As I’ve mentioned before, this tour is aimed at (maybe) finding somewhere to live here in beautiful Galicia.
With that in mind, here are the criteria we have set ourselves to assess if an area or town could work for us in terms of settling down somewhere. These are in no particular order and are subject to change as what we think is important now may be blown out of the water by a place that sweeps us off our feet ☺️
1 – Affordability: at the moment we are looking at property both to rent and buy and associated running costs, plus the possibility of one day building our own home (I dream of having an eco house). We will also take into account day to day costs of food and entertainment.
2 – Amenities : we want to live either in or very close to a town with amenities, including access to health care. The town must feel lively and interesting.
3 – Accessibility: we want to be able to access public transport. We haven’t flown for about 4 years and have no wish to start again, so good rail services are also a must, especially to get back to the UK to visit family and friends.
4 – Warmth : a good warm climate for most of the year. We don’t want to spend most of our cash trying to keep warm through long cold damp winters.
5 – Good environmental credentials : access to fresh organic and locally produced food. Local groups that we can get actively involved in (and help with language skills) 😉
6 – Sustainability : we want to live somewhere that isn’t overcrowded and where access to water won’t be an issue. So no living in a desert!
I think these general points are a good start…. they have already helped us decide that Galicia and most of Spain could be off limits!
The last time we came to Galicia we wandered here, we took a longer slower route to explore and we weren’t in a rush. This has caused us to underestimate the size of Spain.
This time we wanted to get to Galicia quite quickly and we found we couldn’t. It took us about two days of actual travel time from the Santander ferry to A Guarda, where we are now. Admittedly we weren’t going fast because of the van, but it did emphasise just how far away we were from Santander and a potential route home via ferry. And you may remember I didn’t react well to boat travel so…..
Galicia is quite well serviced by airports but we don’t want to fly so travelling back home by train is the only realistic option. This is where we got unstuck. Getting anywhere in Galicia by train from Paris (and Eurotunnel to London) is a bit of a marathon. We really would need to put aside at least a couple of days to travel. Not great. We think this is a deal breaker for us.
For an easier rail route home we need to look at northern Spain near Santander, Bilbao, San Sebastián etc but they are expensive places to live and are out of our budget range. Catalonia is another possibility but also expensive.
So we are already thinking that a move to South West France could work better for us. So in the next 2/3 days we will start heading to the French Atlantic coast, taking in some scenic places on the way. We’ll spend a month checking out a few places we have already identified might work for us before heading across to the Mediterranean coast. We have arranged for a couple of house sits near Carcassonne and Béziers starting in March.
In the meantime, I will write about some of the lovely places we have visited whilst here. We’re sad that Galicia won’t work for us as the people we have met are so welcoming and friendly.
Oh well, such is life, it doesn’t always go to plan. C’est la vie!