(Okay, I am about to bore you with some OLD vacation photos. These are pre-blogging but we had some great trips and I would love to document them.) We took an awesome, amazing, incredible Disney Mediterranean Cruise in 2010. Since … Continue reading
While I was going through my hard drive I kept finding tons of old pictures that I would love to post from our years in Spain. We did a few different sherry tours while we lived there but this was … Continue reading
If you are moving here you may have a few questions about bringing/buying a car and getting a license.
I was very stressed out before we came to Rota, trying to figure out if we needed to get an international license or if we could get a Spanish license or WHAT we needed to do! I had zero luck finding any information on blogs, or anywhere on the internet.
Thankfully you get walked through the steps when you get here.
Upon arrival, all newcomers are advised to attend the Fleet and Family Support Center’s ICR class. It is basically a week long introduction to Spain, the culture, the food, everything you need to know about living on base (or off). It also is where you will take the test for your Spanish driver’s license. Your American license is good for 30 days (I think!) so you can drive on that while waiting for your Spanish one.
The test is fairly easy, you are given study materials, and the majority of the questions concern traffic signs which are a little different over here. I believe that our licenses were ready a week or so later.
As far as cars go, I would recommend shipping a vehicle as soon as possible. Cars can take 45-60 days to get here and rental cars are expensive over here! Ideally if you have two cars you can ship one early and rely on one car for awhile before you move. You are authorized one car per family but once you get here you can also purchase a Spanish spec vehicle aka Rota Beater. They tend to be crazy overpriced for what you are getting (usually 10-15 years old, still costing a few thousand dollars) but you can also find some for a few hundred euro that will get you from point A to point B.
Another issue that concerns everyone is whether or not they should bring their SUV/truck/minivan over. Will it even be driveable in Spain? Everyone pictures those narrow one lane streets in European cities! Luckily driving on base isn’t an issue, plenty of parking and wide roads. Driving from town to town, going to the stores, malls, etc., there is usually ample parking. The only times you may have an issue is driving in older sections of towns. We have had moments where we’ve been in a tight fit with our Altima! Having to make a 3 point turn just to turn onto another street is very stressful! We try to avoid those sections of towns! Park and walk!
We were a one car family for the first two years we were here. I was a SAHM and didn’t NEED a car most days. If I did I would just drive my husband to work. Once I started working we picked up a 1996 BMW for 3K. It ran great for us and we were very happy with it. We then decided to purchase a Volvo from one of the dealers that sells to military personnel overseas. We got a GREAT deal and are shipping it to Hawaii through Volvo so we can ship our other car through the military.
There a a couple of new car dealers you can purchase a car through; Volvo, BMW/Mini and Exchange New Car Sales. Exchange New Car Sales sells Chrysler, Ford and Harley brands. Volvo and BMW generally have some floor models if you are looking for something immediately or you can custom order and get it in a few months. Do some research because if we had owned our Volvo for less than a year and then moved back to Virginia, they would have made us pay taxes on it! Some states waive this, some you need to own your car for six months before registering it, some require at least a year.
Got any car or driving related questions? Let me know!
We had a fun weekend, took the dog to the beach, went to feria in Jerez, then out to dinner for Mother’s Day at Blanca Paloma, aka my happy place.
My kidlets were threatened that they better be on their best behavior so I could enjoy my favorite dinner, the beautiful day, and the sunshine. They did great, iPods and Nintendo DS’s helped.
Me and crazy pants. He demanded a silly photo.
The salad of my dreams. Fresh mozzarella, fresh pesto, sun-dried tomatoes. So, so good. I also had some bruchetta with tomato, provolone and feta. No pictures of that because it was inhaled.
Happy Mom’s Day to me! I swear I don’t always have bitch face!
On our way out, the beach was PACKED when we got there and empty by the time we left. It was a beautiful day!
On Saturday a friend of mine and I took our boxers to the beach. This whole area is under water at high tide but at low tide there is a TON of room for them to run. Swimming isn’t allowed so it stays empty and we can let the dogs run and they don’t bother anyone.
Bowser decided to cool off and get into the water. He’s never done this before, but once he realized how much it cooled him off he didn’t want to get out! I don’t even know if he can swim! We’ll have to see this summer!
All three puppies! Bowser loves his buddies!
