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Spain > Expat Experiences


Alan Parks and Lorna Penfold, Montoro

Friday December 07, 2012 (00:21:03)
Lorna and Rafa

We are Alan Parks and Lorna Penfold, and we live in an old Olive Mill in the countryside surrounding Montoro in the province of Cordoba, Andalucia.

We moved here in January 2008, having only decided the previous June that we would move. Lorna was a competitive dance teacher for 30 years but was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis, and was struggling with work, so we decided to make a change. You can read Lorna’s story here.

The crisis was a big problem for us. The day we put our house in the UK on the market was the day the queues started forming outside the banks.    more ...

Spain > Expat Experiences


Gordon, Almeria

Friday January 27, 2012 (14:43:25)
Gordon's house in Lucainena de las Torres

My name is Gordon and I moved to Spain in July 2003 with my new wife Chris to start a new life.

We initially moved to a place inland from Alicante called Castalla but have moved several times since, mainly due to work. We had visited friends who lived in Spain in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada’s, and had fallen in love with “real Spain” and thought that it was for us. When searching for properties we were shown loads of places we hated, but Castalla looked beautiful.

We did not experience many problems apart from some people telling us were mad and it wouldn’t last. We still get asked from time to time, when are we coming back? The actual moving in process went very smoothly and settling in was relatively easy.    more ...

Spain > Expat Experiences


Justine Knox, Mallorca

Sunday December 11, 2011 (18:59:40)
Justine Knox and family

I moved to Mallorca, Spain, with my parents in 1985 when I was 15 years old. Changing schools at that age, making new friends and learning a new language

My parents had moved to Mallorca to buy a small hotel so I lived with them there. They visited the island a couple of times before they sold up everything in the UK and we moved here lock stock and barrel.

There are lots of expats in our area, many Europeans come to Mallorca looking for a different lifestyle although a large percentage don't last long as it is not as easy as people think.    more ...

Spain > Expat Experiences


Karen Southall, Coin (Malaga)

Sunday December 11, 2011 (18:52:53)
Karen and her two children

My name is Karen Southall and I live in Coin, Malaga. I am a freelance journalist and also jointly run a new online directory called Roundaboutspain.com

I left the UK 20 years ago, when I was 21 years old with a boyfriend. I was working as a reporter on a local newspaper but always had an urge to travel. When the boyfriend was diagnosed with Crohns Disease we decided to take a year out and we went to Tenerife for 6 months and then back-packed through Europe. Of course we then had the travel bug so from there we went to Australia for 2 years. We came back to England in 1995 but 6 months later we had itchy feet and decided to go back to Spain as we had both loved it there. So we converted a van into a camper and drove down to the Malaga region. We planned to stay for a year or so. That was 15 years ago.    more ...

Spain > Expat Experiences


Alan G, Lanzarote

Sunday December 11, 2011 (18:45:46)
Alan G

I moved to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands in 2006 with my partner, Elle. We were looking for a different quality of life, and for a real change in lifestyle. We only had 2 criteria... there must be an established expat community that we could sell our services too, and it must be warm (Elle doesn't like the cold). This obviously gave us lots of options, but we decided upon Lanzarote and are happy that we did.

To be honest, we didn't face many challenges at all. Both Elle and I are very self motivated - and once we put our minds to something... nothing stands in our way. To be honest, there wasn't a lot of information available at the time... and we really had to hunt to find answers. With this in mind, Elle set up a blog to help anyone else thinking of making the move. It is the only unbiased and non-commercial Relocation blog on the Island and is considered a first port of call for anyone looking for Lanzarote relocation information and advice - www.lanzaroterelocation.co.uk    more ...

Spain > Expat Experiences


Jennifer Lo Prete, Catalunya

Sunday December 11, 2011 (16:08:49)
Walking on La Rambla with my children

I moved from California to Barcelona, Spain in 2009 with my husband and two young children. My husband was offered an interesting position at a Catalan company. We couldn't refuse the opportunity to live in Europe, to experience life in a foreign country and to have our children learn Spanish. Little did we know at the time, that Catalan is the more dominant language in Catalunya! A year and a half later, my children are trilingual!

