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After two long years in England, when Spain was an itch that had to be scratched, a golden opportunity came along, which couldn't be ignored. So here I am back in Spain ~ again, just me and my dog on the sunny Costa Blanca, ready for another adventure!

17 July 2014 @ 16:11

Bon Dia Spain!

As soon as I left you in January 2013 I knew I'd made a terrible mistake, and by February I wanted to return to you, but sadly, doors had been shut, keys returned and the moment was lost.

But I can't forget you, there are so many things that I love, and miss.




I remember those hazy blue sky days, and the  clear blue back star filled nights, as well as sights and sounds I will only experience again when I return.







I miss the distant sound of the sheep bells. Thinking of them reminds me of the day my rescued Catalan Sheepdog came face to face with the shepherd and 100 of his free range flock, as he took them down the hill to drink in the River Ebro.  My dog's skills were clearly lacking and he was put firmly in his place by a lesser looking 'sheepdog' of dubious pedigree.

Judging by his attire, I think the shepherd was moonlighting, his set of blue garage overalls were a bit of a disappointment, where was his hooky stick which is compulsory in any Nativity scene. And where was his Shepherds Pie?


I miss the church clock that I could set my watch by. It had a very tired and mourneful tone, which chimed the hour, twice, every hour. You hardly noticed at mid day, but if you happened to be asleep before midnight, you certainly weren't at five past!


Along with the hourlie chimes, it also reminded the town of every quarter hour in between. In England, a lesser person living nearby would probably complain to the powers that be, and get an ASBO slapped on the clock tower, but not in my little Spanish town, the rusty church bell was revered, after all it has been there longer than most of the residents.






 The bell tower in the distance watching over the town.


I miss Maria Jose, she of the best baked Barra. Wrinkled and weary, Maria won't see 70 again.

If Maria was in full flow, with one of her equally aged Senora's, I wouldn't DARE cut in, and offer up my euro in an attempt to hurry proceedings along. Rickety chairs, as old as Maria were provided, I just sat and waited. And waited. No such thing in my town as 'popping' out for some bread!

Only when important matters of the day had been dissected, cheeks had been kissed, and Hasta Luego's had been exchanged might I get a nod of a toothless head in my direction, and the Barra would be mine.

I miss the cheery ancient farmer, on his equally ancient tractor, who always gave me a lovely wave and called out 'Bon Dia' whenever he saw me. Sometimes his trailer had just boxes of oranges on the back, but more often it was a bizare cargo of water, calor gas and a crate of live chickens and a small piglet.

All this was left in the smallest of spaces in the centre of the village whilst he popped into a local bar for his morning cafe solo and brandy.

Nobody complained, and if he should by chance completely obstruct the street as he collected his daily Tabac, the driver behind waited patiently, no hooting of impatient horns at this old timer.






So how else do I miss you, let me count the ways...

Your cool, clean trains, cafe con leche, deserted roads, cold vino tinto, pavement cafe's, the happy laughter from the open air pool, the firecracking Fiesta's, seeing generations of families having a BBQ in the street outside their own front door, watching very old village folk play an intense game of dominoes in the local Sociadad, the madding 'manyana', asparagus in every salad, huge measures of spirits, the way you celebrate SO many Saints, the temperature showing outside the Pharmacy, the availability of rabbit in every supermarket.

I even miss the beautiful torture of scratching a mozzie bite.

Now that surely IS love!

What would you miss most about Spain?


Like 1


eggcup said:
17 July 2014 @ 15:44

Hey Rosie. Don't say you miss the flies as well!
I enjoyed that - it was very evocatively written. You'll have to get back there soon. BUT, I'm wondering how you know for sure it was the wrong thing to do to leave. Something must have been pushing you back to the UK, and might that not happen again? (a bit like when you finish with someone, get back together with them and then remember why you finished with them in the first place)

RiojaRosie said:
17 July 2014 @ 16:20

Thanks Eggcup, I love getting feed back from you.

Yes you ask a good question there, and I'm saving the answer for another blog post, another time!

