Settling into our new home in Spain, Covid and our TIE appointments

Settling into our new home in SpainNovember 15, 2020

We’ve had an incredibly busy week getting settled into our new apartment in Nerja. It’s why I’ve been so quiet on the blog (I hope to write more regularly starting sometime later this week)

Last Saturday the truck arrived from Zagreb with all our belongings. The driver’s name was Dragan and he’s actually from northern Bosnia. He and I spent 3 hours emptying the truck including a couple of enormous libraries and leather couches. I finished the day with cuts, bruises and a sore back. I did a lot of swearing that day and no doubt impressed all our new neighbors with my descriptive use of body parts and some of their uses. We’ve decided we’re never going through a move like this again. At what point do you stop lugging your stuff around the world with you? It’s something we still debate (I’ll write more on that soon).

The week has been spent sorting through it all and putting the apartment in “live in” shape. That included getting the owner to send in a plumber. The shower wasn’t getting any hot water which makes you question if the previous owners ever bothered bathing. The problem? Calcium deposit in the pipes which the plumber cleared out. Calcification is a big problem along the Costa del Sol.

Our stuff has been in storage since early 2018 so there’s been a lot of cleaning and maintenance to do: moisturizing the leather couches, treating our furniture with wood cleaner, and having all our clothes, towels and linens cleaned (we spent an entire day at the laundromat).

So it’s been a ton of work but now, a week later, we’re almost done. I found my basketball and have pumped it (there’s a basketball court nearby), I’m getting my bike tuned up, and I found some hiking boots (can’t wait to do some hiking). I’m looking forward to “normal” life – the biggest obstacles to all that however are new Covid restrictions…

Below: still organizing but getting there…

apartment in Spain


New Covid Restrictions in Spain

New restrictions were imposed last week in Andalusia. You can no longer go between different municipalities if you don’t have a valid reason. So we can’t go to Malaga or even to Frigiliana (which is only 6 km away). Non-essential businesses (including bars and restaurants) also have to close at 6pm. So since last Sunday the siesta has been put on hold as most businesses have adjusted their working hours to 8 pm – 6 pm (siestas are important in Spain and business hours are usually 8 am – 2 pm and then 5 pm – 9 pm). So Covid has really had a major effect on life here.

Also new starting November 23: travellers coming to Spain will require a negative PCR (Covid) test taken no more than 72 hours prior to departure for people coming from high coronavirus risk zones (which include the USA and UK but not Canada as of right now).

See this post and the list of countries below

It’s really feeling like lockdown, albeit a scaled-down version of the full lockdown we went through March to May.


moving to Nerja Spain


Our TIE (Identity card) appointments

I’ve mentioned previously that the 1st step in the Non-lucrative Visa process takes place in your home country. I documented the Spanish non-lucrative Visa process here. The 2nd step happens when you get to Spain and entails filling out forms and getting an appointment at a police station to get your fingerprints done. The rule is that you need to make your appointment within 30 days of arriving in Spain.

With Covid the whole process has been thrown into disarray. Forget about logging into the government website and trying to book an appointment. There’s nothing.

What we did was hire a gestor through our lawyer. They get an appointment for you.

It worked out for us but it wasn’t simple – both our appointments were in Antequera which is a 75 minute drive away from us by car (or 3 hours by bus). And the scarcity of available appointments meant that you most likely won’t be able to have 2 appointments together: in our case Lissette had hers on the 5th of November and I had mine on the 12th. So it meant two, 3-hour round trips to Antequera to get to our appointments (the procedure itself takes about 10 minutes).

We’ve now had both our fingerprints done and have been told that our Spanish Residency Cards will be available in 40 days. So we’ll have to go back to Antequera to pick up the cards and will require appointments. We can only hope we can get appointments to pick up our cards for the same day.

I’ll have a whole post coming up detailing how to get your Spanish Residency Card.


So that’s what we’ve been up to the last week.


There’s a feeling that things are only getting worse as far as Covid goes. I’ve mentioned the increased restrictions…well, we won’t be surprised if a full lockdown is imposed within the new few weeks. There’s been talk of it. It all depends on how effective the new restrictions are in decreasing the infection and hospitalization rates of the virus. So we’re preparing for the worst.


