My Spanish Journey:Places to visit and how to live as an expat

Currently, I live in a beach side town out of Barcelona. Life is quite relaxed, probably a little too so at times. So, how did this diehard Australian survive? Follow here for real stories about Spain, places to visit and suggestions on how to live well. 

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Where to buy veterinary supplies in Spain and care for your pet.

You may be like me and bought your family pet to live with you in Spain. While the flight from Australia was ridiculously expensive, the cost was worth it. For me, a pet is as much a member of the family as anyone else. Now that you are here where do you buy your pet supplies from? Finding similar brands of food can be difficult, in my case I had an aged cat, so I was looking for something with not much oil to keep her liver in check. If you want to stay with the same brands to keep your pets diet as close to home as possible Amazon or Ebay can ship to you.You will still be able to buy some goods via eBay or Amazon UK  https://fave.co/2INf6Yb

But a trusted Spanish brand is Zoo Plus https://fave.co/2IsyEO9 They provide everything for dogs, cats, fish, birds, rabbits and hamsters. If you're looking for animal houses or pedigree foods they often have great discounts. 

Anti parasitic products are called ‘anti-bichos’, Spanish for bugs (a tip incase you are a newbee).

In general, Spaniards love animals and take care of their pets,especially dogs. Although, it is disturbing to see the amount of street cats and the lack of regard for their welfare, but slowly this attitude is changing.

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THE CANARY ISLANDS, THE GRAN CANARIAS

There are seven in total but for today we will review four. Often overlooked for a holiday due to the popularity of Mallorca (Majorca), The Balearic Islands an archipelago off eastern Spain, in the Mediterranean. The Canary Islands, are a Spanish archipelago closer to Africa in location (northwestern Africa). These rugged volcanic isles are known for their attractive mix of (mezcla in Spanish) black and white-sand beaches. The Canary Islands popularly known as ‘The Canaries’ offer stunning weather all year around the coldest month of the year is in January with an average heat a comfortable 21 degrees and summer is balmy but not like the searing heat of Andalusia with August an average of 28 degrees. 

LANZAROTE

However, Lanzarote is a popular tourist spot its capital Arrecide, a port city with a 17th century year old town quarter. Lanzarote is also home to its magnificent Timanfaya National Park made up if volcanic soil and now a ‘Biosphere reserve’ since 1993 (UNESCO). Although, protected short paths are designated for tourists to walk, you can travel by bus or even camel. Trips by camel are a commmon novelty experience across the islands. Lanzarote is the third busiest island for humans after Gran Canaria, and Tenerife. A side note, most Spaniards take their annual leave in August, so expect to find a lot of competition for accomodation if you take your leave at the same time.

Some good booking options are here http://www.vikhotels.com/en/index.html

GRAN CANARIAS

Again, the island has a volcanic nature and half of its space is shared by seven protected parks. Gran Canarias boasts a diverse nightlife with 15 + LGBT clubs on the islands and it has been a popular ‘gay destination’ travel spot for over 15 years. Scuba diving and Snorkelling being amongst the most top rated activities for tourists. There are ample solo tourists visiting the islands as well as group adventurers, so it is not a place where you will feel lonely! I still trust Tripadvisor for reviews, if you want to know more https://www.tripadvisor.com

TENERIFE

Tenerife the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands and probably this writers favourite due to its spectacular natural beauty inclusive of it’s stunning ravines, rich history, and the simplicity of the islands gastronomy. ‘Chicharros’ is a dish of blue jacket mackerel and is a very popular dish served across the islands with ‘papas arrugadas’ (translates to wrinkly potatoes, ‘mas o menos’, more or less — you must know this term to survive daily conversation anywhere is Spain) served with mojo (a red sauce) for a hearty and tasty fix so you can continue on with your days activities. If you like a drop of vino (wine), you won’t go thirsty most of the island is covered with grapes so you will find something pleasing for your palette. 

The variety of vines and their use throughout the world is coming up in a future post. It is a popular region for wines with the Abona vineyard planted on the side of an extinct volcano. I was delighted to find several varieties had found their way to my native Australia. I am guessing the similarity in climate make the grape a good choice as a base.

