Learning Spanish… a good idea!

Spanish: c2018 Daniel Franklin (1843magazine.com)

Imagine that the Spanish-speaking world was a single country, called Hispanidad. It covers a territory perhaps one-and-a-half times the size of China. Its population is nearly 500m, making it the world’s third most populous country, behind China and India.

(See below for course ideas)

Among these people, the number of native Spanish-speakers is rising towards 400m; as a mother tongue, only Mandarin Chinese is bigger. Hispanidad also has a rich literature, from Cervantes to Gabriel García Márquez, that is best enjoyed in the original. And you really should see an Almodóvar film without subtitles. Only English and Chinese are more widely used on the internet than Spanish.

So if you are in business, into the arts or just want to join la conversación, the sheer size of Hispanidad is a powerful reason to learn Spanish. But Hispanidad is not a single country. The fact that it spreads across the Americas, Spain and even parts of Africa and Asia makes the case for Spanish stronger still.

After English, it is the most used international language. For tourists it eases and enriches travel in the 20-plus countries where Spanish is a main language (though some may prefer to skip Equatorial Guinea). Students have an enviable choice of stimulating places to hone their Spanish skills, from Venezuela to Argentina to Spain itself.

Not forgetting the United States, the country with the second-largest number of Spanish-speakers (about 50 million and rising) after Mexico. Latinos are growing in influence culturally, commercially and politically. Nowadays, would-be presidents make sure to advertise in Spanish: Soy Mitt Romney y apruebo este mensaje.

Even for those with no political ambitions, there is another compelling reason to pick Spanish as your second language: it’s easy (certainly compared with, say, Mandarin). And once you’ve got Spanish, you’re half-way to Italian, French and Portuguese too.

Learn Spanish? ¡Cómo no!, as they say in Hispanidad.


Here in Hondon, there are many private teachers, shared classes and the Townhalls in the area will from time-to-time offer free courses. if you want to learn remotely online, a quick “Google” will find you many courses (free, cheap and full certified courses). There are also interactive mobile Apps such as DuoLingo (free) to get you started. Rosetta Stone make a DVD-ROM course.

Or you cold plump for the old fashioned “buy a book” to learn. Which ever is best for you, we highly recommend you learn some Spanish as it will help you integrate more, understand the rules and medical and of course engage with the many friendly locals in the Hondon Valley.


Learn Spanish in HondonLane Green suggests:
Duolingo
is a free all-in-one package, and will get you going. If ready to commit, Babel is a cheap and high-quality subscription that helpfully explains grammar in the teaching. Rosetta Stone, much marketed, now offers a competitive subscription price, but its approach of teaching through pictures, without ever using the learner’s native language, is best kept for easy European languages. Memrise, with many free courses, is brilliant for vocabulary, and even some elements of grammar. It is based on the science of spaced repetition: words are re-introduced at lengthening intervals in flashcard-style exercises. When you get one wrong, the length between repetitions is shortened again, before gradually lengthening. (If you can find them, use the Memrise courses that have audio: when you hear and see the word simultaneously, each reinforces the other – and the audio will train you out of pronouncing the words as though they were English much faster.)

Spain… Culture and Profile

Visit SpainSpain, part of Europe, is south of France and Portugal but north of Africa. It nestles between the the great Atlantic ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The latter being a major magnet for it’s key tourism industry. Spain consists of most of the mainland Iberian peninsula, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and two North African enclaves. The capital of Spain is Madrid (central Spain). The population is around 46 million people.

History

Spain has a long and very diverse history and culture. It is made up of a rich mix of diverse elements, climates and terrain from north to south.

Known for their historic exploration, seafaring and conquest, the Spanish became a world power in the 16th century, and it maintained a vast overseas empire until the early 19th century.  However, Spain’s more recent history is marked by the bitterly fought Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, and the ensuing 36-year dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. Franco died in 1975, which enabled Spain to transition into a democratic state, built a successful economy and the King Juan Carlos as head of state.

Grape Bagging in HondonGeography and Regions

Spain’s provincial picture is a complex and evolving one. The country is divided into 17 regions which all have their own directly elected authorities and varying levels of autonomy and powers.  If you travel across Spain you’ll hear different dialects. The constitution of 1978 enshrines respect for this linguistic and cultural diversity.  For example, Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia have a special status with their own language and other rights.

