If you could split your time evenly between two places, and two places only, which would these be?
How can I make that decision when I haven’t been to all the places yet that I want to see?
Rome would be good. It has beauty, fountains, art, sculpture, antiquity, gardens, old churches and the Vatican. It was the center of the Renaissance, and the capital of the Roman Empire. I’d never be at a loss for things to see and do. But then it’s crazy expensive to live there, the drivers are wild and heedless of laws. It’s noisy, and crowded and always full of tourists. There’s also a lot of petty theft and questionable markets. Maybe a location in another area of Italy would be a possibility, closer to Florence, Siena or Pisa.
London has the same pluses and minuses. IF I had money to live there, there would something different to do every day, from bustling markets to the wide open spaces of Hampstead Heath. It was important in Roman times, and people lived there before then. The historic sites are rich and reveal much about the past and how it was lived. Museums contain a wealth of items from antiquity to modern art. However, without the money to live in the style to which I have become accustomed (that is a roomy house I can afford as opposed to a small flat for $1,000,000), I think I’d find it overwhelming after a while. No, not London.
Maybe what I need is a simpler life — like an island with a climate that would be a good place to so in the winter. There are 700 islands in the Bahamas alone. Maybe one of them would be affordable, comfortable, and just civilized enough to escape the waves of tourism, and allow me to commune with nature, appreciate the seas and skies, the gentle breezes and sudden storms, and still find a place to do grocery shopping. I wonder if they have the internet? Might begin to feel a little out of touch on a small island.
I really want to become fluent in Spanish, but I can’t see myself living in any country where Spanish is spoken, except Spain itself. It has all the elements I would appreciate: dramatic landscape, unique architecture, history, even Arabic influence, which is rare (or nonexistent?) in the rest of Europe. It’s a country with a good coastline in the south, and I imagine the temperature down there would also be better than ours on the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast so that it would be more pleasant in the winter. I think a village relatively close to a large city would be nice and perhaps affordable, and I know a lot of people who have been to Spain, including students who have spent several months there, who love it. Perhaps Spain.
I’m not willing to live someplace where I don’t speak the language, and I’m getting kind of old to start from scratch, but I’ve heard total immersion works wonders.
Any place colder than where I now live would be out of the question; I grew up in Ohio, and that’s was too cold for me, as was Michigan, where my daughter lived for 6 years.
Then there the West Coast of the U.S.A. That’s a real maybe (in my dreams). Great climate in many locations, a wonderful coastline, warmer weather than we have in winter, and exceptional scenery. I wouldn’t live on a fault line though, or on a cliff where a mudslide would occur, or near a forest since fires seems to occur there frequently. Since daughter #2 lives in Seattle, it would be closer to her than flying across the country. I’ve heard Oregon is quite beautiful, and I’ve seen the area north of San Francisco. Of course that would be too expensive, though it wasn’t as exclusive as I thought it would be, but very agrarian — and the vineyards are so impressive and well-tended.
I guess I’m not ready to make a decision. Too many places to see yet, and we are always happy to come home no matter how much we enjoyed a trip.