Back in Spain – and on Covid, flying, dumb comments and more…

Back in Spain on a non-lucrative residence VisaBack in Spain on a non-lucrative residence Visa

October 4, 2020

We’re back in Spain!

I’ve kept it quiet because we didn’t want to jinx it – but just a few weeks ago the Spanish consulate confirmed that our applications for the Non-Lucrative Visa were approved. We booked our flights right away and flew back just a few days ago. This has been a crappy year – but our whole mission this year was to work on getting a Spanish Visa and despite everything we’ve achieved it. Today we’re sitting on our rooftop terrace in a small town near Malaga, drinking a bottle of wine and looking at the sun setting over the coast. We’re extremely happy.

PS. On our next post I have a detailed guide to everything you need to know about the Spanish non-lucrative Visa.


Spain and Covid

A few people have mentioned that Spain’s cases of the virus have skyrocketed and questioned us going back. It’s true that cases have gone up. But cases are going up everywhere and even Montreal, where we were just a few days ago, has had a large recent increase. In fact, the day we left all bars and restaurants in the city were ordered closed. That’s right. Montreal is one of the few cities in the world right now where bars and restaurants have been ordered shut.

While we’ve been very careful to follow rules neither of us believes in changing all our plans because of Covid. You still have to live. For us it just means being vigilant and doing our best to stay safe: wearing masks, washing hands, always carrying our bottles of gel with us and sanitizing our hands every once in a while. You can only do your best.

Back in Spain on a non-lucrative residence Visa


Flying again

We flew with TAP (the Portuguese airline) this time around. Their Montreal – Lisbon – Malaga route offered the best connection and prices. Pre-Covid you could fly Montreal – Malaga direct with Air Transat but as of right now they’re not flying (my father mentioned buying Montreal – Paris tickets just before the virus hit. Air Transat cancelled their flights and he still hasn’t gotten his money back. Shame on them…).

Just after having bought my tickets with TAP I came across an article stating that visitors to Portugal need to produce a negative Covid test done within 72 hours of the scheduled flight. I called TAP to get a clearer understanding of this. What I was told was that if visiting Portugal you need the test…but as we were in transit through Portugal and leaving the same day (for Spain) we were not required the test.

New since the last time we flew in July: back then your temperature was checked at the boarding gates by a handheld sensor. This time our temperatures were gauged by a camera over 10 feet away and it was done as we were walking into the airport! We weren’t even aware our temperature was being taken and wouldn’t have known if an agent hadn’t told us “Congratulations, your temperature is normal”. Pretty amazing.

On that note: Lissette is always worried about her temperature because she’s a warm-blooded person. She’s always hot and gets uncomfortable in heat. But despite being “hot” she’s come in at 36C (normal) when being monitored. So if you’re like her: don’t worry, being warm-blooded doesn’t necessarily translate to having a high temperature. I, on the hand, came in at 35C which I was told verged on hypothermia. Unlike Lissette, I don’t handle cold very well.

Anyway, to my surprise, the TAP flight from Montreal was full (unlike our flight to Montreal from Paris in early July which flew at about 35% capacity). As the guy sitting next to me said “no social distancing going on here…”. I was also surprised that TAP flies an Airbus 321 on this route – the A321 is usually used on regional routes and not on trans-Atlantic routes. A good article on TAP and its new Montreal – Lisbon route.

Airbus 321 Montreal to Lisbon

Despite being full it was a good flight despite a bit of turbulence (the reason I get nervous on smaller planes doing trans-Atlantic routes). It took 6 hours to Lisbon. We had a 6 hour wait at the Lisbon airport, then flew a prop plane (an ATR 72) for the 90 minute flight to Malaga.

TAP ATR 72 Lisbon to Malaga

Overall a good experience. And unlike last time where
we paid $1200 CAD (about $$880 US) each for a 1 way trip Madrid – Paris – Montreal with Air France, this time we paid $500 each ($375 US) each 1 way Montreal – Lisbon – Malaga (including seat reservations & checked luggage) with TAP. Really, I can’t see a pattern – prices are all over the place depending on the airline, date, and destination. That could be due to the lower volume of trans-Atlantic flights (still down about 75% from this time last year) and demand on particular flights.

