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.
Dragging myself from the Olympics and the astonishing job our athletes – along with our young gymnasts – have done in Tokyo, I was pleased to see that the UK is now to recognise the vaccines given to EU citizens. This will allow travel to Britain without having to quarantine from August 4.
We have heard of people arriving and departing Spanish airports having long waits to get through, with control desks double checking documentation causing some chaos and, occasionally, missed flights!
And Spanish authorities have stopped all visitors without boarding passes, including those picking up loved ones. I suppose in an attempt to reduce overcrowding?
With Covid cases increasing in Andalucía, despite Spain now leading in Europe in vaccination levels, authorities have put us back into level 3 which means tighter rules on seating in restaurants etc, especially in popular towns like Marbella which has seen a surge in tourism.
Most still wear masks but there is confusion about what exactly the restrictions are.
I have mentioned before that there is so much to see and do in this region, but within an hour or so there are some magnificent places to visit.
From time to time I will briefly outline some of the more famous and popular attractions, just in case you are lucky enough to come here.
Cordoba is one city which Elaine and I visited before the pandemic. We found it to be absolutely entrenched in history.
We took the RENFE AVE high speed train direct to Cordoba and, as the clock minute hand precisely hit the departure time, we were off.
We covered the 132 km on the smoothest train ride ever, and we were there within the hour.
Amid some of the highest temperatures we have experienced, we discovered that most of the fascinating ‘must see’ attractions were all within a square mile or so.
The Mosque Cathedral is a World Heritage Site and is one of Spain’s most visited monuments.
Built in 785 by a Muslim Emir, this magnificent building has been enlarged and embellished over centuries. It is considered one of the most beautiful examples of Islamic art, and entrance numbers have to be limited to try and protect the interiors. A portable audio guide system helps visitors enjoy the architectural delights.
Close by is Alcazar of the Christian king with its mosaic salon, royal baths and gorgeous gardens.
A stroll through the flower lined narrow streets of the Jewish quarter bring thousands of visitors to the free to enter, tiny Cordoba Synagogue – the only existing synagogue in Andalucía with its centuries old wall decorations.
Passing by dozens of quaint cafes, restaurants and bars through the maze of narrow streets takes visitors to the Roman Bridge, built in the 1st century BC which crosses over the river Guadalquivir.
There are also numerous temples, museums and the famous Plaza de la Corredera which for centuries has been a gathering place for parties, bull fights and even executions! It really is a most interesting city, well worth a visit.
Meanwhile, here on the Costa as tourists flood in, the Starlite open air theatre – formed inside a Marbella quarry – will star Tom Jones and Bonnie Tyler next month.
The massive amusement park – Tivoli World – is about to re-open again in Benalmadena. It definitely feels like southern Spain is enjoying a much-needed economic boost.