Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Fuengirola

I appreciated all your comments on Palmyra.  Have you noticed that this amazing city has actually been written about quite a lot,  so it seems the eyes of the world are turned anxiously towards it, and its significance for all of us.  I'm just hoping, and also stopping myself from checking the news too much.

Over the last week I've been in Southern Spain, mostly away from the news,  thank goodness. It wasn't a travel writing assignment, because we were attending a big wedding.  That involved visiting an old, small but beautiful church in the mountains about Fuengirola, in Andalucia. Here's the view from the terrace outside the church, down to the sea.



Inside, the church had the kind of ornate golden altar that you often see in Spanish churches. Unusually  (I thought) the Virgin Mary was at the centre of the altar, not Jesus on the Cross - which is much more usual in Northern churches.



I wish I could post loads of photos about the wedding and people, and indeed the whole experience, but with so many people attending, there wasn't a hope of getting everyone's permission. So I am afraid I can't tell you about any of that - but I'll write about where we stayed because it was a very pleasant surprise. In fact, I liked it so much that we're dead set on returning later this year or next.

We were in the the town called Fuengirola, which is about 20 miles down the coast from Malaga by train, just past Torremolinos.  As many English people will know, this area, also known as the Costa Del Sol,  was for some years the centre of the package holiday business, and it became associated with the idea of tower block hotels and noisy bars.  I liked Malaga, but I'd never considered going down the coast.  So what a surprise it was to finally get there! And even more of one to find good restaurants, interesting shops,flowers, and a general air of brightness and cleanliness.


True, Fuengirola has a big beach, lots of bars and hotels, and quite a large expat community, too, so it is not the fishing village it was 50 years ago when our relatives' family bought their house there. But the apartment complex where we stayed was so pleasant and central, that I realised it would be a terrific place to go with a family and still be able to stay sane.  Kids would appreciate the little funfair on the beach and the various attractions, but it doesn't take long to drive out into the mountains beyond, the town itself is a good place to hang out and our apartment complex was just plain amazing.

It's probably nicer at this time of year than in high summer, not only because it's less busy but because so many of the streets are lined with jacaranda trees in full bloom. Their lilac-blue blossoms seem almost ethereal because the leaves of the trees mostly come out a bit after the blossoms, and you get this lavender colour as a sort of haze against the sky.



We stayed in a holiday complex very near the centre just to the right of the road above.  It's called Puebla Lucia, and is a mixture of apartments and houses, set around gardens which are obviously maintained by a perfectionist.
They were just immaculate. More meticulously cared for than even Kew Gardens, I'd say. They were divided into several different areas, with fountains and swimming pools.


I think the Pueblo Lucia complex has grown when the owners took over and converted existing apartment blocks, so there is a variety of flats, houses and studios, and we kept discovering new corners. There is also a bar and restaurant on site, although we didn't try them.
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It's a few minutes walk from the train station and about another 10 minutes to the huge beach. That frankly is not my scene as it was already boiling hot and it's only May, and I just don't see the point of sitting in full sun for hours, even if the sea is nearby.  I wasn't that crazy on the children's funfair, family restaurants and all the other things English holidaymakers expect, either, although it was all clean and friendly enough.. 


Eating out is very cheap - in fact, everything seems ridiculously cheap from a British perspective (but then, we are not in the Euro).  We ate quite a bit in restaurants where there was very good fish of all kinds, as well as some unexpected dishes.  At first, we didn't quite know what to make of this, below, with the tomato in the middle. It's actually a fish pancake in a herb sauce. I was a bit dubious, but it turned out to be so delicious that everyone wanted one.  


We had breakfast each morning in the public market's cafe, where the twins (now almost toddling) were a star turn with the owners.   Then we'd buy fruit and veg for the day. I wish we could get great big  tomatoes like this in England.  Not that we can't get beefsteak tomatoes here, but after weeks of sitting in a chiller somewhere, they have usually lost all their taste by the time they get onto the supermarket shelves. 


Although of course part of the attraction for us was in having other people around, we were really sorry to leave our apartment, and intend to return.  This was the last sight of Spain, baking in the sunshine. 


Next time I visit, I'll  buy some Spanish tiles, bring them home and tile the inside of our back balcony with them.  Because, even allowing for the weather, I am already yearning for a bit more Spanish brightness and colour around the place.

