I suppose from the date it's pretty easy to tell that we are heading to Spain this year. I don't know why I just didn't come out and say that in yesterday's post. I just had some sort of silly feeling about saying it on New Year's Day somehow jinxing it.
The place we're headed in Spain is called Valencia. It's on Spain's southeastern (Mediterranean) coast and its Spain's third largest city, after Madrid and Barcelona. Since one of the most common questions we get it why would we want to move overseas, I guess I should address that inquiry. The cheeky answer is because we can, but the more serious answer is that we wanted to spend the balance of our lives in a place which approaches life significantly differently than the most people do here.
The evolution of our decision started when we realized we couldn't afford to retire where we have spent the last almost four decades. We live in a near-in suburb to one of the leading metropolitan areas on the east coast of the U.S. Our locale appears regularly on lists of better places to live, but also on lists of expensive places to live. Where it has not appeared often is on lists of good places to retire, although that has been changing as our county has launched new educational, recreational and healthcare programs aimed at those aged 55 and older.
Once we decided we didn't want to remain here, that opened the door to the question of where did we want to live and that's when we started noticing a fair number of Americans have started looking at retiring overseas. This also attracted us. Why?
First, lower cost of living, Even with a dollar only buying €0.85, we can still live in a nice flat in downtown Valencia for as little as $1130/month (€1000). Also, the prospect living in a very cool, unfamiliar, place. I have been to European countries a few times. England, once, Germany, Belgium and Holland once. But the Husband has never been and really wanted to go. What better way to be able to visit European sites than to live near them?
Second, quality of life. What can I say? Valencia, like Spain, like most of the rest of the continent, just lives by different values. Supermarkets exist to sell dry goods and pantry goods, cleaning supplies and bathroom items. Fresh vegetables, fish, meat, bread, cheese, milk and other foods we will buy from market stalls or small shops. One difference between the U.S. and Spain? In the U.S. really fresh meat from a butcher who asks you how you want it cut and prepared is a rarity and sold at a premium price. In Spain, such meat is the norm and it's packaged meat in the supermercados that carries the higher price, and steadily more and more of it is produced organically.
Further, time is viewed differently there. Valencia adheres to the Siesta. Most public institutions or commercial places are open from 8:00 AM until 2:00 PM. Then they close from 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM and reopen from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM. After living the commuter life for decades, we look forward to a place no longer in such strict bondage to the clock.