In august 2002, my father moved to Spain. He suffers from a rare neural decise, that makes him look and act as if he was 110 years old. He is only 75. The city of Bergen has bulit a home for older people right outside Benidorm City on the southcost of Spain. And in Septepmer second 2002, your's truly were in Spain to visit him.
To you ignorant Americans; Spain is an Europen country, member of the European Union, located right above Africa and below France on your grandpa's globus ;) It's a large country, who first suffered from an Arabic invasion for some centuries, and then from the christian inquisision, until Franco the dictator took the power after a civil war just as Hitler became popular in Germany.
It's a country with a long history back, and as you travel around, you find lot's of traces from the acient cultures from the past. There are castles or remains of castles everywhere. There are also lots of very beautiful, old churces - many of them probarbly built as muslim temples by the arabs before the christian throw them aboard and rebuilt the temples to churches. The roman chatolic influrence has been strong in Spain for the last decades. But Spains economy is strong, and there is a tremedous invension ond constroction going on everywhere, so that the Spanish cities looks more and more like central-european cities. The people seems also to be changing. This have some good and some bad aspects. Right now the legal age to buy cigarettes or alchohol was raised from 16 to 18. This is probarbly done to adjust to the laws in most of the other countries in the European Union - and it means that the youth will move from cigarettes and alchohol to marhiuana and herion. That was at least what happened in all the other countries when they changed their law. It's very sad, and I get a stronger and stronger feeling that it's the drug-cartels, and not the polulation, who influences the law changes in Europe today.
One thing to be aware of if you ever come to Spain is that the people here only know one language: Spanish. It doesn't matter if you speek english or german or norwegian - they woun't understand a word you say! And it's not by bad will (like the Germans, who generally know english pretty well, but pretend not to). Part of the reason is probarbly that all tyhei'r movies are dubbed. In Norway we usually only get Norwegian texting on english movies, so we learn english by watching American films. But in Spain all movies are dubbed. And you have too look really hard to find even an english paper (who anyway is overpriced, so you woun't afford it even if you find it), not to say a book! The only place i have found english books are in Benidorm, where most of the population is english (older people moved from England, like my father ;) But even in Benidorm, the natives, which is a minority, don't understand english. (That has one significant positive consequence - the bar prices in the natives bars are half of what the english emigrants charge!). The bad news is that even at Mac Donald's, they don't understand your order, so you never know what you will be served. I was able to find some american pop-music on the radio, Eminem among others, but most of the pop-music was dubbed too :/
When I'm in Spain, I usually rent a car and drive wherever I feel like. This is what I'm doing now - and below I will write about some of my adventures on this trip, and also show you lot's of the pictures I take.