An Ex-pat Monthly Experience of Moving to Gandia, Spain, Post Brexit - Part 1

3rd January 2022
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Part 1: In the Beginning

Part 1: In the Beginning – The Journey that took us to Gandia (The Northern Costa Blanca - Costa Azahar)

“Gandia? That’s in India, isn’t it?”

Oh hi! Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. Allow me to explain. Y’see we, that’s my lovely wife and I, had been looking at properties in Spain for over two years as we approached retirement age and wanted to experience the real Spain, rather than just holiday there.

We had registered with several Estate Agents on the mainland, having decided that Mallorca was just completely out of our price range. We had started off looking around the Malaga area in the region of Andalusia but couldn’t really find an area that was ‘us.’ Moving further up the coast, the whole colour of the mainland begins to change. Denia, I knew from previous experience, but only vaguely. We began investigating the areas around Calpe, Moriara and Alicante on the internet that had beautiful coves and were surprised by going 45 mins north how much the whole landscape changed to beautiful pine clad mountains and lush orange groves in the Gandia area. Pretty villages and bustling towns abounded. It was whilst watching an episode of ‘A Place in The Sun’ that we were made aware of places called Oliva and Gandia.

Fascinated, we decided to really investigate this green and friendly area called ‘La Safor’ and the more we looked, the more we liked what we saw. We already had a list of ‘favourite’ properties but decided to see what was available in Gandia itself. Up popped the website, “For Sale By Sally in Spain.” More importantly, onto the screen appeared not just an interesting property, but the perfect property just a 7-minute drive to Gandia city and 10/15 mins to the fantastic sandy beaches and marina! Chrissie practically had her elbow in my ribs, “I want that villa, James”. We immediately emailed Sally and booked a virtual Realtime video tour of the villa via a WhatsApp call (Covid had struck!) and on the Friday Harry took us on a video-walk through the villa and we put in an offer right there and then (crazy or what!) which was accepted by the current Spanish owners. Am I suggesting that this is the way to buy a property in Spain? Absolutely not! But hey, sometimes you just must follow your gut instincts, right? Sally kept in regular touch with us and arranged a very efficient local Abogado/solicitor to handle the legalities. Due to all the restrictions, we couldn’t come and see the property in person, so we just had to fizz with excitement whilst we put our house in the UK on the market and sort out a removals company. It was a time of conflicting emotions. We had a lot of memories invested in our house, but our children were very supportive of what we wanted to do, and you know what? Life is short! We had so much that we wanted to experience together whilst we still had the ability and necessary energy!

As we prepared to leave the UK shores, we sold our cars and were lucky enough to find a car that was left hand drive and low mileage and big enough to carry the loads that we would place upon it. Still Covid prevented us from going over to Spain to check everything was as expected, despite booking a ten day stay at a gorgeous little hotel in Denia. They were so understanding when we had to postpone again! But on 27th May 2021 we finally made a last coffee in our travel mugs and set off for Portsmouth where that evening, we were due to depart for Santander.

After an enjoyable crossing, we landed on time at Santander and armed with every piece of paper we could possibly think of needing, we drove off the ferry, having handed over our passenger location form. Arriving at the Guardia Civil post, Chrissie had all our papers in her hand, awaiting the third degree, to be greeted with, “Hola, Buenos Dias, have a nice day,” and to our amazement we were waved through! That was it. We had arrived! Furniture in transit somewhere, just us and suitcases of clothing and bits and bobs, a pocket full of cash (we didn’t know when we would get to our chosen bank) and the road stretched out before us for the seven hour trek to Denia.

Part 2: Hello Spain, coming next month.

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