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The Spanish Digital Nomad Visa

 

What is the Spanish Digital Nomad Visa?

Recognising the significant rise in people's ability to work remotely, which was strengthened by the recent Covid pandemic, and a widespread desire to experience living in various locations, the Spanish government introduced at the end of 2022 a visa which would enable such people to reside temporarily in Spain. The government's motives were not altruistic. They were aware that such nomads are often highly paid professionals and Spain would benefit from both their spending power and their taxes. Spain is a very attractive location for people who are able to work remotely: the climate, excellent communications, fast internet speeds, low cost of living relative to most European countries, availability of coliving facilities and the friendliness of its people.

 

Who Is It Aimed At?

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The Spanish Golden Visa

 

What is the Spanish Golden Visa?

The Spanish Golden Visa is a residency-by-investment program that grants non-European Union (EU) citizens the right to reside in Spain by investing in the country's real estate market (or other qualifying assets). Established in 2013, this initiative has gained popularity among non-EU nationals looking to live permanently in Spain.

 

Investment Options

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New Subsidies For Energy Saving Improvements

 

The Andalusian government has launched the so-called Ecovivienda Plan, which will mobilise €133.5 millions for the refurbishment of homes and buildings, with the emphasis on energy efficiency and sustainability. The programme, which includes funds from the European Next Generation programme aims to benefit more than 25,000 families in Andalucia with subsidies of up to 80% of the total cost of energy saving improvement. The higher the energy saving, the greater the percentage of subsidy. The overall aim is to reduce emissions in the Andalusian residential stock by 30%.

 

Various types of improvement will be covered by the scheme, for example: insulation in façades and roofs by installing new windows and doors, installing renewable energy systems such as photovoltaic panels, solar panels for hot water, aerothermal energy, biomass boilers or more efficient lighting systems.

 

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Out On The Water

 

Just twenty minutes drive from the Albayzin is the lake at Beznar formed when a dam was built across the rivers Torrente and Ízbor as well as several streams running down from the western end of the Sierra Nevada.

 

A great place to picnic with large expanses of grass and very few people. There is also a chiringuito (bar) that serves drinks and you can hire kayaks and pedalos from €10/hour for a kayak and €15/hour for a four person pedal. It's a wonderful feeling to be out on the water in such a quiet environment with fantastic mountain views, and so close to the city.

 

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University Entry In Spain - A Curious System

 

In Spain secondary school runs from 12 - 16 years old, four years split into two cycles of two years. After this students can either leave school or opt for one of two paths: academic (choosing between four bachilleratos: Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities or Art) or practical (formación profesional) for a further two years. At the end of the this time, in the academic path, a series of external exams are taken (selectividad) which, together with the average of course work marks for the ten subjects studied, forms the basis for entry into university.

 

The curious element of this sytem is that it is based not as a percentage but as a mark out of fourteen, which is particularly strange given that the bachillerato course comprises ten subjects.

 

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The Most Beautiful District In Spain

 

The travel magazine Viajar has just published an article entitled The 15 Most Beautiful Districts of Spain.

 

At Number 1 is the Albayzin in Granada.

 

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Losing Our Way?

One of the benefits of owning a property in Andalucía is enjoying the astoundingly vast and beautiful natural surroundings. From the seaside to the mountains, one can choose from such a vast collection of different routes and paths that getting lost in nature every so often becomes part of normal life. Often we come across new wonders by accident, but are the days of such accidental discoveries over?

 

While our parents and grandparents used to tackle excursions with nothing more than a map and their intuition, we have become increasingly more dependent on new technologies to do something so simple as getting from A to B. The arrival of GPS drastically changed the way we navigate the world, both figuratively and literally. In fact, scientists are now arguing that the excessive use of GPS is actually modifying our brain structure, making our hippocampus, the special place in the brain dedicated to special orientation, much smaller. Consequently, we are losing our natural orientation skills. When we force our brain to calibrate, identify landmarks and find our path, it expands its network of neurons and promotes connections between them. However, when we look at our GPS and just follow directions on Google Maps, the brain does not need to form those connections, and thus it loses its ability to form them in the future.

 

Spatial orientation, an intrinsic human ability that has allowed us to evolve over the years, is now in serious danger. It is a vicious circle: the more we use GPS, the more we damage our sense of direction, and the more we need to use it.

