G and Grimble locate Nirvana

Hunting season over

After a year of hunting the Costas, meeting an eccentric range of relocators and paella pensioners, Grimble and G had yet to settle on somewhere they’d both agree to love and live in. They’d tried every season and attempted a range of resorts until they reached a decision.

The Costa Blanca had been discounted almost immediately as they’d driven past Benidorm. In addition, where they’d stayed had residents so old that some seemed to be on the verge of fossilisation.

The Costa Alhazar was a clear contender. Peñiscola was stunning with a castle and soft sand. Vinaros was practical as a thriving port town. However, as the summer sun distanced itself, Grimble and G had found their thoughts more critical. Numerous people informed them that this coast line became a spectre in winter. Everyone left and it could be a lonely place. Plus airports were not exactly nearby, unless they counted the white elephant airport of Castellon which seemingly had not been built for actual flights.

Costa del Sol…finally?

The Costa del Sol had always held a special place for both G and Grimble. G had spent a few years there as a young blood doing various tasks in the 1980s. From what he elucidated to Grimble, he’d spent quite a bit of time in discotecas no doubt dressed in the brutal fashion of the time. It was somewhat vague and, as he was a Cockney geezer, Grimble decided to leave prying and just envisage him in tight speedos or a white suit.

For Grimble, the Costa del Sol had been the escape route from the blistering heat of Sevilla in summer. It was also a chance for her and her mates to eat passable Indian food, acceptable Thai and shop at the ridiculously over priced Spainsburys for items they could really live without.

The people watching was entertaining and one happy memory was of a woman rather pissed and staggering down Fuengi prom, grasped onto her bloke, with her exceptionally short skirt tucked into her knickers. Sadly her knickers were G strings (no relation to Grimble’s G) and the abundant naked flesh wasn’t an image anyone could unsee.

This area had a sense of nostalgia and romance for G and Grimble. It was their first time away together. They’d booked two weeks starting in a lovely sea front hotel. They were on a top floor with a magnificent view. To maximise this balcony vista, Grimble had suggested lunch of her own creation there. She’d offered G bread and cheese and was decidedly put out when he claimed it reminded him of prison food. As he’d never been an inmate, Grimble found his comment churlish. They ate out.

However, much as this coast held memories, Grimble struggled with the heavy commercial nature of it and it’s wall to wall party people.

Taste the Costa

Exploring this whole sweep of coast seemed their only option. They spent time in Conil. A wonderful low key Spanish beach town with a wide expanse of beach. It had history being the site of the battle of Trafalgar. It had charm. The only disadvantage was the Atlantic location. With that ocean came strong wind. They often departed the beach looking like they’d been rendered.

Rota was briefly talked about. Rather quaint and lively too, it was a possible choice. However, the huge naval Base which dominated the town wasn’t quite to Grimble’s taste. It gave rise to a male drinking culture especially when ships from the UK or USA moored up.

Then there was autumn in Nerja. It had a decent vibe. Once again their total commitment to relocation was tempered by a lack of beach, a predominance of English shops and Urbanizations that stretched for miles. These housing estates were odd. Built into hills, and filled with elderly Nordic people they seemed disconnected from the Spanish life of the town. Although, Nerja had stayed a likely possible along with Peñiscola, they both hit about 80% of the G and Grimble judgement spots.

Torre triumphs

Torre had been booked the way that Grimble booked everything: well situated and cheap. They had booked Javier’s one bedroomed apartment, one hundred metres from the sea.

Grimble had always claimed that when they found Nirvana they would know. Within 24 hours of arrival in Torre, their conversation turned to a life there or in the hills nearby. It was sudden and mutual and quite surprising.

Why Torre?

Why indeed? As they reflected on their time there, there’d been inauspicious moments. Javier’s friend Antonio offered to collect them from Malaga airport as the late evening flight made public transport impossible. He didn’t do this out of charity and some euros changed hands though he was significantly cheaper than a taxi service. And more lethal.

Given the formula one nature of the average Spanish taxi driver, this was impressive. G took a front seat and endured a white knuckle ride where Antonio weaved lanes with mad abandon and cussed drivers who had the temerity not to use lights at 22.30.