The Hondon Valley and nearby Albatera are inland of the Alicante region of the Comunidad Valenciana, a vast coastal and inland area, boasting the Costa Blanca South and North. It is a one of the most popular regions for Spanish Tourism and property development boom.

“The weather is sublime, the Spanish are so welcoming and kind, the mountains are stunning and we have fab restaurants and a wonderful community of Brits, Dutch and other nationalities. There are so many social activities too. The coast is never far away. We feel very fortunate to have found this place to live”.  says Janni (Hondon Valley)

Healthy Meditterraen DietRenowned for the “Mediterranean Diet” the Spanish love their fish, olive oil, tapas and fresh produce. The medical journal, Lancet, according to a European League Table  over a 20 year period, Spain is the healthiest place to live in Europe.

Spain’s Economy

Mariano Rajoy is the current (2018) Prime Minister of Spain. He is head of the conservative Popular Party and took office in late 2011. Pre-crash (2008-9) the Spanish economy was of the most powerful in the EU. But their key industries of tourism and real estate development were hit hard by the economic crash causing a severe recession and by the spring of 2013 unemployment had risen to a peak of 27%. Many Expats returned home after losing their jobs or business. Many lost €10,000s on property investments.

Austerity measures were needed and imposed by the government in an effort to reduce the level of public debt. Hard times ahead indeed, but by 2013 these measures started to reap the benefit with more jobs, tourists returning and construction starting again.

Tourism

Tourism is the 3rd major contributor to the national economy.  Ever since the 1960s and 1970s, the country has been a popular destination for summer holidays. The main Costas along the Med’ Sea saw unprecedented and rapid property, golf courses and hotel development. 2017 was another record year for Tourism in Spain and the projections are that 2018 will be even bigger.

We live here so we know the reasons people come to Spain year-after-year, often tempting people the buy a property for emigration or a holiday home. The Hondon Valley is very popular with Expat Brits, Dutch and Belgiques who have made homes in the campo and the upmarket Urb La Montanosa, near Hondon de las Nieves.

Spanish Arts & Sport

Spain has has a long and proud past of traditions in art, music, crafts and cinema…. e.g Painters such as Velazquez in the seventeenth century, through Goya straddling the eighteenth and nineteenth, to Picasso in the twentieth.

Fiestas Correfocs 2016. Hondon de las Nieves

Flamenco music and dance are widely admired around the world and can still be heard in many bars and theatres. While Cervantes’ novel Don Quixote is one of the most popular ever written.

Cinema is much loved and the films of directors such as Pedro Almodovar attract huge audiences.

And of course Spain has one of the best and most fanatical football leagues in Europe.

Fiestas and Holidays

Spain is renowned for it’s colourful and lively festivals all-year-round. But summer is the best time to see and enjoy what the Spaniards do best … PARTY!!  A large number of festivals (or fiestas) are held in Spain and the Costa Blanca plays a leading role. Most festivals have a religious element to them, particularly around Easter time, but they are also held regularly throughout the year. Each town and village adds its own distinctive flavour to the celebrations, but common themes of life, colour, culture, music and dance will never be far away.

Welcome to Spain … it’s what you make it so enjoy it’s diverse offerings. We do, we love it!

Hondon Valley Entertainment

» Real Estate / Makelaar for the Hondon Valley

Primavera: Soon be Spring in Hondon!

Spring (Primavera) is always a special time for nature with new growth and wondrous regeneration of life and colour. The Hondon Valley is no exception, having an amazing wealth of agriculture. And with record rain fall this winter the valley is greener and more colourful than ever. It really is outstanding this year with the Hondon Meadows a floral tapestry to behold right now.

Poppies in Hondon, Spain

We at Hondon Villas are no green fingered experts but you can’t help but notice this year is quite wonderful in the gardens and countryside this Springtime.

After the winter citrus harvest of grapes, clementines, oranges and lemons, February sees the valley full of pink and purple almond blossom. Which with the late winter winds fall like snow flakes to make way for March when the grape vines are starting to bud with vibrant green leaves. The pomegranate trees show the bright red flower to later turn to fruit. The thyme and rosemary herbs are in abundance with a small purple / blue flower and just smell delightful.

