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Hi all... I thought I'd give an update on my visit to Jaca. This is intended for people considering Jaca, particularly who come from the United States... it is a bit long, and I apologize.

First of all, thanks to Elyles, his descriptions and enthusiasm for Jaca; his posts have been a positive factor in our visit.

From an American point of view, if you've ever read any of Elyles's praises of Jaca, he is spot on. I can vouch for all he has said about Jaca. Without repeating the praises, I can verify that for an American, Jaca is a very affordable city, and in a great geographic region when it comes to the comforts of life. More on affordability later.

The area is very safe, and very family oriented. I see babies everywhere, I like the scenes of women walking with strollers, or fathers with sons and daughters under their protective arms walking along Calle Mayor. Older citizens meeting in the streets, having drinks and Tapas and saying hello to all their neighbors. The city is not large, but has a bit of everything you would want.

Now, Jaca does not have the big department stores, nor big fashion stores, but you can take a train to Pamplona, Zaragoza, Madrid, or Barcelona for those things. The trip in of itself to those cities is a treat because of the time it takes. Yes, it is not fast, but is scenic. The trip takes over three hours on train from Jaca to Zaragoza, but you can sleep, or read, or listen to music, even watch a movie on your device. Whatever you do, you can count on 3.5 hours of 'alone' time. When we left Zaragoza to Jaca, we talked to one of the train conductors for about an hour, he was very helpful and gave us a lot of information about the city, the culture, and even weather patterns (Houston was in the midst of the hurricane at that time, we are from Houston).

Another thing to note, Jaca does not have an international airport, but again, you can take a trip to the major cities for that.

By chance, I was here when Jaca had their Medieval Festival, a celebration of various cultures. It ended on the third day with a fireworks celebration. It was what you'd expect from any small American city, very nice, and again, very safe. There were various celebrations throughout the day with entertainers walking through the old city streets.

The cost for housing is very cheap here. You can find very nice flats for sale, even villas (standalone house), for very affordable prices. We saw houses, and flats (apartment housing) for 4 bedrooms going for 100-250K US. Not bad at all. If you don't want to buy immediately, you can rent anywhere form 400-600 USD/month for 3-5 bedroom apartments, or villas, with gardens and parking, and furnished! If you want to see for yourself, log on to 'idealista.com', and search for Jaca.

The city is nestled within the mountains. It reminds me of Colorado Springs, or other cities in that part of the US. Mountains, clean air, water and cool breezes.

I did not see many tourists from other countries. I think in the two weeks I was here, I heard maybe one English tourist. I heard a few French, but not surprising as Jaca is located in the foothills of the Pyrenees. 95%+ were locals.

We stayed in the center of town, in the historic (antigua) district. It is very small, it take maybe 30+ minutes to walk around it in a circle. Once outside, the apartments are very modern, but also old buildings mixed in. I'd say 80 percent modern, and energy efficient construction.

It has everything you would ever need, but as I said, sans an airport. No big deal if you plan. I had to go to see a doctor while here for some sort of skin irritation that I had before arriving to Spain; with no insurance, I had to pay $50.00 US, but I would have paid more than that in the US. I got to see a doctor, and get a prescription too, and the medicine was just a few dollars.

Affordability. As Elyles has mentioned, it is cheap here. We went to see a Real Estate Agent to inquire about a long term rental. The rental was $520, for five bedrooms, furnished, and an incredible view of the valley, and mountains. It included a terrace, a garden and the complex had a pool! Wow, all that for just $520! A retired couple could live here on just $1200 per month very nicely!!

People come out in the evenings and enjoy the "old" city. Again, family oriented. Lots of kids, running up and down the streets. Parents will stop by and have a drink and tapas, and the kids entertain themselves with other kids on the streets (closed to vehicle traffic). Dog are allowed everywhere as well, if you want to bring your dog. :)

Now for the sad news, my wife and kids get to stay here. My wife will register the kids for school next week (from this post), but they may move because she is getting offers from two companies in Denmark. We have decided that if she does not accept either, we are content to settle here in Jaca. My wife has family in Barcelona, and it is very easy to get there, just a little over 3.5 hours by car.

Jaca has grown on me in the week I've been here. It is very easy to see why if you ever visit. A lovely town, simple, yet all you need is here. Maybe not the culture you'd find in Madrid, or Barcelona, but those are both just hours away by rail if you need them. If you want peace, tranquility, affordability, amazing scenery, then Jaca may be for you. From where we rent in the old city, we can walk for 30 minutes and be on the trails of the mountains. If you've been to Durango, or Silverton, you might understand what I am referring to.

