Update from Mijas Pueblo, Spain

Here’s an update on my adventure following retirement. Read about what’s happening and my plans for my next stop.

IMG_2787It has been several weeks since I blogged about my odyssey to obtain my residence card from Spain. Hopefully, when I go to the local police station to retrieve it on 16 February, everything will be found to be in order and I can be granted residency.

A lot has transpired since my last update! Recently I was out for a walk and on a whim just decided to begin hiking up the 1600 meter mountain I live on (see the photo). You may recall from a previous posting that I did this once before in October and got thoroughly soaked. This time I took a different trail and went a good deal higher up the mountain than I had previously. Probably I made it half way up. You can see a picture of the white pueblo in the photo from Fuengriola, Spain. As you can see in the other photo, the views from the side of the mountain where I went to are terrific! Mijas is the white area in the lower left corner and the Mediterranean Sea is in the middle left.

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I could have gone much higher on the trail but decided to not for three reasons. Since I was really out for a stroll, I didn’t have proper shoes as the trail became more challenging. I also hadn’t brought along water (not a good idea on a hike) and I didn’t bring any protection if it rained. The getting wet part really was the clincher as the clouds became threatening and were enveloping the top of the mountain. I went back down the mountain to Mijas and it promptly began to rain. I had made a good decision to return when I did!

Other things have been happening also. One day in December I lifted a canister of butane incorrectly and developed a hernia. My tests are complete and my worldwide medical coverage is in place so I am to have surgery on Thursday to fix it. The surgeon, anesthesiologist, and staff are all women and so far the process has been very efficient. I admit though that I am more involved with the insurance company than I would be in the U.S.

Finally, my stay in Mijas will end on 31 March. I have made my next plan to move from Mijas on 1 April. My next stop then will be in Krems, Austria where I will stay for two months. I will post more about Krems in the future. It is a lovely town of about 25,000 inhabitants and is located on the Danube River about an hour by train from Vienna.Here are a couple photos.

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That’s all for now from my adventure after retirement! I don’t think about work at all!

The Odyssey

In high school many read Homer’s Illiad and the Odyssey. Although I don’t recall much about these epic poems, they have provided me inspiration for this blog entry. This entry is different from the others that I have documented in my adventure following retirement and you may not even find it interesting (assuming you did with the previous ones). OdysseyRegardless, I have been on an odyssey to obtain permission to stay in Spain (and thereby Europe) for more time than a visitor.  Unlike Odysseus and his ten year journey, my odyssey has taken five months and promises at least one more.

My odyssey began last September when I learned that I needed a visa to live in Spain. I really am uncertain what made me think I could just show up at the gates and stay! I learned this tidbit at the Spanish embassy in DC just by chance and “fortunately” they guided me to apply for what is called a “non-lucrative residence visa” which means if I am approved to stay, I can’t work (take jobs away from Spaniards). Given I was retiring, that idea appealed to me so I set forth somewhat blindly doing my research and collecting my documentation.

Documents include a letter why I want the visa, a medical report (that I had no contagious diseases), a police report (super legalized that I wasn’t a criminal), several applications that ask essentially the same things, verification of my pension (with proof that I have enough money to survive), proof of medical insurance (which guaranteed I wouldn’t put a drain on the Spanish healthcare system as well as a guarantee that if I got really sick, I would be taken out of Spain), numerous passport size photos, translation of the documents by a “certified” translator (found one at the local courthouse in PA), and then fees.

As it turns out the US is divided into eight areas by the Spanish government so I had to deliver my documents and fees in person in New York. I had my documents in pretty good order since I communicated regularly with the consulate to ask questions. My documents made it through first shot! Many don’t and people are sent home to get additional / corrected documentation. Two weeks later, I had to return to New York to pick up my visa. This was extraordinarily fast as the time usually is two to four months! To my surprise, I wasn’t yet done!

Although I now had a visa from the Spanish Government firmly placed into my passport, it expired in 90 days! The New York consulate told me I would need to go to the police station in nearby Malaga with additional forms to get a residency card so I could stay for a year!

So on return to Spain, I quickly took a copy of my lease to the Mijas Pueblo town office and received a letter saying that I am a resident. However, they gave me additional forms to fill out and told me to go to the police station in Fuengirola, instead of Malaga. Since Fuengirola is closer, I crossed my fingers and found a person there who told me I didn’t need those forms given to me BUT I did need to pay taxes at a bank (a new form), get finger printed and apply for the residency card after the New Year holiday. An appointment was set for today. I took my application, proof of taxes paid, my passport and a copy of every page of the passport except the cover. Yes, I submitted numerous blank pages as they requested.

Today, though, the woman who told me what to do wasn’t there and wouldn’t be until next week. Her substitute said that I didn’t pay enough taxes and I had to go to the police station in Malaga, anyway. Fortunately there was a man behind me who translated for me and the substitute capitulated and said it was out of his hands and that I should wait for an officer to review my documents and take my finger prints. An officer saw me and accepted all of my forms except my photo which was passport size and needed to be smaller. Outside the office was a photoshop for this very purpose! I brought the photo to her and my next step is to report back precisely in one month. If everything checks out okay, I hope to get the residency card then!

Key things I learned… try to deal always with the same governmental official. Laws, regulations and procedures are interpreted differently between and within offices. Know that you are going to be given incorrect information and roll with it. I think it is wise to take the next step in the process as quickly as possible because time is against you. Research what others have posted on the Internet.

This is an expensive process. I think I have spent around $4000 so far (including the transportation to New York, fees, and taxes. I hope I am done!

Visits to Fuengirola, Andalucia, Spain

Hello, Friends!


On December 5 I received my Non-lucrative Residence Visa from the Spanish Government! Obtaining the visa was quite the challenge with two in-person visits to the Spanish Consulate in New York City and numerous forms, letters, documents, translations, photos, and certifications. In total I presented about 1 inch of documentation and paid several fees to get the visa which is good for 90 days (in addition to the 90 days permitted by the normal tourist visa). Within that time, I have to complete two additional forms, pay 15.30 Euros for taxes, get finger printed, register as a Mijas Pueblo resident and obtain a residency card that will permit me to stay for a year.

IMG_2058This morning I went to Fuengirola to the local Policia Nacional to get moving on the application process for the residency card. Fuengirola is the sea-side resort town which is about 7 kilometers down the mountain from Mijas Pueblo. I have been there several times since October and am today posting photos taken on various trips to town and one looking up the mountain at Mijas Pueblo.

In Summer Fuengirola has a large number of tourists mainly from all over Europe. On my first trip to the town in September it was quite hot in the 90’s and even today it is balmy in the low 60’s. Pictured is a woman getting a beach massage in October for 10 Euros. For those curious about the photo, all beaches in Spain are top-optional for women and approximately 20% choose the option.

IMG_1978There are several statues in Fuengirola and included is a photo of one taken at the port and one of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella (of Columbus fame). Currently oranges are now ripe and several streets in Fuengirola are lined with beautiful orange trees, mixed with Christmas decorations.

liebster-award2I am planning to visit Gibraltar this week and will be posting another blog after doing so. Also, I want to thank Marigold for nominating my blog for the Liebster Award. I have not met Marigold but enjoy her blog and I will post more later about the nomination. Meanwhile, please visit Marigold’s blog at http://versusblurb.wordpress.com.