The Spanish Daises are amazing in full bloom and just seem to grow and are very hardy. The common and locally known “Sally Ann Handsome” (a very prevalent succulent) lines many a drive way or country road edge spreading it’s pinky purple flowers like a carpet. Roses do well in Hondon too. And for those that have managed to find the right spot can see stunning Bougainvillea. We are always amazed at the Yukkas creamy crown against the green blades and blue sky! There also some wonderful fragrances from Spanish Wisteria. All Gorgeous.

But the star of the show this time last year has to be the wild red Poppies. In all the years we have lived in the Hondon Valley we have never seen the fields so full. It must have been the heavy rain falls earlier in the year that has made this scarlet flower spread and thrive so much.

The first almond flowers arrive 2018!

The province of Alicante is already seeing the first pink and white blossom of the almond trees on their farmland. The areas of Torrellano, in Elche, Hondón de las Nieves and Hondón de los Frailes, in the Medio Vinalopó, the districts of Marina Alta and Vega Baja are some of the points of the province in which you can already enjoy a beautiful landscape.

This flowering is earlier than usual in the region. It is common for the first petals and the first almond buds to begin appearing at the beginning of February. The high temperatures registered in recent days in the region, where in some points, such as Elche, have reached between 18 and 20 degrees has been the final push for this week to start to appear the first flowers. However, the farmers are a little worried that some almonds trees may be exposed to possible frosts as the local temperature and inclement weather is forecast to be poorer.

Tranquilo – Introducing the Hondon Valley

Video by Hondon Villas c2017
Enjoy the sunshine, the views and chill. This video is a short introduction to the glorious Hondon Valley inland to the Alicante Region, Costa Blanca South, Spain.

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The Hondón Valley is a peaceful, friendly, warm place surrounded by mountainous scenic beauty

The main two villages of Hondon de las Nieves and Hondon de los Frailes nest in the beautiful Hondon Valley. The relatively newly built Urbansation of La Montanosa is sandwiched between these two Hondón villages.

For decades they have grown an abundance of agricultural delights such as Grapes, Almonds and Olives (the main economy).

Hondon is surrounded by an expanse of stunning mountain views and traditional arid Spanish countryside. These excellent vistas are a delight in all seasons! Take a walk or drive through the country roads and you will just marvel at the changing light, shadows and picturesque skies.

The Hondon Valley is well known for its mild climate and pleasant summer breezes, which is very welcoming in those hot summer months when temperatures rarely fall below 30 degrees. The region enjoys sunshine in excess of 310 days per year, where the air is very clean and the pace of life slow. Hondon offers a very peaceful and stress free life.

Come take a look at the Valley of the Vines, drink the local wine under the bluest of skies and feel the warmth of the Spanish sun on your face … and you’re hooked! We were! We love it!

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I like the Hondon Valley because…

Living in the Hondon Valley

We asked our Facebook Group “What’s On Hondon” why they liked to live or visit the Hondon Valley… here are some of the answers. c2017

Kathryn says … “I love the laid back attitude along with the peace and quiet of a small Spanish village. Being surrounded by mountains is my favourite thing, it is so relaxing 🙂

Joan : It’s our little piece of Heaven on Earth – our little bit of Paradise ❤❤❤

Mia : Nice people, nice places around, good entertainment. I hope to live there soon.

Pamela : I luv living there. No regrets!

Janni : The weather is sublime. The Spanish are so welcoming and kind. The mountains are stunning and we have Hondon de los Frailes nearby with fab restaurants and a wonderful community of Brits, Dutch and other nationalities. There are many social activities and the coast is not far away. We feel lucky to have found the Hondon Valley.

Christopher : Yes a nice place with nice people. But the Indians in the hill are a pain when coming over the mountains, their arrows took out 2 of my tyres last week lol !!

Toni : It’s my little piece of paradise!

