torrevieja University hospital

Torrevieja Again

It’s been a very busy start to the 90 Days’ Tour of Spain and I’m just trying to catch up a wee bit. Huge thanks to all who have supported me so far. It’s invidious to name names but there is a little “shout” for Sandra who not only wrote about Algorfa but also shared it magnificently to every corner of the social media world. Thanks.

The days I spent with Keith Nicol in Torrevieja were also very special too. Why? Keith is my best friend AND I lived there for 7 years between 2001 and 2008 and had only been back for 2 days since 2009. So, today, I have some thoughts on what has happened there. When I first moved there in July 2001, little did I (or Torrevieja!) know what was going to happen in the next 5/6 years! The population was about to double and more than 2/3rds of this growth would be from what the ex mayor (Pedro Hernández Mateo, Partido Popular) cutely called “Nuevos torrevejeses”. Yes, the foreigners blew up the housing bubble with prices rising faster than the whore’s drawers on the N332. Everywhere you looked there were cranes and every farm-worker was now a master craftsman rushing up identical houses on uninspiring urbanizaciones outside the ring road. Tiny problem, apart from sun, sand, and sex (the omnipresent “smiley” girls), the town did not have the infrastructure nor was there planning in place to serve this increasing population. Schools were a problem as even on the first day or the autumn term nobody knew how many children to expect in each year. There were not enough qualified teachers and nor were there enough classrooms. Split shifts and Portakabins were temporary measures …. that continued. The health centers creaked at the seams. Crime was rife. The question was not just, “Have you been robbed?” but “How often?” and I do not just mean by commission-driven estate agents who were hiking prices, embezzling client funds etc. It was Klondike in the sun!

Habaneras centre night 1

As I say, I left as the boom was coming to an end. The population had plateaued and the bad times were coming. So for me, it was always going to be interesting to see where Torrevieja was in 2015. I have to say I was hugely impressed. Much has happened and most for the good. The education issues seem to have abated, the new hospital is running well and the private hospital has been taken over by the Quirón group. Crime has decreased massively and the Habaneras shopping centre has improved its offering possibly because of the counter-attraction of La Zenia Boulevard a few miles outside of town. There is a new market area almost ready next to the upgraded Sports City.

Mike and Steve

Mike and Steve

So, all pretty encouraging? I had coffee with Mike Haynes at Coys Rent A Car in the Torretas to catch up with him about another love of mine – football. Coys are sponsors of CD Torrevieja and sadly there has been nothing too positive about the last seven years. Attendances are down from 3 or 4 thousand to 3 or 4 hundred and the team has not been promoted once in that period. There was a supposed take-over by some knights on white horses …… but they struggled to spell their name, prove their identity or forward any of the millions they were going to flood into the club. Seems “they” lived in a caravan park in Skegness. We moved on to more encouraging topics and he said how much he was enjoying the 20th Anniversary celebrations. Yes, Coys have been serving the town for 20 years this year and they have some special offers with prices that match anything they have ever offered since 1995. I must say that I have used them for hundreds of weeks. I have had impeccable service and whilst others “claim” they are cheaper, NOBODY has ever offered me better value for money. #recommended and #respected.

JdM4

We also talked about property prices as a good friend of mine has a property for sale at what I, personally, consider a bargain price at 109,000 euros. Despite what some of the agents might tell you, house prices DID crash. OK, maybe not as dramatically as Orihuela Costa or Quesada but crash they did and it is only now that there is sustained renewed interest so this could be a good time to look at buying. What price to pay? Well, remember that the pound is at its strongest since I left but do not let that fool you into upsizing and always remember the high additional costs of purchasing in Spain. I would certainly be looking for at least 30% off the highest price listed for the property so this 3 bed in Jardín del Mar does offer great value at a price you would not have dreamed off.
What would have cost you 125,000 pounds+ sterling 4 years ago is now just than 80 GBP! It’s also possibly available as a rental.

CostaBlancaHolidays

Talking about rentals, it was a pleasure to catch up with Jacki Flanagan again. She specialises in short and long term rentals in the area and is actively looking for more properties to meet the increased demand her company is enjoying. They have many French visitors and she markets actively in that market. So, if, you have a property you would like to rent out get in touch with her. I am sure she can help.

keith with camera 3

I left Keith after our final coffee together. He was off to take some more photos and to edit the next edition of the Midas Touch Magazine which is a digital magazine he produces. Subscribe or read it free here.

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I went off to Viajes Rosa Tours and was delighted to find that María and her team were doing well. They offer day tours, trips, cruises and, well, every type of travel service you can imagine. I have not been using them long but after a poor experience with one of her competitors, I am delighted to be able to recommend them most highly.

Thanks to all in Torrevieja. You have a place in my heart. Tomorrow I am off to Cartagena, then down through Murcia to Andalucía. It’s going to be a busy week.

Part of the This Is Spain Network. Operated by Costa Insider SL.