Torcal Estates Fincas and Country property - Málaga, Spain

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News - February 2009

Carnival comes to towns and villages across Andalucia

The month of February is normally such a drab month (apart from Valentine’s Day) across the world however, there is one thing that is guaranteed to put a smile on the face of people – Carnival!

Celebrated across the world, Carnival has its origins in two distinct backgrounds – the religious celebration before the onset of lent and the more pagan origins of the onset of spring.

Whether you are religious or not, the celebration of Carnival is a chance to forget the hard, cold winter months and look forward to spring and summer.

The celebrations will vary wildly from town to town but normally a procession will parade through the streets with plenty of musical accompaniment as well as lots of fancy dress. Many people will dress themselves up and it’s not just the kids that have their faces painted and always watch out for the attractive women – it could be a mad dressed in drag!

New links along the AVE routes bring Barcelona closer to Malaga

The journey time from Malaga to Madrid has been shortened considerably over the last year with the introduction of the AVE services between Malaga and the capital.

In addition, new links are opening up to ensure that the service is as user friendly as possible.

In recent years a journey from Malaga to Barcelona would have taken 11hours by train. With the link between Madrid and Barcelona the journey time has been cut to 6˝ hours although a new section of track bypassing Madrid will cut a further 50minutes from the journey time.

The linking of southern Spain to Madrid and Barcelona has yet to show all the benefits however as prices for the AVE come down and the routes are more widely used, this will become a major two-way route for business, leisure and family connections.

Unemployment rises and industrial output is down

The economic news doesn’t get any better does it? Recent official figures have been released showing that unemployment has risen and looks set to continue.

Unemployment amongst foreign immigrants is running at 17.5% compared to just over 11% for the rest of the population. Whilst the number for foreigners is worse, the outlook for Spain is bleak – industrial output is weakening, car sales are down as much as 80% on the same period as 2008 and therefore car and van production is being reduced.

The problems have been exacerbated by the downturn in the property market as this was a huge source of employment across the whole country and affected both foreign and national employment trends.

At a local level, it is evident that building sites are quieter and there appear to be many more people tending their small holdings to generate what local produce they can.

Tourist numbers are down and therefore the hotels, bars and restaurants that normally employ such large numbers of immigrant workers are suffering as well as the town halls, local government departments and all public services.

The only form of employment which seems to be increasing is that of the Army – recessions are always a god time for the Services to attract new recruits.

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