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



How To Buy in Spain

Check this site to stay up to date and find some interesting information on the second home market in Spain. HowtobuyinSpain.com was created by foreigners who bought properties in Spain and so they know the different steps of an acquisition: get the information, find properties, get the help of advisors… The Spanish market is specific and it is important to get experts on your side on the ground and speaking your language.

HowtobuyinSpain.com publish interesting information and tips on the Spanish property market. It’s very helpful for foreigners looking to buy a second home. Have a look at their “must read” paper analyzing the reasons why you should invest in Spain: it has many useful information. Their mission is to be “the” source of information for foreigners buying houses in Spain. The way they add value is their network of experts.


A good tip is to subscribe to their free weekly newsletter so that you stay up to date without work.


Those are a few interesting news we picked for you from their news section:

01/03/2017 Malaga: an emerging city to buy second homes

24/02/2017 Top 8 tips for not wasting money when you buy in Spain

14/02/2017 Property purchases in Spain recorded a strong growth in 2016

29/01/2017 Spanish Real Estate return estimated at 8,4%

27/01/2017 Where are foreigners buying Real Estate in Spain in 2016?

27/01/2017 Is the cost of life in Spain much cheaper than in Europe?

Stay up to date on the residential market prices and activity in Spain

They provide as well interesting tables with price evolutions of the Spanish real estate market on a national level, on a regional level and a comparison with the international market. Last but not least have a look at their “Return & mortgage” page for interesting financial analysis.

You have another “Report” section with detailed analysis on the market: Where do foreigners buy in Spain? What is the activity on the mortgage market?

Check their useful Infographics


So, if your considering purchasing in our beautiful region, definitely check out this website  for plenty of advice and information.

Grapevine Properties


Sheepish: the spotlight on shepherds

Let’s put the spotlight on someone we all know…

Everywhere in Málaga. Every day. The shepherd. El ‘pastor‘!

Of cabras (goats) or ovejas (sheep).

Sheep on Forest Path

For Mary might have had a little lamb, we are so lucky to have thousands of them, and to see them live just as they did thousands of years ago:

From green pasture to tranquil waters, under the guidance of tireless dogs – and the responsible for their safety and well being, the shepherd.

The real oldest profession in the world?


No, that would have been hunter or gatherer of course. Shepherd must have followed suit pretty quickly though.

Adam and Eve would have been herders.

There has been a period of herding in the lives of literally all prophets of all 3 Abrahamic religions, all the way from Abraham in 1800 BC to Muhammad in 600 AD.

Try to count the sheer number of porcelain shepherdesses, nursery rhymes, psalms, parables, metaphors, dogs that popped up in your life – it’s a profession that is deeply ingrained in our collective consciousness, which possibly is the reason why it fills us with a little bit of warmth whenever we encounter it. Its mere existence is a stress reducer.

The most famous shepherd of all time?

David-MichelangeloLittle David, that intriguing 5ft-something teenager with all his far taller brothers… but who was the one daring to take on Goliath, and went on to become King David and the author of the Psalm ‘The Lord is my shepherd‘.

Fast forward 3000 years and he ended up as the King of Spades in everyone’s deck of cards (early Middle Ages), another 200 years and Michelangelo made a (for sure slightly idealised) sculpture of him (1501-1504)… and yet another 500 years and he ends up in this blog that is world famous in downtown Guaro.

The work of a shepherd

Sometimes we think that all a ‘pastor’ needs to do is to tag along all day, and strike the occasional photogenetic pose. Nothing could be further from the truth; he is the one behind your wool, cheese or milk needs and responsible for quality. For this he has to master quite the number of skills, absolute vigilance for his flock, care for the individual animal, and knowledge of pastures chief among them.

Nobody can wreck a land so much as a herd of cabras (goats) or ovejas (sheep). They can be the saviour of soil, but also its ruin. For that reason they need to be permanently on the move, according to the seasons and the type of grass.

Especially sheep are fragile creatures and prone to dozens of dangers, in today’s Andalucía dogs and parasites being the most known ones. A cast down sheep is not capable of getting up, so as its guide you have to be on the permanent look out that no sheep is left behind – and thus in mortal danger – and get it up and massage its legs for blood circulation.

Any shepherd can tell you that sheep come with their personalities, and one bad apple in the flock – for example the ewe teaching her lambs where to find holes in the fence, an overly dominant ram – can cause one headache after the other.

Shepherd in 2017

Shepherd-in-Malaga2In the midst of modern day traffic, a shepherd must sometimes really feel to be a little David, a little bit ignored amidst the hustle and bustle of all those more hectic brothers: it might have become easier to keep the flock free from predators, but not of stress.

Yet, little David was the only character in the Bible to ever have made God smile. “Somehow who is so good with his sheep, must be good with mine”. 

(*) The 4 most formidable kings that made it to the deck of cards are: Alexander, King DavidJulius Ceasar and Charles The Great. The most intriguing thing about the 2nd is whether he existed at all.

Fun facts about sheep


There are 1 billion sheep in the world. The person who counted them fell asleep.

They are divided into 900 breeds.

Their natural average lifespan is of 10-12 years. The weight of a male can go all the way from 45 to 160 kgs.

The ram has become a symbol of virility, power and determination, and a lamb of tenderness. The female is named an ewe. Theirs is a highly hierarchical society, the moving of the flock is correlated with social dominance, and the horn size is a factor in the flock hierarchy.

They find that the wool of a black sheep is just as warm. And that humans look extremely alike and all bend out of the car window with the same camera in the same Selfie-angle: they call that ‘human like behaviour‘.

