Book review – “Fiestas and Siestas Miles Apart”

I must point out that at this stage my audience hadn’t seen much magic before and were perhaps not the quickest of what Spain has to offer; in fact, if there had been an eclipse due I could probably have got away with incorporating it into my act. Forget that, I’m not sure what they do with witches and warlocks over here.

“Fiestas and Siestas Miles Apart” by Alan Cuthbertson

Who of us hasn’t dreamed of a leisurely life under the Mediterranean sun? Days of the sun, light breeze playing in the olive groves and the silky-warm summer nights with a glass of wine, patio, and people we love around us. Alan Cuthbertson and his family decided to stop dreaming and start doing. The Fiestas and Siestas Miles Apart is a story about the middle-class British family with two (near)grownup daughters who decided to sell up, pack up and move abroad. Book cover Alan Cuthbertson

The main storyline follows parents from a gloomy, high-pressure England life through their journey to the Mediterranean lifestyle. Selling the house in England, finding and settling in the new home in rural Spain. The struggle through a chaos, bureaucracy and language barriers to eventually be accepted, make friends and find their place in a Spanish mountain community.

It’s funny how most women do the cooking indoors, but once outdoors and over a naked flame the men all suddenly turn into Jamie Oliver.

“Fiestas and Siestas Miles Apart” by Alan Cuthbertson


The parallel story follows episodes of daughters of the family through their emails correspondence. Instead of following in their parents’ tail to Spain they choose to make some stories of their own and venture down and under. With a working holiday visa, they are exploring Australia and New Zealand and send stories of their occasionally rather daring (at least for their parents) adventures in emails.

Alan Cuthbertson writing style is easy to read and goes through a vast collection of dad jokes. To be fair the writer is a dad so one couldn’t deny him the right. Though his family may have something different to say, for the rest of us the jokes are probably worth at least a few sensible giggles. In addition to easy-going style, the book provides some practical guidance and general ideas about moving to Spain.  The journey of finding the house, surviving the paperwork of the buying house in Spain and naturally following troubles with getting permits and utility contracts. Simple things that many of us may easily take for granted, like having a running water or electricity. In some cases, even prices of things or details of the procedures are clarified. Though probably somewhat out of date with every passing year, the data still helps to quantify the immeasurable.

olives on plate

What I didn’t like about the writing was an occasional patronizing attitude to some political and gender issues (like contraceptives, prostitution, etc.). All the more surprising as it was unnecessary and didn’t add anything to the storyline. Thankfully the author’s bias doesn’t seem to extend to the topics coming up in the village community. He takes locals and the life as they are, being open to new experiences and happy to learn about the local way of life.

Enjoyable read and a good non-fiction book to a person considering moving abroad. Also, light read to anybody who would like to know more about the Spanish way of life beyond the beach holiday in Costa Del Sol. Though be warned, despite the title there are not much mention of siestas, but at least fiestas are well covered.

Available with a worldwide free delivery from the Book Depository. Yes, this is an affiliate link, but I read and enjoyed this book. I’m proud to be an honest and transparent blogger. Any opinion expressed is a result of a personal experience.

I was glad to see that even though we were over a thousand miles from the UK it was still tradition to make a complete prat of yourself at a wedding.

“Fiestas and Siestas Miles Apart” by Alan Cuthbertson

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