Treading Water

Britain’s Green and Pleasant land?

Nope…

This is Germany, where fields and trees roll on to meet the horizon everywhere, with not a trading park or blot on the landscape in sight. Towns and cities are clean, town centres are block paved and free of traffic. Potholes in the roads don’t exist, even on country roads.

I took these in the car on the way to the airport, one and a half hours travelling, and the expansive greenery was constant…

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Main crop: Corn, 6 – 7 feet high…

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Quirky but nice…

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Our transport back to Blighty…?

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Germany’s population = 81.8 million.

UK’s population = 63.7 million.

Germany is 5 times bigger than the UK.

So based on population and size, every person there has roughly 4 times the space that we have on this over-crowded island, and it shows. Everywhere.

Something that’s really impressive is that “urban” areas are branched off small roads, away from town centres, amidst beautiful countryside. Each house is detached, and because of the sheer space there’s no road noise. So well planned…

Fly over Germany it truly is a green and pleasant land. Enter UK airspace and (amidst the clouds) the green is blighted by eyesores. Ugly industrial estates surround even villages. Too many roads, that ironically can’t cater for demand and (on the ground) are full of potholes. You’d have to drive a long way in Germany to find one of those…

The only exception in the UK are national parks such as the peak district and the lake district. Designated areas of beauty without blight. But they’re few and far between.

Even in cash strapped Spain the “general upkeep” is the same as Germany compared to here. OK so Spain isn’t as green. It’s just as beautiful in a different way, with mountains full of lavender and an awesome white sand coastline instead. Blue Flag beaches are everywhere. For all the speculation about Spain’s economy, it’s clean, spacious and yet again, play “find the pothole” on their well maintained roads. Or, find industrial estates amidst where people live. Nada. And in the grand scheme of life (as you probably know) Spain is where we want to be.

The population of Spain = 47.2 million

Spain is three times the size of the UK.

So the amount of space per person there is roughly the same as in Germany…

But what I find fascinating is this:

You could say that Germany’s economy being better than ours means that basic, yet important things I’ve mentioned are affordable for local authorities. Which would lead to the assumption that Spain’s equivalent services and road network would be worse maintained than in the UK. Wrong. They’re just as good a standard as Germany, far superior to here.

As for Spain’s construction “crisis,” well, across 40 kilometres, the worst we saw was just one small seaside resort that had suffered. In the midst of being created the recession dictated otherwise. However over two thirds of it was already built, in a beautiful pristine setting people have moved in. It also has the tallest hotel in Europe. In stark comparison there are many towns in this country everywhere, with what must be a greater surface area of extremely grotty rows of empty shops and buildings. Matching, or even exceeding all of Spain’s real estate gaps.

Established coastal Spain resorts are positively booming and the cost of living is low. The only blooming booming place in the UK is congested London, cost of living? Very high.

Take for example fresh food in Spain, think of any vegetable you like, double it’s size, and then more than halve the cost.

A few months ago the media made a big deal about expats moving back here from Spain (good PR for CaMORON & co). In reality there were very few Brits came back here, and only due to their businesses going down the pan. {Skewed News} They didn’t move to the UK because they wanted to, they had no choice.

While we were there we got talking to a British couple who had experienced this and lost everything. I asked them why they were back in Spain, and with tears in their eyes they told me “This is where we still want to be, so we’ve saved up to come back here in winter.”

I felt so sorry for them as they explained that they, and other Brits had invested in failed businesses over the past few years. Most of them fail within the first 5 years. (Just like the UK then). Three years ago investment in British bars or entertainment on the coast must’ve been lucrative.

Two years ago the police cracked down on British yobs because they were turning other holidaymakers away. (Good on them). So there’s no demand for more “British bars.” In fact they’re few and far between in Benidorm now. The “bums & tits” generation has all but disappeared to Ibiza! Wrong timing…

As for us two, well business isn’t an issue, we’re both retired and know the score. Can’t wait to do line dancing on the beach – in winter…! 

Makes you think doesn’t it? Well, it makes me think about how far away from reality “manipulated media blurb” can be. Go and visit for yourself and the difference is truly gobsmacking…

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