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Rain Rain Go Away, Off to Eivissa Town By Day

Of the whole three days it rains in a year here in Ibiza, I stumbled upon one of them. Call it the 'luck of the Irish'?? If you know me then you'll know that I will always make the best of any situation. I took off for Ibiza Town for the day on Friday. This time of year Ibiza is slow as tourist season hasn't started yet but this made for some great shots of the city without those pesky moving obstructions called tourists.

This city is so amazing. What I really love is the unique mix of Spanish and Roman architecture mixed in a bright Mediterranean setting.

Although called Ibiza in English and Spanish, the official name is in Catalan Eivissa (as restored in 1986) and its inhabitants call it Vila d'Eivissa or simply Vila("Town"). It's divided into two main parts: the old town, called Dalt Vila (literally "Upper Town"), located in the little mountain by the sea, and the modern part, called Eixample. Thank you Wikipedia.

What you see in the picture is The edge of the city where it meets the wall that partitions the old from the new city.

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Posted by MikeAlwine 05:39 Comments (0)

Bus Tour to Cala D'Hort

overcast 72 °F

Friday was the first full day here in Ibiza. I thought it would be a great opportunity to get out of the hotel zone and explore the island. The hotel has a shuttle that takes the guests to different beaches around the island. It was recommended to make a visit to Cala D'Hort to see the beautiful Es Vedrà, so that's what I did. Unfortunately the shuttle broke down but the kind staff at the hotel took time out of their day to take me down in their personal car. It was a great experience to get a more personal take on the region and so extremely nice of the staff to do this for me.

Es Vedrà is regarded as one of the most beautiful vistas in all of Ibiza. It sits in a cove surrounded by the beautiful Mediterranean landscape. The rocky island towers over 300 meters high! No one goes out there except the local padres once a year to survey the area and I think they have a ceremony out there. People come from all over Europe to meditate at this place. The locals say that the rocks have healing powers. It was definitely a sight I will not forget.

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Posted by MikeAlwine 05:08 Archived in Spain Tagged architecture culture island spanish spain party paradise tropical es ibiza vedra Comments (0)

Next Stop, Ibiza

rain 51 °F

Well, it's been a while since I've blogged so tonight would be a great time to get going with this again and play some catch up. So it's been six months since I first set foot in Ireland. Been a hell of an adventure thus far. Although part of the reason I came here didn't work out, I'm trying to carry on and make the best of it here. During these six months, I've met some amazing friends and have had the most unbelievable experiences seeing the most breathtaking sights this beautiful country has to offer, which I've only scratched the surface!

Tomorrow I'm off into deep Europe for the first time. The destination is the tiny Spanish island of Ibiza, located off to the south east of the Spanish mainland and north of Algeria, Africa. Many of the Irish locals, when I tell them where I'm going often have a puzzled look and statements like, "why on earth would you go to Ibiza?" or "I didn't know you were into the rave scene." Let's just say that I understand their questions now. Ibiza is knows as the party capital of Europe. Similar to Goa, India this city is a free-for-all for anyone who wants to party, uninhibited and non-stop. I guess I didn't really do much research before I booked but late April is a tame part of the year so I'm expecting it to be quiet... Ok ok, I lied, I thought I might run into J-Lo.

Really, I'm just looking forward to soaking in the warm Mediterranean sun and exploring the unique merge of Spanish, Greek and Roman cultures that still inhabit the island and I hope to see some fantastic sunsets!

Ibiza Map

Ibiza Map

Posted by MikeAlwine 15:58 Archived in Ireland Tagged architecture culture island spanish spain party paradise tropical ibiza Comments (0)

An Expats Guide To Ireland:

what you need and need not to be successful in the whole crazy process of moving to the Emerald Isle.

Before I came over I did my research here and there but never understood the whole process. Granted, my company helped a lot when it came to getting the work permits and filing the initial paperwork however there is a lot that you will need to do on your own to complete the process.

Here are the steps to take when you first set foot here in Ireland:

1. After landing at Dublin Airport you must present the border agency with your work permit/visa, arrival letter from your employer and possibly your birth certificate. Be prepared for a grilling as any questions are free game. I had a fairly easy entry in since I had everything properly filled out.

The officer will stamp your passport indicating an amount of time you can stay in Ireland until you must register with the Garda (Ireland's police), specifically the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

2. Find a place to live:
It's not just expensive to live in a hotel until you find an apartment, it's very important to get that lease as soon as you can so you can continue the process in becoming a resident.