More about sheep here on Wikipedia.

Grapevine Properties
Guaro, Málaga

You can’t buy happiness…

…but you can be in Andalucía in spring. 

Can you all feel it? That pinch of primavera in the air? The first sparkles? Those first hints of the build-up of new life?

As seasoned travellers know: it’s never the destination, always the journey. It’s never the highlight of the season that is exciting, but its build-up. And, oh my, how Andalucía knows about theatrical build-ups.  

That’s why spring is our favourite time of the year in inland Málaga. New beginnings!


Nature and humans alike are working on the movie set on 2017: babystep by babystep, the days are getting longer, the weather is evolving towards that ideal mix of warm in the sun and cool in the shade, and you can see spring in the step of people.

The almond and orange blossom scatters the countryside with white and pink, making you feel like singing ‘Edelweiss‘.

You start to debate whether it’s warm enough to swim in the piscina yet. The brave jump in and soon regret their decision. The not-so-brave dip their toe in and decide otherwise.


The farmers plant their crops for the summer.

There is the first ‘shorts or trousers?’ debate in the morning. The first endearingly hopeful thoughts of how to obtain a beach body. The phones of personal trainers start to ring.

You begin to organise the first thought about the first barbeque.  Will it be a big affair or with just 5000 of your most intimate friends? This year you’re going to branch out from burgers and sausages. This year you’re going to grill fillets of pork and tuna steaks. No, peppers and mushrooms only. No, just salad. You stay optimistic.

The villages have their first meetings about the Semana Santa or the Romería. You see more horses on streets. More sheep shepherds. You see uninspired bloggers start posting photos of blossoms and writing about new beginnings.

If it’s your first time to our blog, pardon our enthusiasm. You will have to know that in this world there are enthused people, there are very enthused ones, and then those in inland Málaga.

We wish you a lovely journey into 2017!

Laura and Ben from the office of…
Guaro, 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

December 8th: the celebration of Immaculate Conception

You might have noticed: in winter the fiestas in Málaga are less ‘olé‘.

There is the Big Boomer of New Years’ Eve in Coin coming up, that miniature version of carnival in Rio, but apart from that also the festive character of the Andalusians is hibernating: the events are much more intimate and serious in nature.

That does not mean they are less lovely or less unique. As for example this exquisite little jewel: the celebration of Inmaculada Concepción on December the 8th. 

It is one of these little surprises that we as foreigners in inland Málaga can bump into, and reduce us to tears, and we don’t know why. Possibly it’s the feel of being reconnected to history, to our Christian roots or the evoking of simpler, purer days that gives us this chill down our spine.

Yes, celebrated possibly as early as the 5th century (in Syria) and in the Spanish Empire non-stop for the past 400 years, very little has changed or has been adapted to momentary fashion to this celebration – of the conception of the Virgin Mary in the womb of her mother, Saint Anne.

Mary might be the only person in history who does not get birthday wishes, but a celebration of her conception (ergo: no fiesta on September 8th, but 9 months earlier).

According to the teaching of the Catholic Church, this stands for the Virgin Mary’s freedom of original sin by virtue of the foreseen merits of her son Jesus. Mind: the Church does teach that Mary was conceived by normal biological means, but God acted upon her soul at the time of her conception, keeping her ‘immaculate‘.

On that procession of the night of December 7th, for sure someone might want to start humming “Happy conception to you, happy conception to you” – and yet this is the magic of processions in inland Málaga: in all the sarcasm or irony of our post-modern 21st century, in which snow has become ‘traffic misery’ and the sky polluted, there are still moments in which we celebrate purity. Just like our forefathers did. It’s a moment of absence of centuries of luggage.

Hence why a procession, no matter how small, can trigger such an emotion in us?


Dia de Todos Los Santos in Málaga

You may have seen by now in the local supermarkets, the sections dedicated to Halloween, a U.S holiday that has been adopted now worldwide.

This adoption in Inland Málaga only really began around 10 years ago and has been growing ever since, 2016 easily beating previous with regards to decorations and festivities. Never have I seen so many carved pumpkins and bags of themed sweets.

In Spain however it’s not the 31st that is traditionally celebrated, but the 1st of November. It’s a day known as Día de Todos los Santos (All Saints Day, in English).

This Catholic public holiday is dedicated to honor those that have passed. People often visit the cemetery on this day to lay flowers, traditionally chrysanthemums, and pay respects. You will actually notice that the cemeteries leading up to and after this holiday are immaculately decorated with floral designs left by loved ones. This tradition is especially popular with the older generations, some even taking time before the 1st to go and clean the grave to prepare it beforehand.

As for most public holidays in Spain, there are also traditional things that are eaten too! On this occasion the sweet treats prevail, the most popular being:

Buñelos de Viento (Doughnut balls of the wind): Doughnut balls filled with fresh cream, crème patisserie or chocolate. This baked good was created during the reign of Felipe II towards the end of the 17th century when it was believed that eating one of these doughnut balls would save a soul from purgatory.

Huesos de Santo (Saint’s Bones): these are finger-like tubes of marzipan filled with a sweet egg yolk mixture. The name comes from the bone color they turn when baked.

Panellets: originally from Cataluña, rounds treats are made of almonds, potato, sugar and pine nuts. It is suggested that these are enjoyed with a glass of sweet moscatel wine.

Are you going to celebrate Día de Todos Los Santos?

Grapevine Properties SL
Guaro, Málaga