When we moved to Spain, each one of the following books proved invaluable for different reasons. What a pity none gave advice on how to fend off an over-attentive town mayor, or capture a vulture. Nevertheless, I recommend these books to anyone moving to Spain.
by David Hampshire
In addition to all the essential stuff like deciding on a Spanish region, choosing a home and settling in, Hampshire includes vital advice like making a Spanish will, driving and finance. He even provides checklists of things to do before the move, and after arrival. We’d have appreciated advice on what to do if one's moving van knocks over the village fountain, but I guess we were just unlucky.
by Harry King
In this book, King deals not only with the mechanics of moving to Spain, but provides some interesting cultural details, too, like fiestas, flamenco dancing and bullfights. He discusses the Spanish character with affection and astuteness, for example, 'The beautiful dark haired senorita will be of slim build and somehow one foot taller and one foot narrower than her mother’. There are charts which convert clothing and shoe sizes, lists of useful telephone numbers and a whole chapter on savouring Spanish food and wine.
by Susana Wald
Everyone must be familiar with the ‘For Dummies’ series and this book didn't disappoint. It is broken up into easily digested segments and has a friendly, non-intimidating approach. The bonus is the CD provided which allows you to follow dialogue as it should be pronounced. Although not enthusiastic about following the course, the Spanish girl’s husky voice attracted even Joe’s attention...
This slang dictionary was given to me as a leaving present, and has had me chuckling ever since. It will teach you essential phrases like "ya estoy cansado de ser yo siempre el pagano" (I’m fed up with being the stupid mug who always ends up paying) or "hoy está de malas pulgas" (she’s really ratty today). Invaluable.
by Mark Ellingham, Geoff Garvey
This is an essential handbook for a complete over-view of Andalucía. It’s packed with reliable regional facts and maps and is a guide to cities, villages, beaches and places of interest. It lists places to stay, places to eat and even places to avoid, like fenced-off pastures with signs saying ‘toros bravos’ (fighting bulls). It advises: "apparently, a group of bulls is less to be feared than a single one, and a single one only if he directly bars your way and looks mean." Hmm... I don’t think I’ll test the theory...
Recommending books so good, they'll keep you up past your bedtime. more...
About Victoria Twead
Victoria Twead nagged her long-suffering partner, Joe, into moving from England to Spain in 2004. They settled into a tiny mountain village in Andalucía, became reluctant chicken farmers and ended up owning probably the most dangerous cockerel in Spain. Victoria’s hilarious record of their culture shock and life with the villagers is told in her new book, Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools.
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