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Thread: AMA: Living in Spain

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    Default AMA: Living in Spain

    As many of you know, I've moved to Spain to live in my wife's hometown of Valladolid.

    Rather than hijack other threads (e.g.), I'm happy to answer any Q's here.

    My general thoughts:

    Positives
    • Great food (Spanish food is totally underrated).
    • Lots of regional cuisine and products (with a good system of denomination of origin so you actually know what you're buying/eating).
    • Grocery store food is very good quality, affordable, and the EU has much better protections over labelling / additives than in Canada or the US.
    • Families are super close. Friends and family mean a lot to each other and much more priority is placed on those relationships than in Canada/US.
    • Booze is cheap.
    • Basic coffee, beer, cocktails, wine, tapas, etc. are good value.
    • Great beaches (and titties).
    • After Switzerland, Spain is the 2nd most mountainous country in Europe - lots of great hiking and outdoor activities.
    • People are generally relaxed and up for a good time.
    • Capital Gains/Dividends taxed at 19-23%.
    • Cities/Towns are built for walking. No need to drive everywhere.
    • Long life expectancy due to quality food and lifestyle habits.


    Negatives
    • Crazy socialist.
    • Bureaucracy is a nightmare. Tons of regulations and most administrators don't even know how they work.
    • Accountants/Lawyers also don't know how the rules work, and they're not liable for giving incorrect advice.
    • Taxes are ridiculous. There are sales taxes for buying used houses/cars, gift taxes, inheritance taxes, wealth taxes, high income taxes (44% for only 60k+ Euros).
    • Autonomo fees if you want to freelance (i.e. you pay ~300 Euros/month just to work for yourself - supposedly towards healthcare and social security, even though you pay numerous other taxes as well).
    • Costly and lots of administrative hassles to start an LLC.
    • Because of the above, most people want to work as functionarios, which are basically unionized government positions stacked with high salaries and benefits.
    • Young people are generally over-educated due to the large unemployment but are also typically close-minded and just want to get a cushy government job. Not much innovative spirit.
    • Any "luxuries" are very expensive due to the 21% VAT and other duties/taxes. By luxury, I mean anything that's not a basic necessity. Think appliances, electronics, cars, tools, craft supplies, clothes, etc.
    • Because of the cost and lack of space (most people live in apartments), people don't have many hobbies.
    • Difficult to make friends outside of big cities like Madrid/Barcelona/Valencia where there is a more transient/international crowd. Most Spaniards are very close to their childhood friends and closed-minded to outsiders.
    • Over-populated. Difficult to enjoy nature in peace. No camping options where you're not pitching tents 2M from your neighbour, for example.
    • Lots of racism/chauvinism still exists.


    Overall, I'd say Spain is a great place to live a simple life where you focus on good food, friends and family, and maintaining a healthy work/life balance. On the flip-side, it's a terrible place to start a business or try to develop a career or save money.

    Northerners tend to be less friendly but the nature and food is more impressive. Southerners tend to be more relaxed and friendly.

    Of course, the above are all generalisms and every town/region has its own peculularities but if anyone has further questions feel free to AMA.

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    Young people are generally over-educated due to the large unemployment but are also typically close-minded and just want to get a cushy government job. Not much innovative spirit.
    Well, that's disturbing. Brain drain imminent.

    What's the top industries to gain employment there, other than the government? Barcelona was nice, but that was from a tourist lens.


    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
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    The benefit of masks is not known at this time. But we do know it is some non-trivial amount more than zero.

    We also know that the cost of mask use is, essentially, zero.

    So the cost:benefit of mask use is approaching infinity. I'll take that every time. And every time I see someone without a mask, I think they are stupid.

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    All the young people leave to get jobs in Germany. And most of the country is super bitter about it.
    Originally posted by Thales of Miletus

    If you think I have been trying to present myself as intellectually superior, then you truly are a dimwit.
    Originally posted by Toma
    fact.

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    They murder infant pigs in Segovia.
    Quote Originally Posted by 89coupe View Post
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    Beyond, bunch of creme puffs on this board.
    Everything I say is satire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Rural_Juror View Post
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    They murder infant pigs in Segovia.
    What deliciousness is this?
    Quote Originally Posted by Tik-Tok View Post
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    I'd be lying if I said I didn't disagree.

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    How has Brexit impacted the economy? What are peoples thoughts about it there?
    What is the car scene like there..?

