Friday Fun: Where Should Marina Retire?

Every couple of weeks I start looking at property websites and planning my next move. The house in which I live now is probably the one I have spent the longest amount of time in (we bought it the year my younger son was born, 16 years ago), but we lived there intermittently, moving abroad twice during that period, for a total of seven years away. I fought tooth and nail to keep it in my divorce settlement, because I couldn’t face the hassle of yet another move. Yet, once both sons have swanned off to university or jobs or whatever they plan to do, I am planning to ‘downsize’. In my case, however, the downsizing might be more a case of moving abroad (in the EU, to be precise), where houses are more affordable (although not the ones I am showing below). I will obviously be spending some of the year in Romania, in a landscape somewhat like this:

But for the rest of the year, there are three places that are calling to me, each with its pros and cons.

Option 1 – France – for the skiing, food and culture

Lyon has that big city vibe but is close enough to stunning mountains, from Barnes International.
The apartments in the old part of Lyon are just perfectly proportioned, from AK.SO Conseils.
And this chateau just outside Lyon would allow me to invite Emma from BookAround over, and we could run reading retreats for all of our friends. From AK.SO Conseils.
If Lyon is too expensive, then Grenoble might prove a good alternative, and is closer to the pistes. From Espaces Atypiques.

Option 2 – Berlin – for the friends and lifestyle

Berlin is all about apartments or penthouses, and I like these stairs going up to a roof terrace. From FarAwayHome.
This penthouse flat overlooking the Bundestag is or was apparently the most expensive apartment in Berlin, from Peach Property Group.
I personally prefer the villas on the outskirts of Berlin, close to the lakes, such as this Villa Am Grunewald.
This Villa Bermann also overlooks a lake, and is probably big enough to accommodate a few reading and writing retreats.

Option 3 – Ireland, County Cork – for its natural beauty and remaining in an English-speaking environment

A view from the kitchen to die for, especially if you start sailing in your old age. From Christies Real Estate.
Maureen O’Hara’s house was up for sale a short while ago, nicely tucked away amidst the green. From Cork Beo.
But there are some surprisingly modern constructions as well, like this bungalow in Kinsale. From Irish Times.

So where would you advise me to move in a few years’ time? Where would you like to join me for writing and/or reading retreats, coupled with a bit of hiking or Nordic walking?

35 thoughts on “Friday Fun: Where Should Marina Retire?”

  1. In Lyon, of course. 🙂
    Better weather than Ireland and Berlin, near the ski slopes, three hours from the sea, among lots of theatres and indie bookshops.

    And course, it doesn’t hurt that I’m there! 😉

  2. I think you’ve homed in on three excellent locations there, Marina; but if I had to choose for myself, either Lyon or Cork would get the nod. (Berlin feels more like a city-break destination to me, but that’s just my personal impression!)

  3. I must say I like all three destinations, and would happily attend a writer’s retreat in any location. France is a country close to my heart, I’ve been to Germany but not Berlin, and I love Ireland and found the people so friendly. I’ve never been to Romania, but it looks so beautiful, I’d love to visit you there, too!

    1. Friday Fun of course bears no semblance to reality, but the truth is I would only be able to afford a small flat in Berlin, so might not be able to host writing/reading retreats there – but the plan is to hold them in Romania for the half of the year that I’d be there!

      1. Sounds really interesting, in how many years, more or less? I agree that Berlin can be attractive, and the idea of a writing retreat with you in Romania is very very tempting!

        1. 2.5 years max. It was going to be as soon as my younger son was out the door in 1.5 years, but I would quite like him to be able to come to his familiar home easily the first year while he is at university, as I can see what a pleasure and comfort that is for my older son.

  4. I love those ‘photos of Ireland, Marina Sofia! (that kitchen!)! And it would be less distance if you wanted to go back to London for anything. Hmm….but France looks so appealing! I’m a bit torn, but I think my vote’s for Ireland.

    1. Berlin – as you have friends there and that is a good way to help settle in;
      Ireland – because it looks good and sounds good for your writing;
      France – mmm, not a great fan😮

      I think that’s the order too! Also, easier to travel to 🇷🇴, perhaps?

      Of course, you could just stay in London – non?

      1. Of course, Friday Fun is not designed to be realistic, but if it were: London is never an option, cos I can’t afford it (I live outside London at the moment). And also, to be honest, after these last few years, I have zero wish to remain in the UK.

        1. Even though this was just a bit of fun I do hope you find your ideal ‘retirement’ home or at least the next step on the way – a place that you can write, enjoy life and have the writing retreat you dream of either in Romania or in the country where you next decide to settle, whenever that is.

    1. I have an advantage with my Romanian/EU passport – something I never thought I would live to say, as it used to be a liability in the past – that all three countries would be open to me.

  5. All those places appeal for different reasons. Berlin in particular appeals though as I like cities, despite being so often drawn to countryside and seaside.

    1. I love Italy, but all my Italian friends tell me it is even crazier with bureaucracy etc. than France and Romania (which are bad enough already!). So I will visit often instead!

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