Andalucia Day started on the Costa for some on the Thursday night as offices and businesses closed their doors gearing up for the celebrations which were planned for the run up to the day itself on February 28th.
This is as I understand the meaning of the day – The Day of Andalucía (Día de Andalucía), also known as Andalucía Day, marks the anniversary of a referendum held on February 28, 1980. A large majority of voters supported this referendum for Andalucía to become an autonomous community in Spain. (It continues by saying that people spend it quietly with their family and friends – there was nothing quiet about the celebrations we encountered. – It was party time all the way.)
The celebrations started on 24th and there definitely was a party atmosphere around town. Lots of children were dressed in the costumes of their heroes and for an evening the whole square reverberated with the happy noise of children playing. Boys running non-stop and the little girls playing happily away.
We came across a stage set up on Church Square as we made our way to the Salon Varietes Theatre for the Sinatra/Buble tribute concert. Obviously we had missed a major event. Then another day there was music playing in the park across the road, near the town hall and the police station, with lots of families out for the day. There was some kind of graded race going on with traffic cones used to divide the lanes for racing. There was a party atmosphere and everyone good-naturedly enjoying the festivities in the sunshine.
Is it the sunshine that makes people so happy here? There are some disgruntled people we have come across, but to be fair they are way in the minority. One of the older bus drivers was a not a happy chappy the other day we were waiting at the bus square. I expect he is tired of explaining the same thing to the tourists time and time and again. He sounded really frustrated.
But you have to weigh that poor man with the other drivers who patiently wait whilst you extract the right coins, or wait for you run to the ticket office to buy your bus ticket. One of the younger drivers keeps a bag of sweets by his side and will offer a sweet to any children who are passengers, when he gets the parent’s approval. We didn’t have parents with us so we approved for ourselves to have a sweet, much to the amusement of the driver.
I was so impressed with the transport service arrangements for people with disabilities. Again at the bus square there are lots of travellers going in all directions. One lady’s husband was in a wheelchair as he had no legs. She called to the driver of the regular Fuengirola to Benalmadena bus to lower the bus ramp. The driver did better than that as he motioned for her to step back and wait. It is a busy street but he maneuvered the bus to align at a right angle to the pavement and then operated the ramp which provided a flat access for the lady to push the wheelchair. I was still on the bus when they left and he repeated the procedure calmly and efficiently.
The group who have kindly included me had organised a lunch in one of the pubs up the road for Andalucia Day. It was timed for 2 pm and everyone but myself and a couple of others was seated at the long white paper covered table when I arrived on time. There must have been a score of us, all nationalities sitting eating together to celebrate this national day.
We started with salad and there were chunks of fresh white crusty bread in wicker bowls on the table. I can’t remember all the dishes, but there was a steel bowl with sizzling prawns, delicious altogether and cooked to perfection, calamari, a beef stew, small round balls of pork flavoured with parmesan, a local white fish, and peppers in a flavoured oil so tasty. The dishes were passed along the table until everyone had their fill. It was a wonderful way to sample the local delicacies and the meal stretched over a couple of hours as old acquaintances were renewed and new friends made.
Everyone saw to their own drinks, or rather whoever was nearest the bar ended up as the barman and the princely sum of ten euros each covered this meal which sum allowed a huge tip for the staff.
And last Sunday we celebrated Wyona’s birthday in style in the square at Elainea’s in brilliant sunshine. The group meet for coffee at lunch time on Sundays and as the coffee glasses were drained, a dozen or more plastic champagne flutes were put together and filled with Cava. We’re celebrating another special birthday this Sunday – so you know where I will be on Sunday afternoon and what I will be drinking.