Hope life is being good to you at the moment. Rx

SandrainAlgorfa said:
17 July 2014 @ 23:53

Lovely post, and I can so identify with it. Our carniceria (butcher) has the chairs to. I went in one day for some sardines for the barbecue, and by the time I came out, Tony said he could have caught them, gutted them and cooked them! I'd miss the whole laid back thing - although I'm trying to train people in our Devon bolthole in the finer points of the 'Manana Syndrome.'

jacobleej said:
19 July 2014 @ 07:33

It's so nice to see what is missed so much about Spain...I went back to the UK many years ago for reasons beyond my control really...was not a choice I would have made if I had have had some work...I was brought up in Spain from 13 to 23 so when I returned to the UK it was a huge culture shock back in the 70's...I spent the next 38 years away from Spain but now I am back & I see Spain is where I belong & all those things about fiestas,saints & church bells I can seriously relate to..I hope everything works out for you & you find what is right for you to do...Regards Jake

Gabian said:
19 July 2014 @ 07:50

So beautifully written Rosie, so poetic.

I must admit that I really did like reading this blog, you have an art for putting words on paper that effect people.

Your depiction is exactly how I am experiencing Spain. I can visualize all of your thoughts in what you are saying, now this puts a smile on my face on a cool Saturday morning.

Very well done Rosie, I definitely look forward to reading more of your excellent work.

Bazil said:
19 July 2014 @ 08:27

All the above by Rosie and the feeling of belonging to a country SO much more than sunshine.
This is a something that gets into your heart, how could you leave?

laurabw said:
19 July 2014 @ 08:58

rather poignant memories of Spain.
We came to Spain in May and have had nothing but problems - robbed on the first day, banks that as just so inept - wrong card 3 times and wrong pin twice and refusal of half the cash machines to work
Loud people with children running the streets until 1am and the adults partying until 4am (we are in a coastal village) and have to say I really hate the food (most of it) maybe just here but cannot buy meat that tastes like meat (tastes like chemicals and everything has been "tampered" with) still amazed that ice cream costs so much (4 times English price)
However going back home for a few weeks as mother in law ill but will miss the pool, the beach, the sun, so will be back as soon as we can.

Sten46 said:
19 July 2014 @ 09:26

Beautiful!! Bought tears to my eyes - and I haven't even left Spain!

graeme13 said:
19 July 2014 @ 09:27

Hi Rosie....its a nice reminder for us...knowing whats on our doorstep....we will continue to enjoy the simple things you are missing!!...dont forget to visit!

Adios Graeme

Bazil said:
19 July 2014 @ 09:27

laurabw said:
Very unfortunate for you to be in coastal area in holiday season as your noisy lot are almost certainly tourists. As for the food its wonderful. The Pork is certainly the best in Europe and the variety of fresh food is superb. I don't know where you shop but ask around. People will help you find a good Bank good food and wait till early Sept and you will have a better environment because the drunk holiday scroats with have gone home.

graeme13 said:
19 July 2014 @ 09:28

Laura, give yourself a little more time to get used to things...i dont think many of us settled within 2 months...well i did...but then thats me...patiently does it...

Good luck Graeme

Maite said:
19 July 2014 @ 11:48

I speak fluent Spanish, but No, I will not miss Spain, the only thing I will miss is the weather. No, I will not miss the animal cruelty, the cruelty the Spanish hunters call SPORT. The indifference of the Ayuntamientos and Government to do something about enforcing the animal cruelty laws. As for living in the countryside, god forbid I have friends living there and they call it a nightmare with so many abandoned animals mainly dogs about. I have lived here for 17 years, lost my son here during this time, who had come to join us with his family. The inactivity and unhelpfulness of the police during this tragedy. I could go on forever, I just wish good luck to all the Brits that come over with starry eyes, learn Spanish, you will need it, it is not all as it seems. And above all do take care if you get stopped to ask for directions, do not leave the car, and if in Supermarkets clutch your handbags at all times. For anyone who is thinking otherwise, I do have lovely Spanish friends, those not in any authority are very nice people. You are wondering what I am doing here in Spain?? well trying to sell my house.

jacobleej said:
19 July 2014 @ 11:51

Laura, that is a shame as you are not seeing what Spain is all about...we are fortunate in that we live in a small village on the Almeria coastline that's not overrun with tourists from all over & holiday makers here are mainly Spanish people...harder to get to for young people only over here to get drunk...crime here is pretty much zero & never heard of anyone getting robbed Mojacar, Vera & Palomares I have heard that they get robbed but those are tourist resorts that make them a huge target...

