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Why did you or your family choose to live abroad?

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Merlin Report 9 Aug 2011 14:00

Hey Karen,just noticed you are in Cairo, Wondered if Shepherds Hotel is still going strong,Had many a Bevy in there years ago.**M**.


AnninGlos Report 9 Aug 2011 14:05

Marion, re the Kindle. If you bought one with 3G connectivity it would mean you could download straight to the Kindle without using your broadband. However that is true for UK. You would have to check that for Minorca. I know that I can download books to mine in Tenerife and they are only the amount of VAT different to paperbacks (VAT payable on e books, not paperbacks). And some books are really cheap, those from first time authors etc. Have a look on Amazon at the Kindle store and see what you can get. I know Tenerife Sun who (obviously) lives in Tenerife, found a Kindle a huge help as she had the same problem as you regarding books.


SpanishEyes Report 9 Aug 2011 14:18

I am supposed to be making som afternoon tea!! HAHA

I use my iPad to download books and it is not expensive. Some really good books available as well. I do sometimes have a nice surprise when friends come over as the often leave their paperbacks for me and soetimes bring a new book just to say Thanks.
Must go and make the tea now,


SpanishEyes Report 9 Aug 2011 14:21

The Great Pyramids

How the Great Pyramid was built is a question that may never be answered. Herodotus said that it would have taken 30 years and 100,000 slaves to have built it. Another theory is that it was built by peasants who were unable to work the land while the Nile flooded between July and November. They may have been paid with food for their labor. The flooded waters would have also aided in the moving of the casing stones. These stones were brought from Aswan and Tura and the water would have brought the stones right to the pyramid. This pyramid is thought to have been built between 2589 - 2566 BC. It would have taken over 2,300,000 blocks of stone with an average weight of 2.5 tons each. The total weight would have been 6,000,000 tons and a height of 482 feet (140m). It is the largest and the oldest of the Pyramids of Giza

Chephren is the son and successor of Khufu and Hensuten. Khufu's other son and also successor, Ra'djedef, started constructing his own pyramid at Abu Rawash, which is north of Giza. Chephren's pyramid is designed more modestly than Khufu's. The Chephren pyramid originally was 10 feet (3m) shorter and 48 feet (14.6m) more narrow at the base. The estimated weight of all the stones in the pyramid is 4,880,000 tons. Because it is built higher on the plateau, it looks taller from most angles than Khufu's pyramid. The slope of the angles is higher, 53 degrees compared to Khufu's 51 degrees.

The Pyramid of Menkaure' (Mycerinus) is the smallest of the three Pyramids of Giza and shows the beginning of the decline in workmanship in the Egyptian pyramid building. The attention to detail is not as it is on the earlier pyramid.

The Egyptian museum
I couldn't manage to down load the photos...sorry but still interesting


SpanishEyes Report 9 Aug 2011 14:25

Merlin is this the hotel you mentioned ?

I am looking fowrad to reading all about it from Karen.

Welcome to the Shepheard Hotel

Few hotels in the world can claim the rich history of the Shepheard Hotel in Cairo, Egypt. Originally established in 1841 by Englishman Samuel Shepheard, the hotel quickly became Cairo’s leading hotel and one of the most celebrated in the world between the middle of the 19th century and 1952. It was famed for its grandeur and opulence and where the day’s international aristocracy and celebrity elites sipped tea on the terrace, to see and be seen.

Withstanding several renovations and serving as the British headquarters in World War I, and as the the rendez-vous place for prominent allied officers, politicians and spies during World War II, the hotel finally succumbed to the devestating Cairo fire of 1952.

But in 1957, like a pheonix rising from the ashes, the hotel was rebuilt on its present unique location in classic style. In keeping with it’s namesake, and with it’s continued goal of offering superior service and hospitality, so the new Shepheard Hotel continues to proudly commemorate its predecessor.

Today’s Shepheard Hotel is a classic 4-star hotel ideally located on the banks of the Nile in downtown Cairo. Centrally situated near the grand Egyptian Museum, the Cairo Tower and the Opera House, the hotel is an ideal base from which to explore the glorious city and it’s many historical and cultural attractions.

All the restaurants & bars along with most of the 297 guest rooms and suites have panoramic views of the Nile and city skyline. The accommodations are spacious and comfortable with modern amenities. Guests will appreciate the many facilities including 24 hour room service, gym and business cetner, including several banqueting halls and services. The hotel also features a world-class casino.


wisechild Report 9 Aug 2011 14:50

Thanks for the advice. Will have to look into it before the winter sets in,although as far as technology is concerned, Menorca is still dragging itself into the 20th century, never mind the 21st.
We have been promised fibreoptic cables within the next 2 years, but with the credit crunch, I´m sure there will be better things to spend the money on.

