Their search for a warm, sunny, and vibrant place to live and start a business has taken Caroline and Jens Gronquist all over the world. They have now settled with their children Jamie and Oliver in Spain, in Palma de Mallorca – where they have founded Far East, a cosy boutique café where you can shop handmade interior items while trying delicious pastries.
The couple met in Sweden through mutual friends twelve years ago. Back then Caroline worked as a recruiter and Jens as a teacher in a bakery. One day they decided to start a business together, so they began planning. Thailand seemed like a beautiful idea. The couple travelled the country for three months and fell in love. Taking the next step, they bought a small hotel on Koh Lanta, quit their jobs, sold everything, and moved from Sweden to Thailand with their children.C
After living on a small island in Thailand for seven years, Caroline and Jens longed for a bigger, more vibrant place to live. Mallorca seemed like an exciting island with much to offer. Beautiful beaches, mountains, and a lively city in one package. It also seemed like a good place to start a business. Thus, they packed their bags again, moved to Palma de Mallorca and opened their boutique café Far East.
In Caroline’s opinion Spain is something in between Sweden and Thailand. Sweden is very organised, with a lot of routines, while Thailand is the opposite: “A bit crazy and you never know what to expect.” In Spain the couple has found a good balance. “It’s quite organised but at the same time a little ‘mañana’ and the people here are very spontaneous and lively,” she says.
They have many favourite spots on the island. Caroline and Jens love to wander the streets of Palma de Mallorca’s old town, have a swim in the Mediterranean around Cala d’Or, or explore the Serra de Tramuntana mountains. But are there also any negative things about living in Mallorca? The rents of houses and apartments are too high in Caroline’s opinion. “And sometimes we get annoyed over all the bureaucracy. But most things are great here.”
As well-experienced travellers the couple has some good tips for people thinking about moving to Spain. Planning and learning Spanish are essential to starting a new life on the island, Caroline tells us. Being patient is also important. “It can take time to find schools for your children, suitable accommodation, and a good location for a business.” But we all agree on one thing. Once you have settled, Spain is a fantastic place to live.
Photos by Pernilla Danielsson
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