Solbank Prestige Club Number 12
Number 12. Spring 2002. Magazine for members of the Solbank Prestige Club. Price: 3 €
Solbank’s Home Protection Plan
The Balcony of Europe
Hang Up and Slow
A look at Spain’s
new traffic laws
Welcome to Solbank
02 Letter from the Deputy General Manager,
Usted se merece más...
...acérquese a Solbank
The Bank you can talk to
D. Marc Monràs, Deputy General Manager,
Banco Sabadell, S.A.
03 Solbank News
Recent developments and an update from Spain’s leading
bank on the coast
06 The Balcony of Europe
12 Centre Stage
De bank met wie u kan spreken
An interview with publisher Jeremy Hitchen
16 Hang Up and Slow Down
David Searl looks at Spain’s new traffic laws
La banque avec qui vous pouvez parler
18 Your Money: Rest Assured
Solbank’s home protection plan
Die Bank mit der Sie sprechen können
20 Spain’s Top Wine Family
Miguel Torres Wines
24 Destination Golf: El Bosque Hotel and Country Club
Checking out the links in Valencia
27 A Day In The Life Of:
Irish pub owner Declan Patrick O’Halloran
28 Spain’s Hidden Treasures
30 The Pueblos Blancos of Cádiz
A walking tour of Cádiz’s white villages
34 Food and Drink
Edward Owen’s restaurant and wine guide
36 Improve Your Game
Tips from the pro on how to better your putting
38 Local News
What’s on and what’s up on the Costa Blanca, Costa del
Sol, Mallorca, the Costa Brava and in the Canary Islands
44 Readers’ Page
Customer Help Line:
902 343 999
Prestige Club readers’ space to voice opinions and to
share tips and other information
46 Your Health
The benefits of the Mediterranean diet
48 I’m Glad You Asked
David Searl answers readers’ letters
The Bank you can talk to
Solbank Prestige Club Magazine DIrector: Alex Clayton 93 728 2308. Edited: Tune In Magazine S.L. C/ Molino, 5.
28690 Brunete (Madrid). 971 24 50 06. Editor: Guy Fiorita. Consultant: Edward Owen. Designed by: Estudio Garbayo.
Writers: Edward Owen, David Searl, David Baird, Janet Mendel, Fernando Barrios, Gaetano Aly, Paul Aitken, Alex Clayton,
Steve Guest, Guy Fiorita. Photographers: Solbank Images, J.D. Dallet, Fernando Barrios, Gaetano Aly, Jeronimo Alba,
Edward Owen, Guy Fiorita, El Bosque Golf Resor t, Miguel Torres Photo Library, Tenerife News. Advertising enquires:
Alex Clayton 93 728 2308. All correspondence concerning Solbank Prestige Club Magazine should be sent to:
Solbank Prestige Club Magazine, Calle Molino, 5. 28690 Brunete (Madrid). Spain. Tel: 34 91 816 43 29. E-mail:
[email protected] Production: WB Soluciones Graficas. Print: Gráficas Ruíz Polo. Depósito Legal: GU-286/1999
Solbank Prestige Club Magazine is published quarterly and is distribuited free to Solbank customers.
The views and opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of Solbank S.A. or Solbank Prestige Club
Magazine, nor does the inclusion of any adver tisement mean that the publisher endorses the company concerned or its
products. No part of this magazine including texts, photographs and graphics may be reproduced in any way without prior
written consent of Solbank. We welcome comments and views about this or any other issue of Solbank Prestige Club.
Banco de Sabadell S.A. Solbank is registered Trade Mark of Banco de Sabadell S.A.
from the Deputy General Manager
Dear Club Members,
Spring is a time of change and growth. Growth is the word that best describes what is happening here at Solbank this year. You as readers have seen your magazine grow in the last
issue precisely because you decided that it should be bigger. At the same time, our branch network is growing because you as our customers demand that we are ever closer to the places
where you live.
Being close and being able to understand your needs and give you the service you require
are part and parcel of why people call us “The Bank You Can Talk To”. It is this proximity
that is the driving force behind our Road Show this year. We are the only bank in Spain that
actually makes an effort to meet you, explain our services and even invite you to our branch
Whether you are in Alicante, Marbella, Mallorca or Tenerife, you will find Solbank representatives out there to help you. This year sees another 28 branch openings along the coast
and on the islands, so you can rest assured that wherever you may be, you’re never too far
away from your nearest Solbank.
It is this proximity that lies behind yet another Solbank Golf Tour that takes us to a whole
range of different courses and marks our firm commitment to the areas where you live and
where golf plays an important part for many of you.
On the Road Again
For two days in January
Spain was in London. This
is due to the enormous
success of the fair ¡VIVA
ESPAÑA! The show, which
took place at Olympia
covered over 15,000 sq.
metres of floor space with
the participation of 150
stands of which 100
belonged to the real estate
sector and the remainder
leisure and travel.
Visitors enjoyed a myriad of
Spanish products at stands
offering everything from
tapas, wines from every
region of the country, a
typical Spanish market, and
even flamenco dancing and
Andalusian horse shows.
