Lunes, 1 de Abril de 2013


Navegas por Mundo Economía Coming to Spain in 1966, por Per Svensson

Coming to Spain in 1966, por Per Svensson

I came to Spain in 1966. The frosty hand of the Franco Dictatorship still held a firm political grip on the country. ETA bombed the designated heir of the infirm ´Generalissimo´ Admiral Carrero Blanco, into an early heaven and everyone asked, “ Who will now take over and how? ”

The Communist party, mainly through the trade union CCOO (worker´s committees) from its base outside Spain, had continued its struggle against the fascists, and the socialists were active inside and outside the country. Franco had based his long lasting personal dictatorship on the Falangists, the reactionary Roman Catholic Church, the big landowners, the armed forces and a reduced group of powerful industrialists.

However, before Franco’s death in 1975, several groups of politicians within the Franco Camp had tentatively converged, advocating a democratic movement towards a parliamentary monarchy. Franco installed the young Prince Juan Carlos as heir to the Spanish throne, whilst Adolfo Suarez, the young Minister of ‘the movement’ (meaning the Falangists) and Fraga Iribarne, the former Minister of Information (who had been downgraded to Spanish Ambassador to the UK) became the most relevant figures of the 'internal opposition’.

Following a brief interlude, a loyal ´Francist´ Adolfo Suarez piloted the country towards democracy, supported by Fraga Iribarne, and his party Alianza Popular (later to become Partido Popular) the communists and socialist parties.

In 1978 Spain joined the European Union, in 1978 it secured a democratic constitution, and in 1982 the socialists won the parliamentary elections and formed the first government of Felipe Gonzales.

Witness to history

From 1966 onwards, I spent most of my time in Spain, learning Spanish, getting to know the laws governing the real estate sector and the rights of foreigners, reading up on Spanish history and culture and making friends in all political groups and layers of society. I became a privileged witness to the great transition from a rotten dictatorship to a modern democracy.

In the spring of 1982, I founded the Institute for Foreign Property Owners and in 1985 published the first edition of `Your Home in Spain – before and after the purchase´ which was followed by another 15 editions, in 6 languages. Since 1982 until today, I have written almost a thousand articles relating to all aspects of living in Spain.

In the first book published in 1985 I recommended other foreigners to come to Spain, both as tourists and to buy property, but added, based on my own experiences and reports from many others, ´Information is the keyword for a property purchaser and owner in Spain, without it one is often lost and may encounter serious problems.’

In a chapter on Increases in Value, I wrote ´Some years ago the appreciation of properties in Spain was very high and almost universal. You could buy almost any land or constructed property and be sure that the following year it would have a higher value. The situation is radically different today. The general trend has changed. During the past five years we are aware that property values in some parts of Spain have fallen....´

I mentioned renting as an alternative to buying, warning against time-share and illegally built dwellings, highlighted the law of 1968 on bank guarantees on purchase and explained the few and modest taxes existing. In a ´last word´ I welcomed the entry of Spain into the EEC with the following words: ´Spain is different, it should continue to be so, but not in all respects. The many frauds affecting the sale of real estate, and the difficulties and uncertainties in owning a property are things to be eradicated.....´

I wrote and spoke to many leaders of political parties arguing the case for the foreign owners and residents, pinning great hopes on the socialists taking over government in 1982. However, the socialists feared the foreign vote in local elections, expecting that we would all vote for the rightist parties.

When the PP took over the government, they made grand promises to European citizens in Spain, but the influence of the property promoters in local politics counted more. Very soon PP forgot their promises, even resisting pressure from the European Parliament.

The bubble that burst

Since before 2004 I warned about the glut of dwellings being built, the destruction of the natural habitat, rampant speculation, a bubble being blown up, abuses against property buyers and owners....... but no one listened.

In 2006 members of the association Ciudadanos Europeos unanimously voted to warn prospective purchasers against buying a home in the Valencia Region, soon to be extended to whole of Spain. Property developers threatening to take us to court, to sue for compensation for damaging the sector and I personally had several death threats....

Until the spring 2007 the developer’s denied there was any crisis and the Prime Minister and his Minister of Finance asked rhetorically in Parliament: ´Crisis, what crisis?'

By autumn that year, developers and politicians had to accept the crisis had hit Spain and the property sector, but they were saying that it was 'only a temporary contraction in the market, which would pass in a few months...