 

But it is not only our spatial ability that can be affected by the modern habit of following GPS directions. Because the hippocampus is also responsible for storing our memories, not training it properly can also lead to memory loss and an impairment of our mental abilities later in life. The brain, just like any other muscle in the body, needs to be trained periodically, and Google Maps is the equivalent of taking an elevator instead of using the stairs: convenient but not too good for our overall health.

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Back To Nature

Granada is one of the most beautiful cities in Andalusia. It combines a vibrant city full of life with astounding natural scenery of Sierra Nevada. It is one of the favourite places for expats looking for a property in the South of Spain to retire or to work remotely. However, even though the cultural heritage in the city is extremely well preserved, some of its urban natural resources have not been so well taken care of. This is the case of its principal river, the Genil.

 
Rather than being an oasis for natural life within the city, the Genil has been neglected by the local government since 1995, when the urban watercourse was concreted and contained to modify its course as part of the city's efforts to prepare for the World Ski Championships that took place in Sierra Nevada that year. This resulted in a functional but hardly natural environment, that lacked vegetation and animal life, since the concrete riverbed affected the natural flow of the river, resulting in a slower flow and a less interesting environment.
 
While the Darro river, Genil's affluent, beautifully flows through its natural course below the Alhambra and is one of the city landmarks, the city has turned its back on the Genil for decades, something that looks about to change thanks to the will of both political and naturalist groups, as well as the help of European Next Generation funds.
 
There have been several attempts to recover the river's natural biodiversity for the enjoyment of both locals and tourists. However, none of them have been successful to date. Just two years after being modified and covered in concrete, in 1997 NGO Naturalistas en Acción started campaigning for its recovery, and since then, several local policy groups and associations have presented up to four different plans to bring the Genil's urban riverbed back to life.
 
The most recent initiative, promoted by a coalition of two of the parties in the local government in Granada, suggests investing Europe's Next Generation Funds to finally accomplish the recovery of the river. The plan involves the introduction of local species of flora such as bushes and grasses that can take root in the riverbed and, over time, attract the fauna typical of these environments (lizards, fish, frogs…). To this end, the ecologists are calling for the removal of concrete where possible, or the introduction of stones and other rough materials to restore the river bed and allow vegetation to take root.
 
This project is of vital importance for the city of Granada, because recovering natural resources not only has ecological benefit, also economic ones. With the improvement in the natural surroundings, the urban environment also benefits from this, attracting more neighbours and visitors to the area and improving the quality of life for the locals who prefer to live in the city and not in a country house, but still enjoy nature. A very good example of this is Madrid, a capital that in the last decade dedicated a lot of effort to the recovery of the Manzanares river and is now seeing the investment pay off, with Madrid Río blooming with life both from local fauna and local citizens. The people of Granada now aspire to do the same with the Genil and pay their decades-long debt with their river. 

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World's Best Olive Oil?

The Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) 'Montevilla Chorreao' from the Granada municipality of Montefrío is the healthiest in the world for its composition in fatty acids, bisphenols and oleocanthal (a natural anti-inflammatory present in it that causes the sensation of itching in the throat when tasting it).

 

Or so the jury of the international competition The World Best Healthy EVOO 2021-2022 (The 10 Best EVOOs in the world), one of the most prestigious in the sector, in which EVOOs from all over the world participate, whose decision was recently announced.

 

Montevilla Chorreao oil, from the San Francisco de Asís de Montefrío cooperative, won the gold medal in the healthy composition category, along with others from Spain, Greece and Portugal.

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How Much Cash Can I Legally Carry?

 

We are often asked this question by clients intending to buy property in Andalucia. Very often it is because they have been asked to pay for "furniture" separately from the purchase of property and to do so in cash.

Firstly let's deal with how much cash you can bring into the country. Law 10/2010, of 28th April, on the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism limits the maximum amount of euros or equivalent in other currencies to €10.000 per person. Beyond this level each individual must make a declaration on entering or leaving. Obviously, if someone leaves with more than they enter, the supposition is that they must have earned/gained it while in the country, for which reason they may be liable to tax.

Secondly, within the territory of Spain there is a limit of €100.000 that may be moved in cash without need of declaring it.

Thirdly, in all transactions involving a professional (retailer, accountant, plumber etc.) there is a limit of €1.000 that may be paid in cash. This was established in Law 11/2021 of 9 July. Above this level, a bank transfer or credit card payment is necessary.

