As regular readers will know, being clear about your goals in life is what planning is all about.
I take great pleasure in seeing clients working towards their own objectives over the years, and then once there, ensuring that they are still ok in their wealth preservation years.
For me, one of my own goals is to have a few days away with friends two or three times a year.
Destinations are varied when I go on a walking trip, with The Lakes, Scotland & Wales being very enjoyable.
Another favourite is a trip to London, sometimes mixed with seeing a client or three, and seeing a show quite often being top of the agenda.
And then there is a holiday abroad for a bit of sun, culture and recharging the batteries. Always great fun, with Spain being one of my favourites. Maybe it’s my Basque DNA talking to me, but I always feel comfortable there.
This took on a new importance recently when my friend David, who shall we say is approaching retirement, started to really look at what he wanted in life, and diligently wrote his goals down.
Amongst the most important was to spend more time in the sun, and particularly in Spain. Now of course theory is one thing, and practical experience another, and so what is required are many exploratory visits to likely areas in Spain that he feels attracted to
He has also grasped the nettle – comprender la ortiga to David – and joined up for a course in Spanish!
Which brings me to our latest trip to Ayamonte in the extreme south west of the country on the border with Portugal.
We had visited the south west of Andalucía before, and both felt that it was the ‘real’ Spain. It is less touristy, and has that certain something. If you have not been to Seville, Jerez or Cadiz, then I thoroughly recommend it.
We landed at Faro in Portugal, hopped into our hire car and drove north to the motorway then east towards Spain.
Being quite close, we were approaching the International Bridge within an hour or so.
This is an impressive looking bridge and we were admiring it when on reaching the Spanish side we were confronted with a police road block!
Machine Guns were very evident and they had pulled over a couple of cars. We were happy to see that they had no interest in us, and reached Ayamonte a few minutes later.
David had been to the same hotel this June, and I must say it was a good choice and extremely good value. It was also handily situated between two distinct areas – the very Spanish town of Ayamonte, and the more tourist areas of Isla Canela & Punta del Moral.
It was a great few days, and what became clear is that although having a few drinks at the Irish bar in the expat area was fine, we preferred the town of Ayamonte.
In particular, the Plaza Laguna was superb. Pedestrian only, this was where the Spanish got together in the evening, sitting around the Plaza which had plenty of seating.
My goodness they can be loud!
Grandparents mixed with their grandchildren who mixed with their friends who played football, or sped around on their skates and scooters. Girls in pretty dresses paraded, and mothers gossiped with neighbours who seemed to have an opinion on everything!
Yet we sat at this lovely bar in the corner of this seeming chaos with big smiles on our faces. It works!
It is also sensible when considering living somewhere to pay attention to the prices. We had three very nice beers each, with complimentary nuts & olives, for the amazing price of 15 euros! As David knows, and for example comparing this to France, a few drinks can easily cost two or three times this amount.
Another bar we found was next to a charming church. The only problem here was that the bells in the tower were rang often. Shall we say it wasn’t the most appealing of sounds, perhaps akin to a cat in a tumble dryer, and yet we looked in amazement when a huge crane (common in the area) glided in and settled in its nest inches from the bell tower!
The Plaza also had a superb Tapas bar, and clearly was extremely popular with locals, as it was still buzzing when it closed at midnight.
Best of luck with further research David, and to sum up our visit, it was simply great – or es stupendo!
Latest on Hutton re NHS Pension Reforms
The latest announcement is that those who are ten years or less away from retirement will not be affected.
We await details.