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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.

Four months in...
15 December 2015 @ 22:34

Four months in...

We've now been in Spain over four months. It's gone really quickly and we feel we are settling in quite well. We feel we really need to learn the language as our attempts using self teach books and Internet packages aren't working. There are several things that we have noticed and have opinions on here and I sometimes take a step back, mentally just to take in the changes to our lifestyle that have happened over the last four months or so. When I'm commenting or describing something here I'm not criticising it, just noting the changes. Some of the things I mention will sound silly or a bit obvious, such as the first time we go for a swim in the sea and it's cool. When it happened It was so unexpected as the days leading up to it and those after were all hot and sunny and the sea has never been anything but warm. It was early September which made us more surprised. Luckily and obviously the sea got warmer again and stayed warm until well into October.

We now have Internet and as we want British tv we check out the local English press for adverts. We are restricted by the fact we are only renting at the moment so can't have a massive dish. Internet tv seems to be the answer so we order a package. We are promised hundreds of channels and we get them, unfortunately their success is heavily reliant on the connection and live streams. This is very unpredictable and is very frustrating when the picture freezes, which is regular on some channels. I've given up on many a football match halfway through and with the lack of UK based pubs in the main part of Torrevieja English football is rarely shown. I've realised just how much I relied on recording one programme while watching another. We use the +1 channels a lot now but we aren't as reliant on tv as we were in the uk as we take advantage of the beautiful weather over here and spend more time outdoors even if it's just a walk.

One thing that has surprised me over here is the abundance of 'Chino' shops. Variations include 'Chino bazaar' and 'Hong Kong' shops. Massive stores selling pretty much anything you could ever need and open long hours, staffed by Chinese people. Amongst other things we have bought a patio table, batteries, bins, slippers, a football, extension leads, hairdryer, duvet covers, paella pan, Halloween make up and as Christmas approaches, our decorations. Some people have warned us off them expressing a concern that some of the electrical items may not be much good. We only buy what we can afford to lose really as you do with the likes of B&M and Poundstretcher back in the U.K. They are not necessarily cheaper than other shops either so beware, but they have often become our 'one stop shop' for bits and pieces we run out of or need at short notice on a regular basis. 

Two events quite close together show the stark difference between Spain and the U.K. Halloween and bonfire/Guy Fawkes night are barely a week apart yet couldn't be more different. Obviously November 5th is  a British celebration therefore we don't have to endure a week of fireworks and explosions the week before or after. I've never been a fan of fireworks anyway. The thought of arming people with explosives to do with pretty much what they wish, I've always found a bit strange. So November 5th passes without even a 'pop' and I don't miss it at all.

Halloween is a different kettle of fish altogether. Sue attempts to dress and make up as per Halloween tradition, however the make up she bought from the Chino shop is, frankly, rubbish. She settles for spiders web stockings and we venture out. There are numerous people, mainly young, who are dressed up for the occasion. 

Our first bar has an adapted skeleton toilet door sign with new signs especially for the occasion (see below) it looks bizarre. They serve their drinks with smoke pouring from the top in true Halloween style.

Male and female toilets adapted for Halloween. Can you guess which is which?


We enjoy our drinks, Halloween style! 

We get a free t shirt from Drakkars, a Scandinavian bar that has made the effort of  hanging one skeleton near the entrance and that's it! That's unusual however as even the more traditional bars have made an effort. Virtually every young person has dressed up which makes the evening. Something I find here is that both adults and children, young people and older, either mixed age groups or of their own age group, all are out enjoying the evening in their own way. 
In one of the more traditional Spanish bars with the tables and chairs outside, we order drinks. While we are there we experience one of the arranged activities in the town that night. There are a group of 'zombies' whose mission it is to capture people and turn them into zombies who then assist in capturing more people to turn into zombies. It goes on into the night and apparently there's a prize for those who avoid capture all night. Suddenly we hear a noise and We see dozens of young people all dressed up Halloween style trying to escape 'zombies' running past us. We witness this at various stages of the night. We even avoid trick or treat as we are in an apartment, in common with most people in our immediate vicinity.


Watch out watch out there's a zombie about! 

We end up in Monroes Rock bar which is OTT Halloween. There are hidden envelopes containing vouchers for free drinks dotted about which Sue looks for and finds quite a few of them. We get free drinks, give a few away and head home. 

Getting to know the clientele in Munroes! 

The weather stays warm well into October and early November and I have a visit from one of my sons and share some bonding time. I continue my running, slowly but surely, but fall to a calf injury which has occurred three times while I've been here. I'm advised calf strengthening exercises which seem to work, but then I succumb again. I'm 53 and haven't run properly for about six or seven years due to a back problem but my back gives me no trouble here, certainly not at the speed and distance I go, but it's my calf instead. If you have ever been a runner you will know the frustration injury can bring, but I'm not even exerting myself yet! 

Towards the end of November we head back to England for the first time. We have three family occasions to attend both in London and Liverpool. Of course I'm going to state the obvious about the weather being freezing. We arrive following a period of mild weather but it's turned cold. First impressions are that the Christmas feeling back in England is massive compared with Torrevieja. The sheer commercialisation hits us harder than it has in the past. Every shop is filled with decorations as opposed to the occasional one in Spain. Liverpool city centre for example if full of shoppers early on a Monday morning with over a month to go before the big day. It's a nice change for us and we meet up with family which is the only thing I really miss. I see all three of my sons, Sue will see hers next time we are back. We celebrate dads 80th birthday while we are there then bring him back to Spain with us. A 60th birthday party in London for Sues sister and my son, Matts graduation in Liverpool cathedral make it a busy week. It's flies by and we are soon home to the sunshine, relaxed atmosphere and non commercialisation of Christmas. 

Like 3


Weescottie said:
16 December 2015 @ 06:13

Great blog!

Stinkey said:
19 December 2015 @ 14:05

I love reading your blog..certainly gives us an insight on what to expect ? We've just purchased our renovation project and will come out there with more knowledge now ?

quizzie said:
19 December 2015 @ 21:04

Coming out 31 January, for a week cant wait.

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