Sitting on the quayside, in Plymouth harbour on Sunday 11th November 2001, we were in a reflective mood. We couldn't believe what we had been through in the last week : moving furniture out here, there and everywhere; trying to make sure the removal men turned up on the right date; chasing our solicitor to ensure contracts were exchanged; seeing the house empty on the 8th and wondering if we had done the right thing. But we had left and contracts were NOT exchanged.
It was Remembrance Sunday and we were sitting in our car for the two minutes silence at 11am. Then we had the call to move onto the ferry which I have since referred to as our “emigration time”: 11.11am on 11.11.2001 – I said to my wife – look at that time, it's really weird, luckily weird, I think everything is going to be all right!
The journey across the Bay of Biscay to Santander was uneventful and we arrived early afternoon on the 12th giving us plenty of time to travel to Logrono in daylight. We had to find our hotel and, fortunately, without difficulty. We were settling down for a rest at about 4pm when we had a phone call from our solicitor who gave us the magical news: CONTRACTS EXCHANGED, COMPLETION 30TH NOVEMBER. Well, the relief oozed out of us – we really couldn't believe it.
We drove to Moraira the following day on a high after all the stresses and strains of leaving South Wales the previous week. We found our villa, situated on the opposite side of Moraira to the previous winter, and quickly settled in. We decided we would have a week's holiday before the real “business” started.
First we had to buy a car. Our daughter had agreed to take the Laguna off our hands, would visit at Christmas and drive the car back to England. After a couple of visits to the Renault garage in Benissa (15 mins from Moraira) we agreed to purchase a new Megane. Then the salesman started taking our details..Passport....Address...Rental Contract.....Your NIE numbers. My wife and I looked at each other quite puzzled???? We both said together “What's an NIE number?”
The salesman told us that you cannot buy a car in Spain without an NIE and we would have to go to the Police Station in Denia (about 20 miles away) to arrange to have one. Alternatively we could go to see a Gestor in Benissa and he would arrange it for us. Either way would take 4 weeks or more. NOTE: All residents and non-resident foreigners with financial affairs in Spain must have a foreigners identification number called a Numero de Identificacion de Extranjero (NIE). You can apply for an NIE at any national police station with a foreigner's department. A Gestor is an official agent licensed by the Spanish government as a middleman between you and Spanish bureaucracy. i.e in the case of the NIE number he would guide you through the application form and go to the police station for you. (Now, 2008 you must present yourself at the police station).
Well, we didn't have an NIE number so we certainly wouldn't be buying a car that day/week/month!
Summary of Links
Moving to Spain
Part 1 - The Idea
Part 2 - The First Trip
Part 3 - The Return Back Home
Part 4 - Second winter in Spain
Part 5 - Xmas Eve in Spain
Part 6 - Trips to Spanish Cities
Part 7 - Madrid
Part 8 - Third winter in Spain
Part 9 - The Villa
Part 10 - The Decision to Move
Part 11 - Research
Part 12 - Leaving Home
Part 13 - Buying a Car...(or not!)
Part 14 - The Perfect House
Part 15 - Completing on the house
Part 16 - Moving In