I would love this post to be interactive.
You are the world travelers’ of our blogging community and what you have to say in reference to these countries is critical, current and valid and will be considered in our purchase of our European Bed & Breakfast. Any advice or experiences you have to offer up, would truly be appreciated.
It was Sunday and I was exhausted. The thunder and lightning 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, is there other places along the Mediterranean Coast that would make a great Bed & Breakfast 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? Let’s consider countries other than France, and bare in mind, I have never been to any of these places, only researched.
- What about Spain?
With their bullfights, flamenco dancers and their competitive real estate market, could we get more for our money in this fabulous noisy, spicier 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 British Columbia or England let’s say, therefore their vacation rentals rent out for less in relation. In addition, I know nothing about their health care system or schools. Will Spain be too far a leap of faith for this adventure family?
2. Italy anyone?
I love the movie Under the Tuscan Sun and watch it every chance I get. Moreover, pasta and pizza are a weekly main 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 running along the top. 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 newcomers, as well as old comers and from what I have read, of everyone. Romeo and Juliet had a hard time in Italy and by the sounds of things, my outgoing personality, talking to everyone that crosses my path and my meaningless chatter might not be acceptable.
Health care and schools are still a question and the present economy weighs in to any decision. Italy is not economically strong at present. We must research while we travel through the country and see why Shakespeare wrote about such conflict in Verona. Is it based on fact? I’ll be going there for sure!
3. Bullfighting Portugal!
Home of my lovely friend Tania from Safeway 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. People are starting to catch on to this fact, and Portugal is gaining fame. Food is delicious, if not as well known. And the people are warm and kind. Could be an option.
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 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. France is diverse, seems more open to foreigners at least up North, but they have a reputation of being stuck up. I guess we will have to wait and see which is the best option.
What country would be the best to live and buy a Bed & Breakfast in?
Spain, Italy, Portugal or France?
Going there to find out might be half the fun!
France is the top runner for us, after all is was Alfonz’s dream that started this whole adventure. Still input from our readers and our fellow bloggers would be amazing. I want to hear your stories and reasons!
8 Days until departure,
So obviously we picked Capestang France, a village in the Herault region of Southern France just outside our first search in Aude along the Canal du Midi. It was a hard choice, being so many picture perfect villages and towns to imagine yourself living in. It came down to having a school for the kids, a fully functioning village all year round, and lastly close enough to a few cities to give the family variety and not be isolated. ???
We travelled throughout Europe, never made it to Portugal, loved Italy like Jeanette said we would, and nearly stayed in Budapest, Hungary except couldn’t make enough money in their economy. France was the best viable option.
Here we are 7 months in to our new life, and loving the lifestyle and have in fact set up our B&B/apartment rental. Both were booked solid from the day we listed until this last week. With back to school, there is a lull, and now I write about it.
Looking back over the last year of preparations, travel, searching and finally finding our new life is surreal. Pinch me is this our life!
Viva la France.
Wow that would be a tough decision to make. I don’t think I would opt for Provence because of the Mistral wind they experience. Too much like the Santa Ana’s of Southern CA. I think I would go for a smaller village too.
Good luck on your choice!
Jeanette, Most people don’t catch the play on words in That’s Hamori, being That’s Amore! Amore meaning Love in Italian! For love of travel is our tag line.
Anyways we now plan to visit each country before we buy a B&B. We wanted to narrow down our search in France but our French real estate agent hasn’t contacted us in a month. Maybe it isn’t in our cards. VW van exploring until we find the right B&B is starting to sound better by the minute.
Well, the name of your blog answers it, doesn’t it?! Italy! Venice would be my first vote (spent a week there with the kids and hubby last year and it was glorious!). I would skip Rome and Milan (too big, too bustling). I might also pick a small town in Tuscany. San Gimignano, perhaps? 🙂
This has always been a dream of mine too! I’ve primarily thought of Spain (on either the Costa del Sol or Costa Brava) but Portugal would be a great option too.
Unfortunately, I have not traveled enough of Europe to weigh on on this decision. I would go for somewhere more calm and in a beautiful setting but still easily accessed by travelers who are looking to get away.
The research must be so fun! I wonder if you could travel around a bit and see what place begs you to stay?
Hands down, Portugal. The Portugal coast is like Spain without as many tourists. I love Portugal and Lisbon is one of my favorite cities in the world. Parts of Spain I loved, part were OK. Italy is just OK for me. However, might consider living in Portugal one day although not sure I want to run a B&B. 🙂
I would pick Portugal! Like you said Portugal has something for everyone. Doesn’t mean to say that I dont like any of your other picks. It is very hard to pick one, when you are given the best places.
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