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 fortnight for Huddersfield Hub.

As expected the number of tourists coming into Spain looks like hitting an all-time Easter high.

And here Malaga Airport Authority has announced that it will shortly connect to over 130 cities across the globe this summer with direct flights.

There is a scheduled 18 million passenger seats due to be coming into this main Costa airport soon, including three weekly flights to/from New York.

These kind of numbers are bound to spread more tourist wealth across the Costa del Sol. And they are bound to help the falling inflation levels even further – currently reported at 3.3% (I’ve seen it at 7.3%).

Easter week (Semana Santa) was celebrated big time – as always here, with literally thousands joining in the services and observe the centuries’ old processions which can take many hours to transport the Virgin Mary or Christ on the cross to churches, and once inside, remember the death of Christ and become absorbed in prayers.

The photograph (above, right) sent to me from my colleague and local tour guide, Alan Boardman (left), shows the depth of devotion, as the huge crowds in Malaga almost swamp the slow-moving float, traditionally carried by dozens of strong young men and, more recently, women.

Incidentally Alan told a group at his recent presentation that, if you want a son or daughter to be a pageant brotherhood bearer – Costalero – his/her name must be put down at birth!

Those wearing cone-shaped headgear are known as ‘penientes’ who participate in the processions – they are often, but wrongly, confused with Ku Klux Klan members.

A thorny debate which keeps cropping up is the issue of bullfighting as the season gets underway. Many arenas closed for long periods due to Covid, lots of smaller ones remained closed for good or were re-developed into entertainment venues.

Elaine and I went to only one during our early days here. We joined in with a large, enthusiastic crowd until we witnessed the sad ending of the five bulls used in the tournament.

We soon lost interest and left before the end as we saw there was no escape or way out, even for the courageous animals.

Over the past decade the ‘sport’ has dwindled, particularly amongst younger Spaniards who say it is cruel.

Some of those defending these traditional events say: “Spain’s meat industry kills vast volumes of animals, daily to feed a population with the highest meat consumption in Europe.”

The main issue is cruelty in its current form but some ardent followers say: “Would the spectacle survive with ‘young would-be matadors’ leaping over the irritated animals specially bred to entertain?”

I conclude with the incredible story of Manuel Cortes, a government dissident, who spent 30 years in hiding behind a bedroom wardrobe, thus avoiding the execution squads of General Franco in the 1930s.

I took the photo above (a detailed layout of Cortes’s old bedroom) at the Mijas Pueblo History Museum, close to where Cortes lived, in this now popular much visited village.

I first heard the story whilst on one of Alan Boardman’s walking tours of Mijas. He has conducted dozens of his tours, voluntarily, and has raised over €10,000 for a long list of charities. If you come on holiday, or live here, and would like to do the tour ring Alan on 0034 610522605.

Finally, some random thoughts. Congratulations to the Spanish ex-amateur champion golfer Jon Rahm who won the Augusto Masters tournament beating many top players.

Also, just seen diesel on sale at £1.14 per litre – and parts of Spain have just endured the hottest March this century!

Catch up on Brian’s back catalogue of blogs HERE