Former Huddersfield gymnast and pub landlord Brian Hayhurst and his wife Elaine are ex-pats who have lived just outside Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol for 20 years. He writes every week for Huddersfield Hub.

Our arrival back in Spain, along with the other 30 passengers on our flight, was smooth except for a very bumpy landing.

We experienced wild and destructive winds for the next two days. But all is calm now. We are missing family but not £5 pints of ale!

As bookings for springtime holidays here on the Costas soar dramatically, it will be good news and welcome for all hotels as they are still struggling.

Since January 4 travel bookings are up 40%, especially with people considering a sun-kissed romantic break around Valentine’s Day.

And Jet2 has announced a 150% increase in reservations to Spain following travel relaxations from the UK Government. This will be boosted as the £/€ is at its highest since February 2020. (1.20€ to the £).

Here’s one or two observations since getting back:

* From Jan 1 inheritance tax has seen changes – for the good. For example, when a spouse inherits the habitual residence, the tax exemption has been raised to 99%, no matter how high the value of the dwelling.

* Pets in Spain are no longer considered material goods and a new law, soon to be implemented, means all cats and dogs are ‘part of the family’ and required to have a national animal identification document.

It also regulates the custody of pets during divorce cases. Great news for the many pet sanctuaries which are full to the brim with abandoned animals here.

* With Spain recording the warmest December in 60 years (according to the Met Agency) it is no surprise that local reservoirs are parched and there could soon be restrictions in usage during what could be a drought situation.

Malaga reservoirs are only 34% full – 16% down on last year. This may appear adequate but to see the on-going relentless new builds up and down the Costa del Sol, one wonders how the water infrastructure will cope.

It did rain quite heavily during the ‘Three Kings’ celebrations here. This event on January 6 is always enjoyed by all youngsters nationally here when they receive their Christmas gifts on this day.

As with the rest of the world there has been a surge in Coronavirus cases, according to the Spanish Health Minister who declared recently that 3% of the population has tested positive.

There are mixed reports and observations about how people are treating the pandemic, or is it now endemic?

The mandatory mask wearing outdoors appears to be getting lax here, compared to a couple of months ago, with people now casually strolling around with them under chin or not at all.

Bars and restaurants must now ask to see a Covid passport from all customers but those we have spoken to or witnessed, not many establishments seem to enforce the ruling. All hospitality venues can receive hefty fines if clients are found on premises without vaccination proof.

READ MORE: Brian Hayhurst writes every week for Huddersfield Hub – catch up on his previous blogs HERE

And finally, there are a growing number of camper vans appearing down here with campsites very busy and allocated spaces quickly filled.

A friend who has a motorhome told us that the vehicles parked in the La Cala fai ground must obtain a certificate from the Town Hall every two days, costing 3€.

Whether they show their Covid passports etc or not who knows what possible illnesses they may be bringing here? And which countries did they manage to get through to be here?

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