Or in Andalucía to be more precise.
1 The weather. I’ve never been a sun-worshipper, but it is nice to know that in summer it will be warm and sunny. It is good to go camping and not worry about getting soaked (especially when the groundsheet leaks). And because Spain has a continental climate there is every other type of weather as well.
2 The food. Not so much the eating out as the local fresh produce you can buy – or if you are lucky, you get some given to you by your neighbours who have bits of ground and grow crops to sell on to the local wholesale market. Although can’t say I am too keen on the way they spray pesticides around with gay abandon.
3 It is cheap to live. It is nowhere near as cheap as it was when we first arrived (or when we first started coming on holiday some 12 or so years ago) but the basics are still much cheaper than northern Europe. And where we live you do not spend a lot of money (if any) heating your home.
4 Public transport. It is a pretty big country but it is relatively easy to get round using long-distance buses, or trains, or a combination. Every time I get the bus from Málaga to La Linea or Algeciras, I am amazed it costs just over ten euros for a 2/3 hours trip of around 140kms. Or you can travel from the south to the north by bus for around 50€. If you take the overnight train from Málaga to Burgos sharing a couchette compartment, and then get the bus to Santander, it will cost less than 70€ for nearly 1000km trip.
5 Coffee. I loathe instant coffee with a passion. Although you can now get decent coffee in the UK, whereas at one time nearly everything was instant, you are virtually guaranteed to get a decent coffee anywhere in Spain. And it is very strong. I so love a strong espresso (no sugar either).
6 Beer, or rather lager. I don’t drink a lot of it, but I do like Spanish beer, especially the strong ones ie Mahou Five Star and Estrella Damm. And of course it is (comparatively) cheap.
7 Music. I’ve always liked Latin American music, and a lot of the popular music has a real Latin American feel to it. Apart from Juanes and Shakira (both Colombian), Spanish bands I like are Amparanoia, Chambao and Ojos de Brujo. I also like Rosario.
8 Spaniards break the rules with such aplomb. Rules are seen as something that get in the way of daily life, and basically are for other people. They are to be got round as cleverly as possible.
9 Following on from this last one – no “dob ’em in culture”. I guess this must be a hangover from the Franco régime, but there is a healthy dislike and mistrust of chivas (spies). You can see why. If someone informed on you in the past, there was a good chance that you and/or your family would be carted off to the carcel (prison) and later killed. In smaller communities people accept that they have to live with their neighbours and it’s better for everyone to try and get along.
10 The language. It is easy to learn, it is phonetic and quite logical. It also sounds very nice spoken by Spaniards although I dread to think how it sounds with a Yorkshire accent (mine) or a Welsh one (Partner’s). Especially as we have slipped into speaking the Andalucían Spanish of our pueblo and not the perfect Castilian Spanish that is normally taught to foreigners.
That will do to start with off the top of my head. There are others. I also want to write a little more about a couple of these – but that will be for another post.
Almost forgot the Gibraltar Social Democrats did win the election although it seems to have been pretty tight with less than 4% between the GSDs (49.33%) and the GSLP/GLP (45.49%) coalition. Turnout was 81.4%. At least I haven’t lost my political acumen. :)