Cities good for living abroad?

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stuffthatpig
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by stuffthatpig » Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:37 pm

From personal experience, I'd recommend Prague and Munich. Munich was an incredible city and it's easy to train to lots of places. If you need a place to hang out while you wait for the Schengen Zone 90 days to expire, Sofia, Bulgaria was cool but you wouldn't want to spend more than 2-4 weeks there. Bucharest, Romania also looks super cool and obviously Istanbul would be a fantastic non-Schengen city to hang out in.

Valuethinker
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Mar 07, 2016 1:41 pm

stuffthatpig wrote:From personal experience, I'd recommend Prague and Munich. Munich was an incredible city and it's easy to train to lots of places. If you need a place to hang out while you wait for the Schengen Zone 90 days to expire, Sofia, Bulgaria was cool but you wouldn't want to spend more than 2-4 weeks there. Bucharest, Romania also looks super cool and obviously Istanbul would be a fantastic non-Schengen city to hang out in.
My spouse worked in Bucharest. She found it very poignant. Ceaucescu bulldozed much of the old town for his grand palace. She also found it quite squalid. 10 years later she went back, it was more prosperous. But still not a pretty city. Countryside and small places much less despoiled.

Istanbul. They are having riots, and they have had terrorist attacks. The thing is quite tense. I am not saying "don't go there" but I wonder whether living there for a protracted period might be a bit much (I recognize, that, setting aside traffic, it's probably one of the world's safer big cities-- terrorism or no).

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gunn_show
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by gunn_show » Mon Mar 07, 2016 3:17 pm

JonnyDVM wrote:Another vote for Barcelona.
+1 Barcelona ... probably my favorite city visited ever. Could easily spend a year or career there.

Copenhagen (2nd fave) ... Berlin ... Italy (pick a spot and train everywhere up-down coast - same with Berlin across Germany) .. Amsterdam ...

San Fran you could do the same, and get to many cool places within an hour or two - be it Sonoma, Napa, the coast, Santa Barbara, etc.

But OP needs to name some specific parameters to really narrow down....
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

profnot
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by profnot » Mon Mar 07, 2016 3:21 pm

I would buy a home in Brussels or Amsterdam for most of the time and visit hotels in southern Italy in Jan / Feb. English is prevalent in Brussels and Amsterdam.

Brussels is only 2 hours by train from Paris and 4 hours to London. You could use the small airlines (listed above) to get to Vienna, Prague, etc.

Sounds like a great life!

111
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by 111 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 3:24 pm

I spent the last two years in Lisbon and really loved it. Porto is pretty nice too. In Spain I visited Seville and Barcelona and would like to go back to both of those for more time.

Leeraar
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Leeraar » Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:02 pm

gunn_show wrote:But OP needs to name some specific parameters to really narrow down....
OP here.

Thank you all for the many interesting responses. Much food for thought.

We will be traveling the next couple of days. I will respond in more detail after we get home on Wednesday night.

Our ideas are changing / being refined. But here are some comments.

1. We are talking about Europe.
2. Stays of up to 90 days (I read up on the visa thing).
3. Looking for cities that are walkable and safe, interesting, and accessible without a car, moped or bicycle. That means decent bus and subway systems.
4. Looking for a living and eating "culture", defined in terms of coffee shops and pastries, good restaurants, fresh food markets, wine, and the rest.
5. Only after that, a base for exploring by train, not by air. Other cities that are worth an overnight stay with, say, a 4-hour train ride at each end. (The frugal Boglehead says, we're already paying for our place in the USA, and for our base in Europe. You want us to add a third place to that for excursions?)

The Barcelona recommendations are interesting, and I will research that further. Vienna (since I have been there) seems like a good choice for a one-month proof of concept.

Glad to see some recommendations for Berlin. I was there early last year, and the place just imprinted itself on me, compared to say Frankfurt and Munich.

Our benchmark for weather is Detroit, which, as I said in a previous message, is a very low hurdle.

Thank you again,

L.
Last edited by Leeraar on Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
You can get what you want, or you can just get old. (Billy Joel, "Vienna")

jridger2011
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by jridger2011 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:05 pm

I am from New York and would say living here for a year may be a bit too much if you mind intense crowding. New York has a full spectrum of weather but it is very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. There is lots to do if you enjoy finding new foods, music and plays, and events (sponsored walks, parades, marathons, etc). The only downside is getting in/out of New York is a hassle with its traffic and no direct link to the nearby airports except for Newark by train.

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gunn_show
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by gunn_show » Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:19 pm

Leeraar wrote:
gunn_show wrote:But OP needs to name some specific parameters to really narrow down....
OP here.
I condense my earlier options to Barcelona, anywhere in Italy, Berlin, and Copenhagen .. with Barcelona way out front
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

Lynette
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Lynette » Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:32 pm

......
Last edited by Lynette on Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

normaldude
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by normaldude » Mon Mar 07, 2016 10:16 pm

jridger2011 wrote:I am from New York and would say living here for a year may be a bit too much if you mind intense crowding. New York has a full spectrum of weather but it is very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. There is lots to do if you enjoy finding new foods, music and plays, and events (sponsored walks, parades, marathons, etc). The only downside is getting in/out of New York is a hassle with its traffic and no direct link to the nearby airports except for Newark by train.
JFK airport has an airtrain, connected to the "E" and "A" subways.