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    Living on the coast would be a must for me. What are your top 3 coastal cities ranked?

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    Whats living in the prairies of Spain like vs the prairies of Canada? as to me on the map thats what the town you live in looks like?

    Also what do you do for work over there? and is it still crazy high unemployment?

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    Government, service, little bit of manufacturing.

    The socialist utopia.
    Originally posted by Thales of Miletus

    If you think I have been trying to present myself as intellectually superior, then you truly are a dimwit.
    Originally posted by Toma
    fact.

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    Quote Originally Posted by killramos View Post
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    Government, service, little bit of manufacturing.

    The socialist utopia.
    Edmonton?

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    Quote Originally Posted by vengie View Post
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    Edmonton?
    Edmonton with better weather yes

    And better food. Better people. Better scenery.

    Why do people live in Edmonton again?
    Originally posted by Thales of Miletus

    If you think I have been trying to present myself as intellectually superior, then you truly are a dimwit.
    Originally posted by Toma
    fact.

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    Sounds like a lot of EU - you live and and taught to think inside a small box. Thats how your life works as well too. Completely opposite to places like America.

    Zero innovation = stagnation.

    However, both places are probably just as corrupt when it comes to governance.
    Last edited by revelations; 01-13-2021 at 01:26 PM.

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    I wouldn't say that Spanish food is underrated. It has been at the forefront of European cuisine for decades.

    Quote Originally Posted by ExtraSlow View Post
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    What deliciousness is this?
    I wouldn't know how juicy and succulent they are because I'm no monster.
    http://www.wikispanishfood.com/wikis...80_0_1_in.html

    cc.jpg
    Last edited by The_Rural_Juror; 01-13-2021 at 01:05 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by 89coupe View Post
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    Beyond, bunch of creme puffs on this board.
    Everything I say is satire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Rural_Juror View Post
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    I wouldn't say that Spanish food is underrated. It has been at the forefront of European cuisine for decades.



    I wouldn't know how juicy and succulent they are because I'm no monster.
    http://www.wikispanishfood.com/wikis...80_0_1_in.html

    cc.jpg
    the spaniards and chinese knows how to make a delicious suckling pig

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    Quote Originally Posted by flipstah View Post
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    Well, that's disturbing. Brain drain imminent.

    What's the top industries to gain employment there, other than the government? Barcelona was nice, but that was from a tourist lens.
    Employment is: Services 75%, Industry 20%, Agriculture 4%.

    Tourism accounts for over 12% of GDP.

    Manufacturing for Autos / Pharmaceuticals are also big.
    Around me there is a Renault Car Plant and Michelin Tire Factory and Spain is Europe's 2nd largest auto manufacturer (8th largest worldwide).
    Our friend with a PhD works for a pharmaceutical company but I don't know much about that industry.

    Agriculture is also big. Spain produces the most olives in the world and is the world's largest wine exporter.
    Livestock is also big.

    Renewable Energy is also big (wind and solar). Iberdrola is the world's largest renewable energy producing company.

    One of Spain's biggest problems, in my mind, is one of marketing. Due to the Franco dictatorship, Spain was a late entrant to the global economy and hasn't been able to build much name recognition for its products. In my opinion, Spanish leather, olive oil, wine, cheese, food, etc. is as good if not better than that in Italy, but for whatever reason, people prefer "Italian" products. There should be a lot more value derived from traditional agricultural products.

    Quote Originally Posted by killramos View Post
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    All the young people leave to get jobs in Germany. And most of the country is super bitter about it.
    Lots of Spaniards in the UK as well, but due to the close family/friend circles and strong social net / benefits, a lot of people just stay here unemployed and continue their education.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Rural_Juror View Post
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    They murder infant pigs in Segovia.
    Quote Originally Posted by ExtraSlow View Post
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    What deliciousness is this?
    Cochinillo. It is delicious. When done right, they cut it with a dinner plate as the skin is crackling and the insides are moist and succulent. They have even have vaccuum packed suckling pigs at the supermarket .
    Lechazo (roast lamb) is the specialty from our area. Also delicious.

    Quote Originally Posted by tonytiger55 View Post
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    How has Brexit impacted the economy? What are peoples thoughts about it there?
    What is the car scene like there..?
    Tough to say about Brexit given the impact of COVID. If anything, I think Brexit may be good for Spain as there were hundreds of thousands of Brits living here illegally (i.e. not registered, not paying taxes, etc.). Now that they're not part of the free movement area, they'll need to start paying into the system they've been using for so many years.

