It was Sunday and I was exhausted. The thunder and lightening storm in White Rock left me feeling a little uneasy. A few days with little sleep while the river of rainwater rushed down our back alley, accumulating in a giant lake and then continued down the drain making enough noise to wake the dead. The rain itself came down with such force; it sounded like someone was yelling. With time to contemplate life, I lay awake looking at the ceiling wondering if there are any other place along the Mediterranean Coast that would make a great B&B location for our family. Have we overlooked a number of viable options in Europe for a business that could make our family a reasonable income with the lifestyle we are looking for? Lets consider countries other than France. Bare in mind, I have never been to any of these places, only researched.
1.What about Spain?
With their bullfights, flamenco dancers and their competitive real estate market, could we get more for our money in this fabulous spicy country? 150 plus miles of white sandy beaches with golf courses lining them could be the ‘golfer’s get away’. It looks like ‘Mexico resort’ living complete with outdoor activities, tourists in all-inclusive hotels with endless amounts of food, rentable snorkeling and tours at their hotels and better weather than The French Riviera.
Spain is culture rich and deep with history. They have produced many famous artists, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro and Salvador Dali to name a few. Spain also has a hidden savory-sweet menu that can compete with any European pallet. Paella, (their famous seafood rice dish), roast lamb, and fresh seafood from their coast, makes Spain a foodie’s destination.
A lower cost of living than in BC or England lets say, but their B&B’s rent out for less in relation. And I know nothing about their health care or schools. Will Spain be too far a leap of faith for this adventure family?
I love the movie Under the Tuscan Sun and watch it every chance I get. And pasta and pizza are a weekly meal in our home, so we are well on our way to loving Italy. Known for their stunning landscapes, Italy has two mountain ranges. The Apennines runs down through Italy like a spinal cord curving and then they have the Alps in the North. White sand beaches, vine covered countryside and their intricate canal system draws in tourists. Many who leave Italy to find a better life return to their tight knit communities which says a whole lot about their social dynamics. Full of beautiful cathedrals, churches and ruins- Italian cities are full of visitors. Rome, famous for their reign in the Roman Ages and Florence, the home of artists in the renaissance period, is among the most famous tourist destinations in the world.
How would a foreigner fare in such a land? When reading about Italy my feeling was that it was a place of great conflict. Each region has a very different culture and the history states that Italy was not unified until recently in 1851. Each region holds on to its prejudices and neighbors are weary of new comers, as well as old comers and from what I have read, of everyone. Romeo and Juliette had a hard time in Italia and by the sounds of things, my outgoing personality, talking to everyone I come across and meaningless chatter, might not be accepted.
Health care and schools are still a question and their present economy weigh in to any decision. We must research while we travel through the country and see why Shakespeare wrote about such conflict in Verona, could it be based on some fact?
Home of my lovely friend Tania who went there to visit her family, met and married and now has a baby with the man of her dreams. Her life seems happy and wonderful, but how would a non-Portuguese do trying to make a living. It sounds as though Portugal has something for everyone. Beautiful beaches, hot sun, the sunniest destination in all of Europe, striking countryside, castles and cities full of monuments and cultural attractions. World famous surf rips its 600 miles of Atlantic coast and is getting famous around Europe for it.
4. Lastly a brief look at France
Still has the best health care, standard of living is high, the culture is defined, more expensive than the other Riviera countries, but maybe a little more to offer too? The food is exquisite, the wine is world renown and the government takes care of its people. School is still free for its children; Baccalaureate is received at the end of Lycee (secondary school), which opens the door to University. Tourism is still high, even though compared to the other countries it may not be quite as hot.
What country would be the best to live and buy a B&B in?
Spain, Italy, Portugal or France?
Going there to find out might be half the fun!
France is the top runner for us.
Written 8 days before departure
Now: Of course we picked France, and never made it to Portugal at all. Italy and Spain are beautiful places to visit, and conveniently next door. One thing I love about living in Europe, is the close vicinity to other destinations, with such different cultures, languages and my favouite part, food!