Friday, 27 February 2015

The 4 phases of expats in Andalucia

There are 2 kinds of people: those who don't live in Andalucia and those who do. 

One group has got watches, the other has time. 

This is such a big difference, implying so many things, rattling the doorknobs and windows of your usual self, that as an expat in Andalucia you usually go through 4 phases: 

Phase 1: you love it

You FLY through the whole first year. 

Forget about Xanax, forget about psychiatrists or self-help books: the fresh air, the views, the colours, the relaxed pace of life… you seem to feel alive up to the tiniest corners of your body and mind. 

All of a sudden you feel a rush of creativity, of ideas, hope, calm, being at peace with yourself: life is looking so bright you need shades, pairs of them, in all colours and shapes. 

Phase 2: you hate it

You start to get used to the permanent state of beauty, it wears off, your old self pops up again. You get stressed by that lack of stress. 

Your northern European internal watch foresaw 3 minutes and 15 seconds for buying bread… does it really have to take 20 minutes? You go to that shop for bread, not for padding a dozen toddlers on the head and an extensive overview of all the local news! 

And what's with that 'mañana'?!

Andalusians can tell you it's a prejudice, and still you hear that word left, right and centre. Your computer will arrive mañana, the boiler will be repaired mañana, and mañana the boss will be there - Mañana is such a gorgeous, mood-lifting day solving all the world's problems. You're going to dance like it's 1999. It's a carrot leading you through this day to that heaven of tomorrow. 

For sure there's also a very punctual, severe, austere, hard working, noble Andalucia, but somehow the one that you see merely seems to exist of cha cha cha, olé and mañana. 

Does time even exist??

"When does the procession start"? 
"O, in the afternoon". 
"What is that? 2 PM, 4 PM, 5 PM, 6 PM, 8 PM, 9 PM… what"? 
"Yes, something like that". 

Somehow, miraculously, everybody comes out at precisely the right time. Nobody knew at what time it would start, but then collective consciousness hits and everybody knows. What do you need the Internet for - if something happens in the village, you will feel it. 

That is: Andalusians do. 

We expats though are the only ones standing in the rain two hours in advance, thinking we must have got the dates wrong. Or we sit alone in that bar at 10 PM, with only a cat and 3 other expats, thinking that the evening has started. By the time we start to yawn, feeling that the night is over, the locals are only still planning their outfit for the night. 

Or other rules? 

So you walk down to the local fiesta, in jeans and sneakers, only to discover the rest of the town is dressed as though they need to present the Eurovision Song Contest. 

You remember that, dress up to the nines when attending a funeral - and everyone around you has got paint splotches and muddy shoes for coming straight from the construction plot. 

There just seems to be… no rule at all. You forever feel as though being pushed on a stage where everyone knows the lines, except you. Then it hits you: you are going to educate them. This town needs to be like yours, the one you grew up in and that is SO much better.  

Yip, you risk to forget the reason why you came to Andalusia in the first place. 

Phase 3: you live it

You 'see the light'.
You convert to Andalusia as to the Islam. 

Suddenly you realize what 'an other culture' actually is, where the habits are coming from and what they achieve - and just how amazingly well they fit you. 

You no longer study life, life is studying you. 

At 7 AM you sit in a local bar for a coffee and Pacharan, like normal people do. You speak of Andalucia, not Andalusia with an s. You go sit in the sun and then suddenly it seems to be 11 PM and you start wondering whether it wouldn't be a good idea to go out in a few hours. You meet up with 5000 of your most intimate friends. You say 'yes' which means 'maybe', and that headache question is for mañana. 

You go to a job interview in flip flops and open shirt, looking like a gypsy with a sunstroke, and promise you will be very punctual, if it doesn't rain. Or if the colleague of the mother-in-law of your third cousin doesn't need help that day. 

By the end of this year, you're calling relatives abroad to ask for money, because somehow, for some mystic reason, there seems to be a hole in the hole in your wallet. 

Phase 4: the new you

Just as any other Andalucian: you find your balance. 
Very slowly, step by step, you mold a piece of art: 

What you like and love of Andalucia sips into your system, while you mingle it with what you need and love of your personal background and customs. 

This phase comes with a risk: you are in serious danger of no longer being able to live anywhere else. 

All the advantages of that other place do not matter: Andalucia has enriched you, taken your personality, temperament and feel of well being to a next, higher level. You've become a better you, one that you like more. 

Some extraversion has been injected into your introversion, a too high stress level has learned how to let go from time to time, social obligations no longer feel like a strait-jacket, and after too much work stress there's always a view or encounter ironing out the creases. 

And you, where are you in the circle of Andalucian life?

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Olé, the 2015 Semana Santa in Malaga!

Oh, highlight of highlights. Week that we look forward to months in advance. 

For sure we will see us in the centre of Málaga. Once, twice or the whole week.

From Sunday March 29th to Sunday April 5th

From all over the province and beyond we will head to Málaga, every late afternoon, park our car outside of the city centre and then walk to the old town. 

As always in Málaga, La Alameda and the Calle Larios are the 2 hot spots: you can't miss them, just go with the flow of the crowds. Since it can be too crowdy sometimes, you might also decide to walk further on, and enjoy the tapa bars in the alleys with an occasional glimpse of the processions. 

