We are often invited by publicists to ‘discover one of Spain’s best kept secrets’. No doubt, as we enjoy the cliché, we will be offered the chance to buy a ‘dream home’ while we are there, soaking up ‘the warm Mediterranean sun’ or enjoying ‘the welcoming smiles of the locals’ (as they gauge the size of one’s wallet).
I was up at the almazara the other day, converting a lorry-load of olives into oil. This process took several hours, as old Tío Juan likes to do things in an orderly fashion, and to make sure that your oil comes from your olives.
While my wife insisted on watching eagle-eyed to make sure that Tío Juan didn’t slip in a few acorns, I walked into the nearby village of Uleila del Campo (wiki) for a cerveza and a tapa or two.
It’s very pretty there, a white village in the plains (and hills) behind Sorbas (Almería), far-enough away from the coast to find that the northern Europeans are few and far between and that the dream homes – if one is so inclined – are still reassuringly cheap. Idealista I see has a place as low as 13,000€ (it, ah, needs some work).
The thing is, of course, that a spot on the map like Uleila del Campo – or a thousand others - may be a great place to retire too if you are completely antisocial and don’t mind roughing it, but otherwise it has a few decided drawbacks. There are a few northern Europeans scattered about, between Lubrín, Tabernas and Sorbas, and there’s even a British-run hostal/restaurant nearby (Tripadvisor). However, it can become very lonely living there unless you are writing a novel.
Even more lonely might be to live in another forgotten village further inland, maybe in Granada or Jaén perhaps. Idealista found me somewhere for 10,900€ in Hornos (wiki) – a pretty village in Jaén with a castle. There: One of Spain’s best kept secrets for your pleasure.
All of which is why so many of us prefer the coast. We have managed to make our own communities in several areas along the Med, with our own bars, clubs, restaurants and even newspapers. We can get by without having much contact with our host nation or its language or (when they finally turn off that dreadful Christmas music) even their customs. In return, we are largely ignored.
So, if one can manage to live inland, and integrate into the local society, so much the better, perhaps.
Or perhaps not.
Written while enjoying some bread dipped in our very own olive oil.
The good people at Mansion Global explain how the plusvalía tax (capital gain) works.
From Spanish Property Insight here, an article on how the Germans have overtaken the Brits to be the leading foreign home-buyers.
Mark Stücklin also looks at the new Andalusian property laws here with ‘Andalucía approves a new town-planning framework that could boost the whole region if it succeeds’. He says that ‘Like other Spanish regions, Andalusia has been struggling with planning corruption and chaos for decades, and the region is littered with planning scandals that discourage investment by increasing the risks and costs of buying property, which is bad for the whole region…’. True indeed – Andalucía must have lost plenty of sales and foreign income in the past decade due to its poor reputation regarding the ‘300,000 illegal homes’.
‘How to Properly Set a Price for Your House for Sale’ from The Olive Press here. ‘First and foremost, it might be a good idea to get your home evaluated. This involves having a professional come and take a look at your property and let you know its likely value...’.
From ECD here: ‘A slowdown in hotel reservations for Christmas and an increase in cancellations due to the spike in infections. Restrictions imposed in Northern European countries are preventing tourists who planned to travel to Spain from arriving’. As we begin to approach our second year of coronavirus, with the tourist business in tatters, once again we wonder why full-time residence for northern Europeans is not marketed, promoted, sold and protected. To say nothing of the unfortunate 90/180 day issue for many British and other non-EU home-owners.
‘The European Commission guarantees the first 10,000 million of European funds for Spain. Spain is the first EU country to receive approval from Brussels for the first tranche of recovery funds beyond the pre-financing 9,000 million in the case of Spain, which was received in August’. The story at elDiario.es here.
From El Español here: ‘Unemployment fell for the ninth consecutive month in November falling by 74,381 people and returning to 2008 levels. The reduction in the number of unemployed last month was historic, while the number of people registered with Social Security remains at record numbers’.
From La Vanguardia here: ‘There are a million families in Spain with long-term (12 years or more) unemployment, with Huelva, Granada, Jaén and Las Palmas leading the statistic.