FUERTEVENTURA

According to scientists it is the oldest of the islands. The sea is very blue, like the Pacific Ocean and not the typical waters you would expect to see in mainland Spain but the sand (arena in Spanish) is undeniably, black. Tourist accomodation didn’t arrive at the island until the late 1960s, so you can still feel like you're visiting a destination unknown. Fuerteventura has a savage beauty, for me in which the wildness is enchanting. There is some decent surf on the coasts, something difficult to find in mainland Spain where kitesurfing takes precedence due to the lack of decent waves (olas in Spanish-yes, a little like how you pronounce Hola). You will also find a lot of Motocross circuits across the island due to its abundance of semi rugged terrain. If you like access to a variety of outdoors activities, without throngs of other tourists, peace and a low cost vacation this is a good place to stop.

http://www.vikhotels.com/en/index.html Many low cost resort options in The Canarias especially Lanzarote and Fuerteventura

Tips on hotels, resorts and booking places in high and low season:

If you are a native English speaker here is a page with english content and great selection of Spanish hotels and beachside locations https://www.hotelesglobales.com/en/

https://www.hotelsviva.com/es-es/ this Spanish page specialises in highly sought after Mallorca, Majorca based stops. 

Interested in adventure travel? Visit  https://www.intrepidtravel.com/Eu

Competitive prices here get ready and book your hotel here http://www.besthotels.es

Photo by Miriela Rodríguez - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 es,

May 12, 2018

 

Photo@LuisSuarez Facebook

Photo@LuisSuarez Facebook

CASTELLDEfells

Castelldefels is a great family destination. It is close to Barcelona, about 20 km southwest and near El Prat Airport. It is equipped with two train stations, one at the beach (Platja de Castelldefels) and the other in the town (Pueblo). There are buses that leave from Passeig Maritimo (the main street near the beach) for Barcelona. But, you can be in popular Passeig de Gracia by train in under 30 minutes, from there you can walk, take the metro or use one of the many town bikes waiting in the racks.

If you want to come for summer or make the more permanent move, it has something to suit most. But, a few simple facts on living here, it is expensive thanks to soccer players such as Messi and Suarez making it their home and numerous other Catalan/Spanish celebrities. It is full of expats and I mean FULL. Visibility wise majority are Russian, you will find menus in Catalan, Spanish, English and Russian, occasionally German.

What is great about living here? Well the beach, it is 5 km long, that’s spread over Pineda Beach, Lluminetes Beach, and Apeadero Beach.

In summer, the beaches are lined with Chringuito’s they are temporary bars right on the sand, usually offering popular Catalan tapas and cold beer, some offer live music like Ananda, they all vary, but are of a good standard across the board.

Chalito is popular as apparently some guy called Suarez owns it? Any idea? Tiburon and some others have swings and play houses for kids and are friendly places, people don’t get so drunk here like in other countries so it is somewhere you can safely and comfortably take kids. Along the beach, every 150 metres  or so there are outdoor play equipment for kids, so everyone can enjoy the outdoors without any costs. Parking is difficult to find in the town and beach side area, not impossible but challenging! 

If you are into water-sports there is the  http://www.clubnauticocastelldefels.com where you can hire all of your water gear, for super cheap ( it is about 80 EUR a month) kite surfing is very popular here all times of the day and year round. At the end of the beach heading towards Sitges is La Ginesta, which is full of lovely restaurants (mostly with poor service, tell me if you find somewhere decent) and if you want to stay in a boat for the duration of the stay, this is it. 

There is also The Olympic canal, called Canal Olímpic de Catalunya, built for the 1992 Summer Olympic Games of Barcelona in the town for canoeing, water skiing and other fun activities. Casal  commences in June/July summer holidays), or “Colonias’ are summer activity groups for kids are priced about $88 per week, but places are often limited.

There is also the Castelldefels Castle which you can see from most parts of the town, there are some lovely gardens to take a stroll, where many of the locals walk their dogs of an evening. However, the castle itself it open one Sunday a month, it is nice, small, and  not the most fascinating castle in Europe by any means. Its first mention was in the 10th century and was the site of some grisly murders, so if you like ghoulish stories make the trip.

 If you want to visit the beach but be close to Barcelona or escape crowded beaches elsewhere, I absolutely recommend Castelldefels for a day trip or a weekender. If you like cycling, it is popular spot with large groups leaving Castelldefels and cycling to Sitges or enjoying the mountains in Castelldefels or The Garraf National Park. There are lots of public bikeways in and around Castelldefels and cycle tracks in the Garraf National Park.

Booking a hotel in Spain? Best Hotels have the best options https://fave.co/2k569eT

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