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Old 30th September 2007, 06:11 PM   #21
ssd
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What first brought you to Spain? What kept you coming back? Why do you love it so much? What's special about the country?
Q1 - A combination of my wife and Mr Blair!

Q2 - The hot climate, the friendly people, the great food, the midnight float in the pool, the lack of stress, the dramatic landscape, the cicada's chirping in the evening, the great beaches, the starry sky with no light pollution, the goats walking across the hills, the eagles soaring overhead, the white donkey carrying the almond harvest up the road, the exotic flora & fauna all around (chameleons, snakes, lizards, tortioses, owls, and abundant plantlife), etc, etc, etc....

Q3 - See above.

Q4 - It has accepted me and I have accepted it, warts an all seamlessly!!
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Old 2nd October 2007, 09:25 PM   #22
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I suppose the answer to this question for me, in part, is simply that
Spain is the Spanish-speaking part of Europe. You see, in the United
States, Spanish is pretty much the default second language these days,
for obvious reasons. Something like half of all academic
second-language instruction in this country is Spanish. You don't
really need a reason to study it. It's the easy choice. Not that many
of us anglos can really speak it, mind. The American attraction to
Europe, be it the UK, France, Italy, Spain, etc., is about seeing a
bunch of amazingly old stuff, and seeing places that are more rooted
and civilized-seeming than our country is. Put these two together,
and you have a reason to be interested in Spain. A place is always a
lot more interesting if you can speak to the natives in their own
language. That's why I have, in recent years, visited Spain, but not
Italy, France, or the Czech republic.

On the subject of Americans learning Spanish, it's almost certainly
true that for most of us our first experience of a Spanish-speaking
country is of Mexico or Central America. Those countries are, how
shall I say it, interesting, different, charming, beautiful, but also
offputting, unsettling, and ugly. Take Mexico, for example. I have
frequently been met with great courtesy, kindness and fair-mindedness
down there (even by marijuana growers). But I have also been cheated
and preyed upon. And government, in all its manifestations, doesn't
work very well. The universal advice, from Mexicans and foreigners
alike, is to avoid having anything to do with the police. It's odd,
when everyone knows that the two gas stations in town are crooked, but
nothing is done about it, because they are owned by someone with drug
money connections. Instead, everybody knowledgeable just drives eight
miles north on the highway to fill up at a gas station known to be
honest. People cope, but it could not be said to be socially optimal.
And trash disposal? I have heard it said that the ruin of the Mexican
countryside is the disposable plastic bag. Governmental corruption,
the use of public office for self-dealing, the total impunity of the
rich. One feels that the real social rules that govern life and
society down there are quite different, and decidedly obscure to an
outsider. The published laws and regulations are not, in fact, the
operative rules. In some respects it's really a hierarchical tribal
system, with caciques, vassals and patrones, and favor-trading. This
makes it interesting, of course, but also a hard place to navigate, to
really feel comfortable. Mexico city, Guadalajara, Tijuana, they are
certainly energetic places, but no one could call them charming, and
they do not generally arouse any fantasies about moving
there. Crowded, noisy, chaotic, terrible traffic, bad air.

So why go on about this? Well, because it explains what a shock, and
revelation it was, to arrive in Spain for the first time. The place
was clean, the cities apparently charming and livable. It was so...so
European, so first world. And the people, well, they were different
too. Less courteous, perhaps, but more forthright, more direct, easier
to read. More sure of themselves as citizens, more knowledgeable, more
instinctively democratic. I was struck by the amount of tutear-ing.
Being an American, who likes informality and directness, I appreciated this.

Maybe it's the goldilocks phenomenon. Spain is "just right".
Different enough to be interesting, to give one a sense of alternate
possibilities, but not so different as to be really unsettling, and
not so different that you can't relate to the people as peers rather
than "natives" to be observed or placated.

One other little point, I am into what one might call "nature
tourism", and, within western Europe, Spain has perhaps the most to
offer. the wildest and most varied landscapes and biomes. It's not
like the "new world", of course. There are no really pristine or
unaltered places. The human mark is everywhere. But the settled human
imprint is so old--thousands of years--that it all just seems to
fit. Humans and nature had somehow coadapted. Or at least, in some
places they have. I'm not talking about the runaway "urbanizaciones"
on the coast, obviously. More like the peasant landscapes, the dehesa
of the south, or the Asturian countryside. This human/nature
coadaptation, I find it very interesting. The human imprint in
North America is mostly very new, and it mostly jars with its natural
surroundings. Our agriculture, our forestry, is mostly industrial in
spirit. We have nothing like the spanish countryside.
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Old 3rd October 2007, 07:34 AM   #23
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Well put Xan. It is reading others' points of view like this that keep me coming back to the forum
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Old 3rd October 2007, 08:45 AM   #24
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Phew. Was that the abridged version?
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Old 3rd October 2007, 11:11 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xan View Post
I suppose the answer to this question for me.....
Gosh, well thought-out pieces like this make me feel guilty about the intellectual content of my own posts: but then I read other contributions about chickens, and I feel OK again.
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Old 3rd October 2007, 07:25 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Einstein View Post
make me feel guilty about the intellectual content of my own posts
What intellectual content??
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Old 4th October 2007, 09:40 AM   #27
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What intellectual content??
My last post contained 'intellectual content'
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Old 4th October 2007, 10:55 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Stand in the Corner View Post
My last post contained 'intellectual content'
Your last post contained the words 'intellectual content', nothing else.
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Old 4th October 2007, 11:43 AM   #29
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Eldeano, you must've blinked.
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Old 18th December 2007, 03:38 AM   #30
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Default need advice

I am new to this site. I have a question which no one has been able to answer to my satisfaction. First let me say, I lived and worked in Europe for a number of years and I have spent months in Spain-but that was well before the Bush buck took a nose dive.
I need to go to Spain to practice my Spanish conversation and communication. That's Spanish like in Castillian. I want to stay about six months on a very limited budget. I need suggestions about where in Spain I'm most likely to live cheaply and not run into people who want to practice English on me or who in familiar conversation don't speak standard Castillian. Let me put it simply. I want to speak as much Spanish as possibly and lodge as cheaply as my 71 year old body can tolerate. Any suggestions? I'm thinking Leon maybe- I need as many suggestions as possible.

