Newsletter May 2016

Welcome to our latest newsletter with plenty of job vacancies in Spain, news updates and opinions from expats…

Firstly a great insight into daily life in Spain.

Daily Life in Spain

By John Rizzo

Many of us dream about moving to Spain, but what is daily life in Spain actually like?

Even simple things like breakfast, or shopping, can be completely different to what we’re used to in the UK. Read our tips so you know what to expect.

No queueing

We’re very patient and polite about queueing in the UK, but the Spanish just don’t do it. Well, not as we know it anyway. A more accurate way to put it is that the Spanish do not ‘stand in line’. Learn this quickly, otherwise you could end up very frustrated and angry as people pop up in front of you every time you think it’s your turn.

Insider tip: if you go to the bank customers will be standing or sitting around. Ask who is last in line, so you know it’s your turn after them. This way everyone knows their place in the line without actually having to queue.


Many Spanish people leave the house without having any breakfast at all. Office workers tend to eat breakfast out at cafés, about an hour after starting work. The typical breakfast might be a tostada (a halved toasted baguette covered with sieved fresh tomatoes), a pastry, or churros (fried dough sprinkled with sugar), alongside a coffee.

Insider tip: keep this breakfast time in mind if you’re going to a bank or post office – you may end up waiting a while for someone to come back from breakfast.


lunch-spainLunch starts at 2pm, and most people head out to a café bar or restaurant for what will be the largest meal of their day. Many choose the menu of the day (menu del dia), which is always reasonably priced and has a choice of starter, main course, dessert, coffee and bread.


The Spanish eat dinner late, at around 9 or 10pm, and it’s a small meal, where they pick on leftovers or have a few tapas dishes or snacks.

Fast food

Although you can find the fast food outlets we’re used to in some towns, fast food is not as readily available in Spain as it is in the UK. What they do have is a great number of places selling Pollo Asado (roast chicken), quail, and rabbits cooked on rotisserie spits (sometimes up to 50 at a time) to take away, with salads, roasted peppers or potato dishes.


Shops, open from 10am until 2pm, and then usually from 5pm until 8 or 9pm at night, sometimes later depending on the time of year. However, large shopping malls tend to stay open all day, as well as the evening.

Eating out

There’s a great variety of places to eat out, including restaurants, café bars, and tapas bars, and you’ll find all sorts of different foods on offer. Smaller towns tend to provide predominantly Spanish food, whereas the cities will have a more international selection on offer.

Insider tip: many of the beach bars / restaurants (chiringuitos) will have a bbq on the go, cooking sardines on skewers, along with pork brochetas (skewers of pork with peppers and onions etc.) or large prawns (langostinos).


Tapas is done quite differently in Spain; instead of ordering several dishes at once, as we do here in the UK, the Spanish tend to go from one bar to the next, sampling a different tapas in each (and choosing the speciality of the bar).

Insider tip: Granada is THE province for tapas, still giving it free with every drink.

Eating out with kids

It is very common to see young children eating out late at night with their parents. At the weekends it’s a popular pastime for the Spanish to take a walk after their meal, and stop at an ice cream parlour on the way home.


The siesta is no longer part of everyone’s daily life in Spain, though people are still given a long enough break to take one if they want to. People take a siesta more often in summertime (due to the heat), and it’s generally more typical of the older and younger generations to have an afternoon nap.

Working hours

The typical working day starts at 9am, with most places closing from 2pm – 5pm for lunch and siesta time. Everything then opens back up from 5pm until 8, or 9pm.

The ‘puente’

You may have already heard of Spain’s fiestas (national or local festivals, and holiday), but the ‘puente’ (meaning bridge in English) occurs when a fiesta falls on a Tuesday or Thursday. It is common for the Spanish to then also take the Monday or Friday off, to ‘bridge’ the gap between the fiesta and the weekend.

Post Offices and Banks

Post office opening hours are from 10am – 2pm, and banks are open from 8.30am, closing at 2pm sharp. These limited hours can be quite difficult for workers, with some needing to book time off work to visit the post office or bank. (Some post offices and banks open briefly on Saturday mornings, but even then, some banks only do so in winter.)

Insider tip: stamps and various forms can also be purchased at tobacco shops.

Need Travel Insurance?

Staysure Travel Insurance – Staysure can provide travel insurance for residents in Spain which include 220 pre-existing medical conditions as well as an option for medical screening for serious illness.

Staysure Limited are a major UK company providing insurance in Spain. They offer a number of policies suitable for expats in Spain, of particular note is their specialist insurance packages for people over the age of 50.

Staysure have a reputation for offering quality products, good value pricing and professionally trained English-speaking staff.

Thank You Mark Schwartz For Writing In…

For me Spain is living in Madrid. I am a single, gay man and will be retiring there. The greatest accomplishment of my life has been attaining complete fluency in the Spanish Language, written, spoken and comprehension. Native speakers assume I am a native speaker as well.

I lived in Israel for 8 years, where many of the complaints lodged here applied there as well. But you learn to roll with the punches and “When in Rome”.