Best movie seen on the plane: A beautiful day in the Neighborhood. One of the best movies we’ve seen in a while.



Upcoming Blogging changes

Being back in Spain and with our futures linked to this country, I’ll be writing a lot more about Spain going forward. I’ll also be writing in much greater detail – today for example I started taking notes on different Spanish wines available at supermarkets. We’re drinking a Arteso Crianza Rioja tonight which costs 4.50 Euro at Mercadona. I’ll eventually had a large database of wines and I’ll be writing my tips on the best value wines you can find. We like good wines and drink a bit of wine every night – a good quality to price ratio is important to us.

Anyway, my point is that although we’ll still be doing a lot of travelling in other countries, we’ll be concentrating on Spain in greater detail and quantity in the next few years. Which makes me wonder if I should start a 2nd blog focused exclusively on Spain.

So possible names for a Spanish blog name? I’m open to suggestions.


Dumbest comment of the week

Congratulations to Sam for the dumbest comment of the week on my post on Hua Hin:

As a fellow Canadian I know Frank & Lissette are the kind of lefty liberal morons who voted for Trudeau…twice. They didn’t like Hua Hin because it actually caters to men. This is intolerable in the lefty mindset.

It’s dumb on a lot of levels but made even dumber by the fact that I have a post on Thai prostitution on the blog. And Jeez, we watch RuPaul’s Drag Race, a show about gay men dressing up as drag queens. We really couldn’t care less who has sex with who as long as it’s between consenting adults.

But the reason I point it out is that the current political climate is bringing out a lot of right wing idiots out of the closet. I’ve had more of the above type of comments in the last little while than ever before. Some are like the above, others include 4 letter words and racist speech. When comments are full of hate or of no value to anyone I just delete them. But I sometimes like to leave a few just so readers get an idea of alternative viewpoints. 



Future base

I mentioned previously that Granada is at the top on our list of where to live in Spain. But we’re not ready to decide yet and are still exploring.

For the next few weeks we’ll be exploring a few towns along the Costa del Sol. We’ll spend time on the beach and I’m planning on doing some hiking during our stay. I’ll be writing a lot more about that in the near future.

Back in Spain on a non-lucrative residence Visa




Conflict is never funny but, having lived a year in the Balkans (and even more travelling throughout the Balkans), I had to laugh at the how accurately Balkan “differences” are portrayed in this video.


Thanks for Reading!


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  1. Hello and congratulations! I have been considering this option for awhile. Can you tell me was this a difficult process? Can you do it from the USA as a USA citizen? I lived and worked in Shanghai and was able to secure the work visa from USA. Thanks!!

    1. Hi Susan. Yes, you can do it from the USA as a US citizen.
      I have a detailed post on the whole process that I’ll publish tomorrow morning which will tell you all you need to know 😉

  2. Nice to see you back on the road again, Frank & Lissette! Looking forward to your Spanish posts. I must say, An A321 is a very unusual aircraft for a trans-Atlantic flight.

    As for the dumb comment of the week, it’s a shame some people always try and make anything political. I try and refrain from any political comments.

  3. Why start a second blog, seemingly it would be easier/simpler to create new space on your site, all things Spain. Why divide your traffic between two sites when you can just bulk up BBQBoy&Spanky? Just a thought.

    You both must be reeling with relief in being back in Spain with visas in hand. You did it! 🙂

    1. Thanks Patti. As far as a 2nd blog: 1) niche blogs do well, 2) will regular readers be interested in the mundane of Spain? There’s such a thing about too much on one subject. I would of course keep blogging on Bbqboy & Spanky but some of the content might be more appropriate to a Spanish-niche blog.
      Anyway, something I’m thinking about. As I said to Claudine, biggest obstacle is setting it up. Hate the technical aspect of blogging…

  4. I do remember reading that now that you mention it. I was fascinated by the time you guys spent in Spain. NLV is the non-lucrative visa – sorry about the abbreviation. Sevilla is great but the winter is damp and summer super hot – that’s why we ended up in Valencia. Looking forward to hearing more about stuff from you guys. Stay safe.