Karen in the desert

Karen in the desert Report 9 Aug 2011 17:32

I have a feeling Merlin's going to be disappointed if he remembers the Shepheard's that was, the one which featured in in The English Patient. That's long gone, as confirmed by Bridget, it was burnt down in the were a lot of the beautiful buildings in downtown Cairo at that time. It used to stand near Ezbekiah Gardens.

As for the new one, Merlin, which is known here as the Helnan Shepherd (Helnan being the hotel chain) well that stands nowhere near the original location, has nothing like the old splendour of the original Shepheards, and is hardly recognisable from that lovely description given from Bridget's tourist book!!
In short, the Helnan Shepherd is a modern hotel which bears the name of a one time grand establishment, whose good reputation it must be surely hoping to cash in on by trying to fool the tourist!

If it's the original Shepheard's which you refer, then you were here some time ago.. ;-) which case you might also know the Hotel Windsor, which was very close by. THAT is still standing.
It was originally purchased as an annexe to Shepheards, and was known as Hotel Windsor-Maison Suisse then. I think it was a British Officers Club for a long time.
It has seen better days, admittedly, but I love going there because time and the years have hardly changed it. Until recently the white robed waiters in the lounge bar stil wore a red Fez. Sadly they don't anymore, don't know why, but the place still oozes charm, and I wouldn't mind betting that some of the furniture was there in the 1930's!!

Merlin, if you were here at the time of the original Shepheard's, then you might enjoy reading Woman of Cairo by Noel Barber.


Karen in the desert

Karen in the desert Report 9 Aug 2011 17:44

Girls - I know just what you mean by price of English language books....sheeesh they cost a lot here too.
I bring as many as I can carry when i come back from UK, and then try to swap amongst others here , but it is difficult isn't it.
I was ok when we lived in a resort hotel on the coast, all the guests would bring the latest and leave them in the 'library' when they left....I had the pick of all the latest bestsellers and was spoilt for choice! But that was then!! :-(



SpanishEyes Report 10 Aug 2011 08:08

Good morning to you all.

Such a sad time in the UK. My OH and his colleagues could see this coming as thet py were in the Immigration services, it has been brewing for a very long time and was one of the reasons in our list when we were considering leaving the UK.That is all I shall say.

The birds are twittering the trees are gently swaying, Jet and Joe have had their breakfast and are now basking in the sun. OH is busy on the computer and I am, well I am writing to you all.

My grandson who wants to go into the Army in a couple of years is away for a week is some where in the North of England, seven coaches of young people are on army training and I hope that they all come home without any broken bones etc. However what a great way to learn discipline. Comradeship, working as a team and evaluating.

I felt sorry for his mum who was busy sewing on name labels on every item of clothing whilst grandson was checking everything he needed was in good condition and packed away....then he called his army uncle to say he could not fit everything in the luggage required. It was a wise decisicion as he left with all correct!
How sad that more young people are not involved in areas they could enjoy, learn from, make lifelong friends etc.

No plans for today, I am getting used to doing not very much.
Why is it easier to relax when the sun is shining? My thought of the day.

Having watched the terrible demonstrations in the UK I wondered why it does not happen here. Now it is not perfect in Spain but parents are still very strict, families pull together, the police are very active and no 'pussy footing arround" as my mother in law used to say. The police will use force if an instruction is not carried out immediately, prisons are not the same is those in the UK, which are like some very good hotels.
I feel much safer here than I did in the UK as do many of our friends here, so another reason for being here.
Have a good day and I will be back later.

Bridget in Spain 09.08 hrs


AnninGlos Report 10 Aug 2011 14:23

Just nudging this up to see if there is any more interest.


Merlin Report 10 Aug 2011 14:31

Yes Ladies That was the one, Lovely Place, just have to rely on memories,same as The Hong Kong Club, completely replaced,never recapture the ambience of these places,Even Raffles has Changed,and none for the better.Thanks. Merlin. :-S


