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Temp. Relocating to Europe?

 2:57 pm on Nov 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, I've sold my house here in the States, my children are grown and now seems like as good a time as any to explore the world.

I'm considering spending a few months in Europe this spring (March-April-May) and will take my websites along with me. I would like to get some recommendations on countries and/or cities to use as a base while my spouse and I travel around on weekends, etc. The problem is, we don't know enough about the continent to decide where to stay.

Here are my requirements:

1. Obviously, reliable high speed internet access.
2. Good rail access to other countries
3. Reasonable cost of living, primarlily for housing, although that might be wishful thinking
4. Safety
5. Reasonable amount of English spoken (my spouse knows some Spanish and French, and I know a little German)
6. Decent size American community to fall back on

I should tell you that we spent two weeks in France last year and really liked it for that short period of time (except for the rioting.) It would seem that a town there--other than Paris--that's on the main rail lines (like Lyon) would work, but it's so hard to tell without being there.

I have an accountant here who will handle all the checks and tax stuff, so all I have to worry about is updating my sites using my laptop.

Your thoughts? Also, I will be at PubCon next week, so anyone who has some good advice and will be there, please send me a sticky and I'll buy you lunch sometime.



 5:37 pm on Nov 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, I'm writing this in London so I should be able to tell you about here...

1. Obviously, reliable high speed internet access.


2. Good rail access to other countries

To France yes. Cheap and frequent flights to everywhere else. (EasyJet, RyanAir, Bmibaby and others)

3. Reasonable cost of living, primarlily for housing, although that might be wishful thinking

Hah! I'm moving house on Friday and I can confirm that's a NO! Sticky me for a good site on London house prices, they do vary drastically through the city.

4. Safety


5. Reasonable amount of English spoken (my spouse knows some Spanish and French, and I know a little German)

I think so but we could disagree on accents. :)

6. Decent size American community to fall back on

Yes indeed.

HTH, a.


 8:00 pm on Nov 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks andye.

As far as housing goes, I'm looking for a rental (probably apartment or condo) for the duration. I'm willing to pay more for a location that provides me with easy access to mass transit and shopping, but not just for a "name."


 8:59 pm on Nov 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Holland maybe? Everyone can speak English, and the public transport is excellent (I'm British so my standards are low however ;)) and you're well located to visit neighboring countries.

I'd assume decent internet access wouldn't be a problem. I don't know anything about housing or American ex-pats.


 9:13 pm on Nov 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Berlin, Germany?

Everything you asked for and more ;-)

I do have an unused apartment there I am trying to sell but as it looks it will still be on the market next year so you may be able to use that one as a base.

berlin-tourist-information.de (official tourist board site)

If you are interested sticky me.


 9:28 pm on Nov 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm just about to sit down to dinner here in France at the moment ..I'll get back to you either ( maybe after eating or tomorrow ) in fora or in sticky about where to base in the south of France ( Cannes , Nice , St Tropez , Sophia Antipolis area ..lived there for 12 years ..now in Brittany ( North west France ) for family reasons ..

à bientôt ..( soon ;-)..

also recommend extremely highly you visit Malta while in Europe ..explain why later ..

wont be at pubcon ..haven't done "social events" since my last artschool party ...I tell a lie ..since last Lions meeting that I actually attended ..must be all of 20 years ago ..;-)

edited for spelling errors ..sometimes i forget how to spell in english first time around ..

[edited by: Leosghost at 9:31 pm (utc) on Nov. 8, 2006]


 9:38 pm on Nov 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Garmisch-Partenkirchen Germany. Can't get more central in Europe, with good access on rail and road. Large American expat and military contingent, great skiing and summer sports.

Or if you want something bigger and more cosmopolitan, Munich is a great city and full of SEOs wearing different headgear.


 9:42 pm on Nov 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

london is the capital of europe (ok i know it isn't officially)

however you will find the cost of a rental anywhere central for only 3 months to be very high.

there are a great many yanks here and many like it a lot - that speaks for itself.

otherwise if i was you i would look to either Holland or Belgium as being countries where english is spoken (willingly) and widely, the same is also true of the scandanavian countries but they are not so well located for your purposes and are cold at the time you will be travelling.


 6:54 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Slovenia, as well as Scandinavian countries, would all satisfy your requirements.


 8:44 am on Nov 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

English speaking......Well there is the UK of course, all of Holland, most of Belgium, most of Germany, some of Switzerland, southern Spain, some of Italy, most of Scandinavia, some of France (south).

Internet access isn't an issue in Europe, jack sockets for laptops and power plugs might be. A simple trip to Radio Shack (called Tandy in Europe) will fix it! Go there on day 1!

I'm from the UK, have lived in Florida since 1994. I've been to almost every country in Europe (the Vatican State is missing), the UK will be most like home to an American, but, Germany and Southern France will be much more fun!

Don't even think about renting a house......travel! See it all, experience it all, if you have to spend the odd night in a cheap hotel or YMCA live with it. It ain't all good......experience it all though!