    1. Ah, Duh, I should have figured that out. You’re right in what you say about Sevilla. And no beach or mountains. Hope you are enjoying Valencia, pretty place.

  5. Whoopee! Frank, Lissete, congratulations!
    That is very good and very uplifting news. Happy for you two. I had heard that travel things were possible just recently, via another Canadian traversing Russia. Will send a private link.
    Anyway, delightful news, and look forward to many more reports from your new home.
    Viva Espana!

  6. I missed you both, and congratulation! you made it. Just wanted to know what exactly is “non lucrative visa”. Is it residency without the ability to work? also, wanted to comment about your dad not able to get his ticket refunded. If you remember, I wrote to you about my travails with Lufthansa. I couldn’t believe that through government involvement , the DOT in US a certified complaint did its magic and I got all my refunds, and Just got my last one from the group I was supposed to join. Good to know sometime Gov. works. I viewed all the photos you posted from plane windows and loved the bridge over Bosphorus, Turkey, a place I am anxiously waiting to visit including Cappadocia to fly a hot air balloon (have you been to that part?). Next, I must get too to Spain, not enough time when we were there last year. So looking forward maybe can still meet you both this time around.
    Glad you are watching and doing great….keep the spirit up for all of us.
    All the best.
    p.s. The “Balkan” video was hysterical.

    1. Ah, you’re asking questions that will be answered on our next post Sara. You’ll have to wait until Wednesday, I wrote a 4000 word post on all that.

      If you’re ever in Spain would be a pleasure to see you Sara. Lissette would be there this time 🙂

  7. Congratulations! You made it! We are considering retiring to Spain. So, very interested in upcoming content. We have friends who own a home in Nerja. They split their time there and NYC. They also have obtained Spanish citizenship. So they can go back and forth.

    For us, we would have to live in a big city. My partner has congestive heart failure and requires constant healthcare. Currently it appears that Barcelona fits us best. But, if you could focus a little on the healthcare available in places, that you are considering. We are about 10 years older than you and Lissette. I would think this might be a factor for you to consider in your explorations.

    1. Thanks John!
      I’ll admit healthcare not at the top of our list – but we would NOT choose a place without a 24 hr hospital. So it can’t be too small. But I can understand why it would be very important to you.
      You shouldn’t rule out Valencia either. Very nice city, maybe the perfect compromise. It was at the top of our list before the pandemic. Now we just can’t even think of being in a big city…

  8. Hi you guys

    I really admire and envy your adventurous spirit. You are tenacious. If you would take me along (I’d remain in the background), I’d be with you every step of the way.

    But with Paul and I both getting close to 80 – am 79 in a couple weeks – I feel fearful of us setting out on our own

    I prefer to trail along behind you like we did with Split 🥰

    Keep going you two, you are an inspiration to many. Create the new normal.

    Also wanted to let you know the video you refer to can not be viewed from Ontario

    Incidentally our winter this year will be spent in beautiful BC.

    I’ll be thinking of you both. Love your newsletters

    Stay safe!

    Mary Lou and Paul

    1. Hi Mary Lou!

      Thank you very much for the kind words.

      Really, can’t be seen in Ontario? Maybe you can try googling it: try “key and peele macedonian cafe” and see what shows up in your browser.

      BC is beautiful and I hope you enjoy. Lived there for a year as a kid and we had hoped to go on this last trip to Canada. But with all that’s going on…

      Take care,

  9. Congrats Lissette and Frank! I’m so glad you made it and didn’t change your plans, although I hope your area doesn’t go into lockdown again like Madrid. Please have an extra glass of a good red for me!

    I’d never heard about a camera being able to take your temperature from several feet away like that! I’m like Lissette – I always feel the heat more than cold. I get grumpy!

