It all started when I fell in love with Spain while spending my junior year in college in Madrid. I had talked so much about Spain over the years that at one point my husband asked me “When are you taking me there?” So we saved a bunch of money and in May, 2010 my husband, my then 10 year old daughter and I travelled across the Atlantic for a two week vacation in Spain. We visited Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo, Sevilla, Málaga and Granada and had a fabulous time! I had been to every city before except Málaga and both my husband and I fell in love with that charming city by the sea. We decided to return to Málaga 10 months later to celebrate our 20th anniversary in 2011 and it was then that we started to talk about retiring there. Ever since I fell in love with Spain all those years ago, and especially after visiting the country twice since then, I can’t shake the feeling that I belong there.
Málaga is truly southern Spain’s best kept secret. It’s got the charm of a small city but there is enough to keep a visitor busy and entertained for several days. It also boasts 360 days of sunshine, which is a huge attraction for two upper Midwesterners. We stayed at the NH Hotel on both trips but we’re planning to stay at the AC Palacio on our next trip. We really enjoyed the NH Hotel and recommend it highly but the AC Palacio is even closer to the center of town and our favorite attractions are just steps away instead of several blocks away. There are many places to eat and great shopping in the downtown area. We love El Pimpi which is a popular tapas restaurant conveniently located next to the Alcazaba, a Moorish fortress that was built in the 8th century. Inside the Alcazaba are many beautiful examples of mudejar architecture as well as many gardens and fountains. At the top of the hill sits the Gibralfaro castle. There is a footpath leading from the Alcazaba for those willing to climb. There are also buses that take you to the top of the hill. I hear the views are wonderful from up there. We did not get a chance to do this while we were there and have vowed to do so next time. The 2nd century Teatro Romano (Roman Theatre) is another interesting attraction that is located in front of the Alcazaba.
We enjoy visiting the Museo Picasso where the artist’s works are displayed in a historic palace from the 16th century, Palacio de Buenavista. And not much farther away is Picasso’s birth place and museum which is also very interesting, especially if you’re a Picasso fan. There are many other museums as well as the cathedral and other churches to visit while in this beautiful coastal town. We only scratched the surface during our two trips and hope to see more sites the next time we’re there. I hear the Museum of Crystal and Glass is another great museum. It’s also high on my list to visit as is the Jardín Botánico-Histórico La Concepción.
The Spanish people are warm, friendly and generous and we’re looking forward to getting to know them better and making new friends once we retire there. Our retirement goal is to move there in either 2019 or 2020.
I did a little bit of research on what we’ll need to do in order to move to Spain. First, we’re going to need retirement Visas. I found links on the web for both the requirements and the application. The Visa must be applied for with the appropriate Spanish consulate office and for us that is the Chicago consulate. Amongst the requirements are a valid passport for a minimum of one year, proof of health insurance, proof of permanent retirement income from an official institution and a fee in the form of a money order. The application must be translated into Spanish by a certified translator.