It took me many months of studying the Spanish coastline to find this place which reminds me of Fuengirola before it was overrun with tourists & it was still a small fishing village & the place I was brought up...

There are some expats here but very few compared to other very much like the old Spain with a modern twist on things...
I do hope that you get past all the troubles you have had & get to see the better side of Spain...

Saludos!!!! Jake

graeme13 said:
19 July 2014 @ 11:52

. Lets hope you sell very soon Maite...
Shame its not worked out for you..

For others still coming to Spain...Its all it seems and more...make it happen.

laurabw said:
19 July 2014 @ 12:22

unfortunately the loud people I am talking about are the Spanish - families not teenagers - they scream at each other though barely two foot apart in shrill voices that go right through you. I do understand that it is different way of life but I have been coming to Spain since I was nine (now 62) and the people were completely different then - I was here seven years ago and found the people to be more friendly and helpful - now they just don't seem to care - the guardia man read all of our report of the robbery in English then said we had to get a translater as he didn't speak English - we gave up at that point so cannot claim on insurance as no police report number - Sad to say we want to go where the Brits are and fully intend doing that when we get back - I know some places in English are crap but the last place I expected to be bad was a bank (Santander) the only good thing about it is i can use the ATM for free with my English Santander card (love THAT bank) basically I am fed up with being looked down on by the Spanish so would never want to give them any more of my money than necessary

graeme13 said:
19 July 2014 @ 12:56

Im reliably told , Spain has always been loud.

Maybe its not Spain that has changed but us.

hrespana said:
19 July 2014 @ 13:27

For many expats, Spain is idyllic but for those who have crossed swords with anyone in authority it's a nightmare. Of course, the chances are that people coming here will escape the corruption, crime, animal cruelty and disdain of the locals towards incomers. To fight for any kind justice in this country is a thankless and expensive undertaking. This is actually made worse because those who are having a great time seem not to care as long as they're not affected.

This is a beautiful country but the authorities are out of control.

eggcup said:
19 July 2014 @ 15:26

Yes, hrespana. It is strange that because some people haven't experienced the problems - the loss of a child and the police inaction, robberies, the loss of their life savings etc., they can't empathise with those who have. I've not lost my life savings in Spain, but I really feel for those who have, for example. It's like saying you've got cancer and someone else saying 'Well I haven't. What's the big deal? You probably brought it on yourself. You must have, because I haven't experienced that.' Maite speaks fluent Spanish and so of course knows that 'all is not as it seems' to those who don't have a good command of the language...
In my view Spain is nevertheless as good a place for a holiday as many other places - and as in many countries, you have to be careful you don't get robbed, have an accident etc., as you're not familiar with your surroundings and may not be aware of all the risks - but I would never want to live in Spain again, because I do hate the corruption and idiocy of many of the Spanish authorities.

Gabian said:
19 July 2014 @ 15:57

Hello eggcup,

You should try and live in Extremadura...... joke!

Robin29 said:
19 July 2014 @ 17:39

My wife and I spent 11 years in Spain and when she said she wanted to return to England I was devastated. Anyway, in order to placate her retain a marriage I reluctantly agreed and so we cashed in our investments and bought a house in the UK. I initially tried to make out it was just a holiday home, but once there was enough furniture etc. in it she didn't want to go back to Spain. I continued for various reasons to commute back and forth every month or so but eventually the travelling got too much for me and the amount of renovation required on the UK house needed more of my time, so eventually, after a further 12 months, I quit Spain myself and put our Spanish house up for sale. It is still for sale 2 years down the line as the property market is at a standstill out there. Anyway, I digress, so to the point. I sympathise with you Rosie but I do feel now that you might be looking back at Spain with slightly rose tinted glasses. A human weakness is to remember only the good things and push the bad out of mind. I do look back at Spain with similar feelings but if I am realistic then I do remember the bad - I don't smoke and didn't drink to excess, so the advantages of cheap fags and booze were of no importance to me. However, the numerous flies, excessive heat in summer, excessive cold in winter, high electricity bills because of the air con being required in both summer and winter etc, high phone bills, increasing cost of fuel and cost of living in general, high car and motorbike insurance (I pay less than half for both in the UK), not having any history with the friends we made in Spain (we have friends in England that we have known and shared life with for over 50 years and sometimes reminiscing with them is a wonderful experience), there were the barking dogs - especially at night, the ill treatment of animals we saw every day, the inconsistencies in law interpretation by the Guardia Civil, the corruption of local councillors, the land grabbing law, the intolerance and/or arrogance of other nationalities (especially Germans), the attempted rip offs (when they discovered you spoke the language and were resident they came over all apologetic), the way some Spanish have set up a permanent holiday residence on campsites leaving holiday makers to hunt around for a caravan space, the ignorance of road users (the arrogance of scooter riders is hard to believe, don't they realise that if they are killed in an accident they are dead forever?) And finally, some of the culture differences can be extremely hard to adjust to. OK, the fiestas, concerts, recreation, sunny weather etc. is all very well but give me an English theatre, a good English pub meal, a fire crackling on a winters day, seeing kids playing in the snow, regular visits from long standing friends and relatives, seeing your grandchildren frequently and yes, England has a lot going for it. I don't regret a moment we spent in Spain, but it is nice to be back in England!