Saving Spain

Tourism in Spain, measured in the number of clients using hotels, rental apartments or other form of lodgings, fell substantially during 2012 to the point where many hotels have closed their doors this winter or are considering doing so. At the same time, however, income from foreign tourism is increasing compared to last year, and thus saving the Spain’s foreign trade balance.

The explanation of this paradox lies in two facts:

Due to the disastrous economic situation of most Spanish families, Spanish internal tourism has all but disappeared. Preliminary estimates point to a total fall of 1.5% in tourist sector income. However, foreign tourism to Spain is booming, reaching 55 million visits in the first 11 months of 2012, or 2.9% more than last year, and the foreigners are also spending more, amounting to total foreign aid to the Spanish economy of 50,000 million euros over the first ten months.

Spanish tourist authorities are expecting a final figure of 58 million foreign tourists for 2012, close to the absolute record. Even though one must take into consideration that world tourism is expanding fast, and that China has become world leader in tourist visits and income, important for Spain is that income from foreign tourism is compensating completely for the huge deficit in the trade balance.

Income from foreign tourism has become a permanent financial rescue for Spain, and in a form that gives the spenders, mostly tax payers from northern Europe, something in return for their money: sunshine and a good climate!

The property industry today

How long will the 'temporary contraction' last, and how deep will it be ?

The British reporter Becky Evans has recently invented the expression 'Costa del Crash'; reminding her readers that 400,000 Britons live or own a holiday home in Spain. She refers to a recent statement by the leading Spanish property experts Acuna & Asociados, that 'the market is broken..... one may expect a further price slump of 50%.... the relentless gloom may last for another 15 years.... swathes of unsold holiday homes will simply have to be demolished...'

The statement by Acuna & Asociados corresponds exactly with my opinion, and what I have been writing and saying for years. My readers can confirm this.

To round out the picture:

  • 300,000 homes have been foreclosed since the crisis started

  • 150,000 homes are in the process of being foreclosed

  • houses on the islands and along the coast have fallen 50% in value

  • permits for construction of new dwellings fell 43.6% in the 10 first months of 2012

  • mortgages for new homes have fallen 14.4% over 2012, and 93.7% of them had floating interest rates

  • the number of unemployed increased by 426,000 during 2012

  • in addition to the many local, regional or national politicians who have been accused or condemned for corruption in previous years, 300 more are at present under investigation!

Our readers must be prepared for more statements from the Government and the property industry along the lines of: 'The light at the end of the tunnel is in sight'.....'The real estate market is turning around'.....'Property sales increasing x%......'

An X% increase on ‘next to nothing’ is still next to nothing. As the 'bad bank' Sareb (which is not a bank) needs to prove its utility and hastily will sell off some of the stalled property projects to financial raiders of the world, we can expect new ‘victory reports’.

But foreign owners in Spain will face the real situation when they go to one of the few remaining real estate offices trying to sell their property......

Will Sareb change the situation?

The name reminds me of an ethereal beauty from the harems of 'Thousand and One Nights'. But let us not be mistaken, the so called bad bank Sareb is a commercial outfit, 'the greatest real estate agency in the world' with public and private capital, set up to eliminate the mountain of unsold property in 10 to 15 years, and make a profit for its shareholders.

Sareb is now formally constituted, the Government having roped in the resisting banks and insurance companies as partners, but meeting a cold shoulder from foreign investors. 36,000 million worth of unsold property have been transferred from the nationalised banks, and more will be coming from the banks that have survived, and from other murky sources.

We remind our readers that the iceberg of unsold property in Spain is close to 700,000 units, having figured in the sales lists of realtors, promoters and banks for at least 4 years (some as long as 6 years) and, as with all icebergs, only a small part is visible above the water. There are another couple of millions below the surface.

If 'Operation Sareb' is to live up to the expectations of the Government, it must sell at least half a million properties at a 'normal' price over the next year. This is a pipe dream; absolutely impossible! The individual buyers, from the middle class of Europe, now understand the property market in Spain and they do not have money to waste.

The only chance for Sareb is to sell big projects with hundreds and thousands of units, to

Pension Funds, Hedge Funds and other speculators which have capital to invest and able to wait several years before trying to sell them on piecemeal to individual buyers.

But, the big investors will not buy at ‘normal’ prices, they will demand discounts of at least 50%.

And when Sareb is forced to sell at discounts of 50%, other possible individual buyers (meaning Russian and Chinese entrepreneurs...) will demand the same, bringing down further sales prices in the battered Spanish property market.

