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About The Group

About the Informal English Speaking Group

The Informal English Group was started in February 2005 as a result of meeting a couple in a bar in Loja who were desperately trying to order a cheese sandwich from a very confused waitress.

This encounter triggered a thought that been sitting around dormant for some time; that there was a need for some form of meeting place for English speaking people (not necessarily British) living in Loja and the surrounding area. The then director of the Hotel Almazara, which is our local, offered the use of the hotel bar and terrace as a meeting place. He was even persuaded to lay on a special menu for those who wished to stay for a meal after the meeting.

Leaflets announcing the group were placed under the windscreen of any English registered car and other leaflets were thrust into the hand of anyone that looked even slightly British.

We were more than a little pessimistic about the response and thought that we might get about four people. However, in the event over forty turned up, and so the English Group was launched. At the end of the meeting we went home tired but very pleased with the result.

In the winter of 2005 the director departed and a new directora arrived and we were a little worried that it might mean a change for the group. However we need not have worried as we received a great deal of continuing support, even to the extent that the hotel bar was especially opened for us during the closed season with the result that in February that year more than 80 people turned up.

We would emphasise that the aim of the group is to provide a meeting place for anybody English speaking. When people first arrive in Spain there are always little (or in some cases great) problems that arise when settling in and within the group there is usually someone who has encountered these or similar problems and has found a solution, or at least knows a man (or woman) who knows the answer.

As the title of the group says it is INFORMAL. There is no committee, there are no agendas, nor are there any minutes. It really is a case of turn up, have a drink and a chat. We do know that a number of friendships have been made as a result of people meeting and chatting at one of the sessions.

We would wish to acknowledge the continuing support and publicity that we have received from the following: The Subbetica News,  Loja Tourist Office, Loja Mercadona. A special mention must go to the management and all of the staff at the Hotel Almazara for their helpful and friendly support, without which the group would not be so successful.

However it must be emphasised that the members of the group are our best source of advertising, especially when they bring along new members who have moved into the area.