LaGuardia airport is the only one without an airtrain, but you can take the "N" train to Astoria Blvd station, then switch to the M60 bus stop (on the median), which will go to LaGuardia airport.

If you're planning to drive in/out of Manhattan, ideally avoid "peak hours" (M-Fr 6-10am, 4-8pm; Sa-Su 11am-9pm, as defined by the port authority). And before departing, check Google Maps traffic, Bing Maps traffic, or sigalert.com to see the least congested path.

ensign
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by ensign » Tue Mar 08, 2016 11:38 am

Geneva, London, Rome, Vienna, Dublin, Sydney.

Carefreeap
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Carefreeap » Tue Mar 08, 2016 4:55 pm

Leeraar wrote:
renue74 wrote:The wife and I visited Italy last summer. Venice, Florence, Rome, Pompeii, Milan, and Lake Como. Italy was fantastic...the food, the people, art, museums, easy to travel, etc.

If it were me, I would pick a centrally located European Country.....maybe Germany. That way, you could travel via train to all the cities on your punch list!
I guess you have figured out my question!! :)

L.
We lived in Bonn, Germany for three years which is about 30 minutes south of Koeln (Cologne) and is surprisingly accessible. Because it's a University town it's a wonderful cycling and walking town. Train access to Brussles and France is excellent as well as to Switzerland. We actually drove to Italy vs taking a train. While train service is good in Europe you are still going to want to fly to some places because it just takes too long especially for shorter weekend trips. DH would make a monthly week-long trip to Prague for work. We flew to Madrid for Christmas one year. Flew to Turkey, Croatia, Berlin and of course twice yearly trips to the States (out of Frankfurt).

The only real draw back I had with living in Bonn was weather. As folks say Germany can be really cold and gray during the winter when the sun doesn't rise until nearly 9am and sets at close to 3pm in the afternoon. It can also rain a lot. Since you have a pretty low bar to meet it probably won't bother you. I'm a California girl who had relocated to Bonn after living in the Scottsdale AZ area for six years. It was a tough transition! It can also get pretty hot and muggy during the summer. Poor me I would be forced to check on our rentals in San Diego during those hot months. :wink:

AdmiralJJ
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by AdmiralJJ » Tue Mar 08, 2016 5:15 pm

I would pick Paris and my wife would pick London.

Museums, wine (it's cheap), food, just walking around

One of the great memories of my life is sitting on the pont neuf with a Cuban cigar, just watching all the Parisians and tourists. I would spend days at the museums and nights on the Seine, with some wine, cheese, and bread.

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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Leeraar » Tue Mar 08, 2016 5:37 pm

As folks say Germany can be really cold and gray
Have you tried a Detroit winter? :) Being west of the lakes, Detroit has significantly more gloomy weather than places like St. Louis or Minneapolis. Again, a low bar.

L.
You can get what you want, or you can just get old. (Billy Joel, "Vienna")

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ryuns
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by ryuns » Tue Mar 08, 2016 6:34 pm

Fun thread. Barcelona or elsewhere in the southern half of Spain is an easy choice if you plan on Europe. We were in southern Spain in early February, and, honestly, it couldn't have been better. Slightly chilly but pleasant enough for walking. It was the off-season, so accommodations were very affordable (all via airbnb). People were friendly. We experienced no crime or anything remotely sketchy (pickpocketing is a concern, but not a big deal). Food was fantastic and extremely affordable. Driving was quite easy for me as an American, drivers were surprisingly capable (assertive, but not absent-minded) and the rental car was cheap (I realize you'd be walking, but the occasional rental to get to wine country might make sense).

Barcelona is crawling with tourists, but still extremely pleasant, with a ton to do. Transit is good, bike infrastructure is good. We also really enjoyed Madrid. Far less touristy and less naturally beautiful than Barcelona, but nice to walk around neighborhoods where normal folk lived, talk to more locals who weren't in the business of talking to tourists, to try restaurants that didn't cater to tourists, etc. All that said, if we were *moving* somewhere in Spain, it might be Granada. A little chillier due to elevation, but close to mountains, ocean, hiking, everything. Great food and drink culture. Touristy, but smaller and more manageable, and still affordable.
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. -- GK Chesterton

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patrick013
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by patrick013 » Tue Mar 08, 2016 6:46 pm

Just read an article on Ecuador. National currency is the US Dollar.
Filet Mignon at the best restaurant $7. Taxi ride $1.25. Other costs
as low as they can get.

