Netflix and Learn Spanish

Are you guilty of binge watching your favourite series until 2am?

Are you trying and perhaps struggling to improve your Spanish?

Are you stuck on what to watch on Neflix?

If you’ve answered a great honking “YES!” to all of the above you should definitely keep on reading cause here are five series/movies on Netflix that have Spanish as their primary language that you should check out immediately.

  • “Narcos”

One of the most talked about Netflix series and for good reason, Narcos takes the viewer on trip to Columbia in a true life story about the notorious drug cartels. Centring around drug-lord Pablo Escobar and his rise to power in Medellin, the drama mixes the English and Spanish language to create realism that really makes you feel that your in the depths of this South American city.

  • “I’m so Excited”

I’ve spoken briefly about my love for Almodovar before and although I’m so Excited isn’t my favourite film of his, it’s still quirky, original and one of the more light heartened things on the list. When a plane full of passengers is trying to find an airport to land in the midst of a technical fault, everyone does their best to make light of the situation amongst the panic.

  • “The Motorcycle Diaries”

Meet Che Guevarra before he became Che Guevara. Gael Garcia Bernal plays the revolutionary as he ventures into South America on motorcycle with his brother on a trip that will show him his true purpose in life.

  • “Grand Hotel”

Compress all the scheming of 3 seasons of Downton Abbey into 5 minutes, and you’ve got ‘Gran Hotel’. After the success of the former, it’s no surprise also this Spanish TV series is taking the world by (calm) storm. Top-knotch eye-candy!

  • “Cartel Land”

A eye-opening documentary telling the true story of two vigilante groups fighting the same  cause, the Mexican drug carteles. On one side, Doctor José Manuel Mireles, who leads a citizen rebel group who actively stand up to these day to day threats. On the other a U.S veteran, working to stop cartel border crossings.

Grapevine Properties
Country Properties, Málaga

Learn 1000 Spanish words in 1 minute

Do you want to learn Spanish fast? Really fast? Let’s go!

Words ending with -TION?   Change them to –CIÓN.

Conversation – Conversación,
reception – recepción,
and so on. It does not always work, the majority of times it does though!

Words ending with -ECT or -IC?  Try them with an added -O

Perfect – perfecto
Magic – mágico
Et cetera.  
Can you think of more words?

Words ending with -TE?  Replace it by -R.

Tolerate – tolerar
Decorate – decorar
Et cetera. 

Words ending with -TY?  Give them a twang by -DÁD.

Positivity – positividad
Quality – calidad


It is said that you can get by in a language once you know 3000 words.
So now you are 30% bilingual.

A study tip? Try to come up with as many words as the above. It’s a great exercise.

¡Buena suerte!

Grapevine Properties
Guaro, inland Málaga



Spanish words of the month

So, I suppose we can all say ‘Feliz Navidad‘ en ‘Prospero Año Nuevo‘ now.
Learning a new language is that step-by-step process:

You pick up the vocabulary paso a paso. Or, more often than not, pasito a pasito: in little steps.

(Gamble with -ito or -ita at the end of a word and you are pretty sure it’s the correct diminutive. And if it’s not correct, we know how relaxed Andalusians are and always go for the good intention and never the correct packaging.

Some even experiment with adding more it’s in the middle: pie, piecito, piecisito… or foot, small foot, tiny foot… we suggest not to become too experimental though and avoid introducing –tititititito, you risk being taken for Apache instead of Spanish).

Back to the topic: last Friday it was Reyes Magos. That stands for the magical Kings, or the Three Wise Kings from the East. It was one of the most important national fiestas of last week.

Vale, we are ‘bromeando‘: kidding. The Andalusians are among the hardest working people in Europe: we are only being jealous that they’ve got life’s recipe so right! They always know that it’s not because it’s winter that the sunny mood should stop.

Sociologists sometimes indicate that where frutas (fruits) drop from the cielo (sky, heaven), there’s just less need for worries or the stress of planning: why be so anxious about tomorrow if the olives are instantly followed by the naranjas by the almonds by the avocados by the grapes, not to mention those annoying limones (lemons) that just keep dropping non-stop, without so much as you looking at the tree.

In inland Málaga the problem is never that you don’t have a lemon for your salad, the problem is that you’ve got 40 kilos of them. And a neighbour barricading the door so you can’t drop them with him. For he is struggling with his own lounge cum pecan nuts storage room.

Very, very hard work indeed (try being a builder or gardener in 40 degrees!): but less worries: tomorrow takes care of itself.

