The Word on the Street

International Edition - February 2013


News and Information from Spain


Welcome to the February 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.

                            tree with flowers on Murcia

The Alcazar in the old town of Toledo

Congratulations Spain on your transplant policy

Assuring that there are sufficient numbers of organ donors is a problem for many European countries. The UK has just been publicising the need for donors by giving airplay to some of the people who are waiting for a transplant.

This is one area that Spain does particularly well. The attitude to transplants in Spain is very positive and it has the best record for organ donations in the world.

Spain has an opt-out policy rather than an opt-in one. This means that your consent is presumed unless you state otherwise. However, some people argue that it is not this alone that makes Spain so successful in ensuring a high number of transplants. After all, the family are still consulted about the donation.

Instead it is suggested that countries such as Spain have invested more in the infrastructure around organ donation with more transplant coordinators and retrieval teams.

It's a couple of years old now but this article sums it up:

Moving abroad

So much has been written about it, some people do it, some people talk about it and some people know it's not for them. Whichever category you are in you might be interested in reading this article - a personal view point on the big decision to move abroad:

More advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is certainly upping its game in providing advice to those considering buying abroad. This video gives good general information whatever nationality you might be:


A piece of good news. Angela Keay who is an Age Concern volunteer in Spain was awarded an MBE for services to the British community in the New Year's Honours List.

Angela helped to set up Age Concern Costa Blanca Sur in 1997 and has been closely involved ever since. She is now Secretary to Age Concern Espańa's national INFOLINE and Casework service organisation. She is also out there on a practical level as one of its caseworker volunteers.

In order to acknowledge the award Giles Paxman, the British Spanish Ambassador, paid her a visit to congratulate her in person:

It's another 'worst'

In our November newsletter we introduced you to 'The Worst Hotel in the World'. After reading this item one of our readers kindly provided another 'worst' to add to the list. This time, 'The Irish Affair' in Torremolinos which claimed to be 'Probably The Worst Irish Pub in The World' (please note the important addition of the word probably).

I'll let our reader explain:

'we went along to see for ourselves. Well it turned out that they were not being entirely honest, and it was in fact one of the best Irish pubs we have been in outside of Ireland. No karaoke, no bingo and no fun quiz - these don't happen in real Irish bars - just good drink, good fun, and some live music thrown in for good measure. Well worth a visit if you're down in that direction'.

Although they visited The Irish Affair in 2004, its website suggests that the pub is still going and if you want to take up the challenge yourself, it might be worth a visit if you are in the Torremolinos area:

Now we are waiting to hear about those establishments that announce themselves to be 'Probably the worst restaurant', 'Probably the worst swimming pool' etc.


Ábaco Update - Changes to electricity bills

From 1st April 2013, electricity bills will be issued every two months instead of every month as at present. This bi-monthly bill will be from an actual reading and not an estimate.

If the electricity meter cannot be reached, then the reading can be given over the phone or internet via the web page. Commercial premises can make an arrangement to continue with monthly payments if they prefer. As with the old system these would alternate between actual and estimate readings.

Healthcare website

There is a joint campaign being launched between the Department of Health and the Generalitat Valenciana through their new website.

The EHIC campaign is intended to help people who wish to register for health care in Spain. It focuses around the concern that people who live here are using their EHIC to access health care when they shouldn't. The EHIC is for people from one member state who are visiting another EEC country.

An online questionnaire will help you check your status and entitlement.

How things have changed

For those who remember the high times of the economy in Spain you might find yourself reminiscing about how good it was then in comparison to the challenges of recent times. However, it isn't all gloom. The economy may be flat and house prices might be down but there is plenty to be optimistic about when you consider how so many things have changed - for the better.

The internet, improvements in telecommunications and availability of flights all make living in Spain just a little bit easier these days. In this article. Maxine Raynor reflects on how things have actually improved in the past 25 years:

How do you feel about the English language?

Originally published in the German paper Die Welt, this is an interesting explanation of the durability of the English language:

Quotes that sum it up

There is a growing trend for putting 'inspirational' messages and phrases onto Facebook. You know the ones, the quotes that sum life up. Well we thought we might like to try collecting some of our own. Here's one that seems particularly applicable for starters, perhaps you could send us some of your favourites?

"If you want a place in the sun, you've got to put up with a few blisters"

Abigail Van Buren

The Impossible

The film 'The Impossible' is set in South East Asia in 2004 during the Tsunami. It is based upon the true story of one family's survival. It is worthy of a mention in our newsletter for several reasons.

It has been a very popular film in Spanish cinemas having taken 42€ million so far. The film is a blend of mixed nationalities with a Spanish production team led by Juan Antonio Bayona and English-speaking actors.

It has been nominated in 14 categories at the Spanish Film Academy Awards including for the performances of Naomi Watts and supporting actor Ewan McGregor. This has been possible due to changes in the rules allowing non-Spanish speaking actors to be nominated.

For a Wikipedia description of the film:

For information about the Goya awards in general:

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Toledo and Spanish steel

The Spanish city of Toledo was a particularly important centre during medieval times. It was, in fact, the capital of Spain until about 1560. If you are interested in medieval architecture then it's a good place to visit and in some parts of the city you can feel as though you are stepping back right into the Middle Ages.

Its buildings reflect the richness of its history with an amphitheatre from Roman times, a fortress from when the Goths conquered Spain in the 6th century and two mosques from the epoch of the Moors. Of course, the building work didn't stop then and you can see a whole timeline of activity right up to the present day.

Toledo is famous for its steel industry and below is a link to a fascinating account of the origins of the Toledo Sword:

Who is Santiago?

We've made reference in our newsletters before to Camino de Santiago - the route across northern Spain that has attracted pilgrims, and plenty of ordinary souls for hundreds of years. In Eye on Spain there is an interesting account of where the name derived from and some of the history of this pilgrimage:

If you would like to read about Ábaco Adviser's Caroline Clinton and her experience of the pilgrimage then click here:

Were you a punk rocker?

If you liked the Clash when you were younger, or even now, you might be interested to hear that Granada has named one of its plazas after The Clash's Joe Strummer, 'Plaza de Joe Strummer'. Joe spent a significant amount of time in Spain and had a home in Cabo de Gata in Almería.

The Olive Press provide more information about just why Granada City Council made this decision:

And here is a rather enjoyable commentary on the decision:

Knight armour on an old
souvenir shop, Toledo

Over for Easter? What's on

Easter is a particularly spectacular time in Spain for religion, pageantry and procession. The weather might be variable (of course we are always optimistic) but the atmosphere and importance of Semana Santa makes Spain a very special place to be at this time of year.

The beginning of Holy Week this year is Palm Sunday on the 24th March. This was the day when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem. You will see the palm leaves used to commemorate this important day for sale in the markets in the run up to Easter.

On Good Friday (29th) the procession includes a ceremonious parade with a huge float that represents Jesus in the Garden.

Every town will have some kind of procession arranged and you should check locally.

For information about the week in Cartagena, including a brief video:

This leaflet, in English, provides a particularly detailed description of Semana Santa, the processions and the history behind each one:

Night view of Toledo


Ábaco Asesores: (+34) 96 670 3748

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