I’M still a newbie compared to the Olive Press with just a dozen years of Spanish life under my belt.

Those 12 years have whizzed by faster than the number of lawsuits filed against Emeritus King Juan Carlos. There’s been bursting property bubbles, depression, recession, a recovery, and something called coronavirus to round things off….for now!

At local level there’s a far greater multinational flavour on the Costas and I like that a lot.

In 2009 every house on my street was British-owned; today it’s like the United Nations with a nice mix of Dutch, Belgians, Danes and even Spanish in my quiet cul-de-sac.

The Brits left for a variety of reasons though none down to Brexit. My only regret is that many of the ‘newcomers’ spend just a few weeks a year over here – quite a change for our community which now has more of a ‘holiday home’ feel about it.

Infrastructure that we now take for granted has been revolutionised with high-speed internet and cheap mobile phones that were all at a premium when I first arrived. You can shop around to get the best value energy provider as well. Back in the Noughties it was just Telefonica and Iberdrola, like it or lump it. 

Supermarkets have sprouted out of nowhere (although the check-out queues are still painful) and there’s been a revolution in the number of footpaths and cycleways that have popped up to spare me the old ritual of ‘dicing with death’ when I fancied stretching my legs on the local roads. 

Exercise was very un-Spanish back then but the nation has come on in leaps and bounds since 2006 and every paseo has become a Nike catwalk. So no ‘good old days’ stuff from yours truly, Spain is a country miles better than it was in so many ways.

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