(We will skip the word for ‘tomorrow‘ at the time being for that one is too difficult).

imagesO Andalusian who is reading this, we are so sorry for such prejuicio! We are only teasing you, with lots of cariño (affection, love). We extranjeros might come here for the sun… we stay for the people. Sol y playa are wonderful for a holiday, Andalusians for a life.

We can struggle with the idioma, never get used to the horarios, always being three horas too early or too late, and never have the social customs precisely right. That we try so hard though and really really want to learn… is a great compliment and tribute to your culture. That also makes it so easy for us to make it ours.

Yes, yes, as many a Roman, Phoenician, Moor, Jew, Arab, Habsburger, Roma have been puzzled about: it’s one of the great mysteries of life why someone would want to live anywhere else than here.

Language and culture: always intertwined. You learn one and the other starts to shimmer through. Many a multi-lingual person even says: it ads to your personality, as though you develop another trait in yourself.

Feliz Año Nuevo a todos in Guadalhorce Valley!

Grapevine Properties

The 4 secrets to learn Spanish very quickly

The most heard excuse:  “I have no talent for languages‘.

Neither have I – and I speak 5 (and I forget the day of the week, or the name of my street).

I always found that there’s no such thing as a talent for languages.  The only thing that exists is: a talent for self motivation.

Paso-doble-2The easiest way to learn a language, is to find the right motivational triggers. Once you’re motivated, things go 5 times as fast. Or if you love a specific culture, 100 times as fast.

This is an article about happy chemicals and how to create them.

When I see my colleagues in the office, all busy with learning a new language, positivity and enthusiasm are the qualities most needed to be good at just about anything, and that also applies to learning a language – and completely so when that language is Spanish:

 For it’s a language that oozes and triggers positivity and enthusiasm. 

Spanish exudes warmth and passion, clarity and rhythm, it can sound like castanets, a Spanish guitar, like finger snapping, or the melancholy of an extremely hot afternoon under a tree.

It’s flamenco, tango and rumba in itself.

You have definitely never really argued as a couple until you have in Spanish! (Put the fun and the art back in the disagreement: do it in Spanish).

If you are among those whose mindset puts up blockades after obstacle after hurdle: here are the tactics my colleagues and I use:

1. Spark the fuse

Write, learn, memorize, practise… one single spectacular phrase.
One single phrase that will instantly wow everyone.

paso-doble-4It will make the person you use it with laugh, surprised, proud: it makes you unforgettable,  and triggers a treatment totally different from the ‘just another tourist’.
In short, it’s a boost for yourself and the fun factor of learning a language.
And that’s a propeller unlike any other: it changes your thoughts from thinking about it as hard and chore-like, to one that it’s fun and life changing.

What about: “I am sorry, I have not completely mastered the language of Cervantes“?
In Spanish: “Lo siento, no tengo un completo dominio de la idioma de Cervantes”

Not only does that show intent, that you are willing to struggle in order to please the other,  it also shows knowledge of and respect for the culture. And instead of studying, it turns into a fun hobby.

Obviously, you will have to go for your own specific phrase, that addresses the people that you are most likely to deal with. They will then become the wind in your sails of positivity and enthusiasm.

2. Soak up the feel

Excuse: “I don’t speak the local language… I don’t need to”.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sure, not everyone needs the sales clerk to go the extra mile, the neighbour to see and help you as a soul mate in the same social fabric. Not everyone needs another treatment than the one for just-another-of-the-160-million-annual-tourists. Maybe you are perfectly happy with the commercial smile or service. Maybe you are perfectly content with the sun stroking your skin as the only extra sense of Spain that you want.

It could also be that you realise that speaking the language of the other, makes a conversation transition from mind-to-mind to heart-to-heart. That besides the sun stroking your skin, another culture comes with many other inexplicable experiences that you can only experience when you look for them.

There is not scientific study however we do notice that those who are most enthusiastic about Andalusians or working with them, are those that are able to communicate from heart to heart.

Next time your mind is exhausted and fools you for the umpteenth time into thinking “I don’t need to“… tackle it. Change your attitude in order to change theirs.

Do not say: “I do not speak Spanish“. That scores nil as an introduction or as an apology. You would never introduce yourself this way in your own language.

Say: “I am really sorry, I do not speak Spanish yet, do you happen to speak English”?

It’s a small difference for you, and a huge one for the person you are talking to.

3. Monitor your second soul

Proverb: ‘To have another language is to possess a second soul’. 

TangoThat’s a quote of Charlemagne.
Online you find many, many more:

“In my own language I come accross as abrupt, factual – and I notice that when I speak Spanish I become this lively, happy, even almost cuddly person”.