Sabrina : I love living in Hondon because it’s a tight community, friendly and beautiful. I am so glad I get to raise my children here! (And that’s from someone who didn’t want to move here! )

Helen : I love living here, who wouldn’t? It is one of the healthiest places around. It’s a laid back friendly area and ideally situated to visit the coast 😃

Duncan : I love it here. We have great friends. The panoramic views of the mountain’s never let you down, it’s a delight to get up in a morning!

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Adele : Travelled around a lot and this is our 36th house! We have lived here 12 years…. so far so good.

Percy : It has been said Paradise! In seventeen years we have watched this beautiful place grow from an old Spanish village to an old Spanish village with modern amenities. There are good eateries and friendly people with a weather which is also friendly…most of the time!

Andre : It’s my paradise with nice warm people living here. English Dutch & Belguique and Spanish

Irene : When ever I am there I look at the views and never fail to be impressed. All my visitors from London adore the time they spend in Hondon. It is a little bit of paradise.

Roy : We just love it here! We are living the dream, second best to paradise x

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Spain Info for Tourists, Travellers & Events

Visit SpainWe at Hondon Villas use SPAIN.INFO a lot for tourist information in Spain. It’s a great 0ne-stop place to go if you are planning a trip to to or around Spain. They also have Facebook and Twitter pages if you care to subscribe to them. Well worth the time we think. » Visit the website here| spain.info

This website has some excellent articles and outstanding pictures about Spanish art, culture, museums, monuments, beaches, cities, parties, tours, cuisine and nature in Spain. You can plan your journey with their “Interactive map” and then document your travels with a free online Journal.

The weather is sublime, the Spanish are so welcoming and kind, the mountains are stunning and we have fab restaurants and a wonderful community of Brits, Dutch and other nationalities. There are so many social activities too. The coast is never far away. We feel very fortunante to have found this place to live.  : says Janni (Hondon Valley)

2017 was another record year for Tourism in Spain and the projections are that 2018 will be even bigger. We live here so we know the reasons people come to Spain year-after-year, often tempting people the buy a property for emigration or a holiday home. The Hondon Valley is very popular with Expat Brits, Dutch and Belgiques who have made homes in the campo and the upmarket Urb La Montanosa, near Hondon de las Nieves.

Spain Information for Tourists Screen

 

 

Wiki: Hondón de las Nieves

Central Plaza in Hondon

A Brief History of Hondon de las Nieves

Although not officially documented, it is said that the Hondon Valley would have been already populated in ancient Greek times. But records show that in 1246 Christian troops fought with the Arabs & Moroccans in the area.

Copyright ©2016 Hondon Villas.  Based on information by WikiPedia

Hondon was under the jurisdiction of Aspe until 1839 when it became independent and formed a single municipality together with its neighbouring village Hondón of the Friars, which in turn had been segregated from Redován. Nieves still shares many local festivals and amenities with Aspe today.

In 1926 Hondón de las Nieves and Hondón of the Friars (Frailes) separated to form independent municipalities. It reached its peak population in 1900: 3,690 inhabitants, although at that time still included the population of Hondón of the Friars. Today, the Hondon Valley, over the last 20 years, has grown to include mainly northern Europeans looking for an alternative lifestyle from their own native countries. A new urban development of about 400 villas has been built between the two Hondón villages known locally as La Montañosa Villas.

Demographics and Economics

The 2008 figures show a population for Nieves of 2,730 inhabitants, known as hondoneras / hondoneros. The municipality also includes two smaller villages: El Rebalso and La Canalosa, the latter being higher in the mountains and former between the two main villages, close to La Montanosa Urb. In reality the population swells in the summer as foreign property owners and their friends or relatives come for long holidays. It’s a busy time in the villages from May to October.

The traditional economy for Hondon is agricultural based, mainly almonds, vegetables, olives and table grapes (produced under the designation of origin Table grapes pocketed Vinalopó). In the last decade or so the local economy is complemented and probably surpassed by the real estate business (Hondon Villas AIPP registered) An increasing number of foreigners (British, Dutch, Belgium, French) is  now installed in the municipality. As such, there are many sand and gravel quarries, cement and related industries in the Hondon Valley.