maxiMary Report 10 Aug 2011 17:53

Well I suppose it's about time I put my few thoughts down. here I am in Canada, about 20 minutes from Niagara Falls, but that's the end of the story. I was born in Cardiff, and spoke both Welsh and En glish as a small child. My father was Welsh, Mum was English, so my Welsh language conversations were with my Dad generally. Around the age of 5 years my parents decided that as cardiff was mainly English speaking, we should only speak English at home.
I loved our home and the proximity to the mountains, our regular walks and visits to the 'bluebell wood' at St Ffagans and my Dad's stories about a giant who lived in Castell Coch. My Dad was a prof at the South Wales Baptist college, and went "up the valleys" on Sundays to preach. Then the world turned upside down. He travelled to Chicago for a convention and while there was asked to preach at Yorkminster church in Toronto. That Sunday led to an invitation to become the regular minister at Yorkminster (yes it is patterned after Yorkminster cathedral in York). Dad flew home and we left for a week of holidays at Amroth. I recall vividly playing with my net in the rock pools with my little brother, and seeing my parents sitting on the pebble beach with big sheets of paper, looking VERY serious. Now I know that those sheets were covered with pro and con lists about possible emigration to Canada, and the pros won.
I did not want to leave. I was 7 y/o and my "boyfriend" asked if he could marry me so I didn't have to move!! Needless to say my Dad refused LOL.
We sailed from Southampton on Dec 28,1950.
Integrating into Canadian life was a nightmare for a small girl whose accent was different, hair, shoes and clothes were different. I was teased unmercifully at school and was very lonely and very sad, to the point that our doctor told my parents after 6 months to take me home. We went home every summer for the next 10 years until my grandmother died in 1960. Perhaps this exacerbated my desire to return home or perhaps it saved me from crippling depression.
Regardless I met my future husband at 18y/o and decided I had to consciously accept the fact that I now was living in Canada permanently. It is now 2011, I am no longer seven years old, but have never yet felt completely settled. My Welsh heritage is evident in my home, my children all have a Welsh name, and my son has now developed a love of Wales and Welsh culture, and music is the blood in his veins.
Enough about me, I hate the extremes of weather we have, I was absolutely flattened by the heat wave the past 2 weeks and loathe the excessive cold of the winters. But that's the way it is.
I am heartbroken at the state of things in the UK, especially this week in London. I recall in the 50's we were in London and my uncle, a building contractor, took us the see the Roman sun temple which his company had unearthed, in the middle of London, while still attempting to remove and rebuild after WWII. I was struck by the fact that I was looking at Roman architecture, Victorian architecture and a modern tall building all within the same small area. I loved London in those days, vibrant and always something interesting to see or do, rides on the double deckers, and those amazing doors at the science museum which opened when you walked in front of them LOL. Puffing Billy was my brother's favourite exhibit. Walks on Hampstead Heath, floating our wee boats on the Serpentine in Hyde park, (was that land owned by Sir Thomas Hyde? - one of my kids paternal ancestors) we experienced London as moist visitors didn't. In 1953, as we were now living in Canada, we were allowed to sit in the 'Canadian stands' opposite the entrance door to Westminster abbey for the Coronation, and my mother attended a garden party at Buckingham palace, making her appearance in the newspaper as she was photographed walking just behind prince Philip.
I have travelled extensively in Canada and the USA over the years, and been to Norway,Denmark & Sweden with an international Girl Guide camp in 1959, been to Bermuda, Nassau, Curacao and New Zealand, seen the Rockies all the way to Victoria,BC. But given my choice, I would travel to Wales. It has a huge emotional impact yet to walk where my grandparents did in Llangollen, Froncysyllte and Trefor isaf.
Intellectually I know am home here, this is where my family live and I love them. Emotionally Wales will always be home. Perhaps this may sound ridiculous to others but it's just the way it is. Like London, Cardiff is not the same now, and when I visit there, I feel like a stranger, like I don't belong. But set me in north Wales and I feel peaceful.
Other family members have emigrated to far off lands as well. Most notable is one 3xgreatuncle whoi emigrated from Scotland to Grenada and fathered (are you ready for this???) 26 children, 13 with his wife and 13 of varying shades of tan! Another of the same name was a doctor who became mayor of Kingston Jamaica, one in another line died in St Helena while returning home from India, another died of yellow fever in Jamaica,the list goes on. There was some migration from Scotland to Northern Ireland and the republic, Eire. Some who left for Australia, and my cousin who was born in India,(while her father was with the British Indian medical service) grew up in Liverpool and emigrated to New Zealand,. Another line emigrated to the USA, on my kids paternal side we have one who travelled on the Mayflower, one whose family was scalped by Indians in the USA and documented descent from King Alfred the Great.
No wonder this is such a fascinating hobby, it's my mission I suppose to put the family back together, figuratively. Obviously a love of travelling has existed for many years in my tree, I suppose we have cousins in widely spread parts of the globe. I am in Canada, initially under protest, now by choice, though if my family decided to move to somewhere more temperate, I'd be tagging along.
Sorry to ramble so long, think I'll copy this now I have it all written down, perhaps it could become my obit LOL


AnninGlos Report 10 Aug 2011 18:04

Thank you Mary, that is so interesting. You really should write a book you know. I can quite imagine that, once under your skin, the beauty and tranquillity of parts of Wales would never leave you, even though you have left 'it'.


