Life on the Costa Blanca Part One

Life on the Costa Blanca Part One

Life on the Costa Blanca Part One

What’s it really like to live and work on the Costa Blanca. A look at the daily realities of life in the province of Alicante from 1999 to the present day.

It must have been around 1990 when my parents moved into their little house in Pueblo Bravo, a residential area in Ciudad Quesada, it wasn’t a mansion or even a villa but it was her pride and joy. Of course before they came here, I’d heard of Spain but I’d never had any interest in visiting, and living here had never crossed my mind, but they’d made the first step and looking back I suppose the rest was inevitable.

Even though they didn’t have a pension they had enough put by to make it, until they reached retirement and if they were careful they’d be able to spend the rest of their lives in the sunshine and that’s what happened. It was different for me, the first time I came here with the intention of staying, I was absolutely broke, not only financially but also emotionally, because in the few years leading up to my arrival I’d lost my little sub-contracting business and my house as well as splitting up with my wife.

With my existence in the UK lying in tatters behind me I wanted to start again and seeing as my parents were here, it was only logical that this was the place to do it. However I was young and flighty and I didn’t stay long, in fact I was to leave and return, a few times over the next few years, before finally making the move.

Life on the Costa Blanca Part One:

What follows are excerpts from a book I wrote a few years ago:

“It was January 3rd 1999. The New Year had just begun and whilst I was sitting in a rented apartment in Ostend in Belgium, the phone rang and on answering I was a little surprised to hear my mother on the other end of the line. Struggling to keep her voice steady she informed me that my father had been diagnosed with cancer in the lymph nodes in his throat. As our conversation progressed, I listened to her plight and then I told her of mine, and then she asked me if I could come over to Spain to help them through their difficult patch. I asked her to give me a couple of days to think things over because I wanted to come up with a plan which would help me out of my own situation, because I knew full well that to get on my feet in Spain would not be easy.

However, yet again fate played its part in helping me with my decision. On January 18th I received a call from our landlord during which he told me his daughter wanted to take over the flat I was living in, the excuse he gave was that she wanted to start up a business there, but in hindsight I imagine he was only using this tactic to rid himself of some unwanted tenants, any way it’s irrelevant now, at the end of the day he gave me six months to quit. The news didn’t help my state of depression and only went to give me the final push, so I called my mother and told her that as soon as I had the funds, I’d be on my way.

From here on I am quoting directly from my diary of the time:

29th January 1999

Went into town this morning to check out the price of a train ticket to Spain. It’ll cost 4,570 BEF.

(Being unemployed at the time and without any savings, I had to wait for my dole cheque to arrive before I could buy the ticket.)

4th February 1999

Today is not going to be a good day, the postman has already made his rounds and has not delivered the much awaited money, so my hopes of getting out of here this week are shattered. How much longer do I have to endure this?!

5th February 1999

Here we are, sometime after 5pm and I’m sitting on a train 11 minutes from Gent. Unexpectedly the money arrived today, so I left as quickly as possible and here I am on the way to Alicante.

(If I remember correctly we used to receive nine or ten thousand francs from the social, so I had enough for the ticket and a few thousand over as spending money. However, as I had no savings of any description and no car, I had no way of taking any of the belongings I’d gathered during my time in Bristol and Ostend with me, so I left the Stanley Laan with nothing but a bag of clothes.)

6th February 1999

It’s sometime after 8 a.m. and we’re in Narbonne and I’m wishing I was already in Quesada. I have hours to go and I’m feeling very alone.

As the train travelled through the Pyrenees I remember that I stuck my head out of the carriage door window and immediately felt the cold rush of mountain air on my skin. Breathing deeply I took in cold fresh mouthfuls of oxygen, imagining myself breathing in the air of a new beginning. Belgium and the UK were now far away and in my heart of hearts I knew I was right to leave, there was nothing there, for a man like me anymore. “

Well that brings me to the end of this first instalment, if you’d like to read the full story now, then click here.

If you’d like more information about the Costa Blanca then click here

Cheers for now,


Make Contact