Day 70 - "Tourist Trap!"


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Day 70 of Lockdown, and Spain will be open for tourists in July says Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez today. What will it mean, and what is it like for tourists here along the Granada coast? The daily dairy Podcast of a British couple and their three good legs cat, living on the Costa Tropical.

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Day 70 "Tourist Trap!"

Sunday comes with a breeze and more Mediterranean sunshine; the Spanish Prime Minister Uncle Pedro has announced today that he is going to start allowing tourism to return to Spain.

That is very good news for businesses all over Spain, less good news if you think that the tourists will come, create another wave of virus, then leave to their own more liberal countries whilst we face yet another lockdown in the Autumn.

Off this morning to water the plants at Petra’s and Justin’s big house on the corner. Despite the great care that Pepe the Palm took in cutting down the fronds from the palm tree, some debris has got into the pool. I had a go at fishing some of it out.

Swimming pools are complex things, we are asking water to behave abnormally. Those Nasrid Sultans created pools and fountains with running water, whilst a swimming pools water stays put and needs a lot of loving care to stay clean and sanitary.

Our German neighbours, who have spent Lockdown in their native country discovered from their pool man that the water had gone green, which means emptying the pool, cleaning every surface and refilling again.

Our own modest pool stands on six micro piles, anchoring it into the mountain and protecting it from earthquakes. I have only felt one earthquake here. It was quite sudden, shook the house for a second and at the same time there was a sound similar to a lorry emptying a ton of earth onto the ground. Chris slept through it, but the cat went crazy, running around meowing.

An active fault runs along the sea in front of where we live and it has, in the past caused a few issues. The houses below us caught the force of one minor earthquake, it moved them about an inch further down the mountain causing great cracks to appear and parts of terraces to topple to one side.

At our friends house it cracked open their swimming pool like an egg and the contents of the pool emptied out onto the road below.

Mother nature isn’t keen on being tamed, but luck was on our side. The Highways Authority decided to widen the National Road in front of us, by chopping the front of the mountain off; despite being told by Geologists that, that might cause the whole mountain to move down onto the new road.

The Highways Authority ignored the scientific advice, now where have I heard that phrase recently? The mountain moved and started to deposit chunks of itself onto the main road.

As a result, an Australian team were shipped in to pile drive the whole edge of the mountain, it took months to do with the piles going hundreds of meters under the houses, more piles were drilled down from the first road anchoring that in place.

The whole process cost in excess of fifty-four million Euros, but as a result we probably have the most stable Estate along the whole coast, although I am touching wood when I say this.

It is one of the reasons that this area has kept a lot of its more traditional Spanish charm, you just can’t build great big high-rise hotels here, the geology will not let you.

It is a good place to come on holiday, the majority of holidaymakers are Spanish, about 60 per-cent, the beaches are good to swim from, the diving is good too, you can do water sports and the like, and the beach sand is a granite grey but a bit grainy if you are thinking of building sandcastles.

It is though possible to go up to the snow peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain in the morning, ski till lunchtime then drive back down to the beach and sunbathe after first enjoying a pretty good lunch with wine for about ten Euros in one of the beachside Chiringuitos – restaurants.

The British Ex-Pat wave stops at Nerja about 25 minutes on the motorway from here. Nerja is still in the Costa del Sol. When we first visited the town over twenty years ago it was still quite a sleepy Spanish place.

Over the years more English, German and Scandinavian’s have made it their home, so there is a very different feel to the place. If you crave a proper curry or Thai food there are restaurants there to cater for you, along with English supermarkets like Cullens if you get an urge for Birds Custard or a Cherry Bakewell.

We very much prefer where we live here on the coast, on a clear day you can see the coastline of Morocco, during winter storms you can see the lightening and thunder rumble and light up the Atlas Mountains in the far, far distance.

The night sky is usually clear and filled with stars, a walk along the country road here is filled with the sweet scent of bella de noche, the lady of the night. I remember walking back up the road one night when we were first here and pointing up at the night sky to Chris, we were trying to work out what the reddish cloud was that streaked across high up in the sky.

It took a moment to realise it was the milky way. Finally, the moon can be as big as the ones you see in films. We have a cheap telescope and it is truly amazing to look upon the surface of the moon on a warm Mediterranean night.

All very good reasons why Prime Minister Sanchez stood up to say he plans to open the country up for tourism once again. We hope it can be managed safely and that the tourists that come, please, please, respect the rules for their and of course our own safety.