Antonio guided them round the apartment and stressed the self locking door on the balcony. Two nights later, G recalled this as he shivered in the 2am chill trying, and failing for an hour, to alert his spark out Grimble as to his plight and rescue him. G also realised that water on the parquet Spanish floors could be hazardous as he exited the bathroom at some speed and performed a most splendid example of a break dance for Grimble. This included several bum rotations, a strange but edifying leg kick and a resting position that would have excelled on Strictly Come Dancing.

Even the weather was inclement. It varied. There were sunny days with breeze blasts so strong that their stroll down the promenade (allegedly Europe’s finest) became a wind accelerated power walk with Grimble’s little legs scampering alongside the striding G. Then there was rain, torrential bloody rain, which formed mini lakes around the apartment and did not support the wearing of flip flops. Instead of languishing miserably in the apartment, they cleared off to a local immense shopping mall, El Ingenio, where rain coats were purchased.

The future looks Torre

Now with a place in mind, a date was set…a date in the very near future. Suddenly, the clouds of doom, grey and misery were lifted from Grimble. She felt such contentment that G nearly had to drag her by the ankles back to UK. They had a plan!

4. Siesta & mañana: from rat race to no race.

 

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Lifestyle

There’s really no contest when it comes to a Spanish lifestyle. Forget time obsessed Germans, workaholic Brits, Scandinavians spending half a year in the dark and snow. Spain has lifestyle just right with siesta and mañana.

Other nations may mock a country where afternoons are spent in slumber and repose. But, trust me, don’t knock it until you have tried it. Even Spanish people will try to claim that siesta is now a thing for the elderly. If that is so, and I very much doubt this, as shops, banks and services in Spain all cease for a lengthy afternoon sojourn, I am content to be classed as elderly to embrace this lifestyle.

A perfect siesta. A perfect lifestyle

So what constitutes the perfect siesta? Firstly, it doesn’t have to include a coma like sleep. In fact, it might just be quiet, personal time, possibly lay down on the bed, emptying the head of work, stress, noise and social media. I’ve paid good money, and spent many an hour, for a British counsellor to suggest I adopt something similar in UK to prevent my heart racing with stress and suppress the murderous thoughts that I have towards my co-workers.

Here in Spain there’s no need to employ a lifestyle coach to advise on something that is patently obvious. Saving some time to concentrate on me isn’t selfish: it is necessary for mental well being. No wonder the Spanish population are near the top when it comes to longevity.

Mediterranean diet

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Cold, dark, work obsessed Northern Europe often cite a Mediterranean diet as the reason why the Spanish people live to a decent old age. Well it has to be something miraculous given the tendency in Spain to drink red wine and spirits daily and to smoke profusely.

However much I stuff my face with the so called Mediterranean diet in UK, nourishing my knackered body with extra virgin olive oil drizzled peppers, tomatoes, red onions and seafood, I still feel lethargic and dull. This is because in the UK, I have no revitalising siesta! Instead I have a 35 minutes lunch punctuated with requests from managers for things still to be done.

In UK, I am a weekend siesta person. In Spain, it will become a daily routine. I cannot wait!

Mañana!

For some Brits in Spain, mañana seems to be the only Spanish word they learn. Then their knowledge of this concept is scathing, cynical and inaccurate. They assume that because the workforce of Spain does not immediately jump into action at the sight of a memo, demand or request, they are lazy. This is actually very far from the truth. The people of Spain can and do work tremendously hard. They just understand the need for balance.

Frustration or feasible?

If you cannot embrace a lifestyle where the concept of no rush is paramount then maybe Spain isn’t for you. It just takes some getting used to. I remember feeling frustration in a bank just after I’d moved to Spain for the first time. I’d left myself a tiny window of time to complete a transaction and get to work. I was third in line. The odds seemed good.

However, I had not accounted for the cashier knowing the customer at the till. Moreover, she had a new born. Suddenly, the cashier had left her post and joined the lady and baby in the queue. There was hugging, embracing and general cooing. Time passed. My frustration grew. But no death stares, tapping on my watch or deep meaningful sighs we’re going to alter this scenario. I just had to suck it up!

Feasible lifestyle

Time and experience have taught me well. In Spain, small windows of time are just silly. Consider the time taken to complete a task in UK and treble it…or more. Acknowledge that if your location has a Feria, Saint’s Day or any type of fiesta, give up on any type of service. Your siesta refreshed body needs to be outdoors. There you can dance, drink wine and have tremendous fun with your bank teller, plumber and lawyer.

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All jobs can wait until mañana.