Almuñécar, memories from half a century
Almuñécar is a paradise that has long been a popular place for foreigners to both visit and to settle on. Already around the year 800 b.C. the Phoenicians (from the area of present-day Lebanon) came here and founded a trading post. But when did the first foreigners come to Almuñécar in more recent days?
In the late 1950s, the Costa del Sol started to become a popular destination for Scandinavian tourists as charter trips got underway. On October 20, 1959, the charter line “Ruta del Sol” was inaugurated when Finnish Kar Air flew from Helsinki, via Bromma (Stockholm) and landed at Málaga Airport. The charter trips, the wonderful climate, the exotic environment and the exciting culture, including flamenco and bullfighting, attracted the Northerners. The sunshine coast was quickly expanded with the towns of Benalmadena, Estepona, Fuengirola, Marbella, Puerto Banus and Nerja. The whole Costa del sun flourished from being a poor fishing and agricultural area. But how was Almuñécar affected by this?
I have tried to find written facts about the first Scandinavians who came to Almuñécar, but not succeeded. However, I have been told that in the late 1950s a small number of Swedish artists found their way here. In 1963 I know that our Swedish neighbors bought their house here in Torrecuevas and in 1965 my parents-in-laws came to visit for the first time.
Do you know more about Scandinavian history here in Almuñécar?Have you, your parents or maybe your grandparents been here since the ’50s, ’60s or ’70s? In that case, it would be great if you would also like to share memories or stories from that time.
Rolf Bönström Hedberg, Almuñécar. In the summer of 1968, I made my first trip to Spain. We flew charter and stayed in a hotel in Torremolinos. After a couple of days, we rented a car and travelled east towards Almuñécar to visit our newly purchased house.
The old coastal road from Malaga went through all the villages along the coast, which took its time, so we had a coffee break in Torre del Mar. Last part of the road from Nerja to Almuñécar took just over an hour – thirty kilometers with 360 curves, partly not wide enough for passing traffic.
There was a lot of traffic with both trucks and buses and that road railings were missing probably discouraged many from driving further east after Maro. The poor road can be one of the reasons why Almuñécar has been a little behind in the tourist development and thus also preserved much of the genuine that is so unique to the city.
After a total of three hours of travel we rounded the curve after Cotobro where we got a first look at Almuñécar (the old road). It was a breathtaking view of the city, the sea and the plantations around it.
Almuñécar was then a small village that made a living from fishing and agriculture.
The last sugar mill in town – Azucarera San Rafael – remained next to the Palacete de la Najarra (today’s tourist office). Along the playa San Cristóbal there were very few buildings, there were plantations all the way down to the beach. Where Avenida Juan Carlos is located there was the city limits, the entire “P4” area was cultivated land. The first high-rise building at Velilla had been built, but there was no road along the water beyond the green river.
When my parents bought our place in 1968, the plot was measured at half of what it is today. Exactly the same plot as today, but from what I have heard, it was then “traditionally” measured according to the estimate how long it took for a donkey to plow the ground! When we got here there was no road to the house, no water / sewage, no electricity, no cultivation terraces. About 80 almond trees were on the plot and these did not need irrigation. The farmer we bought the house from went with his mule to a well along the aqueduct in Río Seco to fetch water for household needs.
1970 – Together with several neighbors, a water pipe was pulled more than a kilometer from a source in the Río Verde to the plots of our area. A permit had to be obtained by a landowner who then lived above Rescate. The road there was barely navigable by car at the time – exciting for a Swedish Volvo Amazon (and those on board)!
Since then I have made quite a few trips here to Almuñécar and have had more than 50 years of wonderful experiences in this paradise!
Jenny Sydhoff, Ekerö. 50 years ago, my parents, Christel and Sven Thomsen, bought a “cortijo” with chicken coop and donkey stable on the hillside above Playa Cabria. The purchase contract was signed with a thumbprint.
The goats went off and grazed over the plot, and on the gate, we hung a cloth bag of pesetas, which in the morning had been changed to fresh “pan”.
For me it was playan that applied, well lubricated in olive oil and with lemon in the hair…
Guardia Civil stood on the post on the hills and served as a morality policeofficer. Life was exotic, and a bit scary for a teenager who was used to Swedish 70’s.
During the last 20 – 25 years my parents lived most of the year in Almuñécar. They moved towards the end to an apartment on Paseo Reina Sofia. That’s where my husband and I, as new retirees, are starting to spend more and more time. We discover all the beauty that Almuñécar has to offer us tourists. At the top are lovely produce, hikes in the team of good friends and the fantastic skiing in the Sierra Nevada.
Playan? Today it is nice to walk on!
The above text in Swedish: Almuñécar, minnen från ett halvt sekel
The above text in Spanish: Almuñécar, recuerdos de medio siglo