As a European I've visited 46 of the USA's 50(1) States. And I fully intend to get to the last 4 or 5 to complete the experience :)

Enjoy the foreign culture.....see all that you can see :)


 6:32 pm on Nov 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Madrid is a lovely city and satisfies your requirements. Many hotels and central areas in Spain are supplying Wifi facilities.

I agree with percentages, take the oportunity and travel around. It could work out to be just as economical but much more fun...


 12:45 am on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Consider Switzerland, great rail network and your only a few hours away from France, Germany, Austria, Italy. Also excellent internet infastructure. Plus your German and wife's french will prove useful there.


 12:53 am on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

What about Dublin (or somewhere near).

Trains wouldn't go very far but it's the Ryanair hub airport and ticks most of the boxes (Ryanair is a budget airline with ridiculously low prices to most of Europe, if you are flexible with timing - they're easy to find on Google). I don't know about rental prices though.


 1:37 am on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am living in Malta, no rail access but easyjet have just started coming here so cheaper flights. Sicily is a cheap ferry trip. Internet access is a bit behind the times, 2mb/4mb cable capped to 8gb/10gb. ADSL is uncapped I believe but isn't as reliable so I am told. Cheapish rentals (starting about US$300/month), oh and the weather is perfect, a bit chilly now ~16 c during the day but summers are long and dry. English is the second language. Not sure how many Americans live here, but there is loads of brits.

Visit Thailand

 1:49 am on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

I was recently in the UK and found that prices have got even higher. It is not cheap in the UK. Personally if I had to spend time in Europe I would opt for France, Spain or Italy, with a preference for France.

Tours is a lovely town on the TGV tracks and not far from Paris.

Alternatively you could try living somewhere like Fountainbleau (large chateau town) or Barbizon (painters village) or Moret sur Loing (medieval town) which are all closish and within driving distance from Paris.

[edited by: Visit_Thailand at 1:58 am (utc) on Dec. 4, 2006]


 10:21 pm on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm from Denmark, and whats been said about Scandinavia so far is pretty accurate.

1. Obviously, reliable high speed internet access.

-Very much, reliability in Denmark (besides domestic railways) won't be a problem. Prices, though, may. I'm not aware of US pricings, but in Copenhagen (the capital) where I live, you can get 2mbit/s down and 512kbit/s up for about $90/month from the main telecommunications company, or 24mbit/s down and 1mbit/s up at roughly the same cost. (Yes, it is crazy. Because they used to be state-owned they have an extremely large customerbase, so they can charge ridiculous amounts of money and get away with it).

2. Good rail access to other countries

-quite, though not outstanding. Many bridges means you can be in Berlin in 6 hours by train. Of course, it is substantially faster to go by air and you may be able to find some good deals at the time of year you're travelling.
3. Reasonable cost of living, primarily for housing, although that might be wishful thinking

-Well, in central Copenhagen prices are insane. Especially if you are buying. But if renting is your thing, which seems like a good plan since you're only staying 3 months, apartments in Copenhagen range in cost from $1k/month to $2k/month (The latter will give you a lot of room).

4. Safety

-Never a problem. Of course there are exceptions, just like anny major cities, but generally you feel very safe.

5. Reasonable amount of English spoken (my spouse knows some Spanish and French, and I know a little German)

-Every Dane is tought English from the age of 10, so generally we are quite good at it. Obviously, older gererations aren't as skilled, but you'll never have trouble communicating.

6. Decent size American community to fall back on

-To be truthful, I have no idea. I imagine there is one, but I can't tell you if there is nor how large it is.

Concerning internet access, Sweden is a great option. I've been told most of Lund in Skåne, and their capital, Stockholm, is connected (or has the possibility to be connected) through 1gbit/s connections at reasonable costs.
The downside is the added travel times, an hour and a half more from Lund and 3 hours ekstra from Stockholm.

I hope this is any help, and good luck in Europe.
Regards, Peter


 3:14 pm on Dec 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

My spouse seems suddenly more interested in Spain (apparently wants to brush up on her Spanish.) Any suggestions for Spain? Madrid, Barcelona . . .?


 6:22 pm on Dec 10, 2006 (gmt 0)


Fuengirola is a good place to base yourself, it's close to Malaga Airport and has train links. It's got a good mix of Spanish and English speakers and its on the south coast (Costa Del, Andalucia).


 7:39 pm on Dec 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Cambridge England city of eternal youth.

Youll never regret it!


 7:24 am on Dec 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

My wife and I just moved our internet business from New Zealand to Barcelona. We had moved our business from the US to New Zealand before that.

Barcelona is great for our business. We are buying a loft in the Poble Nou area of BCN which is basically the multimedia / artists / IT district.

At the moment we are using two Vodafone USB modems to take care of business until we move in. These things are awesome, they give you inexpensive prepay broadband access from anywhere.

One question though: Are you planning on moving to Spain or just an extended stay? Are your visas in order? A visitor can only stay up to 6 months then you will have to leave the country for a time and return. This works for many of the US expats we've met here but they would all rather have residency.

It took more than a year but we went for the full thing and have just received our Spanish residency cards (these are much easier to get for EU passport holders than for US, they are extremely difficult for US passholders to get).

If you need any advice or reality checks on relocating to Europe on a US passport you can sticky me anytime.

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