The Word on the Street

International Edition - January 2013


News and Information from Spain


Welcome to the January issue of 'The Word on the Street'. Your monthly news and information from Spain provided by Ábaco Asesores. In a couple of columns we hope to keep you in touch with the news, events and just a little bit of gossip.

                            tree with flowers on Murcia

Almond tree with flowers on Murcia

What's coming up in 2013

As you might expect, towards the end of the year we had a few websites and publications rushing to provide us with their reviews of 2012 and their predictions for 2013:

From Iberosphere:

In this article, presseurop predict trends for 2013 across Europe:

Fast track to London and Paris

With the apparent increases in air fares there are many residents and visitors to Spain looking for cheaper ways of commuting.

Spain's railways are responding with an increase in AVE fast trains from Barcelona which link up with French TGV fast trains to Paris and Eurostar to London. A new-link will reduce the travel time between Barcelona and Paris by one hour and a quarter and is expected to make travel to Europe easier generally.

Renfe (Spanish rail company) suggests that journey times from Barcelona to other European cities could amount to less than four hours. To find out more:

In the thick of the winter

Read any forum based in Spain at this time of year and you're likely to come across some comments about how to heat houses. It is true that the Spanish winter can come as a surprise to those spending time out here, even when you are used to living in a much colder climate.

Those three months of relative cold can seem to last an eternity. In this article from 'Beyond Mañana' you have a very down-to-earth account of just how chilly it can get:

Don't just read the article. There is some interesting content on this website about expat life in Spain.

How much should a drink cost?

For some people, one of the main attractions of Spain is that alcohol is so much cheaper. It's about to get even cheaper still in comparison to some countries.

The author of this article, from Spanish Insight, is clearly most aggrieved by what he sees as an unfair attack on the drinking habits of the moderate and middle class rather than the real binge drinkers and addicts.

It's a thought-provoking article, not only in terms of what might change drinking habits in a country but also how governments might use research indiscriminately and unethically to back their policies:


We might pretend not to be superstitious but there are few people who don't practise a little extra caution when it's Friday 13th or feel a little tweak of anxiety if they break a mirror. From Eye On Spain, there's an interesting list of superstitions in Spain, many of them the same as in other countries. Which ones bother you?


Ábaco Update

There are many new pieces of legislation coming through. Once we are clear about the implications of new laws we will continue to inform you through our website. One of the latest regulations is that of the limits on cash payments.

Residents are no longer allowed to use cash to pay for items or services over €2,500. For non-residents this cap is higher at €15,000. This also refers to a deposit which in itself may be below the cash limit but where the total cost of the item, such as a house or car, is above it. The sanctions and encouragement to whistleblow are scary too. For more information see our article on the new Ábaco Advisers website:

Research from Valencia University

Perhaps this piece of research is something that we all knew anyway. Researchers from Valencia University conclude that DNA has more to do with how long we live than environment or lifestyle.

Of course, that doesn't mean all of you out there with a centenarian in the family can resort to a life of debauchery. But maybe it allows us to be just a little kinder to ourselves and not fret quite so much about those already-broken, new-year resolutions:

We said we'd keep you posted…

…about Corvera. This is the latest, most comprehensive article we've found. Hardly giving the answers but at least it outlines just how many remaining questions there are around the proposed opening of Corvera/ closing of San Javier airports. I think the message is, don't cancel that flight just yet:

Your rights when it comes to flights

This is a useful section of the 'Which' website. It includes information about:

- Delayed flights
- Cancelled flights
- Overbooked flights
- Re-routed and missed flights
- Delayed, lost or damaged luggage - How to make a claim

It includes sample letters and lots of practical advice. This part is free. There are also survey results for airlines but these are behind the payment wall:

Getting to know Seville

We've featured the wonderful city of Seville in a previous newsletter (February 2012). There are certainly many tourist attractions in this beautiful city. But what about if you happen to live there? There's some advice in this article about how to fit in if you do:

Jumping over bonfires

Spain does have its fair share of unusual festivals. Not least is The Arizkun Carnival in Arizkun, Navarra.

The event comprises the opportunity to have a go at jumping over a bonfire. An opportunity that many of us will perhaps want to pass by.

The tradition dates back to pagan times and is supposed to help ward of evil spirits. There are around 20 bonfires to choose from and locals happily dress up for the event. This year the carnival will be held on the 12th February. Going by this photo it's not just jumping over a sparkler either:


Dates for your diary - 2013

The Murcia Today website has published a list of the Spanish National Bank Holidays for 2013 and also Local Bank Holiday in the Murcia region:

Another good list of dates for the diary from Expatica (with some good pictures too!):

Dates for public holidays are available on the British Embassy website:

Torrevieja information has dates and information about local fiestas:

Remember, it is important to be aware of your local holidays too. These can vary between individual towns in a region.

Looking for somewhere different to visit?

Of all the sights to see in Murcia you probably wouldn't have landed on the idea of visiting a 'snow house'. In this article, Murcia Today describe the snowhouses of the Sierra Espuña. According to the article, these were built in order to 'refrigerate' ice cubes for the Murcian region. They were packed with snow during the winter and this was compacted down to make solid blocks of ice. If you want to read more about the 'pozos' this very interesting article will fill you in on the detail and explain how you can visit them for yourself:

Frequent traveller apps.

If you are a regular traveller and if you possess a device for using apps. Then this information might just be for you:

Skyscanner - is a free app. which compares flights from more than 1,000 companies

Flight card - a flight tracking application that can follow a vast range of airlines

Really Late Booking - is a free app. to help you find a hotel on the same day that you want one

Jetsetter - enables you to access exclusive hotels, apartments and package holidays across the world

Tripadvisor - includes comments and reviews about hotels, restaurants and services

Tourist Eye - is a travel guide with information about local transport, maps and leisure activities in over 10,000 destinations

The Weather Channel - find out about the weather for every hour up to 10 days ahead. Warnings about bad weather conditions in the US and Europe

A special mention for a local team

We have one or two football supporters in our offices - and it's not just the BIG teams they support. Elche CF is a local team who happen to be doing rather well at the moment, so we thought we'd like to share their success.

They are currently top of the second division and are leading it in style having the best set of statistics seen in the entire history of the second division.

If you would like to watch them go from strength to strength why not buy a season ticket? It's a lot cheaper than most season tickets at only 50€, working out at 5€ per match.

When they are promoted into the first division, as is strongly predicted for next season, you might not be able to watch them quite so cheaply.

You can buy a season ticket by telephone, on-line or at L'Aljub or Gran Alacant commercial centres:

Keep up the good work Elche!


Ábaco Asesores: (+34) 96 670 3748

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