insurance to stay with us but it's worth every penny as he loves it here as much as we do. 

One 'highlight' is a trip on the amazing tourist train! It runs through Torrevieja and up the coast to the north. One member of Sues family labelled the train as 'the wally trolley' (thanks Andy!) and that seems to have stuck with us. So Wally's we are, travelling up the coast, waving to people on the beach! Children wave back, and some adults too. Sue loses her hat in the breeze (oh how we laughed!) and we return in my one piece. Wally trolley accomplished without a safety net. 

Dad and Nicola on the 'Wally Trolley'

One of our more important jobs is showing our visitors the local bars and restaurants. We quickly establish our favourites. Niki lounge with its pool and loungers is an early favourite but dad particularly enjoys Anita's lounge which plays live easy listening music in the style of the old crooners, occasionally diverting to 'hotel California' before drifting back to Patsy Cline et al. A bonus at Anita's are the generous nuts and crisps with your drinks and the fabulous cocktails. What is there not to like? On one occasion we get home after,our visit and sing the neighbours up in the early hours. We learn shhhhh in Spanish, or words to that effect. 

Dad, Nicola and myself at a local restaurant

Living so near to the coast has its advantages here, we are 50 metres from the beach and entertainment. The views are fabulous and we are minutes away from anything really, however a downside is that during the summer months it is very noisy. If you want an early night you are in trouble as it doesn't really go quiet until around 1-2 am. The bins are outside and get emptied at 4am every morning and people start to go outside again when it's light. Occasionally you get rowdy groups of people shouting and singing but interestingly, nothing sinister. It's very hot overnight, and as I have previously mentioned, we have no air conditioning. This means that if we wish to open our doors and windows it's noisy, and allows the mosquitos in. Shutting them makes the apartment unbearable. 

We are starting to find out way around more and more. We take buses to local towns and resorts, partly out of interest but also to see if there is anywhere we would like to live in the future. We have visited la Torreta (there's three of them cleverly called 1, 2 and 3) and it explains a little of where some of the British ex-pats are. Punta Prima is further down the coast and typical of many of the urbanisations of Spain. A main shopping centre surrounded by properties. As you get near to the coast we have found lots of high rise apartments which seems to dominate the coastline. Los balconies is an inland urbanisation from and quite large with a small centre containing shops and bars. La Zenia is further south and much larger with a large shopping centre, plenty of bars and restaurants and some nice beaches and a fair few urbanisations. They all have their plus points but we are drawn to the coast or at least near to the coast. We also like it a bit lively so despite my comments about Torrevieja being noisy in the summer, we wouldn't want to lose it all. 

Two big milestones for us that will make our lives a little easier. We are told by our landlord that due to the politics of the community charge, Internet will not be provided which means that we have to organise it independently. This is done and we now have Internet access at just over 20 euros a month. It's actually a decent connection given all we have heard about Spanish Internet. I was informed that from the Costa blanca down the east coast there is a notoriously poor internet service. We have no complaint so far and hope it long continues. 

We also buy a car! There are times since we have been in Spain that if we heeded the warnings given over pretty much everything, we actually wouldn't do anything out of fear! We would rather be safe than sorry so we do go with a lot of the advice given and avoid the smaller Spanish car sales. This is in an attempt to avoid the 'routine' mileage tampering that apparently exists as well as other dishonest dealings that go on. In fact everything I have tried to avoid while living in England! We find a car sales with British owners in La Zenia and are happy with our purchase, particularly the years insurance which comes with European breakdown cover. We upgrade to fully comprehensive with the cost to us being less than £20 per month following a rough conversion. Hopefully we won't need it but the value may be evident when we claim. I'm assuming we will be fine and like a lot of things in Spain, we are actually getting better value for money than we would in the UK. 

The difference getting our own car does for our lives doesn't need me to tell you. Freedom! Our first job is to take our visitors back to Alicante airport after their two weeks with us, it will be very quiet without them. The centre of Torrevieja is mainly a system of one way roads and if your journey takes you across town you are hampered by zebra crossings every twenty metres or so on the smaller roads. These crossings are mainly observed by drivers who generally allow you to cross bit with crossroads every few yards it can be difficult to tell who should give way. The first more notable driving issue we encounter are the roundabouts. It's very common to turn left taking the third exit, completely in the outside lane which can cause chaos when someone is trying to take the exit before from the inside lane of the crossing. We quickly learn two things. Firstly assume every car, regardless of lane is likely to leave the roundabout at the next exit. Secondly, it's probably the reason every other car is covered in bumps and scratches. We live and learn and begin to enjoy the Costa blanca slightly further afield than we have so far. 



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3 Comments


quizzie said:
05 December 2015 @ 14:02

Another good read. What did you think of Los Torettas?



Charlietwice said:
07 December 2015 @ 11:49

Hi quizzie,
In general we liked las torettas. Bars and restaurants near the centre, near to habaneras shopping centre and Carrefour. Access to the main services such as dentists, doctors and specsavers. Outskirts needed a bit of attention aesthetically but generally good. I would say it's about 20 - 25 mins walk from the coast so not too bad. Near to the bars may be noisy but they seem to stop outside entertainment at midnight.


quizzie said:
16 December 2015 @ 00:51

Thanks. The property I have viewed is away from the shops/bars but there is one shop a reasonable walk away. Will be out again Feb to view it again. Cant wait. Hope you have a good heater as it can be quite chilly from now on. When we rented one Feb
my hubby said it was like living in a shower block!! Tiles everywhere.
Regards



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