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.
With masks off, temperatures zooming up to an anticipated 40C (104F!) and beach bars now beginning to flourish, the Costa del Sol is on the way back.
But, of course, there’s still a long way to go. The boss of Malaga Airport, Pedro Bendala, reported a drop in passenger numbers during the pandemic from 20 million down to just five million. Some 30% of tourists are Brits.
As UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson starts to ease restrictions on travel Mr Bendala said he was “optimistic about the return of tourist traffic.”
With the scrapping of the quarantine rule for UK sunseekers, there is likely to be a surge in bookings. But beware – Andalucía has now returned to level 2! Only the Balearics remains on the green list.
As the attractions have begun to open up there are dozens of things for families to do whilst here, many offering discounts with pick up tickets. Amongst the many popular ones are The Dolphin Trip from Fuengirola to Benalmadena where you will definitely see these wonderful creatures – and the cable car ride, 2km up a mountain from Benalmadena.
On reaching the summit, where there is a cafe/restaurant, you will be introduced to wild birds, such as eagles, that have been lovingly reared and cared for up there. Very spectacular.
Green isn’t always beautiful
In attempts to create more green energy, massive solar farms are planned for dozens of remote areas. But big demonstrations are being held against the takeover of beautiful countryside demanding that the panels will threaten the environment and spoil the spectacular views etc.
One alone near Jimena would cover 3,500 football pitches! And the electricity companies have again given consumers the highest bills ever – up 45%, despite the government reducing VAT on the bills by 10%.
New cheaper time bands may help to reduce some domestic users’ bills, although this might mean changing eating/cooking times to get the reductions.
Our old Ford passes the test of time
I took our cherished 17-year-old Ford Focus estate for its annual MOT (here it’s ITV – Inspeccion Technical de Vehiculos). It cost £11 less than I might pay in the UK and wow! It is thorough.
As owners from new, the old girl has done 113,000km and sails through every year now. Firstly, the most daunting emissions test, then we proceeded, clasping a two-way walkie-talkie in hand, down a lane of ramps, grids and rollers, specially designed to uncover anything not working correctly, as an engineer views all moving parts from the pits.
The entire vehicle is rocked, rattled and severely put through its paces, a bit like being on a fairground ‘A’ list ride. At the end we are presented with the window sticker.
And finally, spare a thought for this wine connoisseur who was left counting the cost…
One British, Madrid-based father had a big shock at work when he rang his daughter who had friends over at the house, to find they had innocently used a very expensive red wine for a popular Spanish drink Tinto de Verano, made with red wine (often used from a carton), mixed with lemonade.
The girls came across a dust covered old bottle in the cellar. It was a Petrus 1999 vintage wine valued around 3,000 euros! The understanding parent was very forgiving and put it down to not keeping the bottle more safely.
The bars here will again be rammed for the footy final on Sunday night. Come on, England! It’s Coming Home. We hope.