Costa Azahar is set in a quite rural area, surrounded by olive and almond trees, in the heart of the Maestrazgo.

Sunday 1 September 2013

Spain's medical system in rude health

Spain health care system has weathered protests and spending to snatch fifth spot globally and first place in Europe in the latest edition of Bloomberg's health care spending efficiency rankings.

With a life expectancy of 82.3 years, a per capita health care cost of $3,027 (€2287), and overall health care spending at 10.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), Spain clocked up an efficiency spending score of 68.3 out of 100.

Thursday 4 July 2013

Eel Island Stew…El Palmar

The pretty little village of El Palmar sits on an Island in the Albufera lake, a nature reserve to the South of Valencia. Here, protected from the sea, by a strip of land and connected by canals the local fishermen and restauranteurs of the town live cheek by jowl with the local wildlife. At weekends in particular much of Valencia descends on the town for a meal in one of the many restaurants which specialise in traditional Valencian paella, seafood rice dishes, seafood in general and alli pebre, the local eel and potato dish.Palmar

Visit Ribera del Duero

RiberaThe past few years have been good to the Ribera del Duero wine region in North Central Spain; but much like Sonoma in California wine country, it has had to contend with a more popular older sibling, Rioja. That said, given the region’s much deserved recent international notoriety, things are changing

Tuesday 2 July 2013

First Function at Maestrat Park

We held our first function at the park for 38 people of mixed nationality's and a very good time was had by all.2012-11-13 02.33.22 2012-11-13 02.12.492012-11-13 02.50.56

Monday 25 February 2013

Wine is Still Alive and Kicking in Castellon!.

Yesterday was the fourth `Best Wines of Castellon Fair´ held once again in the gardens of the Old Casino right in the heart of the City. Superbly laid on again by ASUCAP, the province´s Sumilleres organisation, the sun shone on a very succesful event. Now firmly fixed in the Vilamarxant Wine Club´s diary and looked forward to as much as any other wine fair,

The fair is still small enough to be a very friendly affair, but this should not be considered so at the expense of progress in the region. Far from it, club members have grown up with these bodegas as they have emerged, know the owners, have visited several and regularly buy wines from favourite growers. They enjoy the trip each year to try new wines, hear of developments, see how progress on a particular project is moving or to find a new bodega has opened up.

Saturday 23 February 2013

Expats urged to make correct use of EHIC cards

 A new campaign that is the result of an innovative partnership between the UK Government’s Department of Health  and the Generalitat Valencia , approved by the European Union, is to raise awareness on the use of the UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) over the next 15 months.

A campaign to explain how the cards should be used was launched in Alicante by David Pennington, Head of the Department of Health’s International Healthcare Team.

“Many British citizens living in Spain are confused about how to access state healthcare and many use their EHIC cards when they should be accessing healthcare in another way,” said Pennington. “This campaign explains who can use a UK-issued EHIC and what it is for. It also tells people about other ways to access state healthcare in Spain, depending on their circumstances.”


The UK European Health Insurance Card should be used to access medically-necessary state treatment during the course of a temporary stay in Spain. It does not provide access to all state treatment but for those in Spain on a temporary stay it is the correct way to access state healthcare. 

However, British citizens who mainly live in Spain should change the way they are registered, because for them the UK European Health Insurance Card is not the correct form of health cover (the new EHIC marketing and advertising campaign will explain how to do this). 

The campaign will also inform administrative staff of the Valencia Health Authority how the UK covers its citizens in Spain and how the UK reimburses Spain for the cost of medical care provided to British citizens.

Comprehensive information on the use of EHICs is available at:  

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Sunshine may 'reduce arthritis risk'

Does sunshine prevent rheumatoid arthritis?
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Living in a sunnier climate may reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, according to US researchers.

Their study of more than 200,000 women, published in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, suggested a link between sunlight and the risk of developing the disease.

They speculated that vitamin D, which is produced in sunlight, may protect the body.

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Tourism on the up

Spending by foreign tourists in Spain reached nearly 56,000 million euros in 2012, representing a 5.7% increase, according to data released yesterday by the Ministry of Industry. This is a new peak in the historical series, which has been measured since 2004, and has served largely to compensate for the downturn experienced in domestic tourism.

