Retirement to the Costa Azahar

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Desmond & Jenny Richards  in Tierra de Irta, Peñiscola

Desmond & Jenny Richards in Tierra de Irta, Peñiscola

The case for expat retirement to the Costa Azahar.

“From my bed I can see the castle of Peñiscola jutting out into the Mediterranean,” says Desmond Richards, 73, from Weston-Super-Mare. “It’s a wonderful view to start the day.”

Desmond, a retired aeronautical engineer who used to work on wing designs for Concorde, and wife Jenny, 73, retired from the TV licensing department, moved to Peñiscola on a semi-permanent basis in January 2004, having purchased off-plan in 2002.

“The first place we bought had too many stairs and no lift, which proved unsuitable for my hip,” explains Desmond. “We found something better down the road, and managed to sell our previous property in 5 days with a ‘for sale’ sign on the balcony.”

The Richards moved to a new development called Tierra de Irta, just to the south of the town of Peñiscola, on the edge of the Sierra d’Irta natural park. They bought off-plan in June 2004, paying 175,000 Euros for a 2-bed, 2-bath apartment with large terraces at the back and the front, and moved in a couple of months ago. “We get morning and afternoon sun on our terraces, and eat out on the terrace two meals a day,” says Jenny with obvious delight.

The apartment is an ideal lock-and-leave property, which suits the Richards perfectly. “We have kept a home in Weston-Super-Mare for the summer,” explains Jenny. “The rest of the time we are out here, enjoying the culture, scenery, and weather.” When the Richards are back in England they do not have to worry about a garden or security.

The Richards fell in love with Peñiscola and the Costa Azahar on their first visit “We thought about France, but the French can be a bit cold,” says Jenny. “In contrast the Spanish are friendly and welcoming, especially in this area. The first time we drove into Peñiscola, and saw the beautiful old town around the bay, we knew this is where we wanted to be.”

They Richards did look at other areas before buying on the Costa Azahar. “Our daughter has a flat in Alicante, and to begin with we looked at places like Torrevieja and Benidorm on the Costa Blanca,” explains Desmond. “We prefer this area because it feels like Spain, and is friendly, safe and quiet. The climate is better too: There is a refreshing breeze, and it doesn’t get unbearably hot.”

As British Pensioners living in the Valencian Region, the Richards are entitled to free health care from the national health service. “We are told it is very good, and you get a doctor’s appointment immediately,” says Desmond. “But the lifestyle here is so healthy that we have not had to see a doctor since we arrived.”

The Richards are never bored when over in Spain. “We are not a stay at home couple, we love to be out and about,” says Jenny. “We go for walks along the coast, drives into the countryside, and love to eat out.”

“We wouldn’t choose anywhere else,” chimes in Desmond. “We certainly didn’t want to spend the rest of our days sitting under a grey sky in Weston-Super-Mare”