Jan 172013
 
Moving to Spain: Caution! le mot du jour?

I am notorious among my pals as a caution-to-the-wind, who dares, wins, sort of chap. These same pals have been vastly entertained down the years by the results of this M.O. but as they approach Pensionville with prospects of modest comfort or better, they are [very kindly] a bit concerned that I might go one brilliant wheeze too far and end up destitute. It was this thought on my part that had me bin my […]

Jan 102013
 
Spain and the year ahead – 2013

So – we enter the New Year, 2013, after a tumultuous year for Spain in 2012, in which the country entered into the perfect storm, economically. 2012 saw unemployment in Spain reach an average of 26.6% as a whole, with some areas far exceeding that dreadful figure.  Meanwhile, some 55% of under 25 year olds have no work and little prospect of finding it – with some 426,000 more people unemployed in Spain, than at […]

Sep 272012
 
Demonstrations in Spain, a dangerous spasm of despair

I sense a change occurring in Spain – which is manifest in the on-going street demonstrations in Spain (particularly in Madrid and Barcelona) and from conversations with Spanish friends, of all ages. Finally, I think the Spanish have come to the conclusion that their country and way of life is in very deep trouble.   This may have seemed obvious to many of us for several years but has not been really apparent amongst the Spanish.  […]

Sep 082012
 
Bullfighting back on Spanish public television

That most emblematic part of the culture of Spain, bullfighting, has returned to state TV (RTVE) having been removed from its prime time slot by the previous (socialist) government of Spain.  Needless to say, this has outraged animal rights activists and the many people who oppose bullfighting, which was banned in the Catalan Region from the 1st January of this year. Of course, few things raise the hackles of foreigners more than bullfighting.  To many […]

Aug 242012
 
The ‘new’ revolutionary culture of Spain

In a PR coup worthy of a top New York consultancy, Mayor Sánchez Gordillo of Marinaleda (pop. 2,318) recently hit the international news by initiating robberies of food from supermarkets in Andalusia – to give to the poor.  Likened to a modern day Robin Hood, Sanchez is a left wing Spanish politician who has been Mayor for his pueblo since 1979 (for 33 years!).  He is the face of the ‘new’ revolutionary culture of Spain Sanchez is […]

May 252012
 
The continuing allure of Spain

Did you know that there are some 5/5.5 million Britons living abroad (approx.  8% of the entire UK population!) – and that Spain is the country in the world that hosts the second most Britons? In first place is Australia where around 1.4 million Britons live full time and then Spain, followed by the US (some 794,000 live there). The exact number of Britons living in Spain permanently is actually rather hard to know and […]

May 112012
 
Spanish property market, the truth is finally coming out!

So, over the past couple of weeks the true state of the Spanish property market is becoming apparent and confirms what I have been saying for a long time.  In short, average property prices across Spain have fallen by around 40% since the height of the boom in 2007 – not the 20% that the Spanish government has been steadfastly declaring for years. Recently, Pompeu Fabra University reported that Spanish property prices had actually fallen […]

Apr 272012
 
Spain's world class cultural heritage, something for everyone!

One aspect to Spain that is often overlooked is its world class heritage.  In fact, it may surprise you to know that Spain is second only to Italy for its UNESCO World Heritage sites, of which it has 42 to Italy’s 47.  By comparison the UK has 28. I say that Spain’s World Heritage position may be a ‘surprise’ because, for most people, Spain is perceived as little more than a country with some excellent […]

Apr 252012
 
The intrinsic culture of Spain and what makes Spaniards Spaniards!

As the son of Spanish immigrants, born and raised in the UK but having spent most of my working life doing business in Spain and the last seven years living here, I have given a lot of thought to trying to understand what gives the Spanish the character they have – loud, opinionated, proud, autocratic, confrontational and individualistic. Yes – they can also be kind, helpful and hopelessly optimistic but, in my experience, that is […]

Apr 042012
 
Understanding Flamenco, a complicated emblem of Spain

  In any word association game concerning Spain, the same few words are bound to come up and they are, of course, Flamenco and bull fighting – with perhaps sangria as an afterthought.  This must infuriate the Spanish, not least because Flamenco has nothing to do with most of Spain and is restricted to the culture of Andalusia – just one of Spain’s 17 different regions.  Certainly, few Spaniards outside of Andalusia would think of […]

Mar 152012
 
Jason Webster, author of five books about Spain and expert on the culture of Spain

Few people know the complexities of Spain better than Jason Webster, who has written five books about Spain – four of which have been factual.  In fact, Jason is an acknowledged expert on the complex and fascinating culture of Spain and writes for a number of quality newspapers in the UK, as their expert on the country. Jason’s first book was Duende, which has become a standard work for anyone interested in flamenco, one of […]

Feb 282012
 
Catalonia, a Cultural History

My mother was born in Barcelona but left, never to return, when she was a child just before the Spanish Civil War.  That makes me half Catalan and I’ve visited Barcelona many times over the years, but mainly only for 1-2 days on business.  I’ve spent much more time in Madrid, home of my father. My first real exposure to some of the history of Catalonia was only a few years ago, via Cathedral of […]