Locked Out in Fuengirola!
We had been in Fuengirola, on the Costa del Sol in Spain, for three weeks and in our fantastic apartment for half of that time and we were loving it. However, it was time to presson with our primary task of getting my wife, Neem, her residency papers. So, we went to the National Police station to find out how to go about it.
Apparently, the process starts in Malaga for non-EU citizens, so we went to a friendly bar near our tower block, the Zig Zag, to ask someone to make the call for an appointment for us. Neem’s phone was dead, and our friend’s was broken! So, at one thirty, Neem went to charge her phone for fifteen minutes, as almost everything stops here at two pm. She returned at one fifty-six, and we were told to phone back another day.
We tried to use the online appointment app, but it wouldn’t accept Neem’s passport number.
The following morning, at ten thirty, we started out for the Zig Zag Bar to try again. The second I pulled the apartment door closed behind us and heard the latch click, I knew that something was wrong, but I held my hand out for the key to lock the door anyway.
“Didn’t you take it out of the lock?” asked Neem.
“No, didn’t you?” I replied, “I saw you open the door with it”.
“No, I left it for you… you always lock the door”.
We were locked out!
So, we walked the fifty metres to the Zig Zag to make the appointment with the police and think. Rose, the manager of the bar, served us and asked for Neem’s phone to make the call. Neem rumaged in her bag, and looked up forlornly.
“It’s in the apartment”, she whispered.
We walked around to the letting agent and explained the situation. They phoned the landlord, who luckily lived nearby and she had a spare key. Everyone was happy, but i still had my reservations – after all, the key was in the lock.
We tried the spare, and the landlord even came with us, but it was no good. We were well and truly locked out in Fuengirola, a town where we knew nobody!
“Sorry, I cannot help you…” said the landlord, but she did phone the letting agent for us. The woman there who had been so helpful thirty minutes before, said, “Sorry, but i have done all I can. This is your problem not ours”.
We were locked out of our apartment in a country where we had no friends, could not speak the language, and had no phone.
We returned to the Zig Zag bar for a beer and another think. I looked at the clock on the wall: it was two oh three on Friday, and here many small businesses do not reopen after the siesta on Friday – it is the start of the weekend!
This was rapidly becoming very serious, which usually means very expensive.
A beer did the trick and I remembered a company nearby called Bars in the Sun, where a friend had worked, so we walked the thirty metres to it, and I explained our predicament. The two owners listened sympathetically and then phoned a subcontractor called Steve. He couldn’t get to us until five, but he knew the Zig Zag, so we arranged to meet there, which was good news for us, as it was starting to get cold and we had dressed for a whole day out. We had expected to be back home within the hour.
Steve arrived on time, so i took him and his mate to the apartment. Both of them tried every which way to get in, but the lock was very secure. They did, however, notice a sticker from a Spanish locksmith on our lock, something we had all missed before.
When i said that we didn’t have a phone, they rang the number for me, but it was now after five on Friday evening and the number was a land line. The chances were slim… very slim.
Eventually, the locksmith picked up and arranged to meet us at seven, but he would not look for us in the Zig Zag; he insisted on meeting us outside the apartment block. I asked Steve for the bill, but he refused to take any money. I offered a few beers, but they refused that too. If you need a good tradesman on the Costa del Sol, phone Steve, he’s a thoroughly nice guy and very competent tradesman, according to the guys at Bars in the Sun.
(Further details below).
Anyway, at six fifty, we left the bar to stand on the pavement outside our apartment block in the cold, rain and darkness. It was bitter. We were dressed in short sleeves, while everyone else wore gloves, hats and jackets or coats. We hugged each other for warmth, as passers-by eyed us suspiciously.
Thirty minutes later, when a man asked us if we were the ones locked out of our apartment, it seemed like a pointless question, but what else could he ask. We were shivering badly by now.
We hurried up gto our floor, and were inside within three minutes.
“The lock is broken”, he said in fairly good English. “There is a fifty-fifty chance that you will not be able to get back in, every time you lock the door”. He called the landlady to explain the broken lock, but she wasn’t interested. The bill was eighty Euros, but Steve had suggested that the cost would be a hundred and twenty, and we were just glad to be back in the warm again, so we paid it gratefully. However, our day was not over yet.
We returned to the Zig Zag bar to thank them for all the help and support they had given us, and have a brandy and coffee to warm up.
Needless to say, it was great to be back in our apartment thirty minutes later, and now, two days later, we still haven’t left the place again yet – I even missed the Wales v England rugby game on Saturday!
Please LIKE and SHARE this article using the buttons below and visit our bookshop
All the best,
Podcast: Locked Out in Fuengirola
Zig Zag Bar: Calle Jacinto Benahavente, Fuengirola (the street between the bus station and the beach)
Bar in the Sun: www.barinthesun.com +34664893320 (same street as above)