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52 comments:

  1. It does indeed look like a place to return to. The gardens and little turning walkways where you stayed are beautiful. I think Spanish tiles on a balcony would make me quite happy.

    Darla

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  2. I hav enever been to Spain. It's never been high on ly list to want to vist I feltthere are too many places in my own counry that I would like to see first. Least your photo's paint a nicer picture of the place

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  3. Beautiful photographs! The bride's dress looks stunning from what can be seen.

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    1. It was beautiful but simple, I thought it was OK to post a view from the back.

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  4. Those tiles are beautiful and what fun that would be to bring some of Spain's color to your English home.

    Continue staying away from the news. It is disheartening on most days.

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  5. Beautiful pictures, great place for a vacation. We stayed in Fuengirola about 10 years ago, rented a house with Mac's brother. Really enjoyed it.

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    1. That's good. I would be interested to know how it has changed.

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  6. It looks wonderful. I especially like the fountain. Yes, the news is so sad.

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  7. I have never been to Spain but I think I would love it. Thank you for the glimpse of the beauty.

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  8. Fuengirola looks like a lovely spot. The view down to the sea is wonderful. A shame about all the other places that have been overrun by tourists. Somebody certainly takes a pride in the upkeep of the apartment complex. It would be a great place for swimming and sunbathing when the weather isn't quite so hot.

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  9. It does look like am amazing, beautifully designed resort, and one that would be quite comfortable to stay, at least this time of the year. It reminds me of a resort we stayed at in California! The row of cars looked just like I'd see here. It's so wonderful to arrive at a place and be completely surprised in a glorious way too!

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    1. Yes, Karen, california is what it made me think of too, I suppose it is the Spanish influence, sunshine and immaculate grooming of the gardens.

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  10. What a beautiful place to visit. I've been through the pictures twice, taking it all in.

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    1. I am glad you liked them, Joanne!

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  11. I enjoyed these intriguing glimpses of Southern Spain. At times the atmosphere provides subtle hints and reminders of Southern California and I get homesick. I love the flowers and that beautiful fountain. I'm not quite sure about the fish pancake - - but I would try it.

    By the way, thanks for giving my "In Memoriam" a Tweet - I appreciate it.

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    1. Yes, VERY like S California! except you can walk everywhere and everyone seems relaxed about life :D

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  12. I must admit to not being attracted to the Costa Del Sol much preferring the quieter Green Coast at the top of Spain, but your photos do make it look much more attractive than I had thought. The street with the jacaranda trees against the white buildings is very pretty, and I can see that the whole complex is a perfect venue for the family.

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  13. Beautiful !
    Your photos are always so inviting.
    It is so fun when you go somewhere and very happily surprised.

    cheers, parsnip

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  14. How lovely! But the heat--OMG! I would melt, being the northern girl that I am--LOL! ;)

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  15. Oh I know exactly what you mean by wanting Spanish brightness - what a lovely place to stay. I'm not surprised you want to go back.

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  16. I've just returned from a flying visit to our house outside Castellon....blown away by restaurant prices and quality...the fresh tasty produce....such a contrast to the previosu fortnight in England.

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    1. So right! It always makes my heart sink to look round so many British supermarkets with their tasteless produce. Marks and Spencers excepted, I think - usually.

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  17. How absolutely beautiful. I love jacarandas...there are many growing around here where I live. Also my old hometown Gympie has many jacaranda trees also...I've loved them since I was a child. There is something very special about them.

    Wonderful photos of a beautiful area...everything is so clean; not a scrap of litter to be seen...so well-maintained. Exquisite!

    My ex Randall spent some time in the Costa del Sol back in the early-70s (before he became my husband and then ex) and he loved it.

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    1. I am glad you liked it, Lee. I can see why my inlaws can be happy going there year after year.

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  18. It sounds like a wonderful place to go when the weather isn't too hot!

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  19. Get me some of those Spanish tiles too! What a lovely spot in the world.

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  20. I've always had a bit of a prejudice against the Costa del Sol, associating it with horrendously ugly concrete blocks of hotels, noisy and drunk people and generally the kind of holiday I definitely do NOT want. But from your description I gather it is really well worth visiting, and your pictures of the apartment complex show a very beautiful and well cared for place.

