Dave Bull has lived in nearby Gran Alacant for 16 years, and he’s made it his mission to learn all he can about the history and culture of his adopted home. One thing that really gets his goat is when people come to live or come for a holiday in the region, and don’t investigate the back story. Too many people just pick out the guide book highlights and don’t look for the really interesting, off the beaten track stuff. Dave’s hoping to put that right with his unique 3.5 hour walking tours.
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When you buy a property in Spain, you need to open a Spanish bank account. It’s necessary for payment of utility bills, and it makes economic sense as well. If you use a Spanish bank for all your Spanish transactions, you will not be charged conversion fees. If you don’t know much about Spanish banks, the choice facing you can be bewildering to say the least. Here are a few ideas to help you to make the right decision for your needs.
If you intend to live in Spain, you really should try to learn the language, no matter how daunted you are by the prospect. For a painless introduction to the language, you can’t do better than visit Jane Cronin’s website. Jane is a bit of a celebrity on the Costa Blanca. She’s something like a Spanish version of Victoria Wood, telling funny tales about her struggles with the language when she first arrived in Spain, and singing songs about the Brits in Spain in her stand-up comedy show. Her latest show ventures into Spanish stand up, and that’s being very well received to. Jane really is a bilingual comedienne.
The Samaritans is famous the world over. Started in 1953 by London vicar Chad Varah as a listening and befriending service for people on the brink of suicide, it now has 201 branches in the UK and Ireland and receives over 5 million calls a year. It may surprise you to know that there is also an offshoot of the Samaritans – Samaritans in Spain. It’s based in Punta Prima, near Torrevieja on the Costa Blanca, and it deals with calls from all over Spain, and as far afield as India and America. In fact any English speaking person, anywhere in the world can call Samaritans in Spain.
Spanish people are renowned the world over for their tolerance, hospitality and love of fiestas, but there are some things about expats that they really don’t like, and sad to say they are justified in most of these things. Spain is the land of cheap booze, but who actually goes binge drinking and throws up in public? That would be the Brits. You may think their reputation is unfair, but I’ve seen it too many times, and it’s only the British who get really obnoxious through drink.
Never heard of Algorfa? You’re not alone – in fact when we fell in love with our garden apartment on the La Finca Golf Urbanisation just outside Algorfa, we certainly hadn’t, so when we told people in England about our new home, we said Algorfa was ‘Near Torrevieja.’ Seven years later, I realise it’s not near Torrevieja at all, other than in the purely geographical sense. It’s streets ahea
Where to start to describe Real Radio International’s breakfast show host, Dave Bull? The guy has slotted so much into the 16 years he’s been in Spain, there’s enough for an autobiography – and incidentally he’s on Volume Two of that. In a previous life in Brighton, Dave sold pies – yes, really! He was a franchise holder for Peter’s Pies on the South Coast of England. However he got tired of earning his crust that way – pun intended – and moved to Gran Alacant on the Costa Blanca with his wife and 7 year old son.
One thing I love about books on Spain is that they give you an insight into life in the different regions, as well as often detailing the author’s own experiences as an expat. Sometimes, they’re also laugh-out-loud funny – so much so that when you turn the final page, you feel like you’ve lost something very special. Tim Parfitt’s book about life in Madrid in the late 1980s as an Englishman sent to help with the set up of ‘Vogue Espana’ is just such a book. Warning: don’t under anycircumstances eat or drink anything as you read this, because you never know when the next splutter-making episode is going to hit you.