Cafe con leche is the typical Spanish coffee. Now, you could head to the American-style shop a few blocks from my apartment for a $9 coffee. However, I prefer the local cafe where I can sit outside on the cobblestone patio and sip leisurely while people-watching. The delicious treat only costs $1.65, the staff always greet me with an enthusiastic “Buenos dias!” and no one rushes me to vacate my seat.
I didn’t know what to expect when I moved to the beautiful Spanish city of Salamanca…but it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Spanish cities offer the simplest pleasures in abundance…and at very little expense. In the afternoons, I stop by the local grocery store for a baguette, fresh from the bakery—three delicious loaves only cost $1.50.
As I stroll the streets I find fruit and vegetable stands stacked with crates of aromatic strawberries, shining peppers and golden apples enticing me into charming stores. The owners select the best items from the displays and a kilo of fresh-from-the-farm produce almost never costs more than $4.
Food in Spain is so fresh. I often treat myself to a better-than-average pizza for $1.70…topped with local Mediterranean olives or herb-roasted tomatoes from the next town.
Living in Spain also allows me to jet off to another European city for a weekend getaway a couple of times a month, if you fancy. Want some genuine Italian food? You can hop on a plane to Rome and in two hours find yourself in Italy eating pasta. If your wish is for crepes, you can find a ticket to Paris for as little as $86 last minute or for under $60 with a little planning. There are over seven low-cost airlines who fly out of Madrid.
If you want to see a different side of Spain, head to the train station to be whisked away to Andalucia on a high-speed train. Every city has daily departures to Barcelona…or Madrid…or a host of other cities. Public transport is extensive and affordable. Or you can take a slow train through the countryside and watch the golden hills, village lights and roaming horses pass you by.
And each Christmas, Salamanca illuminates the main square with a six-metre tall Christmas tree made entirely of lights. The sides switch from a vibrant blue to dancing bells to multi-coloured ornaments. Store windows remain lit up all night, letting you peruse the latest European fashion, newest sports gear and Spanish specialties of silver and flamenco dresses…it’s all part of the magic of Spain.
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