“For my whole life I’ve been a complete introvert. Very often I still am, especially the shy of it. And then I speak Spanish and I wonder: where does this person come from?  Articulating, enjoying to pronounce and deliver a phrase and then being proud about of myself that I can do that, open, enthused to see people, attempt a move on the dance floor: like an extra window has opened in me”.

“I’m not cultured at all. Since I became mediocre in Spanish though, I very quickly went from Carmen to Don Quijote – whereas before I sort of sat in the regional area of Malaga, I seem to feel it now, as though I developed a heightened sense of awareness, a special treat to the senses, or the discovery of a sense I didn’t even know existed”.

Do you want to do the test? Start that argument with your other half: and notice just how much more precise you will be, much more clear in what exactly it is that bothers you (as well as, possibly, be a tad more expressive and passionate about it).

4. Realise how easy it is

Change many English words that end with -ent… into -ente.

Excellent – Excelente
Different – Diferente

There you go, you just learned 120 words. That wasn’t difficult, was it?

And do not forget: every Wednesday evening we have our free ‘Spanish conversation sessions’ in Guaro at 6PM. Just walk into the village and ask for ‘La Parra’ at the Plaza.

There are a few shortcuts to happiness, and learning a new language is one of them

So what if this means a struggle of 4 hours to memorise some basics?
Your future self will be very grateful you did.

¡Buena suerte!

Grapevine Properties

Be fluent in Spanish – in one month?

First, let’s get that myth out of the way: “I just don’t have a talent for languages”.

Of course you do!  It’s not something you need to have a talent for. Just as you don’t need a talent for walking up straight. You just learn it by doing it.

You already speak a language: your own. If you didn’t have a talent for it you wouldn’t be able to read this.

Secondly, … you don’t speak your native tongue because you followed a course one hour a week.

At that pace you would probably only have spoken English by the time you were 20.  But somehow you seem to expect that from a language course?


Do you really want to speak Spanish?  And very quickly so?
In a very fun way?
Then here’s the ONE AND ONLY TRICK (and the one ‘secret’ of many a multi-lingual person):


Simply put it on the shelf. You refuse to use it. You are going to live and breathe Spanish only. For one month only. 

Be then prepared for that one single incredibly frustrating day: a day in with you are just not able to communicate. For you can’t use your language. 

O, you will feel to be like a toddler, utterly frustrated that you can’t get any message accross. And that’s exactly how you picked up your mother tongue: stuttering and struggling through every moment. With that same feeling of: “Aaaaaaargh“.
All of a sudden you find yourself reverting to sign language. And you know what? That’s Spanish already! If anyone is very expressive with eyes, hands and legs, it’s the Mediterraneans.
Inform everyone around you: “I am really sorry, bear with me“!  Just as though you were a smoker committing to quit.
It’s the only way to become one of those multilingual people. People don’t become Olympic athletes by practising a one hour a week… They dive in head over heels”.
By the 3rd or 4th day of feeling like a fool, you suddenly hear yourself say something that strikes you like a thunderbolt: gosh, where did that expression come from??  From me??
In the 2nd week you’ll start dreaming in Spanish.
By the 3rd week there’ll be moments you THINK something in Spanish. From this moment you learn it even while doing nothing. Your radar has become so sensitive and trained, it starts to pick up everything, like a snowball rolling down a hill.
And after 30 days you can tell your partner or colleague: “Ahora en Inglés”.

Raise the glass and say “salud”!

You might not be a professional linguist or even haven gotten as far as you wanted to get: it’s a given though that you will be fluent enough to make any conversation with any Spaniard one from heart to heart. Your life will become richer for it – not to mention about how proud you will feel of yourself.

Are you up for a challenge?

Or a month in which you do what you’ve never done before?

Treat yourself to those few days of feeling like a Spanish toddler… and enjoy the evolution into Spanish youngster, teen, adult.

Me and my colleagues will be with you, should you call our office stuttering and fighting yourself through a sentence. We will understand.

For we’ve been there too. And often still are.

¡Suerte! to those who go for it. Keep us informed from time to time… in Spanish.

Ben Geurts

See how others struggle?  A fun video:

The best Spanish chat-up lines

Unleash you inner Don Juan


I’m a firm believer that learning a new language does not have to imply hours of memorising  grammar and practicing verb conjugations. There are so many fun ways to learn a language that don’t involve lessons. Have a go at pronouncing these Spanish piropos (chat-up lines) and release your Don Juan from within.

  • ¿Empezó la primavera? Acabo de ver la primera flor. – Has Spring begun? Because I’ve just seen the first flower.

