Busy Monday for settlers


Ok, Monday morning was extremely busy as Lisa and I, with the help of Barry, managed to open a joint account with a Spanish bank, register with the local medical centre and make our first appointment to see a doctor, take the first steps towards gaining NIEs for both of us – and do some much needed grocery shopping.

Once we returned to our temporary accommodation, we received the news that our new home is ready to move into, apart from some necessary handgrips. This means that we now need to buy some essential items such as bedding, cooking pans and utensils, crockery, cutlery and so on. Because of this, we probably won’t be moving in until Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday but we’ll see how it goes.

We had chosen to go with Banco Popular and were both amazed that the procedures were so convoluted and slow. It took more than one hour, actually more like 90 minutes, before our account number was finally handed over. I appreciate that all banks need to guard against money laundering but that length of time seemed excessive.

Anyway, our visit to the gestoria this morning established that to obtain NIEs we both have to apply in person to the relevant office in Almeria, more than an hour’s drive away. He agreed to make appointments for us but indicated that it was likely that we would have to wait two weeks.

Just in case you are wondering, the NIE is a tax identification number issued in Spain to anyone who is not Spanish. NIE stands for Número de Identidad de Extranjero, which translates literally as Number of identity of foreigner or, more properly, Foreigners’ Identity Number. Spanish citizens have their own cards Documento Nacional de Identidad. The NIE is the equivalent of the DNI but just for foreign residents. Spanish citizens get a plastic ID card but EU foreign residents don’t. So if someone asks either of us for our DNI card, we just need to give them our NIE number.

While out and about this morning, we stopped off for a coffee at a local café. Prices here continue to amaze me. We had three coffees and two enormous pastries and the total cost was just 4.90€. I cannot think of anywhere in the UK where anyone could buy the same quality and quantity items for the same price – about £3.45.

Changing the subject, like the UK, with its wintry weather including snow and temperatures as low as -6˚C/21˚F according to the internet, our temperatures have also tumbled. Here they have fallen to 15˚C/59˚F.






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