This is the story of a personal friend of mine – more accurately of two friends – Nigel and Angela Holland originally from Sheffield, Yorkshire but now every bit as Andalucian as flamenco! They now live in Extremadura which is one of Spain’s biggest provinces but equally one of it’s least densely populated ones and definitely not one where the average expat goes to live…….except Nigel and his wife Angela! Just to prove that expats HAVE to be adaptable over here they have no fewer than four separate business on the go and they consider themselves to be very fortunate in that they can combine their great love of animals and the countryside with the harsh reality of having to “earn a crust”. They own a falconry centre, a cattery, a succesful property business and the expat services centre that Angela runs.
I have known them both for 5 years from the time when they used to live on the Costa del Sol and after settling in and picking up the language they have now made the move inland. This would have been pretty much unheard of even 5 years ago but there is definitely a type of Brit (or more accurately expat) who wants to be away from the costas and wants to see something of “The Real Spain.’
I interviewed Nigel recently and we focussed on the property side of his business which hopefully also gives you an idea of what Extremadura is like. I hope it gives you and idea of the beauty and the vastness of the province.
“So, Nigel, why did you choose Extremadura?” Without thnking he replied, “Well, here is what the costas were 40 yrs ago. This is Real Spain where beauty and tradition remain the same. It has been predicted and is now being proven that this is the place of the future for those seeking the Real Spain; Spain away from mass-tourism. With so many historical places, its captivating countryside and traditional charming villages with friendly people it has everything to offer. Yes, it?s an unspoilt land of lush forests, majestic mountains and vast agricultural plains peppered with towns and hamlets seemingly frozen in time. We have been made to feel welcome and we now feel this is our home. We feel that after all these years we have finally settled in Spain.” With a tribute like that you can understand why Angela and Nigel moved away from the high-rises of the Costa del Sol and everyhtning that goes with that!
Sounds a bit different from the Costas, doesn’t it? So why did Angela and Nigel make the move?
Well, Nigel continued that with 13 years experience of living in Spain he had seen the good, the bad, but certainly not the ugly. He started off on the Southern Coast and like many others ventured further inland escaping from tourism, high rise apartment blocks – not to mention the traffic and increasing prices. He says he is amazed how many people are nowadays moving directly to inland villages but things have changed over the past few years. The roads, cheap flights, satellite and internet have all made life inland so much easier and it is now a genuine option for people looking for their first home in Spain.
The Spanish live for today and tomorrow is another day. Hence the famous expression mana?a which to an expat can sometimes be frustrating. Stress is something they don’t understand and Nigel and I believe that is the reason they live longer and not the healthy diet that is so often cited. Once you understand their way of thinking, things will fall into place. It is not easy at first but it does come with time. “So why Extremadura in particular?”, I continued. ” Well there is a big difference between coming on holiday and living in Spain on a permanent basis”, Nigel replied and he admitted that when he goes on holiday he does enjoy the sea, the sand and the comfort zone of tourism. But now when he has to go to the coast, he can’t wait to get back inland away from all that the costas of the 21st century involve. He continues that as you drive back not only does the landscape change the further you go inland but the cost of living drops and the value for money increases – plus the sun still shines the same. This is where the province of Extremadura comes into its own – with historical buildings, lush green countryside, mountains & lakes here on the border of Portugal. “Oh!”, Nigel interrupts himself, “I nearly forgot. Value for money property. Yes this is why it has been predicted the next place to invest. And believe me there are some lovely big properties for the same price as an apartment on the coast!”
If you want to learn more about Angela and Nigel and their different businesses please feel free to visit their own web-sites. You can get their full contact details on the cattery site or Angela’s service centre for all things expat all have their full contact details.