As Labor Day excursionists return from their rented cottages in the Catskills, or the Poconos, or the Hamptons, or any other “The” destination, conversations on the ride back to the city are of the inescapable variety. Someone predictably suggests that “we should buy a plot of land to build a summer home,” and suddenly “$60,000 for 10 acres of woodland” sounds affordable because “we can go in with two other couples, then it’ll only be $10,000 each!” Then the proposal veers towards the intensely optimistic: “hey, look, there’s street access, too; there’s a road going right through the property!” Let’s say you buy the 10 acres of tree-lined highway. Great! Now, all you have to do is design your dream house; yours, and that of five other people. You see my point? Fortunately for these city-dwellers who dream of a simpler life, there are interesting options abroad and, if you’re lucky, you’ll even get your very own 15th century church as part of the package.
As a tourist destination, Galicia has grown in popularity over the last decade. When I would spend summers there as a child, meeting an American was like making contact with a life form from another planet. However, after a few convincing Departures articles about the breathtaking scenery and the exquisite food , and the saturation of more well-known Spanish beach destinations, tourists began trickling up north along the many rías to cities like La Coruña, Pontevedra, Vigo, Lugo, and of course, Santiago de Compostela, the last stop on the Christian pilgrimage to its famous cathedral. The peak of this boom, as luck would have it, coincided with the economic downturn and the collapse of the housing market. Thanks to plummeting housing prices and soaring unemployment, the educated and able-bodied left the country in search of opportunity abroad, leaving behind an aging population and hundreds of abandoned villages with crumbling granite houses just begging to be renovated. And all for the price of slice of highway in the Catskills. How does that old saying go? Ah yes, one man’s trash is another man’s eco-resort. Read all about it here: http://ind.pn/1cB2pdl