Gated communities, no hurricanes, 75-80 degrees all year, a little
bio-diverse, plants, chameleons, but not bad. Mow the lawn I guess.
age in bonds, buy-and-hold, 10 year business cycle

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VictoriaF
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by VictoriaF » Tue Mar 08, 2016 7:16 pm

jane1 wrote:Depends so much on your interests. I like London, NY, Chicago and lot of others in the list below. 3-6 months might be adequate in some of these places.
Visa stay limits will be a big constraint.
Some of the places I have spent a few days/weeks in but are on my "extended-stay" list -
...
New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, LA, Seattle, Boston, DC
Thank you, Jane, for mentioning D.C. It's surprisingly under-appreciated. Washington is much warmer than Midwestern states and somewhat warmer and less snowy than Boston, NYC, and Philadelphia. Of course, if you are in D.C., other great cities are a short Amtrak ride away.

If you live near a D.C. WMATA (Metro) station, you don't need to worry about traffic. If you don't work, you can take advantage of numerous cultural, intellectual, and political opportunities. Many of them, such as embassy and thinktank events, are free.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

Valuethinker
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Mar 09, 2016 4:08 am

Leeraar wrote:
gunn_show wrote:But OP needs to name some specific parameters to really narrow down....
OP here.

Thank you all for the many interesting responses. Much food for thought.

We will be traveling the next couple of days. I will respond in more detail after we get home on Wednesday night.

Our ideas are changing / being refined. But here are some comments.

1. We are talking about Europe.
2. Stays of up to 90 days (I read up on the visa thing).
3. Looking for cities that are walkable and safe, interesting, and accessible without a car, moped or bicycle. That means decent bus and subway systems.
4. Looking for a living and eating "culture", defined in terms of coffee shops and pastries, good restaurants, fresh food markets, wine, and the rest.
5. Only after that, a base for exploring by train, not by air. Other cities that are worth an overnight stay with, say, a 4-hour train ride at each end. (The frugal Boglehead says, we're already paying for our place in the USA, and for our base in Europe. You want us to add a third place to that for excursions?)

The Barcelona recommendations are interesting, and I will research that further. Vienna (since I have been there) seems like a good choice for a one-month proof of concept.

Glad to see some recommendations for Berlin. I was there early last year, and the place just imprinted itself on me, compared to say Frankfurt and Munich.

Our benchmark for weather is Detroit, which, as I said in a previous message, is a very low hurdle.

Thank you again,

L.
Paris

Lyons perhaps - it has a TGV to Paris and one to the south

Toulouse

Those 3 would give you the "cafe culture". As would Grenoble if you like skiing.

Berlin - yes, Munich is chocolate box lovely and is crazy-affluent (probably the richest region in all of Europe). Frankfurt was badly bombed and so is mostly quite modern and is a banking town (good location for getting anywhere else, though). Berlin has a historical character and you can visit Leipzig, Dresden and the Baltic coast, all of which are interesting. As well as Warsaw and other parts of Poland of course. Berlin also has relatively cheap rents and is definitely the young person's "go to" in Europe (what London was in the early 1990s). All night clubbing may not be your thing, but being in a city full of young people gives it a dynamism and "buzz". The transport system is just excellent so easy to get around.

Prinzlauer Berg in the old east is the "yuppie" mecca these days (kind of like Greenwich Village in NYC, I think). I didn't like the feeling in Kreuzberg (there's a difference between postal code 36 & 38, one is rougher, I think the one closer to the old wall (Die Mauer)).

Worth watching "Bridge of Spies" for a recreation of divided Berlin. (and "the Third Man" for Vienna).

Geneva I am not keen on-- it's crazy expensive with the CHF where it is, and it seems a slightly cold place. Zurich has a bit more urban roughness (drug problems etc, mild by standards of North American cities, but therefore pickpockets etc.) but is perhaps better situated.

Barcelona would be another good choice. Madrid is busy and colder (temperature and culture)-- not sure winter is that great there. Seville is provincial, but you do now have a high speed train to Madrid, and you have everything around there which is lovely.

I tend to agree that Rome is not superconvenient for anywhere else (Milan is better, perhaps). Milan is the Italian New York: brusque, not particularly friendly, a business city.

I hadn't considered Lisbon, I imagine the winter is very wet. It's a lovely city although less convenient for the rest of Europe.

Re Istanbul I was having a conversation last night with someone who was working there, one week in 4. Her view was you can avoid the trouble- -it is after all a huge city.

I would make the usual comments about European pickpockets. In any tourist area, they are there, and they are very skilled. Ditto phone thieves. You won't go to the Bains-lieues (outer postwar concrete suburbs with large minorities) that are the more dangerous places in France and other European centres, so the level of violent crime is relatively low.

