July 2013 Archive

New Passport rules for Expats in Spain

Passport application rules have changed for British Ex-pats in Spain and took effect on 13th May. All passport applications must be sent to the Identity & Passport Service (IPS) in Belfast, United Kingdom. Previously it was the regional processing hub in Madrid.

More info can be found here: www.gov.uk/overseas-passports

For general passport renewals, the processing times remain the same and you should allow four weeks from the date they receive your payment together with all the correct documentation. However for passport replacements due to them being lost, damaged or stolen, you should allow at least six weeks.

The telephone number for the IPS customer service in Belfast is: 0044 (0) 300 222 0000.

If you need to travel urgently and you do not have your passport, you can contact the British Consulate in Alicante. Tel: 965 21 60 22 or for more help go to www.gov.uk/world/spain

They may be able to issue an emergency travel document.

Please note the British Consulate in Alicante has a new address, just in case you use an old sat nav destination!  The new address is:

British Consulate in Alicante

Edificio Espacio,

Rambla Mendez Nunez 28-30,

6ta planta (6th floor)

Alicante 03002.



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Posted by on Tuesday 23rd July 2013

El Portet Moraira

Whether you’re on holiday in the area, or are one of the village’s lucky retirees – regular visits to the secluded bay of El Portet are a must. It’s only about 1k from Moraira centre, and although there are lots of parking spaces available, it’s a very pleasant walk.

The walk is not just good exercise, but a provider of excellent views too – over the marina with the hundreds of gently bobbing vessels, and down into the azure waters of the El Portet beach. Then in the distance you can see Calpe and the famous Calpe rock.

That view of Calpe makes you gratefully realise that Moraira has not succumbed to the temptation of building high rise holiday accommodation. Instead, the feel of a small upmarket village has been retained.

Turn to look at El Portet beach, and that feeling is endorsed. Exquisite luxury villas cling to the cliffside, and the walkway behind the beach houses several friendly bar/restaurants serving mid-morning coffee and light lunches. Those with a hearty appetite and in their shorts, a full wallet, will find a top quality restaurant overlooking the beach. Their signature dish, oven roasted Crown of Lamb, is superb, and all ingredients for their dishes, are freshly sourced each day.

The many children paddling in the warm waters are testament to the safety of the beach. There are no dangerous ledges to fall off – instead, the sand rolls very gradually to deeper water, at least 50m away. 

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Posted by on Tuesday 23rd July 2013

Winter Fuel Payment

What a cheek!  The UK government is going to stop giving me a Winter Fuel payment, just because I’ve retired to Spain. Frankly, my dear UK Gov, I don’t give a damn.

Here in Moraira there’s a subtropical Mediterranean climate. There are sea breezes cooling the area in the summer, and the surrounding mountains give protection from cold North winds during winter. The area enjoys an average of some 3000 hours of sunshine each year, with an average temperature in excess of 20 degrees centigrade. In most years, around 300 days of sun can be expected. That’s why I don’t care about any Winter Fuel Payment.

So, if you are thinking of retiring to Moraira, don’t you be put off by such mundane matters either. In the recent past, the World Health Organisation no less, has commended the Moraira climate as one of the most equitable in the world - neither too hot in the summer nor too cold in winter.

Of course, no location is perfect. Sometimes it does rain in Moraira, often in the autumn months. Occasionally, we get a visit from the Gota Fria then, and that brings very heavy rain for perhaps a week. So, that’s the time to do those indoor jobs that have been put off during the summer, when it was too hot to contemplate them.

That’s the great thing about living in Moraira and living in Spain in general. The cost of living in Spain vs UK is cheaper. Of course it will rain sometimes – it will feel cool sometimes – but you know without a shadow of doubt that very soon those skies will again be electric blue, and the sun will shine once more.

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Posted by on Monday 15th July 2013

Moors & Christians Moraira

As you build your 5thsandcastle on Ampolla Beach in Moraira, trying to protect this one from the feet of the little devils you brought with you on holiday – look behind you at the real castle, and reflect on what it was trying to protect.

Completed in 1742, and armed with 4 bronze canons, the castle was part of the fortifications commissioned by Felipe II to protect the area from Barbary pirates. Earlier, Moors from North Africa had conquered the Spanish Mediterranean coast, and there was no wish to let that happen again. 

The Moors called their Iberian territory Al-Andalus, and by the turn of the millennium, it’s said that some 5 million of Iberia’s 7 million population were Muslim. Many place names around Moraira give evidence of the Moorish influence. Alcassar, Benimeit, Benimarco, Moravit and Tabaira are all examples. Even legend has it that a Moorish princess named Ira, la Mora caused our little village to be called Moraira, but even though it’s a romantic thought, the truth of that is uncertain.

What is refreshing though, is that the connection between Moors and Christians is not forgotten – and the recollection is not centred on weapons, animosity and bad feeling. Instead, in most towns along the Costa Blanca there is a fiesta each year to remember the events of centuries ago, with local people donning Christian or Moorish costume or picking up an instrument of some kind, and marching through the streets to a haunting and melodious beat.

If you’re planning to visit the area, you are recommended to research when and where the Moors and Christian celebrations will be held. Please be sure not to miss them.

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Posted by on Monday 15th July 2013