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Travelling Spain with Two Dogs & a Parrot

With a good internet connection, I can work remotely from anywhere, so my husband Rob & I took advantage of this & are travelling Spain with our pets & everything we own packed into an estate car with roof-box.

Our Long-Term Rental
31 May 2019 @ 08:00

After a few days enquiring at various agents & online, we found a house to rent for the rest of 2018.  Eva at Ideal Property in Alhaurin el Grande did very well & we viewed three properties in the same week.

The first, although close into Coin, wasn't fully furnished & didn't have much outside space.

The second, right on top of a hill, had more than enough land & 360 panoramic views, but was so far up an unmade lane, it would take ten minute to reach the main road & likely trash the car - unless we bought a 4-wheel-drive....

The third house was out of town & rural, but not far off the main road & looked as perfect as we'd find with lovely views. We even had a friendly landlady who even spoke a little English.

So we committed to rent for seven months, as six months from June would be December & we didn't fancy trying to find a place so close to Christmas

I needed to ensure we'd have an internet connection to our new home as soon as we moved in so I could work without interuption.  Eva had recommended a couple of companies with English speaking representatives.  One didn't answer the phone & the other did, but then wouldn't proceed because we didn't have a Spanish bank account.  We knew we needed an account, just hadn't got around to it & this was the push we required.

So off to the bank we went.

After a short wait in Sabadell Solbank, we'd opened a non-resident current account with the lovely Susana which was nice & straight-forward!

I called Conred back who said an engineer would be in touch to survey the property.  He was, the day after, & went straight to the address.

Only to report back with this Whatsapp photo to show that these trees would block the signal from the mast.

As the other providers would 'apparently' be receiving their signal from the same direction, I resorted to 4G & we took a trip to the Movistar shop to find out more.

We had to go back the following day to collect our activated phone & data sims, then later on, the Movistar engineer called to install the modem.  However, he didn't speak English & our Spanish was nearly non-existent so we waited until the following day when we were signing the rental contract & asked Eva to assist.  We signed the tenancy agreement in person with the landlady the day before our rental was oficially to begin & received the keys with approval to install wifi.

Eva helped us to call the engineer & organise for us to meet him a couple of hours later at the local service station & we led him to the house.  Only to find we didn't have keys to either sets of the large new metal gates across both drives leading down either side of the property...

This Dominion engineer was the first Spanish service provider with an impatient & downright aggressive attitude that we'd encountered.  All others throughout our journey & experiences in Spain had been consistently friendly & accommodating, but this guy, who didn't speak English, wasn't at all happy.

It was Friday afternoon & perhaps he'd had a trying week....

Eva to the rescue once again.  Firstly to speak to the engineer & explain the situation, that it wasn't our fault & we weren't actually as incompetent as appeared, then to direct us down a narrow overgrown path between fences, past the water storage tank & up to the house with the grumbling engineer in tow.

The 4G modem/router was setup & we unloaded a few of our belongings, but as the trek down the long grassy path was awkward, couldn't empty the car as planned.  However, we'd agreed to return a couple of hours later to meet Belen, our landlady, who promised to bring the correct gate keys smiley

All good.

Later we unloaded more belongings & although informed we could stay in the house that night, we'd planned to packup & clean our Air B&B home the following morning then move in on the official rental date.

I was once again impressed with our productivity due to the efficient Spanish telecoms providers:

  • Monday - call Conred & request installation
  • Tuesday - engineer site visit to notify us they couldn't assist
  • Wednesday - sign-up with Movistar
  • Thursday - return to Movistar shop for activated mobile & data sims
  • Friday - engineer visit to install modem.

In the UK, I once signed a lease on a house at the end of July & (apparently due to the London Olympics that summer) Openreach couldn't connect my phone & internet (a wire from the pole directly opposite the terraced house without a front garden) until the beginning of November...

However, this particular story isn't over just yet!

Like 1


Lynn said:
01 June 2019 @ 10:29

Why should you complain that the engineer doesn’t speak English? You’re in Spain and have been for some time, yet you think it OK that you don’t speak Spanish? I’m lost for words!!!(but glad you’re sorted anyway)

nancybenn said:
01 June 2019 @ 11:46

I wasn't 'complaining' that the engineer didn't speak English Lynn. We tried to communicate with him in our limited Spanish & also with the aid of Google Translate. These methods had been accommodated with other people throughout our stay in Spain.

This particular person was aggressive from the start, communicated by his body language immediately upon exiting his van at the top of our narrow dead-end lane (as it would be difficult to turn around, or reverse), his tone of voice & obvious impatience. I don't think it was because of our lack of Spanish, but because he wasn't able to quickly enter the property, finish his work & be on his way.

We were mortified that the keys didn't work & we couldn't gain access to the property.

As mentioned, until then, absolutely every Spanish person & service provider had been friendly & patient with us - a pleasant surprise from being used to the attitude often encountered in England.

We're learning Spanish & never expect to communicate in English to anyone in Spain at the outset of a conversation & only do-so if the other person responds in English. I'm embarrassed & frustrated that I'm nowhere near fluent in Spanish & would love to confidently communicate, be understood & understand the language. One day...

gerrynag said:
01 June 2019 @ 13:32

I think most of us understand that it was the Installer's manner and not that he didn't speak English that you were complaining about. You have only been here a few months and it's silly to think you would be able to speak Spanish fluently in that time, it takes years.
Though would suggest you try to take Spanish lessons from someone who speaks English, as much easier that way.

anthomo16 said:
01 June 2019 @ 15:44

I think you are doing very well and unfortunately some people arejust "sad" all the rest ofus understood exactly what you meant I admire the pair of you please keep up your blog

nancybenn said:
01 June 2019 @ 21:25

Thanks for the more positive comments gerrynag & anthomo16, much appreciated

Dave11 said:
01 June 2019 @ 23:50

Great story. Well done you - enjoy Spain and most of the people, most of the time..

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