Expatsradio speaks to Louise Parkin Editor of Living Spain which is the UK’s best selling guide to Spain and Spanish property. We shall now be making programmes together every month. The magazine contains a wealth of information for those on the move or who are considering becoming an expat in Spain as Louise explains. We shall be bringing you all these elements on our expat radio station plus competitions to win fabulous prizes!
Broadcast 16 April 2010
Expatsradio talks to Louise Parkin the Editor of Living Spain Magazine. This time she tells us more about her visit to Catalonia.
She starts with Tarragona and its Roman heritage. It has an amphitheatre, aqueduct and a circus. She suggests you might like to visit the Fiesta - San Juan on midsummer's day. She also tells us more about Castells which are human towers.
She moves on the Vall de Boí and the National Park of Aiguestortes which she describes as beautiful and well worth a visit.
Louise was particularly taken with the Romanesque churches in this region.
Listen to her programme to get more insights into accommodation and other useful tips when travelling.
More to come from Louise and Living Spain next month.
Broadcast 14 June 2010
Expatsradio talks to Louise Parkin the Editor of Living Spain Magazine about taking your pets to Spain.Louise takes us through the process, the costs and who will take us.
Her advice is not to take our pets on long crossings and to make sure we are prepared for the paperwork by visiting our vet at least six months before we plan to go away if we are returning within 6 months. Otherwise 21 days is sufficient. Please have a look at the pdf file which you can download from the bottom of this page for more information.
The cost of exporting your pets is quite high but Louise feels it is worth it to have the comfort of your animals in your new location.
Which companies will fly you and what facilities are there on planes and ferries. Louise lists some of the options including the use of specialist companies.
Coming back to the UK is a bit more expensive than going out and you need a visit to the vet for a blood test to verify all is well with your pet's protection against rabies.
Louise tells us about animal age restrictions, sedation and other preparations for travel. She also says that you should watch out for an illness caused by insects that is incurable but can be treated.
There is a lot more information in this programme and we recommend you listen in before you start your preparations for your animal's trip.
To find out more about the conditions imposed on animal movements we suggest you visit the DEFRA website at http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/
Broadcast 26 July 2010
Editor of Living Spain Magazine, Louise Parkin explains what healthcare is available for people going on holiday or moving abroad.
Some of the points she deals with are:
People going on holiday need to get a European health insurance card.
Does this card cover you for flying home after an accident?
How do you apply for the card?
What about people who want to spend more time over there? Is there an equivalent of the NHS?
What preparations must people make prior to leaving the UK?
What do they need to take with them when they register at the Foreigners Office?
What is an S1 form?
What about those who have retired early and are not yet drawing their pension?
How does it work for people who have a job?
How about seeing a doctor?
Do many people go private?
Broadcast 9 August 2010
Louise Parkin, Editor of Living Spain Magazine, tells Expatsradio.com about Christmas in Spain. Navidad, is similar in some ways to Christmas in the UK, although it is far less commercialised. They do have Christmas trees, but also you will find a Belén, which means Bethlehem, or a nativity scene. These are found both in homes and in public places such as churches, where the manger scene is depicted on a massive scale and in great detail, sometimes depicting the whole town of Bethlehem, including rivers, houses and streets.
In Catalonia especially, but also in a few other places in Spain, a popular figure in the Belén is the caganer. This is a little figure, generally at the back of the scene away from the manger, with his trousers round his ankles in the act of defecation. It's unknown precisely why he's there, but he always is, even in church Beléns, some say to remind us of the humanity of Jesus when he walked on the earth, and everything that being human entails.
The Spanish Christmas is very much a family affair. It's quite low key, where people just spend the day at home, they perhaps go for a walk, and then eat a family meal together, but Christmas Eve is the more important celebration than Christmas Day itself. Christmas Eve is called Nochebuena, meaning Good Night, and many folk attend Mass, then spend the evening at home where they eat what is perhaps the most important family meal of the year.
This would be a very grand meal, where no expense is spared, and they eat late in the evening, in true Spanish style. There are regional variations, as the food culture in Spain is quite diverse, but they would probably have seafood to start with, perhaps prawns or salmon, followed by soup, with fish or seasonal vegetables, and then they would have roast meat, like lamb or perhaps suckling pig. At the end of the meal turrón is served, a traditional nougat-like brittle tablet of eggs, honey, almonds and sugar.
Small gifts on Christmas Eve, but the main gift-giving day is January 6th, the Epiphany, called in Spanish El Día de Los Reyes Magos, the Day of the Three Kings. In many towns there are parades the night of the 5th, called cabalgatas, where people dress up as the Kings to ride floats through the town and throw sweets into the crowds. Adults get as excited about this as the children do, and some are equally as competitive. Some even use umbrellas turned upside down in an attempt to catch as many sweets as possible.
The three Kings are the equivalent of Santa: children write to them with a wish list, and the kings visit each house during the night, and children leave out food and drink for the camels and a drink for the kings.
Spain at Christmas can be pretty quiet unless you have friends or families around you. Lots of bars and restaurants are closed, especially Christmas Eve. Increasingly people go to restaurants on Christmas day, rather than staying at home.
New year is a different matter. If you want to experience the social side of Spain during the festive period, this is a good time to go. In the UK, people go out early, and wait for midnight in the pub or at a party. In Spain, everyone remains at home to see in the new year wth their families. On the stroke of midnight, 12 grapes are eaten, one with each chime of the clock, to bring good luck throughout the year.
After this they will go out and join their friends, often until after sunrise.
Where to go
A good place to see in the new year is Madrid. Thousands of people gather in Puerta del Sol – the Gate of the Sun – one of the best known and busiest places in Madrid and home to the famous clock whose chime marks the new year. The celebration here is televised, watched in most homes across the country, and as each chime rings out, a grape is consumed.
According to the holiday search engine Skyscanner, Tenerife, Málaga and Alicante are in the top ten of new year destinations. Tenerife came in at number 2, probably because the Canary Islands enjoy a great climate all year round, and so for some sunshine, this is a good bet.
In the rest of Spain, it will be warmer than the UK, but the weather is a bit more unpredictable. It can be wonderfully sunny, but it can also be cold and rainy.
Ibiza, Barcelona and Seville are also renowned for their new year celebrations.
In fact most big towns have something going on, and so do many smaller towns and even villages, but remember that at this time of year prices can go up considerably, which can eat into your budget, so take this into account before booking.
Broadcast 8th December 2010