When my ex colleagues, friends and family hear that I live in Southern Spain, straight away they conjure up images of beaches, infinity pools, waiters pouring jugs of fruity Sangria and hot sunny days.
In this post I want to try to explain more or less what a normal day is for me and give you an idea of what it´s really like as an expat in Spain.
Weekdays I work in the office. I get up around 7.30am. I get ready quickly, as I have my bag and clothes prepared the night before. (Can´t think in the morning) I always leave the house without having breakfast.
I pop to the bar next to my house and have coffee and toast there. This is something I love doing, I get the local paper, read what going on and sip my frothy coffee for about 15 minutes.
After finishing my breakfast I walk along to work, listening to podcasts from BBC radio or music depending on my mood. It takes me about 10 minutes as I walk at a leisurely pace. I´m lucky to live quite close to my office. About 700 metres away.
(Did you notice still no swimming pool or beach in sight ; )
I get to the office and say Hi to the team. Set up my desk for the day. Get my water ready on my desk to drink during the morning. Then I start with the emails and the day´s schedule.
Usually mid morning I have a coffee break in the coffee area in the office itself or sometimes I may pop out to a café nextdoor with a colleague if I have a little more time.
At Lunchtime I have to confess that I don´t have sandwiches at our desk. I walk along to one of the nearby restaurants. They have great offers for lunchtime. A three course set menu costs between 10 – 12 euros: I typically choose a salad starter, a grilled fish for main course and fresh fruit for dessert. Bread and a drink is also included. I take about an hour lunch break from 2.30pm. After lunch, straight back to work.
When I leave the office, most days I head to the gym to do some exercise. Sitting in front of the computer all day isn´t the healthiest activity. The gym is a short bus ride from work. The buses here are a bit hit and miss and I often have to wait 10 or 15 minutes for the bus to come. I tweet meanwhile or read tweets on my phone. When the bus finally arrives, it takes me right up to the door of the gym.As I go in, they give you a nice fluffy white towel, I rush to get changed and go to the class. I usually take part in a Spinning class (frenetic music and lots of people on bikes) which I really enjoy. Sometimes I swim for 40 minutes (indoor pool) or do an Aquagym class. Then once a week train I train on vibrating power plates with free weights for muscle toning.
I´ve been in the same gym for a few years now and know quite a few people there. After working out I usually go to the Spa area to relax and unwind. There is an area to relax and drink a herbal tea. It has different areas with steam room, sauna and roman baths. The spa pool has coloured lights altering the atmosphere as it changes from turquoise to pink to deep blue. Everyone´s favourite is the cascade shower (see below) I always have to wait in line for this, but it´s worth it.
After the Spa I have a quick shower, grab my gym bag and get the bus home. I normally get home quite late, around 9pm.
Other evenings after work I might go into town to buy a birthday gift or do an errand, or maybe meet up with someone for a drink. Here the shops are open until 9pm or 10pm in the week. So it gives me time afterwork if I need to buy food or dash to the post office. Yep we have late night shopping all week.
When I get home I prepare dinner quickly and watch the news or sometimes something lighthearted from the UK television. (Think TOWIE, Homes under the Hammer, The Apprentice ..whatever) I usually have a light dinner and make sure I have yummy fruit. That´s one think I love about Spain, the wonderful seasonal produce. After eating I might read a magazine or a book a bit before going to sleep. I think that the days in the week don´t vary much from the lifestyle of people who work in other cities and countries around Europe.
So there we are a whole day of typical life in Andalusia.
Don´t worry about the lack of Sangria, beach and sun loungers! I make up for that at the weekend!