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Why did you or your family choose to live abroad?

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


SpanishEyes Report 11 Aug 2011 15:59

Marian, have you been to mainland Spain?
I have never been to the Islands.
Would you tell us about the arear you live in. Pretend you are telling a description where you are to someone who has no sight. I first used this many years ago and it was an excellent suggestion by the doctor caring for me. I do not have very good hearing, cannot be put right by hearing aids. So each morning when I sit outside and look at the sky etc I then close my eyes to listen to the birds and what is going on around me.
I have suggested this to many people, not just for those who cannot hear due to health but to those who say, " oh nothing interesting where I live etc"

Bridget in Spain


wisechild Report 12 Aug 2011 07:36

Hi Bridget.
Yes, I´ve been to mainland Spain many times & several areas from Bilbao to Gibraltar (not Spain I know, but you have to pass through Spain to get to it).
Have seen Seville, Granada, Cordoba, most of the coast of Andalucia, Murcia, Valencia & Quite a lot of Catalonia. I don´t think I could choose a favourite. They all have their pros & ons like anywhere else.
love the islands too although have never been to Ibiza or Formentera.
haven´t got time now to do a description of Menorca, but will be back after lunch.
Have a good day everyone.
PS. My husband is partially deaf too Bridget, so I understand the problem.He has been deaf since he was a child & was told nothing could be done other than an operation which could make things worse. He was finally talked into getting a modern hearing aid for his right ear after we got married & now, can´t manage without it, although he does lipread. This is one of the reasons why he finds learning English so difficult.


SpanishEyes Report 12 Aug 2011 08:35

Good morning to you all and especially Marion as she is the first person to write on here today.

Marion my lose of hearing is due to a mastoid operation when I was quite young, I think I was about three years old. I cannot remember it but still used to have dreadful earaches in the good ear, I used to bang my head on the wall sometimes. I feel so sorry for my mother she was quite distressed at times wondering what on earth she could do. But I came through it all and as the medication improved so did I.

I fell in love with Granada and am trying to convince my OH that we should try to visit again. Not somewhere I would go to normally as I love being near the sea but the history .......I do not have the right words to describe how wonderful this place is, I will write about it once I get my photos out later today.
I did not like Gibraltar at all. It was a great disappointment to me. My mothers' sister Violet was the Nanny to a well known family the in the arts. My aunt was a good ballerina but did not make the grade to the Royal Ballet Company in London. However she danced some minor parts and then was asked if she would be the Nanny to the son of the head of the Royal Ballet. She never regretted doing this and travelled a great deal, they had a beautiful house in Gibraltar so she spent many months each year living in Gibraltar.
When my sister and I were quite young she gave us some wonderful ballet costumes which we shared with our friends and we used to play in the street all dressed up doing our version of ballet dancing. The mothers would bring out their chairs while the older sisters sat on the pavement and we would " perform" my sister tells me that I still perform but that is another story!


wisechild Report 12 Aug 2011 15:13

Description of Menorca as requested.
It´s very small 22 miles long by 12 miles wide as the crow flies.
The 2 main towns are Mahon, which is the commercial capital & main port of the island & Ciutadella which is the ecclesiastical capital, because we have the catherdral.
Between the two there are 3 other much smaller towns, Ferreries, Es Mercadal & Alaior.
Nowhere on the island is more than about 5 miles from a beach, but because the roads aren´t very good, it can take ages to get anywhere, especially in the summer when there´s lots of tourist traffic & wherever you go, you have to come back the same way, along the main road, which is quite a scary experience as it´s only 2 lanes with very few overtaking places.
There is lots of rivalry between the two ends of the island. The geology is different, the people are different & you can almost see the dividing line halfway across the island. The sun can be shining in Mahon while it´s pouring down in Ciutadella. It´s also very windy which makes it cold in the winter, but is very welcome in the heat of the summer,although the dust storms from Africa add to the ever present dust that we have to contend with already.
The highest point on the island is Monte Toro, where there is a convent although only about 6 nuns live there now. There is also the ever present & very pricy gift shop & the whole landscape is marred by mobile phone masts.
The main resorts used to be very busy in summer, but tourism has declined very badly over the past 4 years & many businesses are staying closed this season. The most beautiful beaches are the ones which are only accessible by boat or on foot.
Both Ciutadella & Mahon are busy ports. Ciutadella mainly for fishing boats, pleasure boats & the ferries from Barcelona, Valencia & Majorca.
Mahon has pleasure craft too, but is mainly the port for cruise ships ,military craft & container ships.Our house overlooks the port in Ciutadella.
All in all it´s a lovely island if, as someone said the other day, you are financially independant & don´t need to work for a living.
About 40% of the islanders are without work & this has been compounded by the lack of tourists ,as people used to rely on having at least 6 monthsseasonal work each year, but for the last 2 years, there has been virtually no seasonal work. The school leavers have to go away from the island to look for employment, but it´s not really any better on the mainland.
There is a lot of British history to be unearthed here as Menorca was ruled by the British in the 18th century. The military museum in Es Castell, just outside Mahon is really interesting.
Well, that´s your potted description of Menorca.
Please form an orderly queue for questions.

