The Word on the Street

Special Edition - December 2012


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

Spain's a record breaker in world heritage

Did you know that Spain has the second highest number of world heritage sites? There are 44 registered on the UNESCO site including:

- The historic centre of Córdoba
- The Alhambra, Generalife and - Albayzín
- The works of Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona
- The old town of Santiago de Compostela and the route of Santiago de Compostela
- The historic City of Toledo
- The Old City of Salamanca
- Pyrénées Mont Perdu
- Palmeral and Mistery of Elche

These are only a selection and the Wikipedia site includes a handy table with a brief description of each. If you want to create your own list of places to visit in Spain, this would be a very good starting point:

You can also find out more about World Heritage sites from the UNESCO site itself:

The Ourplace website includes photographs of every World Heritage site:

Listen to your radio for good advice

The Alicante consulate are trying a new approach to disseminating information about living safely and happily in Spain. Rather than acting on British nationals' behalf when things go wrong they are now sending out 'fillers' to English language radio stations. The three 'fillers', or public service commercials, have been distributed to radio stations across Spain for use when they have space in programming and advertising schedules.

These 'fillers' are a little like the public information films and provide bite-sized dos and don'ts about life in Spain. At the moment they include, roadside robberies, out-of-date passports, and benefits and health concerns.

The brief transmissions also remind British nationals that they can visit the UK in Spain website for more information:

You might even be able to recognise the voices. They include Sheila Reid who plays Madge in the hit television series Benidorm, Keith Barron who played Benidorm's deputy mayor in 2009, and Huggy Leaver who has appeared in EastEnders and the film 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels'.

Now onto some Art

We know how much many of you enjoy reading and we've shared plenty of book titles with you this year. Now let's look at some of Spain's favourite artists. This article about Salvador Dali is interesting but you need to read it whilst having access to a portfolio of his work:

For a site that provides this:

Picasso needs no introduction and it's not difficult to find information about him. Here is just one example:

For a list of other Spanish artists this website is quite useful and even manages to throw a few women in there too:


Ábaco update

It's been a busy year for change in Spain. We've seen fluctuations in the housing market and glimpses of hope as well as less optimistic predictions.

No one can pretend it's been the best of financial years. However, as always, Spain is a country of surprises and in this newsletter we have been able to applaud successes as well as reporting difficulties each month.

We are all looking forward to what 2013 might hold and assure all our readers that we will continue to bring you snippets of information, little bits of gossip and a smidgen of advice. We hope that you have all read the books we've recommended and visited the places we've featured. If not, 2013 might just be the year to do it!

Sing when you win

If you happened to turn on to a Spanish TV channel on the 22nd December you might have been a little surprised to see the curious mix of singing school children and lottery numbers.

La Lotería de Navidad, better known as El Gordo or 'the fat one' is a world-wide celebrated lottery that has a total prize money of €2.52 billion out of a total revenue of €3.6. As the lottery with the biggest number of prizes in the world, it is nearly as much a part of the Spanish Christmas as "Noche Buena" (the Christmas eve celebration) itself and families across the country are glued to the television to watch as the tickets are drawn.

Individual tickets cost €200 with each 'decimo' costing €20. The draw is something of a marathon lasting five hours in total and with the numbers announced by singing children.

To get an idea of the spectacle you can go to:

After the excitement of El Gordo, followed by Christmas and New Year, you would think the Spanish would be after a quiet time, but it all kicks off again with the deceptively named El Niño on January 6th. We say 'deceptive' because El Niño means 'Little One' and there's nothing little about this national lottery game. With a total prize pool of €1.2 billion you have a one in three chance of winning on El Niño.

If you will miss both lotteries this year tickets are on sale again as early as early as July, giving you plenty of time to dream how you will spend your winnings!

A potted history of Spain

It's not often that I recommend a TV programme about Spain. Most of what's been broadcast over the past few years has been misleading or unfair. However, the BBC2 programme, 'The Great Spanish Crash' shows clearly and concisely the reasons why Spain is facing the economic difficulties it currently is. It shows a nation experiencing a mixture of despair and frustration but also determination and resourcefulness. It may be only a whistle-stop tour (it can't be much else in 60 minutes) but it is certainly thought-provoking for anyone with an interest in Spain and its people.

You can view the whole programme on YouTube:

The verdict on Rajoy

For those people who are interested in Spanish politics you might find this article from Iberosphere worth reading. It provides one view of the highs and lows of Rajoy's first year in office:

Santa Barbara Castle above the town, Alicante

'Roscón de Reyes'
Spanish Epiphany Cake



Every so often we choose a city in Spain to focus on in our newsletter. We thought it was probably about time that we focused on Spain's capital, Madrid.

There is no shortage of guide books on Madrid directing you to the places to visit. However, sometimes it is rather good to wander a little off the beaten track.

In this article from Expatica we are taken on a tour of alternative places and are given some interesting insights:

In this article we learn more about Hemingway's Spain and particular love of Madrid:

There is an official, 'Enjoy Madrid' website that includes a number of articles on various topics. Including:

- A brief overview of the main art museums
- Description of the medieval market 'el Rastro'
- Guide to the royal sites in pdf format
- Discovering tapas in Madrid

There are also a number of topics that include useful information about the museums, shopping and the different neighbourhoods:

Christopher Robin found an enchanted place - where's yours?

Most people at some time in life find the spot that brings out their own sense of awe and wonder in the world. In this post from Eye on Spain we hear how one person found theirs in Spain:

¡Felices Fiestas!

The Word on the Street and Ábaco would like to wish all its readers Merry Christmas holidays and a Happy and Healthy New Year 2013.

                            of a Christmas Tree made of light bulbs in the Puerta 
                            del Sol, Madrid

Interior of a Christmas Tree made of light bulbs in the Puerta del Sol, Madrid

Makes a change from the beach

You don't usually associate Spain with ice, unless it's in your drink. However, there does seem to be an increasing number of opportunities to take to the ice if you're so inclined.

This year there's a small ice rink at the main entrance to Zenia Boulevard on the Orihuela Costa. It's proper ice and the boots are OK too. You pay 5€ for half an hour and it makes a nice little interlude to the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping. Just be warned, it's compulsory to wear gloves so take some with you. Otherwise you have to buy them as well as your entrance ticket.

Another ice rink that you might want to try that's slightly bigger and cheaper, is in Murcia in the barracks of the Plaza del Cuartel de Artillería. With sessions of an hour priced at 5€, it seems to be particularly good value. It's open until the 6th January from 10.00 am until 2.00 pm and then from 4.00 pm until 10.00 p.m. If you're not into trying it yourself there will also be opportunity to watch figure skating by champion Javier Raya.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



Ábaco Asesores: (+34) 96 670 3748

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