In the amount of time that we were there (maybe an hour total walking) I got sunburned! This Spanish sun is NO JOKE!
This morning I started out positively sad about our pending move. I am ready to dig my heels in and just stay here a little while longer. It didn’t help that it got up to a gorgeous 85 degrees today, nice and sunny with summer right around the corner.
I have to listen to yet ANOTHER person complaining about how much they hate this base. I am so over it. While we chose to move here there are those people who didn’t have a choice. Or maybe this base just wasn’t what they had in mind. But to LOUDLY complain about practically every aspect of the base, not a good enough selection at the commissary/exchange, not enough for kids to do, not enough child care options, it just annoyed the crap out of me!
We don’t live in America, we live in Spain. There might possibly come a point where you have to pull up your big girl panties and step off base! Amazingly there are stores in Spain that sell food and clothing! Cute clothing in fact! And the complaints you have about having to pay for it in euro? What the hell do you think that COLA is for??? It was just super annoying and I took it personally as I feel like I am a representative of the child care on base and that she was picking on me personally. Even though she wasn’t, and at this point in time I really don’t care. I think it sad that instead of spending your time enjoying a place that some people save up and vacation to, all you can complain about is how horrible everything is.
And the other day someone told me they hated it here because there was no WalMart. I. Just. Don’t. Get. It. You would rather shop at a trashy big box store (that has a twin here in Spain called Carrefour!!!!) than live here? Is buying stuff, random stuff that you don’t need and are only buying because you are bored, really THAT important to you?
Ending rant now, just had to get that out there. If you are moving to Spain, please be aware that it is a totally different country because apparently there are some people who think it should be ‘little America’. I swear if I hear the phrase “…at our LAST base…” one more time…
So this week I got to go on a field trip with my son’s daycare class to the local zoo… While the zoo isn’t huge the kids still had a great time.
We left base around 9am with cloudy skies overhead. I was just praying it wouldn’t rain, especially since I forgot to grab my umbrella.
Here they are sitting all cute on the front steps of the zoo: (blurred to protect the not so innocent)
Right when you walk in the flamingos and peacocks are putting on a show. This is also where the zoo personnel did a group shot and individual shots.
The kiddos with their teachers. I LOVE my kids teachers.
This little monkey was the first animal exhibit we stopped at and I kid you not, one of the kids went running toward it and smacked face first into the glass. Bloody lip and crying – fabulous. Thankfully his mom was there and he was all patched up and go to go in a minute.
I can’t tell if this is a peacock or a peahen, I’m not really a fan of the white ones, the colorful ones are so much prettier.
This big boy was making rather rude noises with his mouth. The kids were in hysterics they thought he was farting, but really I think he was flirting with the female? He would blow this big pink bubble thing out of this mouth. I have NO idea, I have never seen a camel do that before.
Hey there pretty lady, I will take your eyelashes!
These storks nest all over Andalucia, it’s pretty cool. Their nests are HUGE. You can hear them clatter their beaks together when they are talking to each other.
Random flower photos? Yes, Please! I love this flower and I have no idea what it is called. It grows facing the ground and is so pretty.
O and two of his best buddies.
The color on this guy was amazing! This pic is blurry because he was pacing back and forth but it was crazy how close we were. I could have stuck my hand through the fence if I wanted to. Love European zoos!
After we had seen most of the animals we stopped for lunch just as it started to sprinkle. Perfect timing! We were under a pavilion so we stayed nice and dry. After lunch the kids got to go get their faces painted while all of the parents had to sit and wait at the coffee shop. Ordered up a cafe manchado (cafe con leche is still a bit to strong for me) and sat and chatted with the rest of the parents while we drank coffee and stayed out of the rain.
End of the day being silly.
Back onto the bus we went and those kids all managed to stay awake until 1:30 when we got back. Of course by then they were all so overtired they were cranky pants! O even took a nap even though he NEVER takes naps anymore.
I was happy to finally get a chance to go to the Zoo since we hadn’t been the whole time we’ve lived here! Both of the kids had gone with school but the one time we tried going was a Monday and they were closed!
If you’re here take they kids, they’ll love it!
Up the hill from Area Sur mall, closed Mondays! 9 euro adult entrance fee, kids 6 euro, under 3 free.