You have the learn their language, show that you accept their customs, take part in society, do volunteer work, and show genuine interest in them. The Spaniards did not wait for you to come and say “Hi here we are, speak to me in English and treat me according to my English or American ways.” If you need that, just stay home. There are places in the US to stay warm. By the way I live in S. Florida, but one of the biggest parts of my decision to retire in Madrid is that I will never have to retire again. Try doing that in 99% of the States. Good luck.

cabaretI was in Madrid the end of January (one of several trips), went to see the musical CABARET, and was so enthusiastic about it that I found an email in the program and sent them quite a letter of praise. Two days later I got an email back from one of the PRODUCERS, who told me that the cast and crew were thrilled about my letter, in top notch Spanish by the way. He also asked my permission to share it in their website. It also appeared in their Facebook page. I have already been invited to meet the producer for a coffee.

It is what you make of it. Not everyone speaks the language as well as I do and not everyone is as gregarious as I am and not everyone accepts less than American or British customer service like I do, but….
There is nothing like the warmth I get back from the Spanish people. So people if you can’t make several pilot trips, if you don’t speak the language and can’t bare to adjust to a different culture, then stay in Stratford on Avon, Birmingham, Chicago or Cleveland. I suggest you stay in an AirBnB, shop in the local grocery stores (alimentaciones) patronize the local businesses, walk, walk, walk and get used to the public transportation.

All expats I have talked to envy me and tell me that the Spaniards will LOVE me because I am a foreigner who speaks their language fluently and they for the most part will be easy to get to know and be helpful and that my friends, works both ways. Offer to help them with their English, maybe watch their kids for an evening, invite them over for a “typical American” home cooked meal. You reach out–as it says in the Bible, “as he sow, so shall ye reap”.

Euro touches 3-week high versus pound, as UK manufacturing shrinks


Welcome to Pure FX’s latest update of the foreign exchange rate.

The euro strengthens versus sterling! The common currency has hit 0.7937 this week, its highest in 3 weeks, or since April 15th.

The euro to pound exchange rate has risen, because the UK’s manufacturing sector shrank for the 1st time since March 2013 last month, according to economics watchdog Markit this week.

Markit’s UK manufacturing PMI fell to 49.2 in April, below the 50.0 line that separates growth from contraction.

According to Lee Hopley, chief economist at manufacturers association EEF, this is “the clearest sign yet that referendum uncertainty is starting to weigh on the real economy”.

This has lifted the euro versus sterling, because if UK manufacturing is shrinking, that will weigh on UK GDP in the coming months.

Sterling weakens, as UK construction sector slows too

Moreover, the euro to pound exchange rate has also hit this 3-week high, because the UK construction sector also slowed significantly in April, according to Markit this week.

UK construction activity reached just 52.0 last month, says Markit, the weakest pace of expansion in 3 years.

In particular, UK construction firms were hurt by “softer growth forecasts for the UK economy acurrency-exchangelongside uncertainty ahead of the EU referendum,” says Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit.

These figures “not only set the scene for further weakness ahead, but are already weighing on staff hiring” in UK construction, according to Mr. Moore.

Given all this, the euro has touched this 3-week high versus sterling!

Latest Jobs in Spain

  • I have a restaurant in Alicante and we are looking for a chef send me a number and I will give you a call. Keith email:
  • I’m looking for a young, ambitious pastry chef for a new patisserie just outside of Marbella.
    You will need to be creative, have a good eye for detail and ready for a challenge.
    Hours and pay will be discussed at the interview stage. Fluency in Spanish is not required but useful.
    Please email your CV to:
  • I’m looking for a waitresses/ waiters for the summer in Spain (Cabo Roig, Costa Blanca) Disa email:
  • We are looking for staff for a brand new restaurant in Porto Pedro, near Cala D´or, 25 minutes from Palma.Busy bar and restaurant, 8 hour shifts, full time, job for the season end of April-September. Looking for English & German speaking staff, Spanish would be an advantage but not required.We are hiring 1 restaurant manager, 3 waiter/waitresses for the restaurant and 1 bartender for the skybar.– 8 hours shift to bartender and waiters, 6 days a week, 1350€ + tips
    – 10 hour shift to manager + 1500€ + tips + incentives
    – Start date: April 25th
    – End date: September 30th
    – We provide free accommodation for the first 10 days while you settle.If interested please send CV as soon as possible to

Thank you everyone and we look forward to receiving any contributions towards the next newsletter.


Mark Eastwood Editor of Spain Made Simple




  1. Pam Banks says

    Stayed in Fuengerola in March when I bought a leather jacket from a very pushy man in a leather shop in the las palomas area next to the Temptations cafe which I must say was very good,I am now in Turkey were I live and I took my jacket to be altered when I was told my coat wasn’t leather,I had had my doughts but he assured me he only sold leather!!!!!!!!!!! Feeling every annoyed,last time for me in Spain.

  2. Matthew Blair says

    Hi Mark,

    In Spain is there any reference point , in English, to check on the quality and reliability of the tradesmen who operate in the building , plumbing , electrical areas and general household repairs. I thought that I had found a reliable guy but he has recently just walked away from an unfinished job and also decided that he no longer wants to be the key holder , villa watch or gardener . All work he has been paid to do. I suppose another way to ask the question is —- Is there a name and shame mechanism in Spain. I live in the Moraira area.

    • There isn’t a way that I know of finding a reputable company – unlike in the UK where there are reviews and sites like Checkatrade – sounds like a viable business for someone to start as there are so many rogues in Spain and people getting ripped off.

      • Martin Hyams says

        Although there isn’t a name and shame mechanism in Spain, the Urbanizations are small places, when it comes to someone doing a shoddy job as word gets around. I had a poor experience with a kitchen fitter ten years ago, he never got any more work from anybody we new.

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