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New High Speed Train Service Granada - Malaga

 

The Spanish long distance railroad network is known for its reliability and safety. Spaniards have embraced the train as one of the fastest and more convenient ways to move around the country. For Andalucía, the train is a vital infrastructure to ensure not only good connections with Madrid and Barcelona, the key business nodes in Spain, but also between the eight Andalusian provinces. Andalusia is the second biggest region in Spain by area. With 87,5 km2 and eight provinces, it has the largest population of any region in Spain, and thus it relies heavily on a strong train network.   

The first high velocity train route in Spain ran between Madrid and Seville. The AVE (which stands for Alta Velocidad Española, Spanish High-Velocity) was inaugurated shortly before the 1992 World Expo, held in Seville, Andalusia’s capital. It was a huge milestone for a country that was just recovering from an economic crisis, and wanted to show the world that it could get up to speed – both literally and figuratively. The route Madrid-Seville quickly became very popular and has already reached the milestone of 83 million passengers. 

Since then, Spain has been expanding its high-speed network which now extends to more than 4.300 kms, with a further 1.380 kms under construction, including seven routes in Andalucía. This positions Spain as the second country in the world in terms of a high-velocity train network. Only China has a more extensive network. 

There is another very popular train service in Spain, the AVANT, which is particularly useful for Andalusians. These trains, which are not as quick as the AVE but reach higher speeds than conventional trains, cover medium distances and Spaniards mainly use them for trips between neighbouring autonomous communities, or to travel to other provinces within the same region. 

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Escape To The Country, A Dream Come True

 

Think about how many times you have found yourself daydreaming about leaving everything behind and starting a new life elsewhere. Somewhere far away from the hectic city life, where you could swap big supermarket chains for local farmers markets where fresh produce went directly from the land to your table. Where, even during the peak of the pandemic and full lockdown, you could have still enjoyed sunlight and fresh air on your face without risk of catching Covid. Or whatever the next pandemic brings. Instead of living in a cramped house under grey skies in Northern Europe, you could enjoy a beautiful country property in Andalucia with a garden, a pool, and breathtaking views.

The pandemic has forced us to rethink our lives and has reminded us that we are not chained to our office chairs. Indeed, people with administrative and creative jobs can almost certainly continue carrying on working from anywhere in the world. So, why put up with insane housing costs, an unhealthy lifestyle of commuting, pollution and stress when you could be living your best life in the countryside? That is no longer a hypothetical question, you can move to the countryside now and start enjoying the slow life amongst friends.

It is no secret that Spain is Europe’s little gem. More than 2,500 hours of sunlight per year, an amazing gastronomic offer and a very reasonable cost of living make it a coveted destination for people all over the world. Flexible working practices and tele-working have blossomed as unexpected perks of the covid pandemic. Many villages and towns in the south of Spain are seeing how professionals from all around the world choose to start a new life “made in Spain”

The former depopulation of the rural areas of Spain has halted and is being reversed. Even whole villages, practically deserted since the mid-1950s due to the exodus towards the cities, are being bought, optic fibre connections installed and the buildings renovated, creating whole new communities. Peaceful surroundings, affordable properties and an infinitely lower cost of living are only some of the perks. The open, approachable character of Andalusian people, along with a great quality of life are among the main reasons that make professional expats choose Andalucia as a home away from home.

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Tango returns to Granada next week

 

The 34th edition of the annual International Tango Festival in Granada returns to Isabel la Católica Theatre next week. Fun fact: the festival has managed to run every year since the beginning of the pandemic. Not even Covid-19 has managed to silence tango it seems!

This year the festival kicks off with the opening event on Tuesday the 15th of March at Granada City Hall and continues with nightly shows at 21:00h in the above mentioned theatre from Wednesday the 16th through to Saturday the 19th and a final performance at 20:00h on Sunday the 20th of March. Tickets are on sale from 12 to 18 euros.

But Isabel la Católica Theatre is not the only place where you will find passion for tango this next week. There are a number of other events (some free and some paid) happening around the city.

 

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Let's talk tapas

Everybody has heard of tapas bars, most of us have eaten in them, they’re ubiquitous in many European countries. But what exactly is tapas? And where does it come from? 