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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Mar 09, 2016 4:09 am

VictoriaF wrote:
jane1 wrote:Depends so much on your interests. I like London, NY, Chicago and lot of others in the list below. 3-6 months might be adequate in some of these places.
Visa stay limits will be a big constraint.
Some of the places I have spent a few days/weeks in but are on my "extended-stay" list -
...
New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, LA, Seattle, Boston, DC
Thank you, Jane, for mentioning D.C. It's surprisingly under-appreciated. Washington is much warmer than Midwestern states and somewhat warmer and less snowy than Boston, NYC, and Philadelphia. Of course, if you are in D.C., other great cities are a short Amtrak ride away.

If you live near a D.C. WMATA (Metro) station, you don't need to worry about traffic. If you don't work, you can take advantage of numerous cultural, intellectual, and political opportunities. Many of them, such as embassy and thinktank events, are free.

Victoria
Because of its status as a capital city, Washington DC has a phenomenal density of intellectual and cultural opportunities (not to mention Civil War battlefields on your doorstep ;-)).

kamo
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by kamo » Wed Mar 09, 2016 12:16 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
jane1 wrote:Depends so much on your interests. I like London, NY, Chicago and lot of others in the list below. 3-6 months might be adequate in some of these places.
Visa stay limits will be a big constraint.
Some of the places I have spent a few days/weeks in but are on my "extended-stay" list -
...
New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, LA, Seattle, Boston, DC
Thank you, Jane, for mentioning D.C. It's surprisingly under-appreciated. Washington is much warmer than Midwestern states and somewhat warmer and less snowy than Boston, NYC, and Philadelphia. Of course, if you are in D.C., other great cities are a short Amtrak ride away.

If you live near a D.C. WMATA (Metro) station, you don't need to worry about traffic. If you don't work, you can take advantage of numerous cultural, intellectual, and political opportunities. Many of them, such as embassy and thinktank events, are free.

Victoria
Because of its status as a capital city, Washington DC has a phenomenal density of intellectual and cultural opportunities (not to mention Civil War battlefields on your doorstep ;-)).
+1.
He who knows he has enough is rich. Lao-Tzu

kamo
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by kamo » Wed Mar 09, 2016 12:29 pm

Leeraar wrote:
gunn_show wrote:But OP needs to name some specific parameters to really narrow down....
OP here.

Thank you all for the many interesting responses. Much food for thought.

We will be traveling the next couple of days. I will respond in more detail after we get home on Wednesday night.

Our ideas are changing / being refined. But here are some comments.

1. We are talking about Europe.
2. Stays of up to 90 days (I read up on the visa thing).
3. Looking for cities that are walkable and safe, interesting, and accessible without a car, moped or bicycle. That means decent bus and subway systems.
4. Looking for a living and eating "culture", defined in terms of coffee shops and pastries, good restaurants, fresh food markets, wine, and the rest.
5. Only after that, a base for exploring by train, not by air. Other cities that are worth an overnight stay with, say, a 4-hour train ride at each end. (The frugal Boglehead says, we're already paying for our place in the USA, and for our base in Europe. You want us to add a third place to that for excursions?)

The Barcelona recommendations are interesting, and I will research that further. Vienna (since I have been there) seems like a good choice for a one-month proof of concept.

Glad to see some recommendations for Berlin. I was there early last year, and the place just imprinted itself on me, compared to say Frankfurt and Munich.

Our benchmark for weather is Detroit, which, as I said in a previous message, is a very low hurdle.

Thank you again,

L.

The most popular European suggestions so far are all good. I've lived in or visited many of those places and agree with what most people have written. I would like to suggest a place that you may not have considered - Belgrade, Serbia - that meets all your criteria above and is populated by wonderful hard-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside people who understand how to live. I lived there 5 years and enjoyed it immensely.

Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and, like Belgrade, is situated along the Danube river and imbued with a socialism/communism legacy.
He who knows he has enough is rich. Lao-Tzu

martiansteeler
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by martiansteeler » Wed Mar 09, 2016 1:19 pm

Leeraar wrote:
stan1 wrote:
Leeraar wrote:
Jeff Albertson wrote:Depending on your situation, you'll need to get smart on Schengen visa requirements.
I will. I assume that since we have no intention of earning any income or doing any business there, it will not be a real problem.

L.
You assume wrong. With that approach you could well get an "illegal immigrant" stamp on your passport or worse given the immigrant issues these countries are facing right now. In general tourist visas in the Schengen countries are good for 90 days out of every 180 days (meaning you have to leave the Schengen region for 90 days before you come back -- such as going to the UK or Croatia/Bulgaria).
Don't miss my point. We will get the appropriate permissions for our stay.

L.
Agree. Ive watched many unsuspecting tourists be pulled to the special room by border patrol in both Frankfurt and Zurich airports for overstaying by a day or two.