And Spain is ruined

Spain has the highest percentage of unemployment in Europe at a whopping 26.2%; youth unemployment is 55% and Spain has the highest percentage of students breaking off their studies. In 2011 as many as 159 evictions of families not being able to pay the mortgages on their homes took place each day; Oxfam warns that if the social cuts continue 40% of the population will be in poverty and the country may need 25 years to recover its standard of living....

Spain continues in recession, which is expected to last into 2014, but still the country must find 230,000 million euros in new loans during 2013, paying 38,590 million in interests on its loans; 10,000 million more than in 2012. At the moment there is a lull in the interest rate on Spanish bonds being offered, but that could change in a moment.

I must admit I was rash in predicting a year ago that Spain would have to come under the European rescue net in 2012. I had not taken sufficiently into account the immense Spanish pride of Rajoy. But what did Minister of Finance, de Guindos say when asked about a rescue for Spain? That the country was rescued in 2011, 'when BCE bought a massive quantity of Spanish bonds.' Further huge assistance came to Spain last year with the declaration by ECB President Draghi that the Central Bank, as a support measure, was ready to buy an unlimited quantity of public bonds. The statement immediately stopped the international speculators.

Moreover, Spain received almost 40,000 billion euros in financial support to the failed banks, but guaranteed by the Kingdom of Spain. More money is supposed to go to banks in difficulties that have not yet been declared.

Last, but not least, Spain’s general debts are still growing, instead of being reduced. The Bank of Spain has recently admitted that debt has increased 15% to the enormous figure of 1.3 trillion euros and amounts to more than 100% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product !

Banks and Regions

Spanish banks hold 200,000 million euro in government bonds, more than one third of the total (Did someone twist their arm ???). At the same time, foreign banks have reduced their investments in Spain by 90,000 million (as at October).

The ECB have the printing presses running for full speed, and Spanish banks are the principal lenders, handing out 40% of the total amount of new money channeled throgh the banking sector in Europe. Nevertheless, some of them are sinking rapidly. Bankia shares, which after the Government’s intervention in July 2011 stood at 3.75 euros per share were, just before Christmas, down to 40 euro cents, a fall of 89.3%, before recovering to 61 cents in the new year.

The total value of the shares in companies listed on the IBEX stock exchange fell 4.66% in 2012.

The Regions had agreed to keep their deficit below 1.5% of the National Gross Domestic Product; however, the result was another thing. Nine of the Regions failed significantly in achieving the income foreseen. Catalonia, Andalucía, Castilla-La Mancha, Canarias, Murcia, Valencia, Canarias, Extremadura and the Balearic did not manage to keep to the agreement with the Government. Andalucia collected only 418 million of the 862 million foreseen, Catalonia only 486 of 1,810 million planned, Canarias 153 of 174, Balearic 160 of 282, Murcia only 30 of 265 and Valencia just 146 of the 1,116 million planned!

Squeezing the poor – protecting the rich

Spanish family debt currently amounts to 840,000 million euro, with 27% of the population in danger of falling below the poverty line. A Government investigation shows that an immense majority of Spaniards do not believe the Government’s optimistic declarations. 61% of those unemployed have given up hope of finding a job in 2013, whilst 17% still working consider it probable they will lose their jobs this year. Only 13% believe the economic situation will improve during 2013; 30% believe it will be the same, whilst 50% think it will worsen.

Salaries fell 3% during 2010 and 4% in 2011. Forty four percent of Spanish workers have a gross salary of less than 1,218 euros a month. Workers in the manufacturing sector are paid 14.50 € per hour, compared with 25.80 € in Germany.

At the same time, the super-rich are having a heyday; the 200 richest Spaniards have augmented their fortunes by 8.4% since 2011 to 145,800 million euros (not including what they may have stashed away in Swiss banks!). Amancio Ortega, the owner of Inditex and Zara, has increased his wealth 64% during the past 12 months, to a whopping 43,000 million, making him the wealthiest person in Europe. On the list of the largest fortunes in the world, produced by the US magazine Forbes, there are 42 Spanish families with assets of more than 750 million euros! Much of this wealth was amassed from bricks and mortar during the property boom.

Rajoy and his pundits explain that the social cuts were necessary to make the country more competitive, but shouldn’t paying only 14,50 € per hour to a Spanish employee, compared to 25,80 € to a German worker, provide enough of a competitive edge? The results of the cuts are the biggest recession in the EU, the highest unemployment and a soaring deficit.

Olivier Blanchard, the main economist of the International Monetary Fund, has recognised that the Fund made a mistake in recommending the European governments to make the cuts. A bit late!

