Now that January is bringing lots of cold, snowy weather, some friends in the U.S. are saying that one of their goals for 2016 is to get away to someplace warm…soon. My suggestion: Head to southern Spain, to sunny Jerez de la Frontera. It’s warm, colorful, exciting, and—thanks to the current low euro—very affordable.
Dr. Haywood Hall is on call. It's a mild summer afternoon, and he's sitting in the garden of his house in Guanajuato, Mexico. His laptop is open on the table in front of him, and his cellphone sits beside it. He checks the phone periodically for messages, tapping out quick replies as needed. He's dressed in a T-shirt and shorts, and he'll likely still be wearing these if he greets any patients this afternoon. That's because Haywood works in the growing field of telemedicine, and his "meetings" with patients will be long-distance—a verbal consultation over his cellphone.
One of the best-known places to enjoy colonial living is San Miguel de Allende, in Mexico's Colonial Highlands. Even among colonial towns, San Miguel is famous. It's been dubbed ''the most beautiful town in Mexico,'' and it may just be. Colorful, well-preserved colonial buildings line its streets, and fountains tinkle in quiet squares. Brightly painted doorways open onto shops that overflow with colored textiles, hanging stars, and lamps of hammered tin, and pottery or sculptures. Walk down cool stone passageways to open-air patio restaurants or to upstairs terraces where the city opens out below you.
For affordable European living, it’s hard to beat Spain these days. It’s always been one of my favorite countries—a place I return to over and over, thanks to its enjoyable, laidback lifestyle; the great food; warm, sunny weather; beautiful beaches; and rich culture. Whether I’m looking to sit at a seaside cafe enjoying a meal and a drink, stroll a historic city by night, or relish a world-class museum, Spain delivers.
The short stretch of coast you find south of Barcelona is called the Costa del Garraf. Here you'll find a string of three small towns that offer upscale amenities, relaxed living, easy access to Barcelona, and great-value real estate…
A while back I ran into an expat friend here in Mexico who was in a quandary. He'd just been offered a commercial space in a popular neighborhood to open a coffee shop, an extension of his original café. The thing is, my friend already had some other projects in the works, so he was feeling stretched a bit thin. But the offer was very appealing...not to mention flattering. After all, it was a vote of confidence from another business in the area.
Thanks to its location on Spain's southern coast, right on the Mediterranean, Malaga boasts fine, sandy beaches, a welcoming seaside ambience, and a whopping 300 days of sunshine a year. And to top things off, it's very affordable and comes with good-value real estate.
When workaholics looking to retire in Mexico wonder aloud how they’ll avoid boredom, I don’t know what they’re talking about. Recently, out of curiosity, I checked my local events calendar here in Guanajuato. And just as I’d suspected, there were interesting activities for every single night of the week. And many nights offered more than one option.
I’m never making chiles rellenos again. Note: I didn’t say I’d never eat chiles rellenos again, because I will. I love them. But they’re messy to make. And ever since I realized that I can buy home-cooked ones in my local market in Mexico for just 10 pesos apiece—that’s about 63 cents—and take them home to eat, my kitchen stays clean.
"I knew within 24 hours that this was the place for me," says 45-year-old Mona Primlani, who left Washington, DC, three years ago to settle in Guanajuato, in Mexico's Colonial Highlands. "When I got here, I saw this place had everything I wanted, and then some."