Geography & Recreation

Hondon is located in a small valley protected by the Sierra de Crevillente, populated by pine, almond, olive trees and vineyards. It offers 300+ days of sunshine per year, a pleasant climate all year, an al-fresco lifestyle, clean air and a tranquil life. The Hondoneros make the most of the outdoors for both religious, domestic and for recreational needs. There are many public holidays and fiestas to tempt the locals and visitors. Many are based on religious history or holidays, such as Easter. They are always well attended.

Virgin of the snows, Hondon

Being surrounded by mountains attracts many walking groups, cyclists and game shooting. Hobby groups are in plentiful supply. You will also observe numerous animal welfare groups, horse and pony trekking and Hondon has a myriad of plant species: pine, juniper, thyme, rosemary for those with a botanical interest. The local fauna includes wild boars, foxes, partridges, hares, rabbits, lizards, owls real, etc. The mountains do attract hawks and eagles too.

Hondon Architecture

The stand-out building in the area is relatively new (and a useful place to visit), that is Bodegas Cerda, a family run wine merchant and museum to Hondon’s vineyard history. The Cerda family have a long history of growing grapes and making wine. It still does and the modern Bodega could grace any city or town. You must pay this building a visit and try its many wines.

Wine Merchant and Museum

The central Plaza, as is typical of Spanish towns & villages, is the central point for most social and official ceremonies or fiestas. The local square is often converted or re-decorated for an event throughout the year. The highlights are usually in the summer (July/August) fiestas when the children are on the main break. It seems like the village comes out then. These are a “must-see” and can both entertain and educate the visitor on the local Spanish culture.

Other places of interest: Rollo Cave, an archaeological site, is a settlement of the Upper Paleolithic.  The Parish Ntra. Sra. De las Nieves. Erected in 1746 by the Bishop of the Diocese of Orihuela D. Elias Gomez de Teran on the chapel of San Pedro, of Baroque style.

In 2007 there have been wall paintings of s. XVIII, that they are being restored.
Ermita de San Isidro. In the area of La Cruz, a small church, typical of this area.

Plaza de la Villa. With City Hall and the Culture Centre. Facade of the convent of the Franciscan Concepcionistas. Mid-twentieth century, today rehabilitated turned into the Chapel of Ntra. Sra. De las Nieves.

Hondon Gastronomy

Apart from the exquisite table grapes included in the designation of origin grape Embolsada Mesa del Vinalopó, we can taste risotto, gazpacho, gachamiga, stew and rice with rabbit and snails. You will often see the older Hondoeros collecting snails from the campo or hear the hunter’s guns early in the morning. Sweets are also well represented with crusty rolls, French toast, the sequillos or embocaos.

Most of the popular restaurants and bars are in the village plaza. As we write to include: Destiny’s, La Font, Bar Central, Bocodito, Vamboo to name a few. The local market is very popular on Wednesday and Saturday.


AUTHOR: This article ©2016 was brought to you by Hondon Villas, the local premier and award winning Estate Agent in the Hondon Valley. Hondon Villas can help you buy, sell or rent luxury villas on La Montanosa Urb, Frailes, Nieves and all surrounding areas. With over 30 years experience in real estate, a local office with mutli-lingual agents, we sell more villas than any other agent in the area. Our extensive network of online portals and collaborators, a call centre and central office ensures a faster route to property sales. Check out our website for testimonials and our professional property services. www.hondonvillas.net | www.hondonvillas.nl

European Day. Hondon de los Frailes

A special charity night in the Hondon Valley was held on 15th July 2017. This has been an annual event in the area for a few years now and brings together many residents and their visiting friends to enjoy what is a street party with live music. Organised to raise moeny for the Fiestas and local people this event fills the main plaza of Hondon de los Frailes.

This is a popular community night for all nationalities to enjoy food, drink, live bands and a disco. This year the bands were “The Hardest” (a classic rock tribute band) and “Stone Control” from Alicante who perform as a Rolling Stones tribute act. Proceeds started at 8.30pm to a very late finish … 3am +.

The village plaza was jam packed with excited and party-mood residents and holiday makers of all ages who enjoyed singing and dancing in the street. Those that booked a table were allowed to bring their own food and beverages so the atmosphere was very jovial.

A great night that the whole Hondon Villas team attended to support our local community. Thank you for a great night!

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All proceeds go to the Frailes Fiesta’s Collection.