The real problem is not that Spanish workers are paid too much, it is that the turbo capitalist system of Reagan and Thatcher, is not only unfair, but that it also does not work.

The future in Spain

The future in Spain for the coming year is bleak. Taxes and costs will be rising, public services will be restricted, and there will be strikes and social protests, casting a sad gloom over the country.

Foreigners should not buy a property in Spain this year, or next, but should wait until the still inflated prices have fallen a further 50%, and even then consider whether the authorities have learned the lessons from the crisis (consult Auken-report from the European Parliament!). There are new stumbling blocks ahead, including the Energy Certificate (contained in Directive 2002/91 CE and Real Decreto 47/2007) for all new buildings and many of the existing.

For some owners of shoddy built apartments on the coast, the certificate may prove to be very costly.

Owners should also be aware of the plans for new property developments already approved, lying in the cupboards of the property developers and town halls, waiting for better times. The developers and politicians may soon declare that 'better times are here again' with Sareb busy selling the existing mountain, and money for the grabbing at very low rates and start up urbanisations with hundreds and thousands of new dwellings.

The almost total lack of new buyers may not deter the 'bubble builders' they will declare that they are 'getting the economy back on track again'.......... 'creating jobs for the unemployed'........ 'helping the starved town hall'.

In reality they will be making the crisis permanent for their own, narrow benefits: Getting rid of some land that has lost 80% of it’s value, brushing the dirt off idle building machinery, sluicing millions of euros from silly bankers into new companies and buttering up local politicians, hoping their bluffs will not be called before their plans crash against the hard realities of the market.

Per, the ‘black painting’ pessimist

I have been labelled a black painter for what I have written about the situation in Spain.

But going back some years (see last Summer Report) it seems black relates better to the events, than the ‘rose tinted’ colours painted by the Government and the publishers trading ads for 'positive' reports.

One angry defender of the property promoters recently wrote of me saying, “He must be hating Spain!”

Me hating Spain – how ridiculous!

In the first publication of the Foreign Property Owners Institute, I wrote as the main heading: 'Que Viva España'.

Until the property bubble started to inflate and the politicians stubbornly ignored the reports from the European Parliament on abuses against foreign buyers and owners, I consistently recommended foreigners to buy property in Spain. Even today I recommend foreigners to come to Spain, but as tourists.

Nevertheless, as always, there are two Spain;

and yes I do detest:-

the callous property developers who over the past ten years have ruined Spain, condemned millions of workers to unemployment, destroyed thousands of small suppliers of services and materials and filled most of the coasts and islands with concrete and half-finished buildings,

the many corrupt politicians from all parties, from almost all municipalities and regions, who for larger or smaller back-handers assisted the speculators in their raping of a beautiful country,

the bankers who financed the property bubble which destroyed many beautiful villages and landscapes, and who with their vile mortgages lead to hundreds of thousands of Spanish and foreign families being evicted from their homes.

But I have a great affection for: the gregarious, average Spaniard whom I have lived and worked with for a lifetime, and with whom I have shared their problems and their victories.

So I will end as I started:

Que Viva España !

Spanish financial crisis affecting football

1st January 2013

Spain's economic crisis is having a knock-on effect on the financial situation of football in the country.

Despite being current world and European champions, Spain's friendly against Belarus in October was not televised for financial reasons.

Budget cuts are occurring everywhere in football and Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso is aware that even as footballers, they are not immune to what is going on around them.

"A lot of clubs are being forced to tighten up with regards to spending and are having to be more clever about how to their invest money," Alonso said.

"The other day was a clear example of this with the Spanish game not being televised. This was a result of budget cuts for which football is also affected."

Unaffordable ticket prices and poor scheduling have seen La Liga crowds drop away significantly in recent years.

According to sub-editor of Spanish newspaper Marca, Francisco Justicia, changes need to be made.

"On the one hand it (Spanish football) has been greatly affected by the economic crisis, but there are also other problems in the form of terrible scheduling and excessive prices," Justicia said.

"In terms of the prices, the average ticket in Spain costs between 25 and 30 pounds more than the average ticket for an (English) Premier League match. Then you have the terrible scheduling. Games aren't grouped together here like they are in the Premier League.

"Here we have games on Saturday at 4pm, 6pm, 8pm and 10pm. Then on Sunday the rest of the games are played starting at 12pm, followed by another at 4pm, another at 6pm, another at 8pm and another at 10pm. It doesn't stand to reason."

Many clubs have been forced to sell their best players and adopt a youth policy due to the financial issues engulfing the country's football.

