The Word on the Street

International Edition - September 2012


News and Information from Spain


Welcome to the September 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.

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral,

Imserso - on hold

We've been waiting in anticipation for news about the Imserso Spanish holiday programme. By now they should be issuing the annual confirmation letters for all registered pensioners. However, the website still hasn't opened up for the 2012-13 season and, in spite of our frequent phone calls, no news is forthcoming from Imserso staff.

We are taking comfort from the assumption that no news is good news. However, if you have already been to our offices to register for 2012/13 there is no immediate likelihood of hearing anything soon. We will let you know as soon as we do.

Fancy a gamble?

Just as some of the proposed projects might come to fruition, they introduce more!

The latest speculation is around a potential Las Vegas Madrid and not to be beaten, Barcelona World. Madrid's Eurovegas would be a mega-gaming resort. The potential competition for this scheme is the proposed Barcelona World which would comprise of 6 theme parks linking up with the existing Port Aventura.

Not surprisingly there are a number of sceptics who cannot see that either project will be successful. In this article it's argued that theme parks (with the odd exception) have never been successful outside of America. The reason? Europe's cities provide enough distraction and amusement of their own:

Independence for Cataluńa

Every country has its regional differences and perhaps wishes that they could be distinct from their neighbours. In England there have always been intense rivalries around Lancashire and Yorkshire, for example.

Although it might have been suggested at different times, no one took seriously the idea of independence (I don't think). However, regional differences and autonomy are perhaps nowhere stronger than in Spain. The Basque country is well known for its claims to independence and now Cataluńa is wanting to break free from the national debt:

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Ábaco update

You might be aware that recently IVA (VAT) rates have gone up. Depending upon which category of VAT it is, this tax on goods and services has risen from 8 to 10% and from 18 to 21%. However, Ábaco have made the decision that they are not going to pass on this increase to their customers. Our fees will stay the same for the rest of 2012.

The new shopping centre has arrived!

There have been three large projects we've been watching carefully in the Costa Blanca region. The airport (see below), the proposed Paramount theme park (a bit quiet at the moment) and the new Zenia Boulevard in Orihuela Costa (Alicante). One at least appears to have come to fruition. Zenia Boulevard opened on the 26th September. To find out what the verdict is from the forums:

To see what's there:

It seems the main impressions are positive ones, except when it comes to congestion on neighbouring roads.

Corvera again

The latest from Murcia Today is that the obstacles that have been in the way of the airport opening have eventually been overcome and it will open in April 2013.

The information has come from the newspaper 'La Verdad' and reading between the lines not everything is yet signed and sealed:

Enjoy your cars?

If you do and want to meet with likeminded people you could try one of these clubs:

'Phoenix Car Club' (Costa Blanca):

Club Torrevieja Classics and Specialists Cars:

More book suggestions

Well, I asked for more books title suggestions and I haven't been disappointed. The only problem is I simply don't have time to read them all.

These are books that were written in Spanish and translated into other languages. They provide not only some thought-provoking and interesting stories but a fascinating view of Spain through Spanish eyes.

Suggestions include:

* The Carpenter's Pencil' by Manuel Rivas
* Cathedral of the Sea' by Ildelfonso Falcones
* the psychological thriller trilogy 'Your Face Tomorrow' by Javier Marias

If you want to try some poetry then where better to start than translations of Federico García Lorca:

It looks as though we're not the only ones exploring the local libraries. In this Expatica article Rick Steves makes his own set of recommendations:

I do mean it when I say, keep the titles coming…


The 'Camino de Santiago'

For many Spanish people, in fact for many people across the world, walking the 'Camino de Santiago' is one of the 'things to do before I die'.

On the northern coast of Spain, it is a route that has been followed by pilgrims from all over Europe since the 12th century. Caroline and María (customer care and legal department in Ábaco) spent a week following (and sometimes losing) the trail. They found it an emotional and exhilarating experience, if occasionally blighted by blisters.

If you would like a challenge amongst beautiful Spanish country side you can find out more at this site:

Making the most of fiestas

Just as you thought fiesta season was over until the next one, Pilar de la Horadada are about to celebrate theirs.

The big carnival parade will be held on the 20th October so if you have a visit to Spain planned and want to soak up the atmosphere it would be worth a visit. There will be floats created by clubs and societies, local ballet schools, and of course, it's an opportunity to dress up and celebrate.

Pilgrim's shell (Venera)

Pilgrim's shell (Venera) in the way of Santiago de Compostela

Silent movies

Going to the pictures, if you live in Spain, can be a bit of a problem. There aren't that many cinemas and if you don't speak Spanish you are very limited in availability. It's also not the pleasantest of experiences sitting there with headphones on whilst munching your pop corn.

However, there is an alternative. How about going to watch a silent movie! At the San Sebastián Film Festival 'Blancanieves' or 'Snow White' is in the running for an award. It's set in the early 20th century in Andalusia and reviewers on Iberosphere describe it as being 'aesthetically stunning':

Where does all the water come from?

I still can't quite understand why in the UK there was a hosepipe ban when it poured constantly and yet in Spain we've not seen a drop of rain for weeks, if not months, and are still washing our cars.

There are perhaps two reasons when it comes to coastal regions. To begin with Franco did establish an extensive network of reservoirs which means the rain that does fall frequently inland and on the mountains can be captured for the dryer coastal areas.

The second reason is the desalination plants which have reportedly saved Alicante and Murcia from drought over this exceptionally dry summer. Perhaps it's another case of if you don't have much of something you manage its use more carefully.


Ábaco Asesores: (+34) 96 670 3748

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