Nuestra Señora del Rosario Church, December 2016. You won’t find much online love for the Costa del Sol town of Fuengirola. With a murky reputation as the archetypal Brits-abroad-in-the-sun setting, I’d admittedly been wondering if I should even bother with it. But… ever the completest… I was still curious how it measured up to its sister towns Benalmádena (surprisingly pretty) and Torremolinos (largely uninspiring). Arriving at the central train station from Malaga City, I was soon greeted by the town’s handsome main square, Plaza de la Constitución. Exchanging a chirpy “buenos días” with a somewhat inappropriate balloon-selling Mickey mouse, I ducked inside the square’s pretty church to watch the old Spanish folk go about their daily prayers.
Plaza de la Constitución, December 2016. Formerly a tiny fishing village, Fuengirola has morphed into a buzzing metropolis of boutique shops, fast food chains, sport bars and tapas joints. Hanging out in the main square for a spell of people watching, I found myself catching snippets of all kinds of English conversations. A middle-aged couple from the north looking for an English breakfast, a Cockney mother telling her disgruntled son to pick up his Batman doll. After eight months in Malaga city, these inane exchanges felt strangely comforting!
Plaza de la Constitución, December 2016. In any case I felt myself more drawn to the collection of local dears gathered around the fountain. They were yapping up quite the storm of scandalous gossip and enjoying the warmth of the morning sunshine. This was obviously their spot and although they all looked terribly weathered and most of them were disabled, an amusing Andalusian expression sprung to mind: “Misery is always better in the sun”.
Las Gaviotas Beach, December 2016. Fuengirola’s urban beach stretches out for around 1200 meters and includes a series of piers, which form small arches alon\g the shore. It was virtually deserted on the morning of my stroll and this lady, thoroughly absorbed in her novel, perfectly summed up the vibe.
Fuengirola From The Rocks, December 2016. Halfway down the beach I was tempted to scale one of the rocky paths that extended out into the water. The sea was quite choppy and there was an invigorating wind, blowy and crisp but entirely manageable. Gazing back out across Las Gaviotas and the mountainous skyline, it was easy to imagine the horror of the summer crowds and I felt suddenly fortunate that I’d timed my visit to Fuengirola on this innocuous December morning.