  1. things are moving and happening and it must be such a relief to have the move done. stay safe in your winter over there. At least in Southern Spain it wont be any colder I imagine than here in Melbourne. We have had 3 weeks of no new cases or deaths in Victoria now after being basically locked off from the rest of the country for 4-5 months if we can get through summer here and the vaccines work out they way they look like they might, well, things could finally be looking up in a few months time. Hope things go well – or better at least – in Europe.

    1. 20C and sunny most days Andy! 🙂
      I’ve been hearing about Australia and your successes. Downside is total isolation from the outside world and I’m sure you’re going crazy.
      Yes, let’s hope things get better in a few months.

  2. Congratulations Frank and Lissette! It must be such a good feeling to have found your home, and to have your visas in order so you can settle in for as long as you want/need. I love that you have both the ocean and the mountains. I think I’d be very happy if I could walk on the beach every day.

    I am just now coming up for air and catching up with where everyone is. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is one week from today. I was startled to realize we “lost” the first half of November glued to the news. I can’t even begin to accurately put in to words what it’s been like, the tension is palpable. We are, of course, greatly relieved by the election outcome, but January 20 can’t come soon enough for so many reasons.

    As for masks, Covid is out of control in the US and we are saddled with a lame duck president who has stopped governing (I use that term lightly) in lieu of golfing, firing people at will and filing baseless claims of voter fraud. It comes as no surprise that the lame duck is refusing to allow the transition process to move forward. It’s the ultimate circus of chaos, he wants to burn it all down before he goes. But again, no surprise, just counting the days. 62.

    Again, I’m super happy for the two of you having found your nest where you can live comfortably and feel safe, especially having outdoor space. That’s priceless! Well-done.

    1. So nice to hear from you Patti. I think we are feeling the exact same as you, just as we ourselves are “coming up for air and catching up” (for completely different reasons).

      Thank you for all the kind words and wishes. I hope you and Abi are pulling through fine. One day, hopefully a nice sunny day next year, let’s hope that the 4 of us can meet up for drinks somewhere without the need to worry about Covid or having to wear a mask.

      All the best from Lissette and I

  3. Congrats guys,

    Getting your stuff after so long really makes home, FEEL like home just a little more.
    I look forward to the post on “How long do you drag your stuff around the world?”
    That question haunts me!

    I was forced to travel to obtain Visas recently and the stark difference between countries
    is really something. In Estonia, almost nobody was wearing masks in public transportation.
    (will be watching to see if they suffer big numbers in the future?) While in Finland they were
    pretty strict.

    Here in Ukraine they are grasping at ideas, currently having “weekend quarantine”, and also
    saying only seated travel in any bus, tram, or metro. You’ve seen the Kyiv metro, right? Laughable. But they can at least say they are doing SOMETHING. Which at this point is all
    I think they really care about.

    1. One of the things I love about having a blog Michael is hearing from people around the world and hearing the reality where they are. “Weekend quarantine” – yes, that’s laughable. But maybe as laughable as some of the rules here in Spain: imagine, you have to walk around in public with a mask. Fine. But then you pass a restaurant where a couple of people are sitting together drinking and talking and they don’t wear a mask (actually, they changed the laws so that you’re supposed to slip on your mask if you’re sitting there not physically eating or drinking. But nobody is enforcing that and nobody is following the rule).
      It all really sucks. Another future post: would you travel if it would mean you would always have to use a mask? Curious what people would say to that. It really takes the joy out of everyday things…

      Anyway, that’s for your comment Michael!

  4. Congrats again! I’m sure it feels good to have your stuff with you after so long. I’m just amazed at how you guys managed to stay just one step ahead of Covid closures so far. Timing is everything!
    It’s all so bleak with all the 2nd, 3rd….nth waves. Even with some encouraging vaccine news now, it feels distant to us here just because of our staggering population. Makes me frustrated when some people in first world countries that have bagged vast supplies say that they won’t get vaccinated. Can we please have that share then?

    1. It’s what we’ve been saying between ourselves Claudine – somehow we’ve been lucky to meander through different closures the whole year, often missing new restrictions or catching breaks on openings by a week or two. We’ve been very lucky and find it amazing that despite a horrible year we’ve managed to get our one objective for the year achieved. Perseverance…but lots of luck.
      So right about science, vaccines, and those not wanting to get vaccinated. As I just replied to Alana & Joe, people are getting stupider and in doing so undermining everyone else.
      We don’t hear much about India in the news except when they’re citing the countries with the worst numbers.
      All the best Claudine!