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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by 6miths » Wed Mar 09, 2016 2:00 pm

cheese_breath wrote:One newspaper's opinion...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/galle ... le-cities/
I've been to all of these except Auckland and Sydney and I will make it to those. I think this is a great list. I would add London, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Singapore and Capetown all of which I love and would go back to in a heartbeat for extended stays. I also enjoyed Kyiv and hope to get to Prague in the not too distant future. So many choices.... so little time! And for those that have Montreal on the list, Quebec is an amazing city.
'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so!' Mark Twain

normaldude
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by normaldude » Wed Mar 09, 2016 2:12 pm

6miths wrote:I've been to all of these except Auckland and Sydney and I will make it to those. I think this is a great list. I would add London, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Singapore and Capetown all of which I love and would go back to in a heartbeat for extended stays. I also enjoyed Kyiv and hope to get to Prague in the not too distant future. So many choices.... so little time! And for those that have Montreal on the list, Quebec is an amazing city.
South Africa has one of the highest murder rates in the world, and Cape Town has the highest murder rate in all of Africa (not just in South Africa).

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/cape-town-most ... re-1476375

http://www.702.co.za/articles/846/50-mo ... cities-are

I'm sure Cape Town has beautiful scenery. But I'm not sure it's a great place to live.

tedclu
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by tedclu » Wed Mar 09, 2016 2:17 pm

I like a lot of city list above, but the issue i have is the tourists. I try my best to avoid the high seasons.

My plan is to enjoy summer in the US, and spend the Spring/Fall/Winter somewhere else.

a few I like.

Chiang Mai (Winter/Spring)
Madrid (fall/spring)
Melbourne (Winter)
Hong Kong (winter, non-Chinese new year)
Lake Como/Varenna (spring/fall)
Rome (spring/fall)
Tokyo (spring)
Paris/London (anytime)

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Jazztonight
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Jazztonight » Wed Mar 09, 2016 5:19 pm

desiderium wrote:Madrid or Barcelona, or both
I have lived in Oakland, California, a city on the "high rate of crime list," most of my life.

The only time I've ever been mugged or attacked was in Barcelona. Just sayin'.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

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6miths
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by 6miths » Wed Mar 09, 2016 5:56 pm

normaldude wrote:
6miths wrote:I've been to all of these except Auckland and Sydney and I will make it to those. I think this is a great list. I would add London, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Singapore and Capetown all of which I love and would go back to in a heartbeat for extended stays. I also enjoyed Kyiv and hope to get to Prague in the not too distant future. So many choices.... so little time! And for those that have Montreal on the list, Quebec is an amazing city.
South Africa has one of the highest murder rates in the world, and Cape Town has the highest murder rate in all of Africa (not just in South Africa).

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/cape-town-most ... re-1476375

http://www.702.co.za/articles/846/50-mo ... cities-are

I'm sure Cape Town has beautiful scenery. But I'm not sure it's a great place to live.
Detroit, New Orleans, Baltimore and St. Louis aren't far behind Capetown. But Capetown's statistics include township (ghetto) areas that rival large US cities in population. People living right on top of one another in poverty. The areas that are the places that one would chose to live are gorgeous and pretty safe. I haven't been for a few years but all of the folks that I know who have been recently have said that they very much enjoyed it and felt quite safe. Much of it depends on your mind set. I had a great time in Sana'a, Yemen and New Orleans and St. Louis. And come to think of it Detroit and Baltimore too. Again, to each their own.

It's interesting that the top 18 cities on the list are in Latin America, where survey after survey say that the people are happier than anywhere else in the world. Go figure.
'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so!' Mark Twain

Leeraar
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Leeraar » Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:45 pm

OP here.

I am from South Africa. There is not any city in that country which meets my criteria.

Some years ago I did a study on relative crime rates. It turns out that city (Detroit) crime (murder) rates in the USA are ten times the baseline for the country. The same is true for South Africa, except their country baseline is the same as Detroit's. In other words, Detroit is ten times more dangerous than the USA as a whole. Johannesburg is a hundred times more dangerous.

I don't know about South America, but I think the happiest people in the world are in Scandinavia - Denmark, Sweden, etc.

L.
You can get what you want, or you can just get old. (Billy Joel, "Vienna")

searhapsody
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by searhapsody » Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:03 pm

Leeraar wrote:OP here.

I am from South Africa. There is not any city in that country which meets my criteria.

Some years ago I did a study on relative crime rates. It turns out that city (Detroit) crime (murder) rates in the USA are ten times the baseline for the country. The same is true for South Africa, except their country baseline is the same as Detroit's. In other words, Detroit is ten times more dangerous than the USA as a whole. Johannesburg is a hundred times more dangerous.

I don't know about South America, but I think the happiest people in the world are in Scandinavia - Denmark, Sweden, etc.

L.
I asked many people about the happiness reputation when I was in Copenhagen. They seemed shocked and dismayed. I did find that they treated mothers quite well compared to other countries, so they seemed happier than most new moms I meet in the states. My biggest surprise was the racial/nationalist attitudes. I heard a lot of negative stereotypes about Greenlanders! (I admit that I've never thought of Greenlanders enough to have any stereotype about them positive or negative.)