    I have a few thoughts on whether you should start a new blog just for Spain, if you haven’t decided yet. Since I’m in the niche site marketing business… I first found your blog via search when I was looking for Prague specifics. Sadly, that was a part of our 2020 travel plans that we cancelled. If you get a decent amount of Google traffic on this site, you should keep adding fresh content or at least updating old content here so as not to lose your current rankings. Even old posts here can hold steady in search engines if the site as a whole is updated. On the other hand, Google also likes tighter niches if you can go really in depth on a topic, which would be Spain travel in your case. However, any new site takes a really long time to rank these days. A few years ago, you could start seeing search traffic in a few months. Now it’s much harder to start ranking a new website. Once you’re past that initial year or two, your search traffic could soar if you keep at it.

    1. Ah, you’re like Lissette. Yes, she’s always hot and always complains about heat and sun. It’s very annoying 🙂

      Thanks for your thoughts Claudine. I’ll always keep this site because we do get good traffic and because we will always travel to other places (other than Spain). And I know how tough it is starting a blog from scratch but I always think long term. My biggest obstacle is the technical aspect of setting up a new blog – I set up this one in 2013 and I remember all the different things I had to learn and do. I’ve forgotten all that. Maybe I could get my IT/webhost guy to do it…If it wasn’t for that I’d start tomorrow.
      Anyway, I’m thinking about it. Niche sites DO do well.

      1. The good thing about the tech aspect now is that there are lots more tutorials to help. WordPress has gone block based, which is supposed to be good for newbies. I find it annoying so I still use the classic editor 🙂 Anyway, as long as you keep working on this blog, there’s no reason why a Spain specific one won’t do well. I won’t chime in with a name suggestion though!

        1. Thanks Claudine. Not sure what you mean about block based. But I’ll ask my computer guy about what it would entail. I like the idea, I just don’t want to get in over my head with technical stuff as we’re still pretty busy with other things…like figuring out where we’d want to love in Spain!

  10. Welcome back to Europe! I am looking forward to your posts about Spain and the Spanish wine. Hopefully the numbers will drop again and traveling become easier. Right now the area where we live has the second-highest infection number in Berlin and we are not allowed to travel everywhere in Germany. Spain is on Germany’s risk list – which means quarantine for 14 days after the return. We will see – wish you all the best for the next weeks! And sun!

    1. Yes, I think Spain on a lot of people’s quarantine list.
      Wow, you can’t even visit various places in Germany. I didn’t know that Natascha.
      Thank you for the kind words!

  11. My congratulations. I am so glad for you both.
    Probably, in the airport, they didn’t’ ask you about the tests because you looked like people with negative tests.

  12. Congratulations on making it back to Spain! Tickets for flights are funny things. Get the “wrong” day and a ticket can cost over twice as much. It will be interesting learning about where you finally end up. I have read good things about Almuñécar. Have you been there?

    1. Thanks Edith. I think it’s like stock markets – the lower the volume, the higher the volatility. Usually ticket prices pretty much stable but since the pandemic we’ve seen a few competitively priced flights and a lot of VERY expensive flights. So you’re right: have to look hard and use flexible dates.
      We’ll have a look at Almuñécar. Haven’t been yet…have just arrived and still dealing with our jetlag 🙂

  13. Hey have come across your blog very much enjoy reading about your travels! Glad you made it finally. We too are Canadian (Oakville Ontario) looking to retire in Spain as soon as we can get there. Looking in Malaga area or Alicante. We have a question if you can answer. We are getting conflicting info on taxes and how Spain treats pension and investment income. Would like to know experiences.

    1. Hi Alana & Joe,
      Canada and Spain have a tax treaty so you won’t be double taxed. But there may be some differences in the tax treatment of various items. I really don’t know details on that, you’d have to discuss with a Spanish tax specialist. I would think though that it would most likely just fall under income and be taxed similarly…

      1. Congratulations and welcome. We did the NLV and arrived in Valencia from the US Friday. Try Malaga City, it was great when we were last there!

        1. Sorry Allan, the NLV? (Las Vegas??)
          Actually we’re not huge fans of Malaga as we wrote here. If anything, would prefer Seville which we really loved. But we kind of have our heart set on something smaller close to sea and mountains.

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