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Time to move to Spain

Medically retired at short notice our plans to move to Spain are brought forward by a few years. With little time to spare, this is our story.

Settling in
08 October 2015 @ 17:00

Well, this is it. Our first week! 

Waking up to the first day of the rest of your life doesn’t happen that often, if you know what I mean! What’s the first thing that you do? Have breakfast out? Shopping? One of the first things we realise is that, without air conditioning, we are going to be very warm in our apartment. We open a door and the shutters halfway up which brings a slight breeze. The only problem here is that it doesn’t go quiet until well after 1am as we are near to the beach and bars and people. At 3.30am the large bins get emptied, and they are 50 metres down the road from our apartment, so we hear everything. Then at about 7.30 am the day appears to start. Our realisation that people here don’t chat, they shout. Luckily we have three bedrooms to choose from so that gives us options for future nights. Either way it doesn’t really matter as we have nothing to get up for at the moment so we sleep in.


We decide to have breakfast out then go shopping. Following a Bocadillo in a local retaurantwe shop and I find a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc for €1.79 which despite its relative insignificance seems to justify the whole move to Spain. We also plan that our proper new life should start tomorrow and we will eat and drink out tonight. We intend to use local Spanish bars a lot so we could try and ‘integrate’ a little. The bar we ended up in was particularly Spanish and, sat in the street we order vodka.  We got a dark, sweet drink, not before the barman had nipped to the bar next door to but two cans of coke as he had none. It appears adaptability is the name of the game here, but also an attempt to please his customer.


One of the more ‘interesting’ aspects of our move was our need for information. With the help of the numerous Ex-pat websites and their forums, we tackle the first issue of obtainingan NIE or Numero de Identidad de Extranjero, basically a tax identification number. What we started was the internet forum based version of WWIII. Now please do not get me wrong on this, most people are genuinely helpful but we had already been bitten by a previous query to a forum, in which basically asked for practical tips on the actual move to Spain. What followed were several replies admonishing us over our lack of planning, poor knowledge of cost of flights, local area and even questioning our knowing what we actually wanted. 


We posed the NIE question and got loads of information. A lot of if contradicting advice but what amused us was the argument that ‘kicked off’ between forum members. As the arguments got more heated they also got more sarcastic…

“Forgive me if I know nothing but I’ve only lived in Spain 20 years”

“Well, I got mine from the Town Hall, it must have been a dream”


Advice ranged from the following:

Try… The town hall; the local police; Police National; Immigration.


We also tried the tourist information who also advised:

Municipal archive and Town planning.


Since moving to Spain I have found the advice given very useful particularly the replies to this ongoing blog. It took us over a week to find the right destination, most of the above closing at 1pm, we were often five minutes late. We tried all of the options given to us and after days of walking pretty much everywhere we eventually found the ‘Police National’ which was hidden away in a side street. We applied inside to a police officer who spoke very good English, I was immediately won over when he told me he preferred Everton FC over Liverpool FC. Good customer service or amazing insight? I like to think it was the latter. Six days later we have our NIE after plenty of walking.


We enjoy our first week in Spain and love the apparent ‘quirkiness’ of the local people which is actually normal behaviour here. Every morning a group of elderly man gather around a table in the middle of the road, leaving just enough room for cars to pass in order to play dominoes. Likewise a group of women do the same in the evening, on a zebra crossing to play cards. Wherever there is a space in the road, a group of people bring their chairs our and talk until the early hours. It all seems to be multi-generational as well. Family members of all ages sit around to eat and talk. 


We decide that until we find work or worthwhile activities to occupy ourselves we will take a swim in the sea each evening. What we find is that everyone else does also, especially on Friday where it really does feel like its standing room only. It is after all the start of the main summer holidays. After a few days here we decide that Torrevieja, the main bit near the sea is very Spanish – we had been previously told it was very British. This is not a bad thing but may be more difficult to find work. I’ve heard it been called the ‘costa del Yorkshire’. I’m not quite sure where that has come from. I assume there is an estate somewhere locally where everyone is from Yorkshire. There is a distinct lack of English football tops here which is refreshing but replaced by Real Madrid and Barcelona tops with the odd smattering of Atletico Madrid – I ask the question are most people on holiday here from Madrid and Barcelona? 


We round the week by having another night out. One of the things we are wary of is the transition from tourist to local. In the Facebook posts that follow our night out we are noted as always posting pictures with a drink in our hand but to be fair we’ve had two nights out in our first week and have posted pictures each time. We make a mental note to post pictures of museums and road signs in future. As we regularly had a weekend night out in England we will have one here and, late on, we are tempted by ‘free shots’ offered by a Prince Lookalike (The musician not royalty). As we are in our mid 50s we really should know better, but unfortunately we don’t. We think ‘what the hell!’ enter the bar and partake...






Like 2


Weescottie said:
10 October 2015 @ 09:32

Great blog...hope you enjoyed your shots! Have a lovely life in Spain x

Weescottie said:
10 October 2015 @ 09:32

Great blog...hope you enjoyed your shots! Have a lovely life in Spain x

vickya said:
10 October 2015 @ 09:32

You got an NIE in 6 days???! You have obviously pleased the gods of officialdom. It might be the nights out and bar visits for breakfast lured them over to your side. The usual form is that there is always one document more that you need than the ones you have prudently brought with you, in triplicate. This applies to all official interactions, and many things require those. You need documents to buy a car and to become legal for various purposes.

We were there from 2007 to 2009 and became resident etc. I did enjoy the time there though and especially the weather, now that the UK has got cooler and winter is coming. Good luck with your new life.

midasgold said:
10 October 2015 @ 10:29

Spanish people shout - We often notice that when speaking (Spanish )
that we are not understood but when said again, with much extra volume , all es buena.

AOK said:
10 October 2015 @ 18:22

You can obtain an NIE number in any Spanish consulate/ embassy in the UK. Doesn't take long at all

jeffsears said:
11 October 2015 @ 13:24

If advice is needed don't rely on Facebook. Always seek info. From

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