Overall I fell in love with Copenhagen even though I visited in November/December. I was coming from Chicago so the chill and early darkness didn't bother me. I found that the city embraced the cold weather and Christmas season even more than Chicagoans do. The biking and walkability sold me. I also love modern, minimalist style so the practically whole city fit my aesthetic. I wanted to move there right away!

The only negative was the cost which was incredibly high. They claim the food prices are higher than London.

normaldude
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by normaldude » Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:16 pm

searhapsody wrote:I asked many people about the happiness reputation when I was in Copenhagen. They seemed shocked and dismayed. I did find that they treated mothers quite well compared to other countries, so they seemed happier than most new moms I meet in the states. My biggest surprise was the racial/nationalist attitudes. I heard a lot of negative stereotypes about Greenlanders! (I admit that I've never thought of Greenlanders enough to have any stereotype about them positive or negative.)

Overall I fell in love with Copenhagen even though I visited in November/December. I was coming from Chicago so the chill and early darkness didn't bother me. I found that the city embraced the cold weather and Christmas season even more than Chicagoans do. The biking and walkability sold me. I also love modern, minimalist style so the practically whole city fit my aesthetic. I wanted to move there right away!

The only negative was the cost which was incredibly high. They claim the food prices are higher than London.
To get a sense of global food prices, you could look at the Economist.com's Big Mac index.

USA: $4.93
Denmark: $4.32
Britain: $4.22

http://www.economist.com/content/big-mac-index

Right now, with a strong US dollar, it appears that US dollars go very far in most countries around the world.

Leeraar
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Leeraar » Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:22 pm

I asked many people about the happiness reputation when I was in Copenhagen
I think happiness comes mostly from a sense of belonging. of community, and being around people that are like yourself.

Diversity may be exciting and exhilarating, but I don't think it drives the happiness thing so much.

Church service or roller coaster, they all have their place. :)

L.
You can get what you want, or you can just get old. (Billy Joel, "Vienna")

aeronina
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by aeronina » Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:24 pm

I would seriously consider smaller cities..... having lived in larger cities abroad for a year. Paris has lots offer but much "busier" and expensive like Manhattan. By contrast, Lyon, France has a more easy going culture, great architecture, traboules, farmer's market, very safe bicycle trails (for 25 euros for the year, you can bicycle anywhere at half hour increments and they have an App to show you where bicycle parking lots/availability is). Furthermore, people are much friendlier, and apartments are much less expensive than Paris. The only downside to Lyon is that it's not a major hub for airlines. I don't know if you would consider smaller cities in India, but Rishikesh is a place to consider, particularly if you enjoy yoga.

livesoft
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by livesoft » Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:37 pm

I lived in Europe for many years. I'm happy to see that many of my favorite cities have been mentioned over and over in this thread. I would be having too much fun to stay in one place more than month though.

One doesn't have to live in the middle of any of these cities. Many of them have very decent suburbs with good commuter train connections into the city center.

We used to take overnight trains to other countries, so board in the evening, sleep, and get out and explore first thing in the morning.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

Leeraar
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Leeraar » Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:53 pm

aeronina wrote:I would seriously consider smaller cities..... having lived in larger cities abroad for a year. Paris has lots offer but much "busier" and expensive like Manhattan. By contrast, Lyon, France has a more easy going culture, great architecture, traboules, farmer's market, very safe bicycle trails (for 25 euros for the year, you can bicycle anywhere at half hour increments and they have an App to show you where bicycle parking lots/availability is). Furthermore, people are much friendlier, and apartments are much less expensive than Paris. The only downside to Lyon is that it's not a major hub for airlines. I don't know if you would consider smaller cities in India, but Rishikesh is a place to consider, particularly if you enjoy yoga.
How about Toulouse?

L.
You can get what you want, or you can just get old. (Billy Joel, "Vienna")

autolycus
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by autolycus » Thu Mar 10, 2016 2:29 pm

I would say Munich and Vienna would be at the tops of my list for livable larger European cities. There is a very high standard of living in both. I might also add Llubjana. For avoiding the Schengen 90/180 day issue, these are also any easy transit to non-Schengen Switzerland and Croatia, especially if you're willing to have a car for part of your extended travel. Croatia is a wonderfully friendly place with great, inexpensive food. And between Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes, Istria, and Dalmatia, plenty of areas to explore for a few months. But a car is highly desirable because of the lack of train network. Along the coast, you could maybe get by with ferries between towns but only in high season when the towns would be full of vacationers.

On the other side of the world, there are lots of great places to live in New Zealand if you're ok with smaller cities. Auckland is large. Wellington is mid-size. Queenstown is smaller still but wonderful. Again, with a car, there's TONS of things to see around the country, if you like natural scenery anyway. They have a 1-year "working tourist" visa, as well, so that presents some options that don't exist in Europe.

clutchied
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by clutchied » Fri Mar 11, 2016 9:06 am

Nimes(France), Uzes(France), Outside of Cannes is a town called Antibes that was just alive. We rode scooters from Cannes to Antibes at night to an open air market and it was really an amazing experience. Tarragona in spain. Florence is supposed to be awesome and then there's Paris which was fun too.

