[Image credit CC: Ian Britton]
If you choose to live in a town or village in the Axarquía, there will probably be a postal delivery to your house on most week days, just as you would expect in many countries. Depending on where you live in the world, you might think it strange, but most front doors here in Spain don’t have letter boxes set into them, making mail delivery a little more complicated.
Your correspondence will usually be left in a lockable post box fastened to the wall at the front of your house. That’s always assuming, of course, that you have a lockable post box. If you don’t, it’s likely that the postman will push the letters in the gap under your front door. I can recall when we rented a house in the beautiful white village of Frigiliana, before we bought our present house, seeing letters poking out from underneath many of the doors, as I walked through the narrow village streets.
If you choose to live in the countryside (el campo), you will not have your post delivered to your home, but instead you will need to go to your local village post office to collect it.
Before the post office in the village of Cómpeta moved into new premises a few years ago, this service was free to residents in the area where I live. We had all been allotted Post Office box numbers (Apartado de Correos) and we would then queue up, as we Brits are so good at, waiting our turn to be given our goodies!
You knew you had truly been accepted into the local community when the Spanish postmistress didn’t need to ask for your post office box number ….she just went to the pigeon-hole, situated behind the counter, and took out your bundle of post!
The Post Office queue was always a sociable event, with locals and expats chatting and listening in to each other’s conversations. It was always a place to learn what was happening in the village, particularly as you had chance to read the notice board, as you shuffled past it, whilst you were waiting.
Sometimes, of course, the wait would stretch to half an hour, as the queue snaked around the Post Office and out of the door, which would result in people grumbling and moaning about what an old-fashioned system it was. Personally, I always found it rather charming.
Sadly, the social aspect of mail collection all changed when Cómpeta Post Office moved into a new building and the system was dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.
In order to retain your Apartado de correos address, it would now cost you more than 50 Euros a year. Each household was issued with a key, so you can visit to collect your mail from your own personal lockable mail box, in racks on the public side of the counter, anytime during post office opening hours.
So nowadays, people drop in – open the box, and are off again within a moment or two and without a drop of gossip in sight!
Shame that …. 😉
What is an aspect of modern life that you think has changed for the worse?
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