Elegance and magnificence, ambiance and respect

In Andalucia, the Semana Santa or Holy Week, is something that needs to be treated with the upmost respect. 

Nowhere in Spain it's celebrated with so much elegance as in Málaga. 

The professions are impressive, the ‘throne men’ wearing their elegant clothing. Waving on the rhythmic cadence, sober and accompanied by the typical music, the processions pass by with distinction, filling all malagueños and a shared feeling of pride and honour for their thrones and religious culture. 

We could talk for hours about the Holy Week in Malaga, its history, its peculiarities and what it means for us. But why do so? The best way to find out, is simply to live it. Come to Malaga during the Holy week and make sure to be see at least some of the processions.

When to go? 

Follow the pace of the brotherhoods. Obviously the nicest experience is when there are several out at the same time - especially when the sun starts to set or the night is starting. 

Here are the processions per brotherhood: 

10.00 14.30 La Pollinica 
16.45 23.00 El Huerto 
15.00 22.15 Dulce Nombre 
15.45 23.15 La Salutación 
17.20 01.00 La Salud 
17.20 01.00 Prendimiento 

16.10 23.30 Crucifixión 
17.15 22.30 Los Gitanos 
20.00 03.00 Dolores del Puente 
17.00 23.40 La Pasión 
19.00 01.30 Estudiantes 
19.45 04.00 El Cautivo 

15.45 02.30 Nueva Esperanza 
17.30 01.15 Las Penas 
20.15 02.15 La Humillación 
19.00 01.45 El Rescate 
19.45 02.30 Sentencia 
20.00 03.30 El Rocío 

16.30 00.00 Salesianos 
17.45 00.30 Fusionadas 
19.15 00.30 La Paloma 
19.35 02.00 El Rico 
20.55 02.15 La Sangre 
23.45 05.00 La Expiración 

19.40 03.30 Zamarrilla 
23.00 05.30 La Esperanza 
16.00 22.10 La Santa Cruz 
17.10 22.30 La Cena 
17.30 00.30 Viñeros 
19.50 01.30 Mena 
20.35 02.30 La Misericordia 

17.35 23.00 Dolores de San Juan 

17.25 23.55 Descendimiento 
16.20 01.30 Monte Calvario 
19.30 02.30 El Traslado 
18.45 03.00 Amor 
20.15 02.45 La Piedad 
21.00 02.55 El Sepulcro 
22.45 04.00 Servitas 

10.30 14.00 El Resucitado 

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Andalusia rules at the Goyas

Andalusia ruled the waves at the Goya Awards 2015.

Established in 1987, the Goya Awards are the Spanish equivalent of the American Academy Awards (the 'Oscar'). They are organized around the end of January and exist of awards given to films produced during the previous year. 

This year it was the 29th edition and the main winner was Andalusia. First and foremost because 'Marshland' ('La Isla Minima') won no less than 10 Awards. Director Alberto Rodriguez took home the small bronze bust of Francisco de Goya for Best Film as well as Best Director

But this thriller set in the marshlands outside Seville also received the awards for Best Actor (Javier Gutiérrez), Best Original Screenplay, Best New Actress, Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design. 

Also the main competitor, 'El Niño', winning 4 Goyas in the technical categories, is set in Andalusia (in Algeciras). 

And then of course there was the lifetime achievement award, going to Antonio Banderas. Malaga's most known and most popular son (OK, maybe after Picasso) finally grabbed the highest possible honour in Spanish cinema.   Oscar-winning director Pedro Almodovar praised the 54-year old heartthrob, the only Spanish actor to achieve success in Hollywood, for 'litting a fire to Spanish movie screens in the 1980s'. 

And thus Andalusia keeps being movie land. From 'Lawrence of Arabia' to 'Doctor Zhivago', James Bond to Indiana Jones, the corners or landscapes of southern Spain have been the backdrop of many a famous scene. 

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Property viewing trips in Andalucia

At 87.268 square kms or 33.694 sq mi, the area of Andalucia is twice as large as the Netherlands and 3 times Belgium. 

For property viewings, you either want to pinpoint your ideal region beforehand, or be sure that the properties you will visit have potential

That's the reason for our our YouTube channel. Here we let the camera walk through and around the property. 

In a not so distant future, as soon as the regulations are known, we might start with images from drones, so you can also see the wider region. In the mean time we give you the best possible idea. For example, in this video, we've chosen the music that goes best with the (wonderful) area: 

  Property in Cordoba. Textual information here

The music in this particular video is the famous Andalucian song 'Morenika'.

It is one of the few remaining and known songs from 15th or 16th century Andalusia. It was originally sung in Ladino, the medieval judeo-spanish (Spanish with influences from Hebrew and Mozarabic, but also with touches of Portuguese, French, Italian and more). 

We chose it here for it fits with the surroundings and the region. By details such as these we give our clients the best possible idea of what to expect when going on a viewing trip. 

If you are interested in a viewing trip, read everything about our property viewing trips.  

Or simply contact us at or browse our website.

Greetings from our offices in Mollina and Alcalà la Real!