According to the Real Academia Española, voice of authority on the Spanish language, a tapa, in this context, is a small portion of food served as an accompaniment to a drink, usually alcoholic, such as wine or beer. But where does the custom come from?

The origin is debatable. There are many versions as to how the custom started. Let’s look at a few of them. Before we do though, we should examine the meaning of the word tapa

 tapa = a cover (tapas is the plural)

tapar = to cover

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Discover the province of Córdoba: Rute

Overlooking the Iznájar reservoir is the whitewashed town of Rute, dwarfed by the Sierra de Rute that looms above it. It is one of the gorgeous towns that forms part of the Subbética Region of Córdoba.

Rute, which comes from the word “Ruta" in Spanish or "Route" in English, came into existence as a result of Spanish soldiers passing through that area on their way to conquer Granada. However, it later become the site of the first "anis" factory and today it is best known for its manufacture of aguardiente de anís, an aniseed-flavoured liqueur, an industry that has been thriving here since the nineteenth century.

It is also known for its Spanish hams and its ever-increasing “oleoturismo”, olive oil tourism, allowing visitors to explore its oil presses, enjoy tastings of the liquid gold and visit thousand year old olive trees. Its mild climate in both summer and winter and its variation of landscapes, which allow a number of different types of olives such as Picuda, Hojiblanca y Picual to grow in the area, give identity to the region’s dishes and have earned it various international olive oil awards.

For nature lovers and those hoping to work up an appetite to later try the gastronomy of the area, the Sierra de Rute has peaks of over 1000m above sea level, a variety of flora and fauna and many beautiful routes to be enjoyed. It boasts waterfalls and streams at la Garganta del Río la Hoz, a spring and ruins of Rute El Viejo, a route to see thousand year old indigenous Encina trees, as well as being close to the the Vía Verde (the old olive railway that ran through the province). And if that’s not enough, Rute is found close to other exquisite towns such as Priego de Córdoba, Puente Genil and the stunning lake in Iznájar

If you’d like to learn more about this and other villages in the area of Córdoba, click here to visit our Exposure page:
https://anotherwayoflife.exposure.co/get-to-knownbsp-nbsp-nbsp-nbspla-subbetica-and-lake-iznajar

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Covid Update February 2022

Here in Andalucia we have gone through the 6th wave of Covid-19 and are now steadily making a recovery. The Covid passports (certification of full vaccination) that were introduced as compulsory for entry into bars, restaurants, hospitals, health centres and so on from the 9th of December 2021 have been done away with from today, the 15th of February 2022.

While they didn’t do much to stop the spread of Covid, what with the extremely contagious Omnicron variant, they were fantastically successful in persuading resisting citizens to be vaccinated. In Granada, for example, 14.000 people have been vaccinated in the past two months, meaning that now 95% of the population over 12 has been vaccinated. In Andalucia, the number of unvaccinated people has dropped from 450.000 a 290.000. As the World Health Organisation has recently predicted, it looks like we are in for a period of calm as spring approaches.

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Spain's Economy Recovers 100% Of Jobs Lost Through Covid


According to statistics produced by Spain's INE (Instituto Nacional de Estadisticas), by the end of 2021 more people were in employment than before the coronavirus pandemic started in March 2020.

During the year 2021 Spain created 841.000 jobs, the largest increase since 2005. At 20.184.900, there are now 4% more people actively employed than at the end of 2020. The good news is that this is not merely due to a reduction in the impact of Covid. At the end of last year Spain was in the grip of the sixth wave, which has been the worst in terms of infection rates, although not in the seriousness of symptoms. Evidence of the underlying strength of the economy is seen in that despite the continuing effect of Covid, the number of people employed is higher than at any time since 2008.

Running parallel to this increase in people actively employed is a structural change in employment contracts. Spain has two types of employment contract: indefinido or permanent and definido which are temporary, typically for six months. The use of definido contracts provides flexibility in the labour market but has traditionally been abused by employers to avoid employees accruing rights. The Spanish government has recently taken steps to limit this abuse and their action appears to be bearing fruit. In 2021 there was tremendous growth in indefinido contracts and a significant reduction in the number of definido contracts. This may also be a reflection of employers' confidence in the future of the economy.  

