Underground Living on Lanzarote

Lanzarote – the eastern most Canary Island – is home to some of the most unusual real estate on the planet. Thanks to a cataclysmic volcanic eruption – which lasted six years from 1730. Which covered one quarter of the island in solidified lava – so forcing a serious re-think about how to construct homes and houses.

This unique architectural approach is today best epitomized by the incredible home of the island born artist and architect Cesar Manrique – owner of what is undoubtedly the most famous and surreal property in Lanzarote.

Back in the 1960´s Manrique created a house within a series of five volcanic bubbles, which still blows visitors away to this day. This ingenious feat of architecture was Manrique´s first major piece of work on Lanzarote and encapsulates his organic approach and desire to create a perfect symbiosis between man, art and nature.

In the early 1960´s Manrique was studying art in New York and rubbing shoulders with the likes of Andy Warhol. But as tourism started to take off back on his native island he felt the urge to return. Afraid that his beloved Lanzarote could be buried beneath a sea of four star hotels and apartments. As had happened in other Spanish sun spots.

With the help of influential family friends such as Pepin Ramirez – then leader of the island government – he championed an ecological approach towards development. But he needed a flagship project to convince his skeptical fellow islanders. Many of whom doubted his assertions that Lanzarote could evolve as a viable tourist destination.

Manrique discovered his site by walking the lava fields that surround much of Tahiche. A small village, which is centrally located on Lanzarote. Here, the green tip of a fig tree caught his eye growing just above the sea of black volcanic rock. And on closer inspection he found that this emerged from one of five large bubbles that had been created within the flow.

Work commenced, the five underground chambers were interconnected, and by the end of 1968 Manrique´s creation was complete. Providing him with the perfect work and exhibition space and Lanzarote with a blueprint for future development.


Villa Rentals in Spain

If you’d like to visit Spain, but don’t want to stay in hotels or apartments, you should consider renting a villa. If you’re going to stay in one place for a week or more, we highly recommend Spanish villas because they provide a more unique experience and can usually save you a lot of money, especially in the off-season. It’s also a good idea if you’re looking to buy property in Spain to rent a villa in the area you’re considering first, to see what it would be like living there.

Most rental villas are located along the beautiful Spanish coast, and usually have stunning seaviews, a swimming pool, lots more room than apartments, and normally can accommodate six or more persons. While there are some older style villas available, more and more villas are relatively new or have been recently remodeled. This means a modern kitchen with a big refrigerator, and sometimes a dishwasher. All villas have a washing machine, but few have dryers as drying your clothes outdoors is one Spanish tradition that’s hard to change.

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Banking in Spain

Banking in Spain for Tourists and Long-Term Ex-Pats

Visiting your local bank in Spain has become painless indeed since Franco died. Now in the year 2005, there is at least one English-speaking ‘bank officer’ on hand in just about any branch in southern Spain. They like showing off their mastery languages as they open ‘tourist’ accounts with glee.

An added bonus for us technology worshipping ex-pats is that most of their websites are also in several languages for ease of use.

Here is an almost complete list of banks in Spain, including the website addresses for each:

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First service station with biodiesel in Spain

First service station with biodiesel in Spain
CIVITAS2004-Sustainable Development News

TÀRREGA, Lleida, February 25, 2003 – A service station in the town of Tàrrega, in the Lleida region, has opened the first pump in Spain that supplies biodiesel, which is partly made up of vegetable-based oils. This fuel pollutes less, reduces noise and prolongs the life of the engine because lubrication is improved.

The biofuel, sold under the name of BDP 30 in the Petromiralles service station at the national N-11 motorway exit at the municipal limit of Tàrrega, is a blend of 30% vegetable-based oils and 70% diesel and is biodegradable and 30% less polluting than traditional diesel.

This ecological fuel is sold at the same price as conventional diesel and can be used in all vehicles that run on diesel. It is produced by the manufacturing plant Stocks del Vallés in collaboration with the Catalan Energy Institute of the Generalitat (Regional Government) of Catalonia. The Catalan government envisages that, by 2010, 8% of all diesel consumed in Catalonia will be bio-diesel, in keeping with the European norms on fuel consumption.

The distributing company, Petromiralles, is to install another five pumps with the same type of fuel in the towns of Figueres, Igualada, Vilafranca del Penedès, Cercs and the port area of Barcelona.

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Emergency & Useful Phone Numbers


Medical emergencies 061

General emergencies 112

Fire service 080

Guàrdia Urbana (local police) 092

Mossos d’Esquadra Catalan police force
Emergencies and traffic accidents 088

Policía Nacional 091

Guardia Civil police force 062

Hospital General de la Vall d’Hebron 93 274 61 00

Hospital Clínic i Provincial 93 227 54 00

Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau 93 291 91 91

Hospital del Mar 93 248 90 11/10

Hospital Sant Joan de Deu 93 253 21 00

Duty Magistrates’ Courts (24-hours services) 93 567 31 40

Funeral Services 93 484 17 00

Round-the clock social care office 900 703 030

Office for Non-Discrimination 93 304 31 18

Telegrams by telephone 93 322 20 00

Taxis (Audiotex telephone) catalalan: 93 481 00 85
castilian: 93 481 10 85

Special taxis for people with reduced mobility) 93 420 80 88

Veterinary surgeons (24-hours services) 93 205 31 16

Information on duty pharmacies 93 481 00 60

Medicines. Night home delivery
(only for suscribers) 93 218 88 88