Every week I talk to a Belgian who moved abroad and built a new life there. This week Joeri tells us about moving to Spain.
1. Hi, Joeri! Please quickly introduce yourself. Tell us who you are, where you’re from, where you moved to and when/why you moved.
Hi, my name is Joeri Claeys and I’m originally from Ghent. I’m married to Sibylle and together we have a daughter of two. We moved to Mallorca (Spain) five years ago to get to enjoy the nice weather daily. Of course, work has got to be done. That’s why we opened a small hotel, which we are running with a lot of love, in the middle of the beautiful Tramuntana mountains.
2. What did you expect from Mallorca and life there before moving? Did those expectations hold up?
We had the advantage that we knew the island well already. We more or less knew what to expect. There are a lot of assets, but there are some disadvantages as well. The Majorcans do not really have an open personality, which means that it can take some time to establish a social network here.
3. What’s the biggest difference between life in Spain and life in Belgium?
Of course, the weather is MUCH better. And, what’s really important to me, you get a lot of light here. Even when it’s cloudy, it never gets as dark and gray as it does in Belgium.
Life is much less stressful over here than it is in Belgium. Everything just seems to move a lot calmer and slower.
4. What’s the best part about living on Mallorca?
The long summer and beautiful nature on the island. Winters are very mild and thus perfect for discovering the island on foot or by bike. Outside activities are possible all year round.
5. What do you like least about living on Mallorca?
Mañana, mañana…can be fun, but it can be very annoying as well.
6. What do you miss most about Belgium?
Speculoospasta (Lotus Biscuit spread) and watching movies in the cinema in their original form.
7. Is there something about Belgium that you don’t miss at all?
Feeling like it’s still autumn or winter in Summer.
8. Do you think you’ll stay on Mallorca? Or is there a chance you’ll move abroad again someday?
As things stand at the moment, we are staying on Mallorca.
9. Do you have any tips or advice for other Belgians who consider moving to Mallorca?
When you’re thinking about moving to Mallorca, the adjustment isn’t that big. It is important, though, that you both understand and speak Spanish. A lot of the official instances here do not have a good knowledge of foreign languages. Besides, it makes integrating a lot easier.
10. What are some tips you would give to people who are traveling to your region/city? Things they should visit or eat?
Some fun spots are Palma, the capital. A real highlight, both gastronomically and culturally.
The Tramuntana mountains: here you’ll discover the real Mallorca with its numerous small mountain villages. These are very fun to explore on foot or even by bike. The roads and street are in good shape and perfect for bike tours.
Mallorca has a lot of beautiful little bays that you should definitely try to visit. The island is very touristy, yet a lot of these bays are only accessible on foot or by boat.
Gastronomy is big on this island: there are various very good restaurants, both directly on the coast and inland. Melkvarken, frito Mallorquin, trampo and the black paella with squid (arroz negro) are some delicious specialties that are not to be missed while you’re here.
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This interview was done by Paloma García Miranda, a talented Master’s Student of Business Communication who’s helping Sofie out here on WonderfulWanderings.com.