SpanishEyes Report 11 Aug 2011 08:44

Mary, what a fascinating piece you have written for us all. I am going to need to read it over and over again.
The descriptions of your emotions, the little boy who proposed to you, ( did you stay in touch with him.), the picture of your parents sitting trying to work out what was best for everyone, your dislike of being in a foreign country, in a new school where you did not feel comfortable etc etc I could and will read this over and over again.

I am the person in my family who always wanted to travel,. When I was about nine my father who was always involved in politics and came from Dublin, Ireland in late 1945 to England. He met some rather senior people from South Africa who were interested in politics. They offered my father a very good post and to provide a house, maids etc if he went to South Africa to live. Oh how he wanted to go will remain with me forever, and I also was very excited mother had been married before and had a daughter who had just come back into our lives, she was 19 nearly 20, and mum could not think of loosing her again. Even now I so wish we had gone.

My first husband was offered a very lucrative deal to move to the USA , we all went over several times but at the last moment he decided to stay in the UK...I guess it wasn't to be.
We did go to many countries , as I have said before but only for short periods.

Now I live in Spain and have had no regrets about moving here.

My twin sons went to Cardiff Uni and at the time I thought no one from our family had ever lived in Wales. They fell in love with the country, bought a house between them which they still own. One now in the army and the other is in business and still in Wales.....then we discovered that he was working about 200 metres from where a great great cousin of mine had worked in Swansea ! The building still stands so I asked for a photo...... The ground floor is now a Chinese Takeaway but the rest of the is the same as it was when ancestor was there!!

Sorry everyone, I am on a roll again.

Merlin, did you live near to this Hotel, where you on holiday, please write about your experience there, this is turning into a fascinating thread. I feel that I am learning so much about various places and why people left their original place of abode, either short or long term!

Well time to go now but I will be back later

Bridget in a warm, sunny, and still quiet Spain.


Karen in the desert

Karen in the desert Report 11 Aug 2011 12:03

Bridget, as always, love reading your stories! Fascinating stuff.

And Mary in Canada - that was a fabulous read, and oh how I felt for the young Mary who missed home so very very much.

On to the subject which I think was brought up a few days ago - whether the travel bug is in our genes......mmmm, yes......

My parents met in Sweden.
Dad was a Londoner, through and through, but had gone to work in Stockholm in 1950 (a long story, not particularly gripping so I won't go into it).
Mum, a keen cyclist and camper, had been going to France every summer since 1947 with her brother and/or sister, but in 1950 she was particularly adventurous and instead of going back home to England at the end of the grape-picking season, she and her Dutch friend decided to do some travelling. Whilst they were in Sweden they joined a Volunteers project, and it was in Stockholm that Mum was introduced to my Dad. Two years later they were back in London, where they got married.

After marriage came children, but we didnt' deter them from travelling - from the time I was small, I was taken on the most exciting camping holidays which lasted the full 6 weeks as my dad was a College lecturer! We thought nothing of driving all the way to Greece with the tent on the roofrack, or doing the full tour of Scandinavia...and I'm talking 1960's and 70's...friends and neighbours would look at us aghast!!
My parents still enjoyed travelling well past their retirement, be it a coach tour, a package holiday, or a drive over to France with the tent a couple of times a year.

So it came as no great surprise to them when I announced at the age of 18, that I was going to spend one summer touring France with a friend. Or, a few years after that when I took off for an epic tour of Europe for 6 months (which actually took 18 months) when I worked on a Kibbutz and spent 9 months in Rome au-pairing. Or when I spent a summer in Greece as a waitress, or that I worked winter seasons in Swiss, French and Italian Ski resorts, or that I decided I liked Italy so much I stayed there for 4 years!!! No, none of that surprised them! In fact many times they got in the car and came to visit me!

Travel bug? Yep, I reckon I got it from them.

There is evidence of a few of my ancestors doing some travelling - but nothing hugely exciting.
Mum's parents were both immigrants from Lithuania (didn't travel together they met in the UK), so i suppose crossing the North Sea/English channel was pretty big to them.
Dad's g.grandfather was involved in boat building (river Thames) and apparently some of his boats and barges were bought by Royalty, and it is said he had overseas branches including Cairo! Can't find substantial evidence of that story though!