Karen in the desert

Karen in the desert Report 12 Aug 2011 15:22

Hi Marion,
Hubby and I went to Menorca a couple of years back. We hired a car for a week so we could get around and see as much as possible - we loved Mahon and Ciutadella, they were our favourites of all. Lucky you living with the view of Ciutadella harbour!
We went up to to Monte Toro, unfortunately didn't get the perfect view, due to a thunder storm underway so the cloud was low!!
We did like the island very much, and vowed we would return one day.


AnninGlos Report 12 Aug 2011 15:23

Interesting Marion. Is the decline in tourism due to the recession or to other factors? i.e. that maybe things were over priced in contrast to somewhere like Turkey? Were the tourists when they were there Brits or other nationalitys? Sad that the people are suffering badly from lack of tourism. An example of having all eggs in one basket. But presumably there is no opportunity for anything else as it is so small.


wisechild Report 12 Aug 2011 15:44

Without wishing to get into political debates it´s true to say that the Balearic government, which was socialist until last May, has always treated Menorca as the poor relation of the Balearics & has effectively decimated the agriculture & related industries on the island.
This, coupled with the worldwide financial downturn has been a disaster.
We have lost tourists from all over Europe, especially Germany & Holland.
Part of the problem again caused by the government is the cost of getting to the island & the lack of transport.
For example we had to go to Barcelona last November for my mother in law´s funeral. The flights, even with the residents discount cost €200 & we had to stay overnight because the last flight of the day was 5.30,so all in all. it cost over €400. My husband went over last month on the ferry, with the car & again, with the discount of 60%, the fare was €320 return.People from the mainland don´t get the discount, so can´t afford to come. It´s cheaper to fly to England than to get to Spain.
It really isn´t a case of having all their eggs in one basket. It´s that successive governments have brought in measures which might work well on the mainland, but have decimated the industries here & effectively priced them out of the market. It costs a fortune to transport goods to the mainland & generally they can be bought much more cheaply there in the first place.
We just keep hoping that things will improve.


AnninGlos Report 12 Aug 2011 16:18

I hope they will imptove for you too then. I suspect that German and Dutch and also Spanish tourists have returned to the Canaries. It is probably cheaper to get flights there.


SpanishEyes Report 12 Aug 2011 17:51

I am adding this as I wrote it some time ago on one of my other threads. It is about lack of water inSpain and is still relevant in our area.

Water and Spain.

In 2008/9 in Spain, at least in the area from the Pyrenees down to Valancia we had severe shortages of water. The rain fall had been considerably lower than usual during the previous two winters and the reserviours were very low across the regioin.

Water was transported into Barcelona, my son had his water cut off in the house for an average of 6 hours per day for almost two months, in the middle of Barcelona.

This made us all think very carefully about how we used water and the wastage. I started our new approach by making sure that ANY water we used was not simply poured down the sink but was used for watering the garden plants and low and behold the Roses which in previous years had been very poor, bloomed way beyond our expectations. The other plants did not show any sign of distress and we lowered the time for our automatic sprinkler system to twice a day for only 10 minutes each time.

The flushing system in the bath and shower rooms had bricks put into the system and we only put into the kettle the amount of water we actually need.

Now for the most shocking part but also the most informative.

About 40 minutes from where we live is our local reseviour set near the top of a mountain where the area is of outstanding national beauty.
The variety of birds and in particular the Eagles is amazing. There are wild flowers and herbs, and the aromas fill the air, the stillness is breath taking...

There is a famous restaurant there as well, and artists set up their easels to try and capture the images and then there are the photographers and of course the twitchers. We used to visit several times a year as each group of our visitors wanted to go there.

The reserviour is or was a large and deep lake with water running into a wide river. A bridge has been built over the reseviour and allows access to the banks of the river. It had become a well known swimming area offering depths for all swimmers, or if like ,me simply a paddler,...It was not unusual to see whole families there for the day. The braver or more foolhardy would dive from the bridge into the middle of the lake, this includes my OH, brother in law and one of my sons, and there had never been a serious injury or a fatalitty.

What a shock when last year we went , the river and reserviour was so low that it was possible to see the bed of the lake.!!
No one was allowed down to the edge of the forest around the water, which was the only access, and the restaurant had only two tables in use.
Wild life was and is being affected. The bird population were confused and it is expected that the population of the Eagles and other beautiful birds will be seiously depleted in the next couple of years. the wild flowers and herbs are noticably declining.....

I will never take water for granted again and compared to many parts of the world we are still very fortunate. Last winter though was in general terms very dry and this summer we have had high temps and no rain for many weeks...BUT can you believe that some people are complaining that they can only empty their swimming pools once or twice a they realise how much water it takes to fill a pool and yes I do have a beautiful large pool which gives us all great fun and enjoyment .

I am not asking anyone to change their lifestyle , that is for each person to decide for themselves..but minor changes have made a diffence to my life style.

