Today I got up at the crack of noon. It’s not something I do every day, but it’s a luxury I relish after those late nights out with friends in my new home of Altea—a stress-free, seaside village on Spain’s Costa Blanca.
With the low cost of living here, I no longer have to break my back working every day just to get by. I can easily live off my savings and the modest income I make writing travel articles about my new home town. This leaves me with lots of free time to focus on friends and fun.
I enjoy visiting local bars where, in the evening, I get a free tapa with my glass of wine for as little as $1.30. More often than not, I’ll end up running into friends and spend the night chatting away.
Altea is such a beautiful place to live, I often find it hard to believe how affordable the cost of living is. I pay just $436 a month for a large three-bedroom apartment, $60 for utilities, and a splurge of $88 for my cell phone, satellite TV, and internet package.
With more time to savor life these days, I have the opportunity to meet new friends and exchange our different cultural traditions. Last night, I had two Norwegian friends over to my house for a traditional American dinner.
Sometimes it can be difficult to source certain American ingredients here in Spain, but it makes for a fun challenge.
After our American dinner, Daniel—one of my guests—was hosting his monthly movie night at AlteArte—a local restaurant that hosts art exhibitions, comedy and music nights, and more. Enjoying the evening air, we walked to the restaurant which is located in the historic old town. We stayed late, enjoying the busy, joyful atmosphere.
Last week, Daniel asked me over to his house for a traditional Norwegian dinner. Both he and his roommate each created their region’s unique food specialties. Being from north of the Arctic Circle, Daniel’s dish was roast pork with crackling skin.
Here in Altea there are plenty of diverse activities to enjoy, including the many regional Spanish festivals, and live music. Personally, I love going with friends to Bar Cuba, for salsa and other types of Latin dancing.
When I lived in California, it was nearly impossible to function without a car. Here in Spain, I relish no longer having to own a car. I walk to all of my local activities, or take convenient, efficient, and inexpensive public transport to nearby towns. And I’m enjoying all the unexpected health benefits of the good weather and easy, strolling pace of life I live here.
Image: ©iStock.com/Oliver Huitson
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