      1. Thanks Frank! And all the best to you and Lissette in your new home. Hoping things don’t get too hairy over there before the vaccine!
        The numbers here vary depending on where you are. Our city of Bangalore in south India has just gone below 1000 new cases per day for the first time in 4 months. The capital, Delhi, is having its worse wave ever. So each state’s government have been given the power to make their own decisions regarding locking down/opening up. Our state’s schools are still closed for now but higher grades may start soon. Colleges have been allowed to open part-time for essential labs, etc.
        Mask wearing has become stricter because of enforcement. Cop presence is very visible in some areas of the city and you get fined if caught. The most ridiculous thing I’ve seen is people driving alone in their own cars being fined if not wearing a mask!
        Perhaps the biggest difference now is that unlike early on when anyone that tested positive was hauled off to hospitals or govt quarantine, most people are allowed to stay at home if they’re not too sick. The rule is that if there’s only one person in the family that’s +ve, the family should have a separate room and bathroom available. There should also be some sort of community vigilance to make sure +ve people and their families don’t leave their homes. There has been a lot of corruption surrounding private hospitals here. Medical bills depend on how good your insurance is. False +ve tests galore…
        I read just yesterday that it is expected that countries will make a vaccine certificate mandatory for travel once tourism opens up. If only the vulnerable and front line workers get theirs first, how will international travel ever recover? Those aren’t the people that travel anyway! India’s population will take at least 2-3 years to get vaccinated even if we do have enough supplies, so it’s too depressing to think about it. At one point it looked like the vaccine by AstraZeneca was the leader. That’s the one from Oxford and is being manufactured in India. After the recent news about Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccine efficacy, it’s quietly being reported outside the country that AstraZeneca doesn’t have any data as of now!

        1. Thanks for all that Claudine, interesting to hear. From what I hear, at least in the US, the vaccines will be staggered by category. But it might be late 2021 by the time the vast majority actually get vaccinated. That’s another year. And you’re right, with India’s population 2-3 years might be more realistic.
          They’ll be a lot of pain in hospitality and the travel industry for a while.
          I think there’s a lot of depression out there. We have it good personally but even we get bouts of feeling really blue…I can only imagine those directly feeling the economic impact and feeling no hope.

  5. Hey, finally got into a place! Amazing! Looks cozy.. love hearing the step by step experience you two go through. You couldn’t have picked a better time(frustrating)no doubt for the most part but worth it hopefully in the end. The scenery is gorgeous. I think Covid is going to get worse before it gets better. Ontario numbers are getting higher by the day. If people would just listen to the science! Still hoping to get there next year late spring if possible. Exciting to see that email pop up with another addition of your journey. Good luck and stay safe! Look forward to the next experience.

    1. Thank you Alana and Joe. Yes, I’ve heard the same from my Canadian friends. Hope you are both staying safe. I think people are getting stupider by the day – when did people stop listening to science? It didn’t used to be that way. I think social media has made everyone a genius in their own reality…

      Stay safe. Maybe we’ll meet you one day in Spain.

  6. Hoo-boy.
    Thanks, Frank. Nice to hear you are settling in. and do appreciate the detailed accounts of these processes and adventures.
    Meantime, in our part of Asia, it’s as if any Corona/COVID anything doesn’t exist. The locals have just turned away from media and tuned out. Organized groups, schools, are inactive, but old couples, quiet friend circles, individuals are out walking the dog, driving to the seaside, taking it easy. No land travel restriction whatsoever domestically, nationwide. Roads aren’t busy, except for trucks hauling produce. 2020 continues as one long holiday.

    1. True Duncan. But most Asian countries still shut off to the world right? They did it intelligently, squashing the infection with total lockdowns and using contract tracing to take care of any outbreaks. And of course keeping out foreigners…

    1. Thanks Ivana. Not looking good anywhere and it’s sad. Not a surprise in Canada with the cold and people congregating indoors.
      I think we’re all looking forward to a vaccine!

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