The list was long! We moved several times across the United States without a hitch. Moving ourselves, children and most of our household goods to another country was a big challenge. Dealing with bureaucracy and bureaucrats in the United States can be frustrating, but it is usually a clear process. In Spain, the process is extremely frustrating and not at all clear. My biggest frustration was finding reliable information on the various steps of the process and the long length of time it takes to get anything bureaucratic done in Spain. I relied heavily on information from other expats in online expat forums and moving-related forums.    more ...

Spain > Expat Experiences


Sue and John Walker, Jumilla

Sunday December 11, 2011 (15:58:20)
Sue & John Walker

We decided to buy a property in Spain so that initially we could enjoy holidays in our own house there with the idea of moving over permanently when we retired. We were attracted by the climate, the relaxed lifestyle, the culture, the friendly people and we both enjoy good Spanish food and wine. After several viewing trips to different parts of Spain over several years, we fell in love with the countryside around Jumilla in northeast Murcia, and in March 2006 we paid a deposit for an off-plan property at Santa Ana del Monte just outside Jumilla.

We had lots of problems, especially as we didn’t find out about bank guarantees until after we had paid our deposit! I have written about our trials and tribulations in my book “Retiring the Olé Way”, which is available on Amazon.    more ...

Spain > Expat Experiences


Fred and Arpi Shively, Alpujarras

Sunday December 11, 2011 (15:36:47)
Fred & Arpi Shively

I am Fred Shively - freelance creative director, writer, photographer. Arpi Shively - professional writer. We moved to Spain in 2003 from the USA to the Alpujarras in Andalucia because we wanted to get back to Europe.

Being an American citizen made it slightly more difficult until we found out that, because I was married to a British national, I could come in as 'familial'. Otherwise the usual stuff: language, bringing a car into Spain (particularly difficult and expensive from the USA), the culture shock (compounded by moving to a small Andalucian pueblo).

We rent, always will as it obviates a whole load of problems. We have neither the need nor compulsion to own. Also, we're about to take over the management of a totally delightful Finca and casitas which we could never have done had we been tied to a property.    more ...

Spain > Expat Experiences


Ian and Brenda Lee, Nerja

Sunday December 11, 2011 (15:28:31)


Hi - my name is Brenda Lee aged 49 - for the next 3 weeks! - and I live here at beautiful Lake Vinuela with my Husband Ian aged 62.
We have owned property in Spain since 1988 - first Majorca then Nerja. However, we moved over permanently in 2001. The move was fine - apart from having to get rid of a great deal of acquired ´stuff´ that we couldn´t bring over. Having a house built here was a different matter!!!

We had our house built by a local developer who owned a 20 property plot. We had a choice of several different outside shapes and then could design the interiors to our own specifications. having the house built was a nightmare - Heaven help anyone trying to do this from the UK - and many things were not completed that we have paid to have finished ourselves. We had a 4 year wait for our Escritura that was very worrying but, thank God, everything is now in order.    more ...

Spain > Expat Experiences


Alan and Clare Baxter, Fuente Vera

Sunday December 11, 2011 (03:55:42)
Give us a kiss!

We lived in South Lincolnshire prior to our move to Spain, where we bred Pygmy goats. We had the largest breeding herd in the UK, and it was the building up of that over 6 years that gave us the income to sell up and move to Spain. We live in a little village, Fuente Vera, which is approximately 16kms from the beautiful whitewashed village of Castril de la Pena, in the Granada region of Andalucia.

We moved here in February 2005, after selling our smallholding in the UK. My husband Alan has osteo arthritis in his lower spine, and as a degenerative condition we were aware that it will not improve, but we thought that moving to a warmer drier climate, it would help. We came over on a 12 day holiday during the summer of 2004, having never been to Spain before. After spending the whole 12 days driving around, Alan was amazed that he was relatively pain free. In the UK we could hardly drive two hours away to visit family without him being unable to stand or straighten up for some time after the journey. His treatment consisted of 3 monthly epidural injections for the pain, plus increasing amounts of strong medication which left him at times almost like a junkie!    more ...