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    1. I was certainly surprised for the same reason, Meike.

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  21. Apart from staying with friends on a few occasions I've never been to Spain 'though not for lack of opportunity. However the idea of some warmth appeals to me very much at the moment I have to admit. I have Spanish tiles in my study and my front porch. I love them but, unfortunately, they don't make me feel any warmer!

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  22. We only ever brush-visited Spain so it was interesting seeing your photographs. I quite fancy trying a fish pancake!

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  23. You certainly do a wonderful job with your reports.

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  24. Again, very beautiful.

    I think tomatoes generally aren't worth much unless you can eat them soon after they are picked.

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  25. Spain has never been a spot that has called to me in any great deal, but I have to admit that after seeing your magnificent photos, I could be easily convinced. They are lovely and how special to be there for a festive occasion as well.

    Palmyra -- I have been reading plenty about this since your post. So far... fingers crossed.

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    1. Thank you Jeanie, and thank you too for your kind note which I will answer soon :)

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  26. You stayed in my favourite part of Spain: Andalucía. I have been to the Alpujarra mountains a few times now. One of my brothers-in-law lives there. Your photos took me back instantly. Thanks.

    Have a great weekend.

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  27. Looks absolutely idyllic; what time's the next 'bus?!

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  28. Popping in a) to say hello after yet another long absence and b) to sigh nostalgically over the jacarandas. Do a Google images search with "jacaranda Pretoria" and you'll see why. :)

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    1. Nice to hear from you again! I googled what you said. .. like a view of paradise....

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  29. That is a much more attractiev Spain than one full of lager louts, Daily Mail readers and slappers!

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  30. I've never been to Spain, but have heard stories about the excesses of tourism in some places. Glad to hear you found some beautiful spots. The gardens look wonderful!

    I love jacarandas - we have them around here, too, but they bloom much earlier in the year.

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  31. It looks lovely Jenny. I'm also not a fan of beaches and resorts but this one looks very peaceful and very beautiful too! I'm not surprised you want to go back!

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  32. Hello,Jenny.
    You have shown gorgeous photos of Spain. I like them all. The image of Spain I have is is always bright! The first view from the terrace reminded me of the view I saw from the plane to Spain 20 years ago. The view was blue and green and reddish brown. How exciting to think that you will buy Spanish tiles in your next trip. I too like Spanish brightness. Have a good weekend!

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  33. My goodness! The gardeners in my condo complex could learn a trick or two from your Spanish gardeners, methinks. The greenery is so well-kept it almost doesn't look real.

    I would love to try that fish pancake.

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  34. I enjoyed this post about an area we’ve yet to explore. Co-incidentally we are going to a wedding in Galicia next month, and combining it with a tour around that bit of Northern Spain, including Santiago de Compostela. Was it an evening wedding? I’m told they’re quite formal, so any hints would be appreciated.

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  35. Hello, Jenny! I was caught in the beauty of architectural style and gardens of Puebla Lucia, which looks like an ideal place to relax during the travel and taste Spanish feel. I imagined the purple haze of the flowers against the blue sky – how fascinating!

    Yoko

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  36. I'd love a little Spanish-like house to end my days in......I'd be too hot abroad, though!

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  37. Everything was so so stunning. I would be so sad if I visited there and then came home to my house. It would be such a let down. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Yes I felt a bit like that coming back to our house although at least the sun was shining here when we got back. Unlike the grey cold weather that followed.....

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  38. I really enjoyed this post and looking at all your fabulous photos. The food there sounds quite yummy. I always dreamed of going to Malaga because in France we had a maid from there and she told me so many tales about her city. I only went to Spain once, driving from France, but enjoyed it very much. The complex you stayed in looks beautiful. What a fun trip you had.

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    1. Yes, it was really lovely. I hope you get to visit. It's funny how often a personal connection can make you want to visit a place, isn't it.?

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  39. Oops, I missed this wonderful post, Jenny. I love every picture of Spain - a beautiful country where I have never been, sadly. Our son was there recently, and he too loved the tomatoes! We love the purple haze of our jacarandas in Brisbane; it is great to see them in a different location, and just as gorgeous! Great post!

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  40. Damn why do your posts not show up in my reader! The place looks amazing. I've been to Spain a few times and always loved it. The weather and the countryside, and the people seem to be warm and friendly too.

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