There are two types of bank accounts for foreigners:
Resident bank account: You can open an account in euros or in a foreign currency (depending on what the bank offers).
Nonresident bank account: If you don’t have an NIE card and you come from another country, you are considered nonresident. Based on the regulations of the Bank of Spain, nonresidents can hold bank accounts in euros or in foreign currency. As identification, you must have a valid passport or the ID number of your country of origin. You also have to justify your nonresident status when you open the account (or within 15 days). This is because for a nonresident account, the bank does not withhold a percentage of the interest earned. Generally every six months, the bank does a check to confirm your nonresident status. If you acquire resident status any time after opening the account, you must notify the bank and give them your NIE. The fees for a resident account are cheaper than for a nonresident account.
The regulations are clear, but be aware that when you go to a local bank to open your account, the employee probably won’t speak English, and won’t have experience in this type of account, or may offer you an account that does not earn interest. Furthermore, they may charge you extra fees -eg. setup costs - for this type of account; they may also tell you about “setup fees” that never happen anyway.
Paying the utilities and rent is typically done by granting the ability to debit your bank account. Checks are rarely used. A landlord may ask for the rent in cash—that’s so they don’t have to declare the rent on their income tax form. Undeclared money is called dinero negro or dinero en B—fairly common in Spain.
The local wine is distinctive, and is often accompanied with a tapa (snack) of local cheese, roasted pork or goat meat. Other culinary specialities include almogrote, a cheese spread, and miel de palma, a syrup extracted from palm trees.
The inhabitants of La Gomera have a unique way of communicating across deep ravines by means of an amazing whistled speech called Silbo Gomero. This whistled language is indigenous to the island, and its existence has been documented since Roman times. Invented by the original inhabitants of the island, the Guanches, Silbo Gomero was adopted by the Spanish settlers in the 16th century and survived after the Guanches died out. When this unique means of communication was threatened with extinction at the dawn of the 21st century, the local government required all children to learn it in school.
In the mountains of La Gomera, its original inhabitants worshipped their god, whom they called Orahan; the summit and centre of the island served as their grand sanctuary. Indeed, many of the natives took refuge in this sacred territory in 1489, as they faced imminent defeat at the hands of the Spaniards, and it was here that the conquest of La Gomera was drawn to a close. Modern-day archaeologists have found several ceremonial stone constructions here, which appear to represent sacrificial altar stones, slate hollows or cavities. It was here that the Guanches built pyres upon which to make offerings of goats and sheep to their god. This same god, Orahan, was known on La Palma as Abora and on Tenerife and Gran Canaria as Arocan. The Guanches also interred their dead in caves, which still dot the landscape.
Christopher Columbus made La Gomera his last port of call before crossing the Atlantic in 1492. He stopped here to replenish his crew's wine and water, intending to stay only four days. However, he became romantically involved with Beatriz de Bobadilla y Ossorio, the governor of La Gomera, and he ended up staying one month. When he finally sailed she gave him cuttings of sugarcane, which became the first to reach the New World. The house in San Sebastián in which he stayed is now a tourist attraction.