Valuethinker
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:26 am

Jazztonight wrote:
desiderium wrote:Madrid or Barcelona, or both
I have lived in Oakland, California, a city on the "high rate of crime list," most of my life.

The only time I've ever been mugged or attacked was in Barcelona. Just sayin'.
It's certainly true that when you live in a city you learn where and when not to go.

BUT the violent crime in South Africa (and perhaps urban Brasil) really does defy belief. I don't know a South African (who can afford it) who does not subscribe to an armed security service (staffed by ex military - police). And also I knew for example a 28 year old girl who moved to the UK "I got tired of shooting people with my Gac*". This was an ordinary commuting professional living in the Jo'burg suburbs.

A friend has a farm in the Cape. Razor wire around the house and guard dogs. Home invasion type robbery and murders are real threats.

Jo'burg is very bad. You can get carjacked easily even if you live in a safe neighbourhood. One SA friend in London told me the hardest thing to get used to was people just walking around at night, going about their business. My spouse was in a j'burg suburb, and they wouldn't let her walk 50 yards to where she was working from where she was staying.

Cape Town I have heard it is more localized, but you do get wild things happening.

* I think slang for an automatic pistol like a Glock.

Valuethinker
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:27 am

We haven't mentioned it, but it goes almost without saying.

If you are not white, then there has to be consideration of that as an issue for some European countries and cities. Particularly with the refugee crisis going on-- it has really stirred things up.

There were some bits of London I wouldn't hang around if I was not white (more in the outer suburbs to the east and south east) but I am not sure if that is still the case, say 10-20 years later. And parts of East Berlin.

dbr
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by dbr » Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:30 am

livesoft wrote:I lived in Europe for many years. I'm happy to see that many of my favorite cities have been mentioned over and over in this thread. I would be having too much fun to stay in one place more than month though.

One doesn't have to live in the middle of any of these cities. Many of them have very decent suburbs with good commuter train connections into the city center.

We used to take overnight trains to other countries, so board in the evening, sleep, and get out and explore first thing in the morning.
I think City Night Line has just stopped service this year. A shame as you are right about the advantages. There are still night trains in Scandinavia, Great Britain, and possibly Japan, at least. I think good rail service would be a criterion to include in picking a city in which to live.

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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Leeraar » Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:48 am

dbr wrote:I think good rail service would be a criterion to include in picking a city in which to live.
Yes,

I just checked with a friend in the Netherlands. It turns out that inter-country train service from Amsterdam is not so good. The high-speed line goes to Brussels and Paris. There is not one to the west. To get to Copenhagen takes 12 hours and four trains.

I suppose I am spoiled by my fond memories of the train between Frankfurt and Munich. Just incredible.

L.
You can get what you want, or you can just get old. (Billy Joel, "Vienna")

Valuethinker
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:14 am

Leeraar wrote:
aeronina wrote:I would seriously consider smaller cities..... having lived in larger cities abroad for a year. Paris has lots offer but much "busier" and expensive like Manhattan. By contrast, Lyon, France has a more easy going culture, great architecture, traboules, farmer's market, very safe bicycle trails (for 25 euros for the year, you can bicycle anywhere at half hour increments and they have an App to show you where bicycle parking lots/availability is). Furthermore, people are much friendlier, and apartments are much less expensive than Paris. The only downside to Lyon is that it's not a major hub for airlines. I don't know if you would consider smaller cities in India, but Rishikesh is a place to consider, particularly if you enjoy yoga.
How about Toulouse?

L.
Toulouse is a great place. Since it's the home of Airbus, I imagine the air transport in and out is pretty good ;-).

Valuethinker
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:15 am

Leeraar wrote:
dbr wrote:I think good rail service would be a criterion to include in picking a city in which to live.
Yes,

I just checked with a friend in the Netherlands. It turns out that inter-country train service from Amsterdam is not so good. The high-speed line goes to Brussels and Paris. There is not one to the west. To get to Copenhagen takes 12 hours and four trains.

I suppose I am spoiled by my fond memories of the train between Frankfurt and Munich. Just incredible.

L.
These days in Europe budget airlines are very big.

Lynette
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Lynette » Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:40 am

deleted - not relevant - about languages!
Last edited by Lynette on Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Leeraar
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Leeraar » Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:45 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Leeraar wrote:
aeronina wrote:I would seriously consider smaller cities..... having lived in larger cities abroad for a year. Paris has lots offer but much "busier" and expensive like Manhattan. By contrast, Lyon, France has a more easy going culture, great architecture, traboules, farmer's market, very safe bicycle trails (for 25 euros for the year, you can bicycle anywhere at half hour increments and they have an App to show you where bicycle parking lots/availability is). Furthermore, people are much friendlier, and apartments are much less expensive than Paris. The only downside to Lyon is that it's not a major hub for airlines. I don't know if you would consider smaller cities in India, but Rishikesh is a place to consider, particularly if you enjoy yoga.
How about Toulouse?

