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 found myself curious as to 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 balloon-selling Mickey mouse, I ducked inside the square’s pretty Our Lady of the Rosemary Church to watch the old Spanish folk go about their prayers.
December 2016. Formerly a tiny fishing village, Fuengirola has morphed into a buzzing metropolis of boutique shops, fast food chains, sports bars and tapas joints. Some of the best people watching can be done in the main square (Plaza de la Constitución), so it was here that 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 figurine and stop whining. After eight months in the predominantly Spanish speaking city of Malaga these inane exchanges felt strangely comforting!
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”.
December 2016. Fuengirola’s urban Las Gaviotas Beach stretches out for around 1200 meters and includes a series of piers that form small arches along 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.
December 2016. Halfway down Las Gaviotas Beach I was tempted to scale one of the rocky paths that extended out into the water. The sea was choppy and there was an invigorating wind, blowy and crisp but entirely manageable. Gazing back out across the beach 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 for this innocuous December morning.
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