Friday, April 24, 2009

Officially residents

Yes folks; Chris and I are now officially residents out here in Spain. I told you last week that I helped Chris write an e-mail in Spanish asking for an appointment at the 'Office of Foreigners' in Almeria, and it must have said what I wanted it to as, early this week, we had an e-mail back telling us to be there at 10.10 this morning. We nearly missed our appointment because we had trouble finding the office, but this being Spain, nothing runs to time, and they didn't seem to mind us arriving five minutes late. We had done our homework well and arrived with all the papers we needed. These included our passports and photocopies of them, Our NIE certificates and Padrons, three copies of each, and the form from the bank to say we had paid the fee. These were all in order, and we left half an hour later each clutching our 'Certificate of Residencia', which is valid for the next five years. We can then renew it and make it permanent if we want to.
When we left the office we decided to have a look around before going home so we drove on down the main road until we hit the sea! It is unusual for a capital city to have a proper beach, but we found not only the port, which we knew was there, but also a long stretch of sand, grey like so many beaches around here, with numerous chiringuitos |(beach cafés), and a long tiled promenade edged with palm trees. There were quite a few people on the beach and several in the sea. We walked along the sand and onto a rough stone jetty. It was wierd to stand on baking hot sand and see snow on the distant mountains. I tried to capture it in this picture but you can't really see it. So you'll have to take my word for it; there really is still quite a lot of snow up on the Sierra.
We then drove back towards home along the coast road, stopping a couple of times to enjoy the view. From one point we could just make out the light-house on the tip of Cabo de Gata where we were last week with our visitors. Just before we got to the turn off for the airport where we rejoin the motorway, we stopped again to look at a big stadium. There was a very good market in its car park last time we were there but unfortunately it can't have been on a Friday, because it was very empty today. The stadium is quite big and modern, relatively new I think. We thought it was where the Almeria football matches are played, but close up, Chris didn't think it was big enough. According to the signs on the gates it is a municiple stadium used for a variety of spots including athletics. There was a nice picture of the Almeria crest on the fence. Can you guess what the legend says. I have translated it as 'Very noble, very loyal and determined for freedom; City of Almeria'. Just at the end of the stadium carpark there is a roundabout with a huge statue on it of Indalo Man. He is the symbol for the province of Ameria, and originates from cave drawings found near here. You can't get away from him. He is on the sides of houses, lorries & fences and every souvenier shop has him made of metal, wood, plastic and adorning ceramics, key rings, jewellry etc. If you give him to some one he sybolises health, wealth and happiness, but you are not supposed to buy him for yourself. Here he is, proudly standing under the Spanish flag.
We were home in time for a late lunch and we finished up the bread I made yesterday. Then we both had a swim in the pool. The water was up to 22º today. Later on we walked down to a little bar/café 50m down the road from us called Los Naranjas which means 'Oranges'. We got talking to some of our neighbours, and decided to stay there to have our tea. We had a very nice, and rasonably priced meal, so no doubt we'll be calling there again.
There are more photos of Almeria City on my gallery.

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