eggcup said:
19 July 2014 @ 18:21

Very well put Robin. I agree with everything you say apart from the fact that I'd put the fiestas in the negative list and never went to any concerts in Spain - but imagine ours in the UK are just as good. When Spaniards come here to live and work they can see all of these positive British aspects in a way that British people often can't and many of them are sick of the things you mention about Spain.

Gabian said:
19 July 2014 @ 18:53

Eggcup and Robin, I love Spain. Maybe it's because I have only been here for just under six years but I love every day once I have woken up in the morning.

I tolerate the barking dogs. There is a farm across the road from my house. I tolerate the seven, yes seven cockerels telling each other who is boss twenty four seven.

I have not spoken nor seen a British person since 2012 when I had to go back to the UK on an emergency.

Why am I in this situation?, It's because I live in the middle of nowhere. Not one tourist has ever puked on our streets, urinated in any corner or anything that you coasties have to unfortunately experience.

Why, because I genuinely live in peace and harmony, despite what you think eggcup, my life here is beautiful and tranquil. I love the people and they love me. I know that for a fact.

The reason why you are all disillusioned about Spain is purely because you picked the wrong place to live.

If you want to have a great, peaceful retirement in Spain you don't buy a place on the coast or even a little bit inland you really need to go off the beaten track. Take that risk and you will never regret it......

By the way, as eggcup knows, I don't pay any bills. I am totally off the grid and my spring water comes from my pozo so I can't comment about the high bills.

Reading what people have experienced on the coast has really shocked me as I don't see that at all and I am quite sad that you all feel that way.

I absolutely love living here. I even teach the Guardia Civil English. We have a great bunch of guys and gals here.

I just can't understand it...... Good luck to you all.

If ever you re-decide to think about coming back to Spain then please consider Extremadura.......

shell4000 said:
19 July 2014 @ 22:14

when i was young and growing up in London we had a neighbour who we knew well /When her husband died her daughter had emigrated to Aust with her husband /
Her daughter offered to let her mother live with her so she went to Aust and missed the Uk especially the part of London where we lived Islington N19 so after a couple of years she came back to the Uk
Then she would think about Aust and her daughter and want
to go back /she did this 4 times all at her daughters expense
after the 4th time her daughter would not pay for her to come back to Aust /and she lived the rest of her life in the Uk complaining her daughter had abandoned her /
I have lived in the USA and Spain and have known several people all older yoyo back and forth
if you can afford all the expense fine but otherwise choose one place or have 2 homes and spend say 3 months in Spain and 3 month in the uk
wherever you are you remember the good aspects of the place you left

Gabian said:
19 July 2014 @ 23:52

shell4000 you are very wise, I understand you completely. I mean, I always believe in remembering the good times. Bad times are very sour and...... anyway I loved my mum, she was my rock. she passed away many years ago back in '92. I am six feet two, she was five foot one but she was definitely the boss in the house.....

Anyway, I digress. I'm sorry.

Just all take it easy, you all have your own lives to live. Life is very precious so please enjoy it whilst you can. Surround yourself with people you love and who have a positive attitude.

Try and teach the negative people your ways but if it is not possible then discard them from your life. They are like the wasps or the mozzies in your life. You really don't need them.

Live life with peace and harmony. Love life. It really is good.

