Las Palmas

My move to Las Palmas – Part 6: The first month

Actually I wanted to write a blogpost about the departure to Las Palmas, but the last days in Cologne were a bit hectic. My office was empty and my computer on the way to Las Palmas. At home I only had my small Macbook and one my mattress. Very basic, an experience, but not ideal for working. Towards the end it got stressful despite good preparation. I needed four attempts to get rid of my kitchen and on the last day I had to put my mattress on the garbage. My friends had had a farewell party on my birthday shortly before the departure, that was very nice and made it just as hard for me to say goodbye as to see my beloved empty apartment, which I left after 15 years.

My empty living room in Cologne-Nippes

Sending my household to Las Palmas didn’t work out so well.

My plan to send two big boxes to Las Palmas by DHL went wrong. When I wanted to buy the parcel slips, I was suddenly only allowed to send 20 kg and not 31.5 kg as I thought. Either the regulations had been changed in the meantime or I had looked wrong before. Moreover, I had not thought that the Canary Islands are a special economic zone, i.e. everything that comes from the mainland has to pass through customs. From 1.000 Euro value goods have to be announced electronically in advance. Then I simply didn’t have the time anymore. So I decided to send only my iMac, to fib the value down a bit, and simply not to send the package from home. The stuff wasn’t really worth it and I didn’t know what to do with it. I also had to add my inability to estimate weights – that was more like 40-50 kg in the package than 20 kg. So I gave all the good stuff from my kitchen to a friend.  So, in theory a good idea, in practice not so 🙂

Arrival in Las Palmas

The arrival in Las Palmas was great. A good friend of mine lives here, so I didn’t fall so hard from a city where I know a lot of people to a city where I don’t know anyone. The people in the coworking space are nice, the owner is super helpful. The neighborhood I live in is a classic working-class neighborhood with lots of unemployed people and people on low incomes. But the people are totally nice and greet everyone on the street like in a village. But in the medium term I want to live in a more lively area like Las Canteras, Triana or the old town of Vegueta.

My new apartment in Las Palmas

Bureaucratic hurdles

It was very helpful to order the NIE, the tax identification number for foreigners, already in Germany – without it nothing really works here, except to go shopping or visit restaurants. Almost no one speaks English here, and administrative formalities should be saved for times when you speak a little more Spanish. Besides, the country is so bureaucratic, Germany is nothing against it. I’ve been warned that nothing here goes without a Spanish bank account, and in fact, when I wanted to order an Internet connection, I had to open a bank account before, which I don’t need at all. I went to Deutsche Bank and opened an account there, because here too it helps to find German or English contacts at the beginning. The standard account card here is a free Mastercard debit card, with which you can really pay anywhere contactless. Here they are much more modern than in Germany, where you have no chance without an EC card or even without cash. Therefore, I now pay myself a monthly pocket money on my new Spanish account and pay purchases, restaurant visits etc. with it.

The technician who was supposed to connect my Internet connection first told me that there was no broadband connection at all in my house. Without further ado he called himself a wooden ladder and a cable, connected this 50 meters around the corner somewhere and moved it to my house and into the apartment. Problems are solved here from time to time also very uncomplicatedly 🙂

Dirk gets Internet

Bus driving and wine drinking

Las Palmas has a well-developed public transport network with bus lines all the way into the mountains. In the city area every trip costs 1,40€ wherever you go. For a half hour trip into the mountains I recently paid 3,10€. In the mountains one can hike great. What I did not know to that extent: Gran Canaria is a wine island. 50-60 small wineries in the mountains have united and produce great wine. For a wine lover, or better said wine drinker like me exactly the right 😉 Taxis are also very cheap here, about half of the German prices. Unfortunately there is no such thing as car sharing here.

In the mountains near Las Palmas

What to do next

In fact, my status as a non-resident with primary residence and business in Germany is a special case in Spain. And special cases can get complicated here and there. After six months, one must announce oneself here as resident and this 90 days before. That becomes still exciting, whether this functions, without shifting my enterprise to Spain. That is on the agenda for December.

Well, that was it from my Las Palmas blog. I will get back to you in winter and keep you informed about the bureaucratic hurdles here – for all freelancers and self-employed people who also want to move to Spain.

Mach was du willst und du musst nie wieder arbeiten.

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