The Word on the Street

International Edition - January 2014


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 Advisers. In a couple of columns we hope to keep you in touch with the news, events and just a little bit of gossip.

La Plaza del Ayuntamiento, Valencia

Something to think about… electricity

Why is electricity so expensive in Spain? In this article from El Pais, translated into English, we have the best attempt I've seen to explain the complex world of Spanish electricity tariffs.

I'm still not entirely sure I understand it but my eyes did leap to the bottom to the little additional information about the membership of certain electricity boards. Say no more…:

One new year resolution down the drain already

In December I promised no more Top Tens from The Local. Well, we all know that New Year resolutions are not really meant to be kept.

So, why wait any longer? I'm busting mine at the first opportunity. From 'The Local', another top ten, this time encouraging you to think again about how you pass your time in Spain. Which one of these 'ten ways to spice up your Spanish life' might you try in 2014?:

I also enjoyed this comparison of Madrid v. Barcelona. Described as the 'great city face off', The Local compares the two cities according to their weather, nightlife, food, economy and other factors. Which city comes out on top and do you agree? Take a look:

It seems as though interesting articles come in threes. Also from The Local, I was intrigued by this list of expat enclaves. It takes into account the settlement patterns of a number of different nationalities in Spain including, Fins in Fuengirola, Russians in Marbella and Germans in Mallorca. There is some dispute about whether Benidorm really should be classed as Little Britain. Do you agree or where would you suggest instead?:

Top 5, 10, 20, 100

It seems like everyone is doing it. Wherever you look there is another top 5, 10, 20 tips for…

What is it about numbers that means we are attracted to reading articles and blogs that reduce everything to numerical slots? Saying this, I have been drawn to another two, both celebrating the benefits of Spain.

1. The first one is 10 things you are missing out on if you do not live in Spain:

2. The second one goes 10 better and advocates 20 reasons to drop everything and go to Spain. This one from the Huffington Post:

And if these two articles between them don't entice you out here - what will?


Registered in Madrid

If you have made a Spanish will then you can rest assured that your inheritors shouldn't have too much trouble in finding it.

All wills made in Spain have to be registered in the will registry in Madrid (Registro Central de Ultimas Voluntades).

This requirement is a really useful way of ensuring that a will can always be traced and that there is no dispute about which the last valid one is.

People forget that when circumstances change, wills may need altering too. Fortunately for the family in our case study, the will registry provided the closure they needed:

Helping out across the miles

If you live in Spain and have close relatives in another country or if you live elsewhere and have relatives living in Spain, it can be difficult to keep the communication lines open at the best of times. When things go wrong it can be even harder.

You are not in a position to pop round for a sympathy chat and the miles in between can seem an enormous barrier when someone you care about is distressed.

In the following article, there are some suggestions of actions you can take to reduce the burden of guilt and reach out when you can't be there in person:

Reading about Spain from different sources

You can't always believe what you read. So the more opportunities you have to check out versions of events the better. If you're a Guardian newspaper reader you might know already that it has its own webpage for Spain.

There are only a selected few articles so you won't get day-to-day news alerts, but where they do write about events in Spain you might appreciate a different perspective:

I rather like this article on the Guardian webpage. Not specifically about Spain, it compares the fate of five countries since the first world war based upon statistics.

So, for example, in 1914 Germany had 4.50m soldiers, now they have 0.18. It's interesting to note that according to this source, Spain has the smallest number of soldiers at 0.12 and the largest is France with 0.30.

Congratulations on 'Life Expectancy' Spain! Spain has increased more than its neighbours since 1914. Spanish residents are now expected to live 39.5 years longer than they did in 1914. Spain started off as having the lowest life expectancy and now has the highest.

How reliable the data is - who knows, but interesting to reflect on and spark discussion:




Madrid v. Valencia

It's another battle between Spanish cities and Madrid is in there sparring again. This time with Valencia.

Caroline Angus Baker gives her views on the benefits and down sides of the two cities. In the end, as with all comparisons like this, they are both unique and both deserve a visit in their own right. Of course, it's also a matter of personal preference. Quite interesting to read about it though:

Disappointed in the January sales?

If you're one of the lucky ones with money left after Christmas then you might have chosen to spend some of it in the January sales. Do you know what your consumer rights are if something goes wrong with your purchase?

This article provides a good summary of consumer rights in Spain:

It's not just this article that's worth taking a look at. The website and newsletter, 'Money Saver Spain' have some really good money-saving tips that might come in particularly useful at this time of year. You can subscribe to their newsletter when you visit their website: Money Saver Spain:

Fascinating languages

How many languages can you speak? For most of us the answer is one as a native speaker with perhaps beginners/ intermediate standard in one or more others. If we're lucky.

Whatever your prowess in language learning, languages are, in themselves, fascinating. Their history, how they have developed and the way we borrow and lend our words can reveal a lot about nationalities.

This website, European word translator, provides an intriguing insight into languages across the EU. Enter a word in English and it will translate it and superimpose the local translation on a map of Europe.

So insert 'sun' and it becomes 'sol' in Spain, 'soleil' in France, and 'sonne' in Germany. Note the word in Basque 'eguzkia' completely different - an indication of the uniqueness of the Basque language - 'Euskera'.

It is interesting to see how far some words have spread and the Arabic influences on some Spanish words. Really worth a play with:

Malvarrosa Beach seafront, Valencia


Ábaco Advisers: (+34) 96 670 3748

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