Therese Frey grew up in Oberhofen on Lake Thun with a view of the lake and the Stockhorn chain. Mountains and water therefore had to be in the new home as well.
“I need water and mountains to live,” says Therese Frey (61), who grew up on Lake Thun. She also has that in her new home in Spain, simply with higher temperatures. She sees the sea and the mountains from her roof terrace. In five minutes by car you can reach the beach of San Luis de Sabinillas.
The Bern native had dreamed of living in Spain for a long time, but she wanted to wait until retirement age to do so. Disappointed by Switzerland, she decided to implement her plan five years ago.
«I no longer felt at home in Switzerland»
“I had had enough of the grueling work life in Switzerland,” says Frey. As a single mother, she used to experience harassment from schools and authorities again and again. “I didn’t want to do that anymore.”
The four-language native of Bern raised her now 30-year-old daughter alone. In addition, she has worked in responsible positions in the commercial sector and earned good money. “We had a good life. Up until my last job, which ended ugly, I always had good, long-term employers,” says the 61-year-old.
For a year, Frey looked in vain for a new job, had to endure a foot operation and was excluded. For a month she was dependent on welfare. “When the social welfare office wanted to have my 21-year-old horse slaughtered and sell my 19-year-old Opel Corsa, I had had enough of Switzerland and such harassment,” she says. Frustrated, she had part of the pension fund paid out and bought a house in Andalusia for almost 100,000 francs. Three months later she was gone from Switzerland. “I no longer felt at home in Switzerland.”
House at a bargain price thanks to a tip from my aunt
The Swiss woman knew the region around Manelva well because an aunt of hers had lived there for years and Therese Frey had often been with her daughter on vacation for about thirty years. “My aunt gave me the tip of this house at a bargain price,” says the native of Bern. With some paint in the kitchen and a new bathroom, the townhouse near Manelva, in a development with a communal pool and a pleasant neighborhood, was exactly what the Swiss woman was looking for for herself and her animals. “Because I couldn’t visit the house because of my operation, my daughter traveled to Spain to see it and sent me pictures and videos.” So the Swiss woman decided to buy the house and moved to Andalusia near her aunt.
Great commitment to neglected animals
«It was important to me that I had my aunt as a point of contact in my new home and that I already knew the area well. That made it easier for me to start at the new location,” says Frey. The Swiss woman is passionate about helping neglected or abandoned animals in the area. In addition to her horse, which is housed at a nearby horse farm, and her own eight cats, three dogs and six canaries who live in her house with a garden, she helps out at a nearby cat sanctuary and has launched cat neutering campaigns. In addition, it takes care of some donkeys or goats from farmers and sometimes pays veterinary bills if local pet owners cannot or do not want to pay for the healing or feeding costs of their dogs or cats. The pensioner never gets bored: “I have a lot to do here. Unfortunately, there are always abandoned or injured animals that nobody else takes care of.”
No problems with machos
She rides her horse almost every day and is often out and about with her dogs for hours. “The fertile area with the tangerine and orange plantations here is scenically beautiful,” enthuses the native of Bern. Thanks to her knowledge of Spanish, she quickly made contact with the locals and made friends. Among them are mainly men, especially with their rider friends. “Men still dominate here and there are some machos.” She has no problem with that, not least because she had to assert herself earlier as a single mother and also had to assert herself again and again in professional life as a woman.
Close relationship despite distance
Despite the distance, the mother maintains a close relationship with her adult daughter Noura, who has stayed in Switzerland, and visits her daughter regularly in Spain. Then the two of them are out and about with the horses, enjoy the nearby beach, cook and eat together or are on the cozy roof terrace with a wonderful view of the mountains and the sea. “I love plants and flowers and when everything is in bloom in the summer months, my garden and terrace are particularly beautiful,” she says.
Frugal living and a good social environment
Frey can make a fairly good living with the well-stocked pension fund in Spain, even if the cost of living, petrol and electricity in Spain have risen considerably. “I worked hard for this money myself and I live frugally and rather withdrawn here.”
Frey will also receive her AHV early next year at the age of 62. “I couldn’t live in Switzerland with my AHV, even though I’ve always worked and paid in,” says Frey. A return to Switzerland is also not an issue for her, even if her favorite aunt in Spain unfortunately died three years ago. «Over the years I have built up a good social environment here with my neighbors and local friends. I live here and now and know that thanks to the friendships I have built up, I don’t have to worry in the future.”