Bob
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Old 18th December 2007, 09:03 AM   #31
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Hi Bob,

Leon sounds good, a small, very Castillian town where they will speak very standard Spanish and you won't find many other foreigners. Other similar towns include Burgos, Cuenca (pretty small though), Valladolid, Aranda del Duero, (again, pretty small), but really, it sounds like Leon could be a good bet. It's a nice size, interesting, great food, and near other stunning parts of Spain like Asturias, Galicia, and the Picos de Europa.
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Old 19th December 2007, 04:38 AM   #32
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Thanks, I think I'll stick to Leon. If I set down next mid January I probably won't be tripping over tourists. Also, a new President might give the dollar a bounce up a bit. But of course this guy isn't through trashing it.
You know Spain gets about 60,000,000. tourists a year Assuming a low conservative average 1000 bucks that each tourist leaves (Germans are crazy about Spain and they leave real money)-that's 60 billion dollars per year. With that, who needs olive oil?
Anyway, set this post where ever it will be happy.

Bob
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Old 19th December 2007, 05:20 AM   #33
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Also, a new President might give the dollar a bounce up a bit. But of course this guy isn't through trashing it.
Bob

Sigh....
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Old 25th January 2008, 12:55 PM   #34
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Why Spain,

Well for us it was simply the most practical choice. Husband needed to retire early for health reasons. We couldn't afford to live in the UK with our hefty mortgage and bringing up a child without both our salaries. We considered France as I spoke French a reasonable amount and had lived in Paris for a number of years when young. House prices were good, but cost of living is high, especially closer South and why swap cold and wet England for cold and wet France.

Spain is renowned for its healthy diet and climate, the cost of living was far lower and it's nice and warm. We needed a more stress free lifestyle for my husband and we have that in Spain.

We got rid of the mortgage and were able to buy a nice home - bills are lower - sun is always shining - life is at a slower pace - what more could we ask for!

I actually prefer French and Italian languages - so musical, but Spanish comes close third.
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Old 27th January 2008, 11:10 PM   #35
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Default Bag stolen on Alsa bus

If you're travelling by bus, do not leave your bag in the storage compartment because the bus companies do not ensure its safe arrival. If you do, make sure you get off at every stop to see to it that other people aren't taking your bag with them. I just had my bag stolen and it was a horrible experience. The bus company basically threw their hands up in the air and said "these things happen". I couldn't believe it. I really don't like barcelona either. It's dirty, expensive and the men are creepy. I think I'm going to leave spain as soon as possible.
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Old 6th February 2008, 05:21 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Ben View Post
What first brought you to Spain?
My parents arrived in 1967.
Quote:
What kept you coming back?
Family.
Quote:
Why do you love it so much? What's special about the country?
For me Spain is my illicit and passionate lover who`ll always be there. And the Sardines.
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Old 9th February 2008, 02:19 AM   #37
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Default spain

at first, i told my husband "i haven't been to spain, why don't we try it?". and so we did. we went to spain with my two kids, and visited Barcelona. we stayed at Ciutat Vella, the accommodation was pretty nice.I loved barcelona. My kids enjoyed our tour in Parc Guell and in Picasso Museum. and we'll be coming back to visit Tramvia Blau again.
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Old 6th April 2008, 10:26 PM   #38
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i first went to Argentina (buenos Aires) in the year 2000 and fell in love with the spanish language and the people there. i then went to Benidorm
thats why England is driving me mad!! please tell me spain is different??
No what you mean Dave, Spanish people are much more laid back. We all seem to have a broom handle up our backsides. The Spanish don't seem to take political correctness or health and safety seriously like us. Also look at the size and shape of their vegetables, how do they get away with it? Ours have to be a certain shape and size to confirm to EU standards but nobody else seems to bother.

Spain does seem to have the qualities that we had 30 years ago but seem to be losing, like spending time with family and not being too hung up with work. A more relaxed lifestyle I think.
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Old 6th April 2008, 11:17 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by ZeroTX View Post
Never been... would like to go one day. Airfare to Europe is expensive and it ain't exactly cheap once you're there, either
Cmon, if us Aussies can do it with higher fares, weaker currency and lower average wage surely you Yanks can do it too!
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Old 23rd May 2008, 03:25 PM   #40
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Default AMAZING SPAIN

In my opinion Spain is an amazing country, and I am not saying that because I am spanish, but because you can find anything you are looking for. For example. If you travel to Africa, we would say Tanzania, you can find anymals and landscapes, but barely people. If you travel around West Africa, likely yo will find markets, people and landscapes, but not animals or a few. If travelling around Europe, you can find landscapes, people and some animals.

But coming to Spain, you will find all kind of landscapes (desert in southern Spain; mountains in Northern Spain; plains in central spain and of course coastlines. Besides different kind of landscape, also you will meet very nice people everywhere, besides a very rich cuisine and good wines.

A part from these, you can explore cities with traditional architecture besides some game reserves where you can find the richest wildlife in Europe.

What happen is that in Spain only Seville, Granada, Alicante, Madrid, Barcelona and Majorca are promoted, but other great places are quite unknown.

Feel free to contac me anytime!!!
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