How does Hacienda know if you are really living in Spain (or abroad, as you claim?). Oh, they know all right. From Xataca here: ‘Everything the Tax Agency uses to know if you live in Spain even if you deny it: from your electricity consumption to your Instagram posts’.
Will Ciudadanos be absorbed into the PP? Is there much point in voting Ciudadanos anyway? From ECD here: ‘There’s a rebellion brewing among the deputies of Ciudadanos against Inés Arrimadas. They accuse her of "opening the doors to the PP for absorption", with her proposal for an electoral coalition in Andalucía (regional elections for next autumn), bearing in mind that the PP’s strategy has clearly been to sponge up the orange party at the polls, which it considers to have finished its run…’.
A ‘motion of censure’ will be held in Torremolinos (Málaga) on December 20th, taking the leadership away from José Ortiz from the PSOE, in favour of a three-party coalition (PP, C’s and an independent group) led by Margarita del Cid from the PP (the background here).
ECD reports the obvious point that the Moncloa (president’s office) secretly manoeuvres to promote Isabel Díaz Ayuso against Pablo Casado and also the two Podemos ministers Irene Montero and Ione Belarra while lowering the electoral expectations of Yolanda Díaz (IU).
The Economist takes a swing at Vox, says infoLibre (with a certain relish). We read that ‘Vox is a party of "the extreme right" subscribing to "racism", according to The Economist. The weekly, considered a journalistic bible in liberal and conservative settings, considers it "to be a paradox" that Santiago Abascal's party does "particularly well in areas where farmers depend on Moroccan and African workers for their harvest". In another article on migration, The Economist emphasizes that, despite "Vox's racism", Spain is a country that continues to be both welcoming and tolerant’. The Economist’s article ‘Spain needs immigrants. But does it still want them?’ (paywall) is here.
On Wednesday, Julian Assange celebrated eleven years in confinement. Which seems a bit excessive. From the WSWS here: ‘The US seeks to block Spanish investigation into CIA operation against Assange as British ruling on extradition appeal is “imminent”’.
From El Español here: ‘Morocco strangles Ceuta with a large commercial area on the border as it has already does with Melilla. Hitherto, commerce in Ceuta had worked thanks to the citizens of the neighbouring region, Moroccan tourists and European visitors’. Tanger Med will be open from April next year (en français, here).
How to get the covid passport in each community. Each autonomous government has websites or apps to obtain the document, which is necessary to access bars, restaurants and other spaces in much of Spain. El Huff Post has the details here.
‘Sanidad approves the vaccine against Covid-19 in children from 5 to 11 years old. The autonomous communities will be in charge of organizing the vaccination campaign which will begin on December 15th’. Público reports here.
The anti-vaxxers have a few videos out there (world domination and so on and so forth) but they are banned as a rule on YouTube, Facebook and others. I was sent one just now by LifeSiteNews (qv). elDiario.es says that ways to fool the algorithms include misspellings, like b4kun4 for vacuna or @#plan#demia for plandemia (the planned pandemic, geddit?), not, I think, that many people are taken in. The WHO calls these things infodemics here.
‘Pedro Sánchez urged people to ‘remain prudent’ about Covid-19 over the holidays, as early Christmas festivities in southern Spain are suspected of infecting dozens of hospital staff. … The Regional Hospital of Málaga in Andalucía said 170 staff attended a Christmas dinner in a restaurant last weekend. Since then, 68 staff, including intensive care nurses and doctors, have tested positive for Covid-19. All were reportedly fully vaccinated, most of them asymptomatic, and they are now in home-quarantine…’. Item from Spain in English here. The Canal Sur TV reported on Tuesday that the number had gone up to 80 (that’s 80 professionals not treating patients in the Málaga hospital). The question for many people is whether to avoid the company Christmas party…
A chunk of the ceiling in the Urgencias collapsed in the Gregorio Marañon hospital (Madrid) on Tuesday. It’s not the first time said a staffer.
The PP is suing infoLibre over their item published last June that a family member of a senior party member got special medical attention in Murcia thanks to his connection. While the story continues to run, the PP claims that it is ‘a revelation of secret material’, which could bring up to five years clink for those involved. The news-site has received support from many sources including the president of the Federación de Asociaciones de Periodistas de España who offers his resounding rejection of "this attempt at intimidation, which attacks freedom of information and the free exercise of journalism. Freedom of expression, the fundamental pillar of our democracy, will prevail". More here.