As I have said this was written by me two years ago and on Bridgets Daily Diary but the situation has not improved a great deal, we complain about the rain when it comes BUT that place is stiil only about a quarter full or should I say it is three quarters empty. This is connected to global warming. I still use water as descibed above, we have only once in eaight years had to empty our pool because if you manage it corectly it does not need to be drained and these days there are very strong "covers " availablle if the owners are going else where for a long visit. If we go away we pay someone to keep the pool clean and in good order along with the garden.

My son who will be 40 this September is going to India, to celebrate his bithday drilling Wells for people who have NO CLEAN WATER, can you imagine living like that..........He is not the only person going I hasten to add.
It could happen!



AnninGlos Report 12 Aug 2011 18:04

Thank you Bridget, I am sure we in UK all take our water for granted. Well, we did until the floods a few years back in Gloucester. We were without drinking water for three weeks and washing etc water for the first week. We were reliant on bowsers and bottled water. We are more careful now but not as careful as you are I must admit.


SpanishEyes Report 12 Aug 2011 18:13

More about the history of where I live.
Ann, I had not realised that the floods had been so bad. It does teach one how important water is and a very precious commodity. A small change done over a few weeks bcomes permanent.
I am posting something now whichI hope that people will enjoy.

The town of Peñíscola is a Valencian municipality set within a privileged part of the Spanish Mediterranean that blends history and culture with stunning beaches. During a recent trip to the area, I was blown away as I stood on Playa del Norte and saw Peñíscola’s dramatic medieval fortifications, charming old town and beautiful castle, all of which give this resort town a unique historical edge. The medieval fortress town stands atop a rocky crag that rises sixty-four meters above the blue sea. It is a very dramatic sight when viewed from a distance. Joined to the mainland via a sandy isthmus with the Mediterranean pervading its every nook and cranny, Peñíscola has been described as looking like a boat stranded at sea. The narrow winding streets of white houses seemingly slide down to the sea restrained only by the solid city walls.

As I entered the old city, I immediately lost myself in the winding streets that led me to several viewpoints with unbeatable vistas and eventually to the highest part of the town. Despite the sizzling heat, I enjoyed a close look at the old quarters of Peñíscola and discovered one of the most visited monuments in Spain, Pope Luna’s Castle. Inside, the castle has been carefully preserved making it possible for visitors to appreciate the many details of this fortress. The best way to learn more about the old quarters of Peñíscola is to follow the established routes that lead to places such as the Porteta, Portal Fosc, Saint Pere’s Gate, the Bufador and the Church of Our Lady the Virgin of La Ermitana.

At dusk, the streets began to bustle and swarm with people coming and going amongst the white facades of the old town with their slender balconies and colorful pots of flowers. While walking through the old town, I gazed at many interesting restaurants and shops until I discovered the area around Calle Mayor. This is an ideal spot to sit back and have a drink while soaking up the unique vibe of Peñíscola.

I hope that you all enjoyed this now over to you all!
Bridget in Spain


SpanishEyes Report 13 Aug 2011 14:37

I have had very bad news about 2 hours ago and so will not be posting today,


wisechild Report 13 Aug 2011 14:40

Sorry to hear that Bridget.
We´re all here if you need to talk.
Meanwhile, take care.


SpanishEyes Report 13 Aug 2011 14:47

thank you for your words. I have explained on my Daily Diary why i cannot do much at the moment.

Bridget in Spain


wisechild Report 13 Aug 2011 15:52

Is the little girl one of the grandchildren who has been taken into care?
Thinking about her. poor little sausage.


SpanishEyes Report 13 Aug 2011 17:46

Wise child, no it is not that part of the family, it is my only grandaughter, we are in such shock. I will PM you tomorrow



maxiMary Report 13 Aug 2011 19:37

Thinking of you, your daughter and the wee one, love Mary


SpanishEyes Report 13 Aug 2011 20:36

I cannot add anything this evening, as you will imagine I am concerned about my grandaughter but hope to read more about where people live and why, sometime tommorrow
Meanwhile thank you for all your prayers and comforting thoughts.

Bridget in Spain


SpanishEyes Report 14 Aug 2011 05:25

I have written on my thread about my grandaugher on the other thread this morning as I now hope that we can get back on tread with this board.

We have not had any new members but I have asked a few peop,e if they wold join us.

If each of us could find one more person to join us that would be great.
One thing I will try to do is write about different cow ties that I have lived in or worked inThe UK is very interesting for most people across tne world so lets go and send themallso e history of the UKand where we currently .I've.

For example who could write about beautiful Scotland amdsomeone else could compare that with say Andorra or Switzerland,I or Ireland,especially western Ireland which has great conne tins wit Spain.
Today is the day we have about 16 people ci ing to our house for tne birthday celebrations of a friends imay not be ab,e to write toda,on tne other hand ....

Take care everyone and please make sure that candles when lit are safe. It only takes a second for tragedy to occur.

Enjoy you day, and hug those you love

Bridget in Spain


AnninGlos Report 14 Aug 2011 09:10

Well..... I did ask Mary to join us and, good girl that she is, she did. I also put a post on the Aussie thread and sent out PMs to a couple more people who have not yet responded. Sorry can't think of any more just now. Maybe we/you could come up with a title that would attract more people.

Maybe something like a question.

"Why did you leave home to live abroad?" Some people may have left other countries. What do you think?