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The 22nd Andalusian Aerostation Festival and Championship

This past weekend the annual Andalusian Aerostation Festival took place in the province of Granada. Every year around this time sees the sky filled with hot air balloons over some exquisite Andalusian landscape. In recent years, the province of Granada has been a particular favourite for the festival, not only because of the breathtaking scenery that the Geopark of Granada offers, but also because it is considered to have some of the best weather conditions for ballooning in the world.

This year marked the 22nd edition of the Andalusian Aerostation Festival, in collaboration with the Andalusian Federation of Aerial Sports and Glovento Sur. However, it is not only a leisurely festival that is held each year! The festival also serves as the trials for the Hot Air Balloon Championship, with 14 Spanish teams competing this year.

The festival and championship took place from Friday 28th to Sunday 30th of January 2022. In total 4 events were planned. On Friday and Sunday, flights were scheduled to take place in the Geopark of Granada and Guadix, flying over dramatic landscapes like the desert of Los Coloraos in Gorafe (which we talk about in another article here). On Saturday, flights were leaving from the capital of Granada and La Vega of Granada, from San Miguel Alto.

Whether it is from above taking part in the flights or watching from below, be sure not to miss out on this hot air balloon event next year! To sign off, we leave you with a stunning picture of one of the hot air balloons flying over the Alhambra palace and fortress complex:

 

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Granada’s Etcétera Puppet Theatre Company

They’ve become nationally and internationally acclaimed for their intricately detailed and human-like puppets made of carved wood and silicone and performances accompanied by live orchestral music. They have innovated and adapted their shows for huge audiences by using ultra-violet lights to make the puppets more visible in huge sold-out performances in auditoriums like Manuel de Fallas that traditionally were thought inadequate for puppet theatre.

The tale of success of Granada’s Etcétera Puppet Theatre Company began with a twelve year old boy discovering his grandfather’s hand-carved puppet in a room in his parents’ house in Granada. Enrique Lanz’s keen interest in the craftsmanship of the wooden puppet and in his grandfather’s profession and past inspired him to found Etcétera a few years later in 1981 with Fabiola Garrido. To this day the puppet company still exists and thrives as one of the great reference points in the world of puppetry in Spain.

To mark their 40 years of success, the Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones in Granada held a series of performances of Etcétera’s 'Soñando el festival de los animales’ from the 25th to the 28th of December 2021, a show coproduced in 2004 with the well-known Teatro de Liceo in Barcelona.

The puppet company has certainly moved around Granada. It started in the Casa de los Migueletes, in the lower Albaicín, later it moved to a large warehouse in the Vega of Granada and finally settled in Güéjar Sierra where it still remains to this day.

Their very first production, called ‘Sypnosis’, came about in 1985 and remained their star act for fourteen years. Interestingly enough, the name came about when a friend of Enrique’s, writer Antonio Muñoz Molina, suggested the title while enjoying an ice-cream together at Los Italianos, an adored ice-cream parlour and another age-old company that also continues to flourish today.

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One of the last natural hidden treasures of Granada? - Gorafe Desert

The city of Granada offers no shortage of options for adventures and enjoying nature. Anyone who has explored it even a little bit will know that Granada has a ski resort just behind it, cave houses in its very centre, the countryside a quick walk from almost anywhere in the city and beaches under an hour away.

However, did you know that the province of Granada is also home to its very own DESERT? Just over an hour away from the city of Granada and located between the regions of Guadix and Baza is an otherworldly landscape called el desierto de Gorafe.

Its breathtaking views, red earthy tones and spectacular rock formations have earned it nicknames such as the Grand Canyon of Spain and the Spanish Cappadocia, a reference to the magnificent region of Turkey where similar rock formations and cave houses have been the protagonists in many a dramatic landscape shot with hot air balloons dotting the sky above.

The exquisite landscape of Gorafe is divided into two different areas. Closest to the town of Gorafe is the Gorafe “Bad lands”, characterised by its ravines, large canyons and fairy chimneys, similar to those found in Turkey. The second area, Los Coloraos, with its reddish-coloured mountains and deep canyons, reminds the visitor of the Grand Canyon of Colorado.

As you can imagine, the immense silence of the place lends itself to reflection. Although its a desert, Gorafe is also home to a vast array of flora and fauna, with more than 100 species of birds known to soar through these parts. Nature lovers will be happy to know that it is possible to hike through the area. If you would like to do a walk, take a look at this easy route: https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/badland-de-gorafe-44269446

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