I set my alarm for 07h30 and woke with a jump when it went off. It was the best night’s sleep I’d had in a long time and I opened the wooden shutters on the window to be greeted with bird song and church bells.
My appointment at the Police station was 09h00 and I set off early, it was only a half hour drive down the mountains but I wasn’t sure on traffic in the centre.
I arrived early and parked on the street, parking here is plentiful and free but perhaps that’s because its not currently holiday season.
The police station was easy to find, and there was a queue of vagabonds that I joined for a few minutes. Something didn’t feel right so I walked to the front of the queue and tried the door; it was open and a policeman sat at a desk looked up at me and said ‘Burton I sink’. I nodded and he waved me round the corner to sit and wait.
I didn’t have to wait long until a lady at a desk beckoned me over. I proudly presented her with my proof of payment from the bank, prefilled forms, ID photos, proof of my UK business, bank statements etc… It really was a ream of paperwork.
‘Passport photocopy!’ she demanded and my heart sank, it was the only thing I’d not got. A jovial looking policeman arrived and drew me a highly detailed map to a shop who did photocopies. I exited the building, turned left and there it was, right next door. The map was a little overkill but I appreciated his diligence.
The shop did nothing but photocopying and I handed my passport over. She copied it and typed the price into a calculator on the desk: €0,15.
Ironically this was exactly the price I’d paid for 3 days car rental and I laughed as I handed her a €20 note. She wasn’t impressed, I think she thought I was laughing at the fact she wouldn’t have change, she refused to accept my money and then refused to return my passport as well as the copy!
As I demanded it back, a Spanish chap entered the shop; upon hearing my accent and realising that my home town apparently has a couple of football teams offered to pay the bill for me and get my passport returned to it’s rightful owner. I thanked him sincerely and returned to the police station.
The lady had waited for me, and once the photocopy was in her possession started to ferociously stamp, staple and initial the various forms of beaurocracy. She then wrote on a piece of paper ’13h30, aquí, mañana’. I typed the words into Google Translate while she sat grinning. ‘1.30pm, here, tomorrow’. Either this was a cheap way to get dates or my ID card would be ready for collection the next day. I’d typed ‘it’s a date’ into Google Translate but didn’t mean to use it. However as I lent forward to shake her hand my finger caught the audio button and the Google Spanish robotic voice confirmed the romantic rendezvous to the delight of surrounding policemen.
I was out of the police station with my days work completed at 09h10. I’d read horror stories where it had taken people hours so figured I’d got off lightly.
Pleased with myself I headed to the beach to watch the sunrise.
I then headed east and spent the day exploring beaches and cafes around Nerja. I ate my lunch, a delicious 3 course menu for just €9,90, from a balcony overlooking the Mediterranean where I sat most of the afternoon watching dolphins play.
I left the restaurant mid afternoon to explore Nerja. It was like armageddon. Everywhere was closed and the streets were dead. I’d forgot Spaniards take 3 hour lunch ‘hour’.
I headed back north towards my hotel in the hills but purposely didn’t follow my satnav as I wanted to explore. I ended up on bumpy dusty roads going down steep mountain sides. My little rental car didn’t know what had hit it. I thought better of my off-road adventures and headed back to the hotel on established tarmaced roads.