  • Dime tu nombre, que te pido para Reyes. – Tell me your name, so I can write it on my list to the Three Kings. (the Spanish equivalent to Santa Claus)

  • ¿Qué haces aquí tan temprano? ¿No sabes que las estrellas sólo salen de noche? – What are you doing here so early? Didn’t you know that stars only come out at night?

  • Quisiera ser gato para pasar siete vidas a tu lado. – I wish I was a cat so that I could spend seven lives at your side. (in Spain a cat has seven lives instead of nine)

  • Hola. Soy un ladrón y lo primero que quiero robar es tu corazón. – Hello, I’m a thief and the first thing I am going to steal is your heart.

  • ¿Te puedo hacer una foto? Quiero enviársela a mis amigos y demostrarles que los ángeles existen. – Can I take a photo of you? I want to send it to my friends and show them that angels exist.

  • Hola, perdí mi número de teléfono, ¿me prestas el tuyo? – Hello, I lost my phone number, can I borrow yours?

  • Del cielo bajó un pintor para pintar tu figura, pero no encontró un color para tanta hermosura! – A painter came down from heaven to paint your portrait, but he couldn’t find the right colour for so much beauty.

  • Si la belleza pagase impuestos, estarías arruinada. – If beauty paid taxes, you’d be in ruins.

  • Hay una fiesta en mi corazón y tu estás invitada. – There’s a party in my heart and you’re invited.

Laura Wood

Spanish False Friends

I’ve found myself many a time making up words in Spanish by saying the English word in a Spanish accent or in a slightly different way and praying that what I’ve said is an actual word and not complete gibberish. Sometimes you can get away with it, as many words in English are very similar to their Spanish equivalent like fantastic and fantástico, for example. There are words however, that by slightly tweeking them, end up changing the meaning of the sentence completely!

Here are few ‘false friends’ to look out for:

Spanish word English translation English word Spanish translation
ACTUAL current, present-day ACTUAL real, efectivo
AMERICANO person from North or South America AMERICAN estadounidense
ASISTIR to attend, be present at OR to assist ASSIST ayudar
BILLÓN (US) trillion, (UK) billion BILLION (US) mil millones
BIZARRO dashing, brave, gallant BIZARRE extraño
BOMBERO firefighter BOMBER bombardero
CARPETA folder CARPET alfombra
CASUALIDAD coincidence, chance CASUALTY víctima
CHOCAR strike, collide CHOKE ahogar
CODO elbow CODE código
COLEGIO high school COLLEGE universidad
COMPROMISO obligation, commitment COMPROMISE componenda
CONDESCENDER to comply, agree CONDESCEND dignarse
CONSTIPADO (n.) a cold CONSTIPATED constipado (adj.)
CONTESTAR to answer CONTEST (v.) contender
CORRIENTEMENTE fluently, plainly, flatly CURRENTLY actualmente
DELITO crime DELIGHT delicia, deleite
DESGRACIA mistake, misfortune DISGRACE vergüenza
DISGUSTO annoyance, worry DISGUST asco, repugnancia
DESTITUIDO fired, deprived DESTITUTE indigente
DORMITORIO bedroom DORMITORY residencia universitaria
EMBARAZADA pregnant EMBARRASSED avergonzada
EMPRESA business enterprise, company EMPRESS emperatríz
ENVIAR send ENVY (v.) envidiar
ESTRECHAR to narrow, bring closer together STRETCH estirar, alargar
ESTIMADO esteemed ESTIMATE estimacíon, presupuesto
ÉXITO success, hit EXIT salida
FÁBRICA factory FABRIC tela
GROSERÍA grossness, crudeness GROCERY abarrotería, tienda de comestibles
INTRODUCIR insert INTRODUCE (someone) presentar
LARGO long LARGE grande
LECTURA reading LECTURE conferencia
LIBRERÍA bookstore LIBRARY biblioteca
MANTEL tablecloth MANTEL manto, mesilla
MOLESTAR bother MOLEST abusar (sexualmente)
NUDO knot NUDE desnudo
PARADA stop, e.g. bus stop PARADE desfile
PARIENTE relative PARENT padre
PRETENDER to attempt, to woo PRETEND fingir
REALIZAR to come true REALIZE darse cuenta
RECORDAR to remember, remind RECORD grabar
ROPA clothes ROPE cuerda
SANO healthy SANE cuerdo
SOPA soup SOAP jabón
SOPORTAR tolerate, put up with SUPPORT apoyar
SUCESO event SUCCESS éxito
TUNA prickly pear TUNA atún 
 ÚLTIMAMENTE  recently ULTIMATELY al final
VASO drinking glass VASE  jarrón, florero

Can you think of any others?


Laura Wood