Thank tomorrow when you get there for being part of it and just enjoy it...... Look at the sunshine, the power and the energy that provides for us all. Where would we be without it.

......and where better to be than here to enjoy it.

ketesh said:
19 July 2014 @ 23:59

We left Spain 3 years ago. I had lived there for 11 years. My husband, 23 years. We were both fluent in Spanish... my husband in valenciano too. We were married there, my husband grew up there, went to school there... we had our first child there. Our "friends" were there... every part of our lives was in Spain. But the crisis came. My boss couldn't pay me but wouldn't sack me either, my husband was lucky, in a way, he lost his job but 2 years later his paro stopped and we were destitute. The bank took our home and put us on the street. We had nothing. We left Spain to look for work to feed our children and find a home to live in because we couldn't in Spain. We came to the UK, we discovered real friends who have been there when we have needed them, we have jobs, a home.. and we never have to worry about whether we need to buy medicine for our child or put food on the table... like we did frequently in Spain. There also isn't that underlying concept that we are foreigners, outsiders. Britons have a poor reputation among Spaniards, especially in coastal areas. In my husband's 23 years, he was still the "guiri" of the group, and he wasn't British.. but another nationality altogether. In the UK he has not felt that way at all.

We learnt that while Spain has lovely weather, friendly people, cheap booze, nice al fresco dining, lovely church bells... the best cafe bonbons ever.... none of that matters when the bank turf you out on the street, or you can't afford the electricity bill so they cut you off.

I do miss Spain... we have returned several times since, and while wonderful to be back, it will always hold a piece of me, it is not my home. It is a beautiful country, with wonderful people.. but it is not the land of mana and honey so many here make it out to be. It is going through a crisis at the moment both political and economic making it a turbulent and difficult place to live if your income isn't dependant on a UK pension source. If your yard stick for measuring a country's worth is fiestas, church bells, food and weather then you must lead a very easy life, for which I am grateful.

Bazil said:
20 July 2014 @ 07:53

Gabian, That is beautifully written, you have a big warm heart and a lovely attitude to life. Don't loose it.

RiojaRosie said:
20 July 2014 @ 12:42

Well, I am amazed at the response to my post.
Thank you ALL so much for taking the time to write some very kind, diverse, and very thoughtful comments.

I think there is food for thought for all of us amongst other peoples experiences, I've identified with some parts of almost everyone's reply.

THANK YOU ! Rosie x

Gabian said:
20 July 2014 @ 16:28

Brazil, Thank you very much for your kind words, they mean a lot to me.

Words effect people in different ways, harsh words, violent words like hate, never, won't, now, pressure, immediately, ugly, terrible etc., I don't need to use these words.

I use words like, love, life, freedom, light, happiness, joy, smile, sunshine, peace etc., do I need to continue......

The 'pressure' from the UK is now long gone and I am just beginning to find my real self here in this beautiful country......

You also definitely have the right attitude. Please never change your thoughts and never leave this land of tranquility......

The people here need you......

Niguel said:
21 July 2014 @ 08:01

We have been visiting Spain for the past few years and plan to move to a small inland village in the near future. We miss pretty much all of the things you've mentioned but would like to add that when we're back in the UK, we really miss the fact that almost all of the local people in the village say "Hola." Also, we miss going for an evening stroll around the village and seeing the men, grouped together, sitting on the benches and the ladies arm in arm, chattering as they too, take their evening stroll. Infact, you hear the ladies, well before you see them.

Gabian said:
21 July 2014 @ 14:02

Yes, yes yes...... Niguel, that is exactly what I love about Spain......

I am four hours from the nearest airport here in Extremadura and everything you have said is true. A few years ago I had to go back to the UK because of an emergency but I wanted to be back here as soon as possible.

I live in the middle of nowhere. I think the nearest Brit lives about thirty plus kilometers away but I'm not sure...... I think he lives in the UK but comes out here for a break now and then......

It is important to associate yourselves with the locals by greeting them every time you see them. They love it and will eventually love you for it......

You will be accepted in your little village with your attitude, I promise you that life will be good.

Keep away from the coast and drunken tourists.

I have lived here for nearly six years and not one tourist has ever set foot in my village. That is just how it should be......

As I said earlier, I'm four hours from the nearest airport, who in their right mind would want to visit me...... Great......

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