Getting comfortable in our interview hotseat is Silke Elzner – a well travelled lady from Germany (originally) that has made the Costa del Sol her home. If you’d like to be interviewed… click the link at the bottom of this article.
When did you move to Spain, and where from?
I moved to Spain in April this year, coming from Sydney, Australia. However, I am actually German (now Aussie-German, I daresay) and previously to Spain, we spent 13 years down under. We went to Spain as young adults when we were still young, free and innocent and over time built and, existence there. Had children, bought a house, voted the Prime Minister and so on. But what can I say? We missed Europe so much, we went back every summer as soon as we could afford it and the children were old enough. Soon we realised, that a sea-change was in order. We picked Spain because of warm childhood memories, for the challenge, the cheaper costs, and the warmth.
Who came with you?
My husband and two kids came with us. The kids made this decision the hardest for us because we didn’t know how well they would adapt to the new language and the new lifestyle. They are 10 and 8 years old, so not quite teenagers yet, so we reckoned that they would still be able to form new friendships without losing any deeper friendships in Australia. We were right about that and we are amazed at how resilient the children really are.
Where in Spain do you live now, Silke Elzner?
We picked the Costa del Sol as our new hometown. We wanted to go to Málaga initially, in particular, because we wanted to have easy access to a busy airport and we love the culture of Andalusia. But looking at house prices and lifestyle in the big city we moved away from the idea for the sake of the children. We like our new place because it has a great connection the airport and the city via a fast rail link.
What things (apart from loved ones) do you miss from your country of birth?
I haven’t lived in Germany for such a long time, there isn’t much that I miss. Back in Australia, I mostly missed particular dishes such as Currywurst or kale (which wasn’t available when we first came to Sydney, now it’s a superfood, oh the irony). Now in Spain, I have miraculous access to many German things that I couldn’t get before, including German live TV. That’s the advantage of being back in Europe. The thing I miss most about Australia now is the food, again. Most of all the great Asian food you get in Sydney, cheap sushi, and avo on toast for breakfast. Not to say that Spanish food isn’t great but there is always something that is lacking, no matter where you are.
Do you work? As what?
I run two travel blogs, one in English which I established some years ago back in Sydney – Happiness and Things. I also started a German family travel blog because there is a lot of potential for that market – Mini Globetrotter. I also just finished the manuscript for a travel hack guide for families which will be published in spring 2018 in Germany. And I was just offered the travel guide writing job for the online presence of a big German travel guide publisher. So I guess I could call myself a travel writer now.
How are you with speaking Spanish, Silke Elzner?
My Spanish is still really basic. I have an MA degree in German linguistics and I did many years of Latin in high school, so there is a base for Italian, French, and Spanish. But my comprehension is far better than my ability to form two grammatically correct sentences. I know I need to work on that but it’s a bit difficult when you live in a touristy place where everyone offers their English in return. I hope that over the winter months, with no bigger travel jobs planned, I will get down to improving my Spanish more. It’s essential if you want to integrate into society and make local friends.
If you could change anything about Spain… what would that be? And why?
More international food would be great. More online presence for businesses would be great too – answer forms if you have them on your website, update your opening hours online, manage your Facebook page – stuff like that. Other than that, we’ve been welcomed with open arms by everyone and we don’t regret our decision of relocating here.
What are the best things about living in Spain?
I love that you can go out any time of the day and find a small cafe or a bar and order a drink and a tapa without breaking the bank. One of the reasons why we left Sydney was that everything got so expensive. Rents and mortgages, children’s birthday parties, a pint. We felt that we were in a rat race of just working for spending too much money on things that failed to satisfy us. In Spain, the lifestyle is much more satisfying and if you don’t like a dish it’s not a problem because you didn’t spend a fortune on it.
What are your favourite Spanish dishes?
I love the grilled sardines that you get on the Málaga beaches – the smoke from the open fires already is a sweet promise. Then boquerones en vinagre. And in general, all the surprises you get from the tapas menu.
What is the predominant nationality of your friends in Spain?
British, simply because there are so many Brits here. I know I need to work on this a bit more.
If you won the Euromilliones – would you still live where you currently are? Why / why not?
Yes, indeed but I would buy a house and make it my own. Currently, we are still in rental accommodation but we love our urbanisation (it is made to resemble an Andalusian village with fountains and squares and a shrine etc) and wouldn’t mind buying into the community.
If a movie was made about your life – who would play Silke Elzner? Why?
I have no idea!
If you had to describe yourself as a cocktail… what would you be, and why?
I am quite clearly a martini. You get what you see, a real classic, and the taste might be something to get used to but the reward is an olive.
Right – now is the chance, Silke Elzner, to tell us all about your business/website/blog if you have one (or more of course).
Happiness and Things is an inspirational travel blogs, which aims at inspiring people through storytelling and stunning visuals. I write about what I am passionate about, the beautiful things in life, the ones that touch me.
Mini Globetrotter is a German family travel blog with lots of inspiration, tricks and tips on traveling with children. Helping you survive a trip with your little monsters.
Elle, along with Alan, is the owner of Spain Buddy and the busy web design business – Spain Web Design by Gandy-Draper.
Born a “Norverner”, she then spent most of her life “Dann Saff” before moving to Spain in 2006. Elle’s loves are Alan, the internet, dogs, good food, and dry white wine – although not necessarily in that order.