But head coach of Spain's national team, Vicente Del Bosque, is proud of the way the country's young players have stepped up.

"As Spanish citizens we are aware and concerned about what is going on in our country," Del Bosque said.

"However, like I have said before in terms of sport, we are very proud that things are working out the way they are.

"Our young players are representing the country very well with their behaviour. That's all I have to say on the subject. Not only is their behaviour exemplary on the pitch, where they have been winning, but away from it they also transmit a clean and healthy image."

Troika Says 80% Greek Debt Uncollectible

By Andy Dabilis on January 2, 2013 in Economy, News

Because of austerity measures and even as it’s pressing Greece’s coalition government to go after tax evaders who owe more than $70 billion, the country’s international lenders have admitted that 80 percent of the country’s debt can’t be collected for a number of reasons, leaving it to workers to pay the freight.

The inefficiency of Greece’s tax collection mechanism combined with the inability of people to pay because of repeated pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions resulted in 12 billion euros ($15.89 billion) in uncollected debts in the first 11 months of 2012, up up 1 billion euros ($1.32 billion) over the same period in the previous year.

It’s likely to get worse instead of better as new pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions kicked in on Jan. 1 and with a $17.45 billion spending cut and tax hike budget plan approved for 2013-14 as tax evaders continue to skate free.

Finance Ministry data shows that the combined total of both old and new debts to the state now stands at 55.5 billion euros ($73.41 billion) and much of it may not be collected. The ministry found that 1.13 million periodic statements for Value-Added Tax (VAT) for the first 11 months of 2012 have not been submitted by enterprises and the self-employed, which means that they have withheld the VAT received from customers for sales made or services provided and not paid it to the government.

Old debts amounted to 43.49 billion euros ($57.6 billion) some 2.99 billion euros ($3.95 billion) of which concerns state companies and corporations. Another 8.5 billion euros ($11.25 billion) concerns firms that have already gone bankrupt while the remaining 31.8 billion euros ($42.1 billion) relates to various taxpayers and enterprises. The state has only managed to collect about 1 billion euros of this old debt, while writing off some 359 million euros ($523.1 million).

The new debts, recorded in 2012, amount to 12.07 billion euros ($15.98 billion) and are expected to steadily increase. The state has only managed to collect 1.1 billion euros ($1.45 billion) of this new debt and has written off another 179 million ($237 million.) The total of 2.19 billion euros ($2.89 billion) cashed in satisfies the requirement set out in the government’s bailout agreement with its creditors.

The Troika recommended that the government should open debtors’ banks accounts and automatically withdraw the amounts that taxpayers owe to the authorities even if it leaves people without any money to live on. Many Greeks though, especially the rich, don’t use Greek banksbut hide their money in foreign bank accounts, including in Switzerland, which refuses to give Greek officials their names. The Troika also said the government should review it policy for writing off debt and not be as lenient, even if people can’t pay.

(Source: Kathimerini)

Life in Valencia

New York Times

VALENCIA, Spain — Over the past two years, Ana María Molina Cuevas, 36, has worked five shifts a week in a ceramics factory on the outskirts of this city, hand-rolling paint onto tiles. But at the end of the month, she often went unpaid. Raul, a truck driver in Castellón, Spain, hoped last month to be paid from a government fund. Courts are jammed with requests.

Still, she kept showing up, trying to keep her frustration under control. If she quit, she reasoned, she might never get her money. And besides, where was she going to find another job? Last month, she was down to about $130 in her bank account with a mortgage payment due.

“On the days you get paid,” she said at home with her disabled husband and young daughter, “it is like the sun has risen three times. It is a day of joy.”

Mrs. Molina, who is owed about $13,000 by the factory, is hardly alone. Being paid for the work you do is no longer something that can be counted on in Spain, as this country struggles through its fourth year of an economic crisis.

With the regional and municipal governments deeply in debt, even workers like bus drivers and health care attendants, dependent on government financing for their salaries, are not always paid.

But few workers in this situation believe they have any choice but to stick it out, and none wanted to name their employers, to protect both the companies and their jobs. They try to manage their lives with occasional checks and partial payments on random dates — never sure whether they will get what they are owed in the end. Spain’s unemployment rate is the highest in the euro zone at more than 25 percent, and despite the government’s labor reforms, the rate has continued to rise month after month.

“Before the crisis, a worker might let one month go by, and then move on to another job,” said José Francisco Perez, a lawyer who represents unpaid workers in the Valencia area. “Now that just isn’t an option. People now have nowhere to go, and they are scared. They are afraid even to complain.”