Luckily, it's pretty easy to find a place and complete the lease signing process here in Ireland; quite 'easy-peasy' as they say here. You will find yourself in a bit of a conundrum as the agent will ask for your Ireland bank account. At this point you will not have one because you cannot get a bank account without a lease and utility bill. See what I mean?

Your only means of paying your deposit and first months rent will be cold cash. Don't bring it in an envelope from the USA, if you do you are stupid and deserve to lose it. ATMs work great here and you can pull out generally €700 at a time to pay the landlord/agent. US banks as a rule generally only allow $1,000/day withdrawn so plan ahead. Luckily my agent was nice enough to let me bring in the rest the next day.

3. Register for your immigration card

Go here:
GNIB (Garda National Immigration Bureau)
Burgh Quay, Dublin 2

Bring these:
-Passport
-Work Permit
-€150

For the record, the word "quay" is not pronounced like you think it is. Its pronounced "key". If you say it like the previous you will get very stupid looks. And for the record a quay is a concrete, stone, or metal platform lying along side water. Used for loading ships. When you get there you'll know what I mean.

GNIB Building

GNIB Building

I can't stress this enough but come as early as you can. I'm talking 7am early so no lolly gagging. These places queue up quick. Even when you are one of the first, you can still wait up to an hour. Keep in mind that you will not be getting your immigration card today. They usually deliver to your apartment in around 7-10 days.

GNIB Card

GNIB Card

When you get this card, proceed to step 4

4. Get your PPS number

Go here:
20 Kings Inn Street

Bring these:
- GNIB Card
- Passport
- Proof of residence (utility bill)

Why is this so important? You need this number to get paid!!! This is the eqivelant of your SSN and your employer used this when registering your income with the Irish IRS.

Keep in mind, this is the welfare office. Don't go getting weirded out that you have to stand in line at the welfare office. It's not the same thing... Well, it is the same thing but the diffence is that everyone here has to do it.

In Q

In Q

Again, if you don't show up when they open, you will literally spend the entire day there. Line starts at 7:30am so don't dilly dally. My first attempt to get this done was a miserable failure. To give you an idea I had ticket number 65, the number being called was 30. After two hours of waiting they only got to 40!

First in Line!

First in Line!

You will receive your PPS number within 5-10 working days.

5. Get a bank account

You can technically do this once you have your lease and utility bill, sometimes sooner. If your employer uses the same bank, they are very friendly with each other and will accept a letter for your HR department which can get you the account without an official lease.

6. Register with the consulate

This is optional but recommended. It's a good idea in this day and age to let your home country know where you are. Unless you are intentionally evading your government, you should stop in at your friendly neighborhood US Consulate. After doing this, you'll be on their list of contacts when they need to send out important information regarding safety while living abroad.

This is really for those googling the expat process here in Ireland I know this will find you but hope this helps as there aren't enough guides to this kind of thing out there.

I may not have been as direct as possible but this is just an outline of what to do based on my experiences. If you come across this and see anything wrong, please let me know and I'll correct. Otherwise, email me if you have any questions.

Cheers and good luck in your move over!

Mike
Michael.alwine@gmail.com

Posted by MikeAlwine 13:18 Archived in Ireland Tagged ireland dublin office garda quay immigration welfare gnib burgh Comments (0)

A Mornin' Run down the River Liffey

sunny 40 °F

Sundays are the perfect days to wake up early, watch the sunrise and enjoy a nice run. What better place to get that is along the Liffey here in Dublin. Since I live very close to the river, there's no reason to not be out there enjoying the scenery. I didn't do too much research of where I wanted to go but I just headed down the river toward the Bay. One of the things you should always keep an eye out for is the Docklands, especially on a Sunday morning, there's not too many people down there and probably the people that are down there, aren't the kind you really want to run in to. Anyway, the weather was brisk, but I had on me Underarmour cold gear. Great stuff btw and essential to battle the Ireland wind chills.

Not really too much more to say but these were the shots I took along the way.

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An image you've seen before, this is looking down the river, heading opposite of my running path

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This is Ringsend Park, really nice place to walk the dogs or go for a stroll. Lot's of kids out early practicing their ball handling. Maybe the next Irish Beckham out there?

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Ran past a very old church. I'm sure there are much older ones out there in Ireland however what struck me was that this was built 70 years before the United States was even dreamed of.

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Here's Aviva Stadium. All the greats have played here. Beautiful architecture! Puts the Eagles stadium to shame :(

Posted by MikeAlwine 11:23 Archived in Ireland Tagged churches church river run stadium aviva running Comments (0)

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