Sunday 27 January 2013

Spanish banks doing well

SPAIN is due to refund the European Central Bank (BCE) around 63 billion euros, according to a report from Barclays.
Now that the banks have been bailed out, they have surplus cashflow and are due to hand some of it back during the first reimbursement period of the Long-Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO).
The cash has not reached the national economy in the true sense, but has been on deposit from the BCE or used to buy bank debts.
The BBVA will return most of the money it has been given from Europe this and next month, whilst Banco Sabadell and Bankinter will refund 1.5 billion euros each.
Other banks are being more cautious, despite the more flexible criteria demanded by Basel III and improved cashflow, in case the immediate future brings greater international tension and another market crash.
Spanish banks are currently in a very healthy cashflow situation, according to Barclays – probably the best-ever.
Bankia has a liquid asset surplus until 2017 of over seven billion euros, despite being one of the most troubled financial entities in the country.
Barclays says there is no pressure on the part of banks to refund their LTRO money, and that they have two years ahead of them to see how the national economy evolves.

Property sales in Spain from Graham Hunt

If you have been keeping up with the news from Spain in the media over the last few weeks and months then you will know that 2012 was a disaster in terms of Spanish Property sales. Prices dropped on average by 15% and there is no sign of the price drops ending… for some.

Guess what, I am going to tell you that this affirmation is a crock of something that you may step on in the street to tell the truth.

The problem is the definition of the term average. The average was brought down, and crashing down in some cases by the rubbish, mediocre and frankly downright unsellable at any price. And again as usual I am going to tell you that prices didn’t fall by anything near that percentage for the usual suspects, location times three and quality.

Funnily enough the last four sales we have done have been made at asking price for the property. Yes you heard that right, no discount and no negotiation. The buyers saw that the property was priced so well that it would actually be a bit of an insult to offer less than what was being asked and that they would lose the property if they didn’t pay the full amount because there were other interested parties, investors mostly, buzzing about the property.

Now I am not saying that suddenly it is a sellers’ market, that prices are going to rise substantially or that the whole of the Spanish Property Market is suddenly going to rise like a Phoenix from the flames of the absurd overvaluations and rampant speculation that marked the whole decade of the noughties, that would be just stupid. However I am going to suggest that it is now the time to buy if you are careful about what you are purchasing.

Monday 21 January 2013

Spanish want to speak English

A recent poll conducted by Cambridge University Press showed that about a quarter of those Spaniards questioned would give up sex for a year – in exchange for speaking perfect English! A larger number, 64%, stated that they would pay 10,000 Euros, if someone could wave a magic wand providing them with English fluency.

The poll, yet again, illustrated the desperate need for most Spaniards to have fluent English.

Wednesday 16 January 2013

The Truth about El Cid

El Cid is one of the great heroes of Spain and, unlike Britain’s beloved King Arthur, he is someone who really existed.

Born sometime in 1040, close to Burgos in the kingdom of Castille, El Cid was a true adventurer who had an extraordinary life, during which (somehow) he managed to survive despite fighting, at various times, for both the Moors and for the Spanish. By the end of his life, this remarkable soldier had carved out his own fiefdom in Valencia. This he ruled with little more than cursory attention to King Alfonso VI – the most powerful Christian king in Spain at the time.

Of course, to many people, the image of El Cid that springs to mind is that imprinted by the great 1961 Hollywood epic of the same name, in which Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren star. The most memorable image of the film is when a dead El Cid, fully armoured, is strapped to his war horse, Babieca, and led into battle – just as the dastardly Moors are about to conquer the Spaniards. Finding the great El Cid unkillable, the Moors retreat in terror…

In fact, probably to the surprise of anyone who knew him in real life, El Cid died peacefully! Equally, it would certainly be wrong to think that it was El Cid who drove the Moors from Spain. This was far from the truth.

Monday 14 January 2013

More People expected to buy in Spain in 2013

In 2013 Spain will see an increase in foreign investors interested in snapping up bargains in their struggling real estate market. The British agency, Inmoaction, who specialise in attracting investors from the UK, estimate that in 2013, foreign interest in Spanish properties will grow beyond the classic British, German, Scandinavian and Russian markets.

Friday 11 January 2013

A multi million offer has been made to buy Castellon airport buy a private company.
If the sale goes ahead they expect to create over a 1000 jobs in the area and could have flights taking of as soon as June this year.