Olives, Travel, and Spanish Wine on a Budget

As I pull open the shades each morning, the warm Spanish sun of the new day shines in. 300 days of sunshine bring light and life to the historic city of Alcázar de San Juan, with its 30,000 residents.

My wife, Nadiana, and I moved to central Spain seven months ago to teach English. Since September, our small budget has allowed us to enjoy the amazing weather, delicious food, and beautiful landscapes of Spain, all while saving at the same time.

Narrow, intertwining streets drape the city of Alcazar like an ancient Roman spider web. Jamon (ham), olives, Manchego cheese, and regional wine are served up at the numerous tapas bars that dot the city. The Spanish cuisine is by far the most popular, as people hold true to the food of their region.

This popularity of cuisine is coupled with the cultural habit of going out and spending quality time with friends and family. Therefore, it is not an unusual sight to see bars and restaurants at capacity every day of the week.
What’s more, the food and drinks are so reasonably priced, that living this lifestyle is completely within means of any budget. It wasn’t long before we found ourselves out each week, enjoying the delicious cuisine Spain has to offer.

Heading out in the countryside, on one of our bi-weekly hikes or bike rides, we travel small dirt roads through olive trees, grape vines, melon fields, and lush fields of barley and wheat.

The flat agricultural landscape surrounding the town leads the eye to distant mountains and historic windmills. The landscape, with its unique and historic beauty has lead to an active outdoor lifestyle of cycling, hiking, bird watching, and picnicking for us, along with the rest of the region’s residents.

Outside of the region, Spain offers unparalleled beauty and adventure, from historic cities and castles, to the natural beauty of mountains and beaches. To add to the excitement, a simple drive or train journey will bring you to these new places in a matter of hours.

A life like ours is not out of reach for most people. In addition to all these cultural experiences, Spain has a cost of living that is lower than most of the United States. There are work opportunities for English speakers, and there is the ability to live a happy and healthy lifestyle.

©iStock.com/Victor Pelaez Torres

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