No one is keeping track of workers like Mrs. Molina. But one indication of their number can be seen in the courts, which have become jammed with people trying to get back pay from a government insurance fund, aimed at giving workers something when a company does not pay them.

In Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city, the unemployment rate is 28.1 percent and the courts are so overwhelmed that processing claims, which used to take three to six months, now takes three to four years.

Since the start of the crisis in 2008, the insurance fund has paid nearly a million workers nationally back pay or severance. In 2007, it paid 70,000 workers. It is on track to pay more than 250,000 this year, and experts say the figures would be much higher if not for the logjam in the courts.

Often the unpaid workers, like Mrs. Molina, whose company is now in bankruptcy proceedings, hope their labor will keep a struggling operation afloat over the long run. Unemployment benefits last only two years, they point out, and they wonder what they would do after that. But in the meantime, they cannot even claim unemployment benefits. And no amount of budgeting can cover no payment at all.

Beatriz Morales García, 31, said she could not remember the last time she went shopping for herself. A few years ago, she and her husband, Daniel Chiva, 34, thought that they had settled into a comfortable life, he as a bus driver and she as a therapist in a rehabilitation center for people with mental disabilities. His job is financed by the City of Valencia, and hers by the regional government of Valencia.

They never expected any big money. But it seemed reasonable to expect a reliable salary, to take on a mortgage and think about children. In the past year, however, both of them have had trouble being paid. She is owed 6,000 euros, nearly $8,000. They have cut back on everything they can think of. They have given up their landline and their Internet connection. They no long park their car in a garage or pay for extra health insurance coverage. Mr. Chiva even forgoes the coffee he used to drink in a cafe before his night shifts. Still, the anxiety is constant.

“There are nights when we cannot sleep,” he said. “Moments when you talk out loud to yourself in the street. It has been terrible, terrible.”

Mrs. Morales said it was particularly hard to watch other mothers in the park with their children while she must leave her own toddler to go to work, unsure she will ever get paid.

“We are working eight hours, and we’re suffering more than people who are not working,” she said.

The couple’s pay has been so irregular that they are having a hard time even keeping track of how much they are owed, because small payments show up sporadically in their account.

More Greetings:

From the former President of Ciudadanos Europeos, Jose Maria Martinez de Haro and his wife, Olga:

Dear Per.

I imagine in those manners Bulgarian mountains with Norwegian and experience of ancient Greece, now your neighbor.

I imagine happy and independent, a thing, an expert on the best Rakia blonde and beautiful damsels and lonely as Robinson. Snowman.

Wherever you are, we wish you Merry Christmas and may the New Year bring us something good to celebrate. Sea in Bulgaria, whether in Germany, Norway and Spain.

A big hug from Olga and Jose Maria

Note added. You did well to get out of here, this is very bad. worse every day.

Dear Per Svensson,

Thank you very much for all your valuable reports.

I wish you pleasure, health and happiness in your well-earned retirement.

Best regards,

Irene Kümin


Many thanks for your excellent work on our behalf over the many years.  I remember coming into your office every year in Altea to pay my Annual Sub and ask a few stupid (to you) questions in the early 90´s  How it has all changed since then, on top of my own Retirement from over 50 years in the Insurance Industry, 2 years ago.

Moraira still lovely but unrecogniseable!

Sheila and I wish you well and a Happy Retirement for you and your wife

Merry Christmas and a Happy 2013. Saludos


We went on the Hurtigruten for Christmas and New Year two years ago doing the complete return journey.  Lovely working ship and crew, fabulous scenery as you would know, and superb food.  I would thoroughly recommend it.  We added on the Oslo/Bergen Railway trip which I knew from years ago skiing in the mountains.  When I told Sheila and our friends that the double engined train from Bergen couldnt stop on the gradient, we had to throw out our Bags, and skiis (Wooden of course!) and then jump, they really couldn´t believe me. Can you imagine the Health and Safety Idiots today faced with that situation.  Lovely people and even today a very strong relationship with the Brits.

Dear Per,

Thank you very much for everything you did for all of us and for me personally!!! You have been of great help!

I always found your push very remarkable and really admired you for having so much energy to do this for us, even when you changed country.

Hope you have lots of time to rest and enjoy from your freedom without having to think about Spain anymore.

Love for you and your wife,

Jacomina Kistemaker


I thank all of you who have thanked me, including all of those whom I have not mentioned here !

With my very best wishes to you all,



Coming to Spain in 1966, por Per Svensson
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