Like me, you probably hurtled along
motorways in the years prior to retirement, trying to reach appointments with
important clients. Allowance had been made for high levels of traffic, but just
one accident resulted in miles and miles of stationery vehicles – yours and
It was little wonder then, that the
prospect of retirement brought doubts into my mind. Would retirement in the UK
or in Spain be satisfying after decades of stomach churning, adrenaline pumping
rushes from one important appointment or meeting to another.
I’m writing to tell you that
retirement in Spain will be, or at least can be, as busy as you want it to be.
My diary is as full as it’s always been, but the big difference now is that, if
I’m late or decide not to go, there’ll be no angry client on the phone or final
warning letter in the post. I go because I’m interested in the activities I
To anyone about to retire to the
Moraira area of Costa Blanca, I recommend that you join an organisation called
U3A. It’s not concerned with particular age groups. Rather it addresses itself
to people whose full time employment is at an end or nearing it, or perhaps
those where parental responsibility is no longer full time. Such people, and I’m
one of them, still want to experience new things but these days, the emphasis
is on leisure and recreational pursuits, rather than achieving academic or
The cost of joining U3A is a modest
10 euros per person for one whole year, and some 1400 people think that the
membership is worthwhile. Of course, that membership is an important source of
new friendships for the newly retired. It’s open to people of all
nationalities, and rightly so, but all business is conducted in English.
One of the most amusing facts about
team GB’s success in the London Olympics was that the vast majority of our
medals were gained in "sitting down sports” – cycling; rowing; sailing. Not to be outdone, U3A has lots of sitting
down activities too. These include backgammon; bridge; canasta; chess;
cribbage; flower arranging (OK, I know this one does involve a little leaning
forward and stem cutting, but it’s mainly sitting down); fortune telling
(though the tarot cards have to be dealt and the crystal ball polished); dining
out; jigsaw puzzle solving – actually, there are too many to list.
For those with death wish/extreme
sport tendencies, U3A has arranged regular badminton; fishing; gardening;
bowls; healthy walking; pilates; petanque; table tennis and yoga sessions, and
again these are just examples. The list is even more exhaustive (no pun
intended). Then, if you have an interest not already covered, you’ll be
encouraged (but not railroaded) to start and run a new group.
Another organisation that’s worthy
of a retiree’s attention is the Teula Moraira Lions Club. With some 1.3 million
members worldwide, it’s active in some 44000 communities globally. The Lions
Club is a group of male and female volunteers who give time freely to
humanitarian causes in and around its local community.
The Lions Club in Teulada-Moraira
started it’s fund raising activities in 1994 and in the first year raised 845
pesetas. Since then, the figure has swelled to over 150000 euros. Most
important, as an organisation of volunteers, every penny or cent raised by
Lions Club International goes directly to charity. For example, they sponsor a
food voucher scheme – administered by Social Services at Teulada/Moraira Town
Hall. All admin costs are met by members. If you’d like to know how you can get
involved with these activities in Moraira on retirement – take a look at their
website, where contact details are shown.
Although Mark Twain wittily
described it as ”a good walk spoiled” – as I’m writing about things to do
during retirement in Spain – the game of golf has to be mentioned and included
in the list.
Assuming, as in my case, a high
level of fitness and athleticism has long ago departed your body – then the 2 x
9 hole courses near to Moraira will be of interest. For me, on a hot summers
day, as long as my drives are reasonably straight, that is – 9 holes is just
about the right length before oxygen, several nurses and possibly a matron, are
Designed by Javier Arana, the club
was opened in 1974. He made the course short but tricky, with narrow fairways
and cunningly placed bunkers. The 6 par 3s and 3 par 4s require you to use a
full range of clubs and to hone your short game skills. Even if you’re playing
badly, it’s hard to spoil the good walk since the views of Ifach rock are
Club de Golf de Javea
Here’s another course where Mark
Twain would have been hard pressed to make his “good walk spoiled” claim stick.
The course is flanked by palm, pine and orange trees. It’s sheltered by Cape
San Antonio allowing a near perfect all year round micro climate, and your
shots are overseen by Montgo, a 750m high mountain shaped like the head and
trunk of an elephant. Again, although the course is not long, the 1981
designer, Francisco Moreno, made it challenging – with 34 bunkers – very
appropriate, since the sand of the coast is only a few kilometers away.
Although it’s only 9 holes long, you can go round twice – most of the back 9
(as it were) having alternative tees. Then the greens have subtle slopes making
them difficult to fathom.
”MsoNormal">It’s good to see that the management
of the course insists that golfers dress and behave like golfers, and not like
beach bums. The place has some style.
It needs to be stated that if you
get in your car with your clubs in the boot, there are other nice courses to
visit. There’s Club de Golf La Sella Denia, designed by Jose Maria Olazabal,
and a little further north you’ll find the Sevy Ballesteros creation – Club de
Golf Oliva Nova. Go in the other direction, and there are courses at Altea,
Benidorm, Calpe and many around Alicante. Further south they can be found at
Elche, Santa Pola, Guardamar, Orihuela, Murcia and Torrevieja.
Choosing exactly where to get your
good walk spoiled is difficult but there is more information here. Golf