Everyone has different views of what life in Spain will be like, and usually the reality is nothing like anything you will have imagined. Firstly you need to decide how you would like to live, among the Brits in an ex-pat community or in a Spanish village with the Spanish. Of course you get the great weather no matter how you choose to live but the lifestyle varies greatly.
In the Spanish villages you will learn to live as the Spaniards do, you will fall into a more relaxed way of living, nothing is rushed (frustrating when you need to get paperwork etc, but nice when you are settled). The people are very friendly and you will find that people you pass in the street (regardless of whether you have met them before or not ) will greet you with good day or good night. Siesta takes place from 2-4 (or 5 depending on the area) every day and all of the shops close so that people can go home and spend time with their family and have a long lunch. Shops will re-open until 8 or 10 depending on the type of shop, this is usually until even later in the summer.
In the ex pat communities, (usually on urbanizations where a lot of properties are packed into a small space) lifestyle is different, many of the shops do not shut for siesta but close early, just as they do in the Uk. You will also usually find that the people in the shops speak English. This is rare in the traditional villages where it will be difficult to find many people in the whole town that speak English.
The school systems in Spain are some of the best in Europe, they dont tolerate bad behaviour or truency. There are different types of school just as there are in England, Spanish schools and International schools. The international schools use English as a main language and teach Spanish as a secondary language, and although fees have to be paid just as they do at private schools in England, the cost is a lot less. If your child is young they will usually settle well into a Spanish school as they will pick up the language easily and be fluent within a year. Both schools are very good but in the more rural areas there are usually less International schools as there isnt as much need for them. Visit www.schools-in-spain.com for more information and help finding a school near you.
Don't fool yourself that moving to Spain means that you can sunbathe on the beach and go swimming every day, this is very rarely the case as most people need to work to be able to pay for their lifestyle. Work is not always easy to come by and if you don't speak Spanish your chances are even lower. Although it is cheaper to live in Spain, wages are also very low. If you are moving to Spain make sure you have enough money to last you for 6 months as this may be how long it will take for you to settle in and find a job. It is always advisable to learn some Spanish before you come over.
Don't let this put you off, living in Spain is less stressful and there is more time to spend with the family and friends due to siesta and having Sundays off. So there is still plenty of time for your sun, sea and Sangria.
When travelling in Spain, and you are a European Citizen all you need is your ID card or vaild passport.
Your are entitled to free medical or hospital care, if you have an European Health Card (EHC). From 1 July 04 this card replaces the old E111 & E128 temporary stay forms available from you country of origin. It is valid for the period shown on the card, and entitles you to the same medical care that Spanish Citizens receive. Please note that private doctors & hospital do not accept the card. If you require Private care you must have adequate insurance or pay your own bills at the time.
Medicines & prescriptions are obtained from pharmacies all displaying the Green Cross. In the event of an emergency call 112 it is a free call throughout Spain.
When Driving in Spain, and you are a European Citizen all you need is your valid Driving licence, you must be at least 18 years old. To rent a car you have to be 21 or over.
Currencey is Euros, and you can exchange foreign currency at all banks and money exchanges, some hotels and travel agencies. Banks are open 8.30 -14.00 monday to friday. Credit & debit cards are widely accepted, but proof of identity must be given, ie driving licence, passport, with the same name as the payment card.
There are 4 offical languages in Spain. Castellano, Catalan, Galician, Basque but others are spoken too. Spains population is estimated at 40,812, 422 in July 2004.
What ever area of spain you are in, there are plenty of tourist information offices, that are a great source of free information. You will find that the properties that we rent out, we insist that the owners compile a helpful guide to all attractions/facilities in the area. Helping you get settled in fast
National Police (Policía Nacional): cover mainly urban areas across Spain. Their duties include dealing with terrorism, national security, protecting national and international dignitaries and combating crime with a national impact (spread across different regions).
Civil Guard (Guardia Civil): is a military force that operates mainly in rural areas and is responsible for dealing with robberies, drug offences, murders and fatal traffic accidents.
Local Police (Policía Municipal): cover towns and cities. In general they deal with traffic control and offences, lost property and crimes such as muggings and neighbourhood disputes.
Calls to 112 are free from any telephone (mobile/cellular or fixed-line). The operator will put you in contact with the emergency service that you require.
Calls from SOS phones on main roads and motorways are free. Other emergency calls are charged at a reduced rate.
|Servicios de urgencia|
|Servicio de Salud-urgencias|
|Casas de Socorro|
|Teléfono de la Esperanza|
|Spanish and costa Blanca tourist boards:||www.tourspain.es | www.costablanca.org|
|Car hire:||http://carhire.centauro.net/ | www.opencar.es|
|Currency exchange:||www.HiFX.co.uk/Online-Transfers | http://www.currenciesdirect.com/|
|English speaking private medical services:||http://www.medcarespain.com/medclinic.html|