    In many respects, British tourism has decreased for the last decade as Brits seek out cheaper places further East (Tunisia, Russia, Greece, Balkans, etc.). It seems to me that there are a lot more Russians and Middle Easterners now, along with the usual French/Dutch/Germans.

    The car scene is terrible. Cars are ridiculously overpriced due to all the environmental taxes and fact that you need to pay a sales tax even on used cars. Plus, roads and parking spots are narrow so cars tend to get pretty scratched/banged up. Fuel is over 1.10 Euro/liter so econoboxes are most common. We'll probably just get a wagon of some sort (Passat or Golf 2.0 TDI, probably). I may look into getting a motorbike here eventually, seems more practical than a fun car.

    Quote Originally Posted by phreezee View Post
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    Living on the coast would be a must for me. What are your top 3 coastal cities ranked?
    Not sure. Really depends on what you're after I guess. I like Barcelona as a big city but not sure I'd live there for more than a year or two due to all of the tourism. Lots of coastal cities are over-touristed so I actually prefer the North but the weather isn't as good there so I'm not sure I'd live there either. We spent a year in Salou but I didn't like it so much in the end. Marbella is nice but a little too posh for me. I'd like to give the Canaries a try but we'll see - I haven't found anywhere that checks all the boxes for me yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by nzwasp View Post
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    Whats living in the prairies of Spain like vs the prairies of Canada? as to me on the map thats what the town you live in looks like?

    Also what do you do for work over there? and is it still crazy high unemployment?
    We are in an agricultural area, which kind of sucks because my wife and I love the mountains. The Ribera del Duero wine area is nearby though so that's nice.

    Valladolid is a traditional place with lots of old people, including her parents and grandma (which is the main reason we're here). I love her family and friends so it's not all bad, but there's not a lot to do as far as activities go.

    The city has some great history though and the tapas bars are great. It's also a great place to learn Spanish since it's the home of Castillian Spanish (the province is called Castilla y Leon). Cervantes (the author of Don Quixote) spread Castillian Spanish through the book.

    Ferdinand II and Isabela I were the king/queen of Aragon, Castile, and Leon back in the day (married in Valladolid) and they financed Christopher Columbus' voyage to the "New World" so the emblem from our province is all over the world (think 6-Flags of Texas).
    Last edited by davidI; 01-13-2021 at 01:31 PM.

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    I have a personally attachment to Galicia but the weather isn’t nearly as good as the Mediterranean side for obvious reasons.

    Great seafood though and the beaches are nice in the summer.
    Originally posted by Thales of Miletus

    If you think I have been trying to present myself as intellectually superior, then you truly are a dimwit.
    Originally posted by Toma
    fact.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Rural_Juror View Post
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    I wouldn't say that Spanish food is underrated. It has been at the forefront of European cuisine for decades.
    Tapas are popular overseas and people know of Sangria and Paella but I don't see many Spanish restaurants compared to Italian, Greek, French, etc.

    In fact, most of the recipes my wife's Mom and Grandma make were completely new to me, even after a decade of traveling the world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidI View Post
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    Tapas are popular overseas and people know of Sangria and Paella but I don't see many Spanish restaurants compared to Italian, Greek, French, etc.

    In fact, most of the recipes my wife's Mom and Grandma make were completely new to me, even after a decade of traveling the world.
    You are simply an uncultured N. Americano. El Bulli, Arzak, El celler de Can Roca, Azurmendi, etc.
    https://www.businessinsider.com/worl...ts-2015-2015-6
    Quote Originally Posted by 89coupe View Post
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    Beyond, bunch of creme puffs on this board.
    Everything I say is satire.

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    Sounds like a capitalist's nightmare.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phreezee View Post
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    Living on the coast would be a must for me. What are your top 3 coastal cities ranked?
    Valencia for me. Big enough to have all the amenities. Awesome beach. Cheap food like interior cities. Not crazy like Barcelona.

    Although I did drop in during Oct 9th (It's basically their Stampede + Valentine day all rolled into one). So the whole city was quite lively that few days I was there. May skewed my view of the city.
    Last edited by Xtrema; 01-13-2021 at 02:27 PM.

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