L.
Toulouse is a great place. Since it's the home of Airbus, I imagine the air transport in and out is pretty good ;-).
A friend of mine has a great story about flying into France through a thunderstorm as they were about to land. The woman across the aisle was hysterical, we're all going to die, while the guy next to him was just dozing off and taking no notice. He asked the guy, why are you so unconcerned, and he said, I am a test pilot for Airbus.

L.
You can get what you want, or you can just get old. (Billy Joel, "Vienna")

Traveler
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Traveler » Fri Mar 11, 2016 9:24 pm

Difficult to decide. I'd probably do several cities for a couple months each.
In no particular order:
Venice
Lisbon
Krakow
Prague
Munich
Rome
Berlin
I would also love to spend time in smaller cities too.

Non-Europe:
Buenos Aires
Kyoto

Baconquest
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Baconquest » Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:39 pm

tigermilk wrote:Tokyo.

On your list I've visited Amsterdam, Paris, and London. Nothing wrong with any of those places, but Tokyo is probably one of my favorite cities. It's just got a vibe, the culture is a 180 from ours, the food is exceptional (and cheap), etc. While there isn't as much cultural stuff in the heart of Tokyo in terms of museums and such (Paris and London take top prize there), there's something about Tokyo that just appeals to me. Been there more than a dozen times and it never gets old. And if walking, wandering, and experiencing are your bag, it's got that in spades.
+100!

Also in Japan: Sapporo will by idyllic in the summer months.
Other Asian possibilities:
Seoul, SK
Bangkok, Thailand (but will be HOT in the summer)

canderson
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by canderson » Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:08 pm

Some great reading here!

My input, in order:

Vienna
Tokyo
San Francisco
Heidelberg
Copenhagen
A suburb to the SW of London.

Leeraar
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by Leeraar » Sat Mar 12, 2016 3:18 am

I had not realized that Billy Joel said it so well:

"You can get what you want, or you can just get old.
When will you realize... Vienna waits for you?"

Yes, I know there is a subtext to Billy's life that caused him to write this song, but it is just so perfectly apt for our question.

L.

"Vienna"

Slow down you crazy child
You're so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you're so smart tell me,
Why are you still so afraid? (mmmmm)

Where's the fire, what's the hurry about?
You better cool it off before you burn it out
You got so much to do and only
So many hours in a day (Ay)

But you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want
Or you can just get old
You're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through (Oooh)
When will you realize... Vienna waits for you?

Slow down you're doing fine
You can't be everything you want to be before your time
Although it's so romantic on the borderline tonight (tonight)

Too bad, but it's the life you lead
You're so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need
Though you can see when you're wrong
You know you can't always see when you're right (you're right)

You got your passion, you got your pride
But don't you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don't imagine they'll all come true (Oooh)
When will you realize... Vienna waits for you?

Slow down you crazy child
Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while
It's alright, you can afford to lose a day or two (oooh)
When will you realize... Vienna waits for you?

And you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want or you can just get old
You're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through (oooh)
Why don't you realize... Vienna waits for you?

When will you realize... Vienna waits for you?
You can get what you want, or you can just get old. (Billy Joel, "Vienna")

RabbMD
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by RabbMD » Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:55 pm

Barcelona....

Plus its fairly centrally located for a Southern Europe local for winter.

csm
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Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Post by csm » Mon May 09, 2016 7:47 am

Leeraar wrote:
I don't know about South America, but I think the happiest people in the world are in Scandinavia - Denmark, Sweden, etc.
Oddly, while Denmark scores high in the happiness index, Sweden has one of the highest suicide rates in the world.
searhapsody wrote:

. . . Copenhagen . . .

The only negative was the cost which was incredibly high. They claim the food prices are higher than London.
I've lived in Denmark for many years and have a second home in Florida where we spend between 6 weeks and 3 months a year. Having just returned from 3 months in Florida, I was shocked at the high price of groceries in the U.S. (Orlando area) compared to Denmark. Our monthly average grocery bill was higher in the U.S. than in Denmark, and that is even with eating all meals at home in Denmark while eating out at least once or twice a week in the U.S. (the cost of which is *not* included as part of the grocery bill).
Leeraar wrote:
I asked many people about the happiness reputation when I was in Copenhagen
I think happiness comes mostly from a sense of belonging. of community, and being around people that are like yourself.
The happiness index comes primarily from the free access to national health care, free education (including university), guaranteed 5 weeks+ vacation per year, paid maternity leave of at least a year that can be extended without fear of losing one's job, paid paternity leave, generous unemployment benefits, etc.

In addition, Denmark scores #1 (out of 168 countries) on the 'transparency' index for trust in government, not to imply that there are no problems, but compared to other countries, there is less perceived public sector corruption than any other country in the world.

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