GOING SOLO in SPAIN
Word has it in the media that more and more ladies of a certain age are living alone in the UK, either through choice or circumstance. But from my personal experience of Spain related Face Book pages, more and more mature ladies are now either thinking about going solo in Spain or are already there!
Regardless of your circumstances a woman of any age can live so much more cheaply in Spain. If you are lucky enough to be financially secure, your money will definitely last longer, but even if you are less affluent, the money you do have, will go further! It’s a win win way of life.
When you’ve narrowed down the area that you think will suit you best, the best advice is to rent a property first. You need time to get to know your surroundings and what interesting places there are to visit nearby. Remember you mustn’t view it through a tourist eyes, you aren’t planning a 2 week holiday. This is it!
If you are going solo in Spain you need to ensure you feel safe and secure and not too isolated. The fantasy of a little finca stuck in the middle of nowhere may seem appealing when you are looking to escape the grumpy ex, or some painful memories, but the reality of it may not be quite what you imagined! Choose wisely.
A six month rental to start say in February, would give you a good indication of the weather you are likely to get in high summer in the area that you have chosen. It can differ quite dramatically depending on if you choose the South or North Coast of Spain.
Rental costs can also vary a lot. The inland hilltop villages will give amazing value for money, with a small house often costing around 400e per month, whilst in more popular expat area’s along the coast, you might be looking at 600/700e per month for an apartment with roughly the same floor space
Either way, in the UK, you would be extremely lucky to get a good quality 1 bedroom flat in a not very nice area for the same price, and in some cases the equivalent would only buy you a room in a house share. By joining some of the Spain related Facebook pages you can often find private rentals or look on sites like https://www.idealista.com/en/ or https://www.eyeonspain.com/rental-property-spain-long.aspx
FOOD AND DRINK
No matter what diet you follow, all the basic food that you might buy in the UK is available in Spain. Every major town which has an expat community, has a Lidl or an Aldi and very often an Iceland as well. Unless you want to be stuck on a mountain top completely on your own, you will find what you need quite close by. All these shop are cheap as chips in the UK, so they are even better value for money in Spain.
The weekly markets which are in every town and village, offer fresh, mainly organic produce, brought in straight from the stall holders farm or small holding. Imagine buying a big sack of oranges for the price you’d usually have to pay for a paper bag full. Just get yourself a juicer and enjoy your own home made orange juice every morning. Think of the money you’ll save.
If wine is your weakness, fill up a container at your local market, it’s extremely drinkable, and extremely cheap. Red, White or Rose’ they’ve got the lot.
Anyone going solo in Spain should never think twice about eating alone in a bar or restaurant. Nobody takes a blind bit of notice. But how uncomfortable does it feel doing the same thing in the UK. If you are like me, I sit in a corner, and try to be invisible, bolt down my food and get out of the place as quick as possible.
It’s different in Spain. A woman can go to a bar in the morning with her book or laptop, sit in the sunshine and enjoy her coffee and croissant. She can then move onto 3 course menu del dia for lunch, and a few glasses of a good Rioja just because she can, followed by more coffee or even a medicinal brandy.
Café culture is the name of the game and I’ve frequented many bars, for many days, completely on my own and always felt comfortable. In the UK, if I stayed in a Toby Carvery all day, I’d get some knowing looks, and probably a counsellors card dropped on my table!
MAKING NEW FRIENDS
In todays online world, you can make new friends in Spain even before you leave the UK. One of the nicest online communities I have ever come across is a Facebook group called Ladies of Spain. There are over members dotted across popular towns and villages in Spain, and wherever you want to lay your hat, I’m quite certain there will be someone in this group who will be reasonably close by. There are the ever popular U3A groups too, as well as choirs, and keep fit classes.
If you are on your own, just going regularly to the same café, and sitting outside, you will begin to make acquaintances who will become friends.
In a town in Northern Spain I was once looking for accommodation for myself and my partner at the time. I had seen this very English looking lady many times in the same café, and began to say Hello to her. One day she happened to be on her own and I got chatting to her. By the end of our first coffee together, she had offered me her brand new furnished 2 bedroom apartment, for 400e per month, where I ended up living for 2 years, and we then met up regularly for lunch and shopping trips.
But really, isn’t the whole point of going solo in Spain to change your way of life. It’s so much nicer to embrace the new culture, integrate with local Spanish people and adopt their way of life, rather than merely continue the one you left behind.
Would you like to make a move to Spain? Are you already going solo over there.