Friday, March 10, 2017

Off peak at Costa del Sol

Costa del Sol is Spanish for the Sunshine Coast and it is a region near Malaga. Similar to our Gold and Sunshine coasts in Queensland, Australia, it's a high density region consisting of thousands of apartment buildings and hotels to accommodate a massive influx of tourists.

It doesn't have the high rise buildings we do in Queensland which tends to retain the Mediterranean architecture uninterrupted.

As it's only three hours flight from Gatwick in the UK, there are obviously scores of Brits who make this their holiday destination. There are numerous Canadians, Americans and other Europeans here too, but so far I haven't found another Australian accent.

Unlike Christina and I who purposely have avoided wearing anything that stands out as Australian, a Canadian couple we met wear Canadian labelled clothing and small flag pins because they don't want anyone to think they are Americans. Aren't we people complicated?

The Sunset Beach Club where we stayed is huge, quite a few years old and showing its age, but is very comfortable, well equipped and all anyone needs. It has a large in-house supermarket, a medical centre, dentist, and the usual play grounds, pools, restaurants, and even a child minding centre.

While I expect the summer months would attract thousands and many with children, at present most people were Baby Boomers like us; greying, many a bit heavier than perfect, balding, probably cashed up, and determined to get out and about before they take that final journey from which none of us returns.

You see them en masse at the Happy Hour all getting their Scotch and sodas, sangrias and beer all on a two for one tab. At the end of the hour most stagger off to their rooms or dinner venues and the once noisy venue dulls a little. We visited a few times but only managed the one round of drinks.

There are hundreds of food outlets here and even a Burger King. Food and alcohol is significantly cheaper than in Australia which is good for us because we already lost on the exchange rate between AUD and €.

The area, Benalmadena, and other areas we have visited within the region are immaculate - not a toothpick of rubbish anywhere. How do they manage it? Either the locals are so proud of their towns that they dont spill a thing or, every night after we are all in bed, a thousand workers come out to keep things spotless. I think the former.

The locals are friendly, helpful people obviously accustomed to tourists who dont speak Spanish. When you enter a shop or bar, it's customary to say, "Hola!" to everyone already there.

From the Club where we stayed, you can book numerous tours and activities. We took a 4WD tour of the small villages, olive, cork and almond plantations in the region, had lunch included at a quaint restaurant and attended a flamenco dancers and combined Andalucia horse show. Both were very enjoyable.

Its a lovely part of Spain and time permitting we could have stayed longer.

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