After 22:00, the "young" people come out and hang out at the bars along the Calle Mayor. Nice people enjoying the night out. Most bars have outside seating, and so the patrons choose those places. Maybe more noise if you don't want to stay up late, but all I can think of is that they are enjoying life, so I ignore it.

Lastly, I cannot end without letting you know about something Elyles never mentioned to me, at least that I found in his posts... we took a trip to see the abandoned rail station called Canfranc. The trip there from Jaca in of itself was spectacular, winding through the narrow canyons, rivers and mountains. Then to see the magnificent station, the town, it was like time stood still.

After Canfranc, we proceeded to the tunnel into France (all of this within one hour from Jaca!). The tunnel is long, I don't recall how long but about five, or seven minutes at 80KMH. It is like going through time because you see Spain on one end, then when you emerge on the French side, it is like being in the Swiss Alps. Lush green, steep hillsides, cows, sheep. You'd think you were in Ireland, or the Swiss Alps. You see the difference right away, the quaint villages and stone houses that abut the highways into town. Just as in the movies with great European cinematography.

Anyway, I don't mean to bore you with the long post. It is just something I had to write about while in Spain before I left. I am leaving back to the US tomorrow, but my wife and kids will stay here in Spain/Europe. I have a few international projects to complete before I can retire, but when I do, I shall join my family. In the meantime, I will visit them in six weeks, and again at Christmas and visit the German Christmas markets. My wife and I are happy to stay here, and won't be disappointed if negotiations do not proceed for Denmark.

If you ever are considering Spain, consider Jaca. The affordability of it alone is worth the visit. The people here are amazing, friendly and pleasant to visit with. It does get cold here, but again, the sea is no more than 4 hours away.

I hope you get to visit Jaca! Thank you Elyles.
 

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A couple months ago when I called home I told my mother that I was in Peniscola and she said; "Oh, you going to come to dinner tonight"... She lives in Orlando, FL

You can ( fill the blank in ) for any Spanish city - maybe not Barcelona or Madrid mind you, but avec the same description.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes!

A couple months ago when I called home I told my mother that I was in Peniscola and she said; "Oh, you going to come to dinner tonight"... She lives in Orlando, FL

You can ( fill the blank in ) for any Spanish city - maybe not Barcelona or Madrid mind you, but avec the same description.
Ha, yes... we drove from Barcelona to Valencia, and passed that city! I thought to myself if that was not the origin of 'Pensicola' Floriday. Maybe they did not like the 'Peniscola' version? Ha!
 

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Yeah, I even think there is a Manchester, CT/NH or Norfolk ( insert state here) or Paris, Iowa and on and on.

You should write a blog. Might reach more people with your content.

TRUMP 2020 - Keeping America Great
 

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Hi Dionysus,
what a great post, full of info and insight. I have to say though many of your observations could be made in any number of places in Spain, and I'm the poster who really comes down on people when they talk about Spain and the Spanish and making generalisations! I am sure many posters will recognise this
The area is very safe, and very family oriented. I see babies everywhere, I like the scenes of women walking with strollers, or fathers with sons and daughters under their protective arms walking along Calle Mayor. Older citizens meeting in the streets, having drinks and Tapas and saying hello to all their neighbors. The city is not large, but has a bit of everything you would want.
and this
I did not see many tourists from other countries. I think in the two weeks I was here, I heard maybe one English tourist
and this
After 22:00, the "young" people come out and hang out at the bars along the Calle Mayor. Nice people enjoying the night out. Most bars have outside seating,
And more!
One thing I don't understand about Jaca is the lack of tourists or people of different nationalities taking into account that it's a world reknowned ski resort, isn't it? Or is the skiing at some distance from the town?
Anyway, glad to know you are happy with your visit and that Elyles posts helped you so much:smile:
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The tunnel you spoke of is the Somport and is 11km long. Those who break the speed limit get a personalised message on the overhead boards telling them to slow down! Will be on our way through again in about 10 days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Slow...

The tunnel you spoke of is the Somport and is 11km long. Those who break the speed limit get a personalised message on the overhead boards telling them to slow down! Will be on our way through again in about 10 days.
Ha, yes, I purposely drove slower than most, lots of people exceeding the limit and going around me. The last thing I want is a ticket to come to my door in Houston!

I'm back home, but the wife and kids are in Jaca... they love walking all the way to Carrefour from the center of town.
 
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