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. Here’s Brian’s latest thoughts from sunny Spain!
Elaine I were at a charity evening recently with lifelong Huddersfield friends, Allen and Elaine Conroy, and we were saying how glad and privileged to have chosen Spain to live.
We were discussing how sad it was for people back home with very little entertainment or places to go.
Although Easter is cancelled here, we learn this week that the hospitality and service industries can remain open until 10.30pm with an 11pm-6am curfew.
At least we can go out, visit parks and shop every day. But the rules can change overnight as officials view Covid figures. They are levelling off at the moment.
There are still provincial border restrictions but rows are emerging about foreign travellers who are steadily arriving in larger numbers. They are allowed to go where they please to seek out fun and beaches in the sun.
There are many reports that travel companies have been inundated by German holidaymakers wanting to fly into the Costa del Sol. And we have certainly now seen the beaches beginning to attract people wallowing in the sun.
One such attraction is the Sierra Nevada near Granada, which last weekend welcomed 18,000 visitors (the max allowed during restrictions).
They enjoyed 75km of slopes on this, the most southern ski resort in Europe. You can be on the beach, and about two hours later, preparing to ski.
A real headache for many here is the end of the 90-day rule on March 31 which, due to Brexit, means those who have not taken up residency must leave.
There are bound to be thousands in a real quandary, having left it too late to become residents pre-December 31 last year.
There are mixed reports about property sales but the high end villas and hotels are definitely moving weekly. Investment funds show clearly that there are many investors looking for four and five star hotel establishments in luxury resorts, at prices around 40 million euros!
One such hotel is The Byblos, which is 2km from where we live, on the fringe of Mijas Golf. This iconic hotel once attracted the stars like Princess Di, the Rolling Stones and Julio Iglesias.
It closed five years ago, shortly after UK business tycoon Alan Sugar pulled out of the sale due to irregularities with the vendors. It is in the process of a major 20 million euro makeover, and when open will offer over 250 jobs.
So as we prepare for longer, lighter evenings and more establishments beginning to rise from the ashes, we are contemplating a trip back in the summer, assuming flights are available and we can surmount the piles of rules and requirements to leave Spain and enter the UK.
As an aside, I have just had my first vaccination at a well-organised clinic, surrounded by hundreds of other pensioners all calmly being dealt with by polite, professional staff. I await my second jab in 28 days to see if I get some kind of certificate.
OK, I’m off now to investigate a statement saying that cyclists must now wear masks whilst out riding. I have difficulty breathing without one!