The Word on the Street

International Edition - December 2011


News and Information from Spain


Welcome to the December issue of 'The Word on the Street'. Your monthly news and information from Spain provided by Ábaco Asesores. In a couple of columns we hope to keep you in touch with the news, events and just a little bit of gossip.

Sierra Nevada, Granada

Snow on the ski slope
Sierra Nevada, Granada

Did you know?

…there is an Anglo Spanish Society?

This registered charity promotes itself as aiming ' to promote friendship and understanding between the peoples of Britain and Spain through knowledge of each other's customs, institutions, history and way of life.'

Sounds good to me! On their website they advertise a number of events, some of which are exclusive to them (and you do have to be a member) others are open to the general public and anyone with an interest in Spain.

If you are a member of the society there are discounts available on tickets etc. and in some cases additional 'extras' are organised. You can also download copies of their magazine from the website. We're not saying it can rival Ábaco's but it's worth taking a look:

…about Club Nórdico?

This is a not-for-profit club for Scandinavians in the Costa Blanca. It includes news items, events, activities and articles to read:

…about the Spanish/ Swedish chamber of commerce?

It's aim is to encourge business links between Spain and Sweden. They also hold events, publish information and provide advice to their members:

Enjoy reading about Spain?

Then let us introduce you to this new site:

It advertises and makes accessible fiction and non-fiction books about Spain. There are interesting reviews and it aims to be 'personal' as well as comprehensive.

What always surpises me when looking at the lists of books about Spain is how many young British authors, poets and artists were prepared to leave the comfort of their homes to travel to a foreign country independently and fight in the Spanish Civil war. I personally, find their idealism inspirational whatever you might feel about their politics. They might have been naïve and even misguided but they believed in a cause and were prepared to be more than armchair commentators.

It's not all about war. There is plenty of fiction including crime and thriller titles and you'll find biographies and memoirs, art and architecture and a good smattering of classics.

It's early days for this website. However, it looks very promising. If you just can't get enough of the country then read about it instead!

Do you know what a blanket trip is?

I didn't! Until I read some posts on a forum. Apparently it is a trip that is offered free but has an ulterior motive of showcasing products with the hope that you will buy them. During the trip you might be taken on a detour to a factory or other outlet to hear the sales pitch. As suggested by the title, most of them are trying to sell bedding and linen. A good or a bad idea? The views on this forum are mixed:

I suppose a lot depends upon how much time you have to spare. I'd be interested to hear what experiences our readers have had.


The letter

After many years of not much activity we are now seeing the Spanish Tax Authority galvanised into action and implementing the Spanish Fiscal Fraud Plan.

Agencia Tributaria (Spanish Tax Authority) have sent out over 300,000 letters to residents and non-residents against whom they have no record of a tax declaration being made.

The letter advises you that you should rectify this immediately before the Tax Authority begin an investigation. To see a copy of the letter and to find out more click here.

If you are a non-resident and haven't made a tax declaration, the deadline is 31st December. We strongly recommend that you take the opportunity to present a declaration now and avoid receiving the letter.

Now here's a calendar for you!

Unfortunately it's a tax one. The Spanish Tax Authority have produced their own tax calendar IN ENGLISH and in depth. I still think I need a translation though! Here it is:

If you're not too clear what all this means then it's a good job you have a fiscal representative. And if you don't? Then perhaps now's the time to start.

In the news

A shipwreck full of treasure – but who does it belong to?

It's quite a story and fires the imagination. A sunken Spanish ship and 370 million €'s worth of treasure. How exciting! The ship Nuestra Señora de Las Mercedes was sunk by the British (they had to get involved somewhere along the line) in 1804.

Now there is a battle for the ownership of the treasure with the courts recently ruling in favour of Spain. I wonder if the salvage company have managed to 'lose' any of those coins in the meantime? Read more about it:

In the aftermath of the Spanish general election

It can be a worrying time when you live in a foreign country whose politics pass you by. Particularly when there's a recession. I found it reasuring to read this article, which seems to suggest that whatever your politics, left or right, at least extremism doesn't seem to be on the agenda.

You have your say…

Where would you recommend?

We have had a request from a reader who wants some ideas for visitors who are keen to sample the REAL Spain. Granada, the Alhambra, Cordoba and the cave house villages are on her list, can you recommend any more?

We asked around our offices and came up with:

- Cartagena

- Guadalest

- Riopar en Castilla laMancha

- Altea for the almond trail

We also found this website:

It provides summaries of the major towns and cities in the North and South Costa Blanca as well as the Costa Calida. With suggestions for days out, it is worth taking a look.

We'd still like your suggestions too:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Shopping time again

If El Corte Inglés doesn't do it for you, you can still shop in John Lewis and live in Spain. John Lewis will deliver many of its products to Spain although there is a charge of £7.50 and you will need to allow 4 to 7 days for delivery, so perhaps a little late for Christmas.

The website is

A rather unusual Christmas tradition

I'll put the health and sensitivity warnings first. PLEASE do not read the following article if you are easily offended! Of course, now you want to read it even more than ever and I can guarantee that this link will have more clicks than any other. I'm saying no more than it's a rather unusual Christmas tradition that explains a few 'unconventional' figurines in our local Belén.

If you like browsing

Here's another website for you:

has articles and opinion about a range of Spanish news items. Recently published you might find the debate about Franco's tomb an interesting one to read:

Santa Barbara Castle above the town, Alicante

From the Beach ;-)

Ranking of best countries to live in worldwide

It's always interesting to make comparisons between countries, particularly when you are an expat and have at least two countries to take particular interest in.

The 2011 UN Human Development Index ranks Spain as the 23rd best country to live in with the UK ranked as 28th and Sweden 10th out of the 187 countries listed. The index assesses long-term progress in healthcare, education, child welfare, literacy, annual income and life expectancy.

The Democratic Republic of Congo was last on the list and Norway was top. There are some interesting results. The US doesn't usually do so well in international comparisons and Sweden usually commands a much higher position. Well done to Ireland! Well ahead, of its UK neighbours.

United States
New Zealand

It's If you want to have a look for yourself go to:

You might not agree with the conclusions but it certainly gets people talking.


Ábaco Asesores: (+34) 96 670 3748

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