Keep the stories coming please folks. They are fantastic!

And Merlin, I want to know what Cairo was like when you were here!!



SueMaid Report 11 Aug 2011 13:25

Hello all - a very interesting thread!

I was only three when my parents came to Australia with little me. I was the only grandchild of my paternal grandfather and maternal grandparents. Being a grandparent myself I now realise it must have been very hard for them. They didn't live to see me again. However they apparently encouraged my parents to go to Australia. Both my parents never saw their fathers again.

My father told me many stories about his family in England so from an early age I was interested in my heritage. I think that's how I became interested in my family historiy - no other family members emigrated to Australia so I needed to know my roots and have a sense of where I came from.

We have been back to England a number of times during the last few years. Australia is where my family is so of course it is home. However, every time I visit England I feel the 'pull' of my ancestors so I know that part of my heart is there. After all I have walked in their footsteps and I have placed flowers at their gravesites.



maxiMary Report 11 Aug 2011 14:31

Good morning -- glad my piece was readable. Well Ann, you know I have wanted to write, perhaps a book will emerge one day. My mother wanted to do the same but didn't start until she was 95!!! I have her notes about her father who was caught, at the age of six years, standing naked in the sunshine one day and, when questioned, stated he was trying to die because he did NOT want to be a printer like his father and take over the family business. He wanted to be a doctor. His 6 y/o suicide attempt was the last, as he became a surgeon in the Royal Navy, awarded the DSO for taking over command of the troops when their commanding officer was wounded in the Boer War.
His Dad was a brilliant printer, having done a lot of work with William Morris, founder of the arts movement. However, when my grandfather was a student at University in London, his father decided his son's studies were fascinating, left his printing behind and became a medical student at the same school, eventually graduating at the age of 66 in Animal medicine!
Now why am I rattling on about this . . . .
My mother used to tell me that she had an ancestor who was hanged as a pirate but I haven't found any documentation of that scoundrel . . . wouldn't it be fascinating . . . . I imagine the lives of those who travelled to these far-away places, long before comfortable boats and planes. Were I a fly on the wall . . . .
Bridget to answer your question, yes I am still in touch with my first boyfriend, being the longest of my friendships! He is in the USA, I am in Canada, perhaps we were a couple in a previous life LOL as our connection is strong, a connection which began in Llandaff and now has crossed the globe. Sounds romantic doesn't it - but a deep friendship is what remains.

My goodness Ann, perhaps a book is the answer, once I get started I want to keep on writing LOL. But there are too many other things to do. Some day I MUST travel to Grenada to see how many cousins i can find and walk the graveyards.
have a lovely day friends, wherever you hang your hat.


SpanishEyes Report 11 Aug 2011 15:27

I am so excited! Whilst working on my family tree but not on GR I discovered more of my family who went to live in Australia.......I am going to check again this evening and will tell you all what I know about them, now how do I find out why they emigrated..
In fact I will check out all those I know and explain why they moved.......
I do know that they went in the 1800s but not sure yet of the exact year.

One of the things that I have learnt in the years that I have been researching, about seven I think, is that many of our relatives left the UK to find a better place to live. They must have been quite amazed at the size of the country, the hot and in some places the cold weather were rather extreme.

I would really have been delighted to find family living in places such as India, or the far East. Grandad was in the Army and spent years in India, how I wish he had written about his time there.

Just wondering now if there is anyone on GR who had male relatives in India the same time as my grandfather??

Keep searching everyone and keep telling us why you or your relatives chose to live in another country. Of course others may have immigrated to the UK so tell us why.

Bye bye for now

Bridget in Spain at 16.27 hrs


wisechild Report 11 Aug 2011 15:33

That was really fascinating.
I was struck with the bug to come & live in Spain the 1st time I came on holiday , to Majorca in 1967 & swore that some day I would come hereto live.
After almost 40 years I achieved my ambition when I retired, mainly spurred on by my Mother telling me I wouldn´t be able to do it. She really should have known better than to hand out a challenge like that.
I came to Menorca because over the preceeding few years I had come here on holiday & made several friends here, so it didn´t feel strange.
Now I feel as though I have been here all my life.,
Thanks for sharing your story with us.


maxiMary Report 11 Aug 2011 15:53

Marion, Spain sounds beautiful, perhaps, when I win the lottery, someday I may visit there!!
Bridget, my uncle (1902-2008) was in India from 1934-1947, my cousin was born there in 1940. As a result, the entire family LOVE curry LOL.