The new Bishop of Orihuela-Alicante, who moves from his post in San Sebastian, has his own webpage and a radio show. He is known as an ultra-conservative (bishops often are), and a keen enemy of homosexuality which is, he says a disease that can be cured. Epe has more here (with video).
From elDiario.es here: ‘800,000 tons of agricultural discharges per year are to blame for the EU suing Spain. The excess of nitrogen-based fertilizers to favour intensive production ends up in the natural environment and causes "poor water quality throughout the territory," as reported months ago by the Commission, which has ended up taking Spain to court’.
Do the British courts have any authority over Juan Carlos I? His estranged mistress Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn (wiki) is suing him in London for apparently setting spies on her. From El Mundo here: ‘The King Emeritus claims before the British Justice his immunity with his status as "a member of the Spanish Royal Family and the Crown of Spain". "This does not place him above the law," explains his lawyers, Daniel Bethlehem and Philippa Webb, "but he will only answer for himself before the Spanish Supreme Court". The Guardian quote: ‘…Sayn-Wittgenstein claims that at the time (2012) Juan Carlos was demanding the return of gifts he had given her when they were lovers, including art, jewellery and £65m in cash…’. Does Spain have the legal authority it apparently refuses to allow the UK? El País says ‘Spain denies former foreign heads of state the immunity claimed by Juan Carlos I in London’ here. There’s even a law written in 2015 about this very point. From El Plural, we read that Juan Carlos would like to return to Spain from his retreat in Abu Dhabi, as long as he could live in La Zarzuela (the royal palace in Madrid) and receive an appropriate income.
Sir Paul Preston has published another book regarding recent Spanish history: ‘Arquitectos del terror’, or, more succinctly in English: ‘A People Betrayed’. ctxt interviews the historian and offers this headline: "If I wanted my books to have an impact, I would like it to be to show that Franco was as dreadful as Hitler".
(which brings us to…) ‘Indignation with the tweet of a Vox deputy threatening to "parade through the courts lefties, communists, secessionists, friends of terrorists..., all ranked against Vox. Spaniards know that when they give us their trust, which will be sooner rather than later, these people will begin to parade through the courts ... That is the fear they have." This threatening tweet comes from a deputy of the Vox party and a retired general from the Army. Alberto Asarta was also among the signatories of a manifesto in 2019 that exalted Franco…’. Item at Público here.
Microcredits and revolving credit cards are terrible things, with some eventual interest paid at over 1,000% says LibreMercado here. Thousands of people choose these skeevy credits and end up trapped, with some, says the article, considering suicide. Check them out on GoogleSearch under ‘créditos rápidos’.
From The Olive Press here: ‘Domestic animals are now recognised as sentient beings and are no longer considered as ‘objects’ in Spain, after new legislation was passed in a parliamentary vote on December 2nnd. Previously, animals had the same legal status as inanimate objects but the new rules mean than domestic or wild animals cannot be mistreated, seized or abandoned…’.
The Christmas lottery: how much goes to Hacienda? The answer is 20% on any winning ticket after and above the first 40,000€ paid. The chances of winning are so small as to be mathematically impossible (1st prize: 1 in 100,000); still, one can dream, right?
The first railway line to operate in Spain was built in 1837 in the Spanish province of Cuba (Spanish until 1898). It went from La Habana to Güines says Wiki here.
Whatever happened to The Schrödingers? An essay at Spanish Shilling here.
Molly from Piccavey writes of her visit to the ‘Barcelona Province Landscapes – What lies beyond the Catalan Capital?’. As always with Molly, some great pictures and an interesting article.
Another ‘invasive species’ is the Little Green Argentinian parrot that makes a loud screech as it flies around in packs in the city parks. They are called cotorras verdes and the local governments sometimes put a bounty on them – particularly Madrid where there are meant to be around 14,000 of these ‘pests’.
We enjoy the BoT each week.
Pete and Pam
Navidad Rock with Tatiana on YouTube here. Well, it was that or villancicos.