A total of 26,500 people
visited the show over the
weekend. A large majority of
the visitors expressed their
intention to buy a property
in Spain. For this reason,
Solbank’s stand was one of
the most popular in the
show with many people
stopping in to inquire about
the products and services
It all goes to show that
Spain is in fashion in
Solbank kicked off its ambitious expansion this year
with the opening of its new
branch in Sabinillas
(Manilva). With over 28 branches due to open this year,
Solbank will continue in
2002 with its aim of getting
ever closer to its clients with
its popular Road Show and
Open Days. The Solbank
team spent ten days before
the Open Day visiting the
local area, answering questions and giving people information. The Open Day itself
was another opportunity for
people to talk to local managers and representatives
from Solbank in a relaxed
and congenial atmosphere.
As usual, our open day was
the perfect opportunity to
put in practice our philo-
sophy of letting the client
"see for yourself" just how
the bank operates. An idea
which prompted one guest
to say, “you have made us
feel welcome”. There certainly could not have been a
better way to start the year:
the turn out was spectacular
with over 400 people visiting
the Solbank branch and
enjoying the day. The guests
not only “saw for themselves” but, along with the
Solbank staff, were also
able to enjoy a bit of music,
a few drinks and some tapas
under the unseasonably
Banking, however, is
obviously not just about
having fun. Many guests put
forward serious question and
demanded serious answers
about the bank’s operations
and the products and services we offer. As a result of
and in testimony to Solbank’s
ability to solve these specific
problems and provide an
exceptional level of service,
the day closed with many new
accounts being opened.
Solbank is, after all, the only
bank in Spain that specifically caters for the needs of
people who have made their
home in Spain. With staff
who speak English in all branches, as well as many other
languages, Solbank offers its
clients account information in
English, the change and set
up of direct debits and standing orders absolutely free of
charge, plus Internet and
telephone banking in English.
All branches also have safety
deposit and mail boxes as
well as a quarterly magazine
in English. Solbank’s ambitious expansion plan means
that on the Costa del Sol
alone Solbank will be opening branches in Nerja (8
March), Almuñecar, Torre del
Mar and Arroyo de la Miel in
the coming months. From
Torremolinos to Sabinillas
there are already more than
15 branches in the area.
With these new branch openings, many more people
will have a chance to experience Solbank’s Open Day
and get to know our staff
and services. If you have not
done so yet don’t miss the
chance, it is the perfect
opportunity to find out just
why Solbank is called
“The Bank You Can Talk To”.
Playing an important part is the cornerstone of the philosophy behind your Prestige
magazine. Focusing on those issues that are sometimes hard to understand or even confusing, showing you new aspects of Spain whether culinary or geographical or indeed cultural; your Prestige magazine aims for you to get the most out of the country where you have
chosen to live. The country where you have chosen us as your bankers.
Solbank’s Presence in International Fairs
D. Marc Monràs
Deputy General Manager
This year Oslo’s famed real estate fair took place January 10-13 with representation of every
European nation. Solbank too was on hand represented by Truls Kindem the director of our
branch office in L’Albir.
Taking into account the amount of visitors received at the Solbank stand by both members of
the public and other exhibitors it is clear that Spain has become a priority for the Norwegians.
• Nerja - March 8th
• Cala D'Or - March 26th
• Santa Eulalia - April 3rd
The final tournament of the Solbank tour 2001 took place in Los Arqueros Golf, in Málaga.
Over 80 participants showed up for the main event, each receiving a number of prizes and gifts
just for attending.
As is the norm in all Solbank tournaments there were also a number of parallel events including putting, power and speed, and, chipping competitions. The day ended with a prize giving
ceremony and cocktail hosted by the area director for Solbank in Andalusia, Feliciano Naranjo,
and a number of other directors in his team.
Some benefits you can
only get with...
Prestige Club Visa
This year the Solbank tour
includes ten stops in some
of the best golf courses in
the country including
tournaments in Andalusia,
The Costa Blanca, the
Canary Islands and the
The calendar for this
Spring’s events is as
• La Cala Golf,
Mijas Costa (Málaga):
April 6, 2002
• Don Cayo,
May 11 & 12, 2002
• Club de Golf La Sella,
May 18, 2002
• La Duquesa,
June 1, 2002
June 8, 2002
Discounts in shops and restaurants
Discounts on green fees
Travel insurance for 750,000 €
Customer Help Line:
902 343 999
The Bank you can talk to
To the Moors it was Narixa, the place of abundant water. To a Spanish king it was "the Balcony of
Europe". Yet for most of the last century Nerja remained undiscovered and largely unloved, slumbering in a far corner of Málaga province reached by a tortuous highway.
By David Baird. Photography: J. D. Dallet.
The Balcony of Europe
nglish poet Laurie Lee
passed this way in 1936. He
saw only “salt-fish villages,
thin-ribbed, sea-hating, cursing their place in the sun”.
You could have “bought the
whole coast for a shilling”, he noted.
If you want to buy any property
around Nerja today, however, you better
come armed with pockets bulging with
Euros. With its gentle climate (it claims
to enjoy Europe's mildest winters) and
magnificent setting, the town has
become a second home for thousands of
sunseeking North Europeans. In summer
the population more than doubles as tourists of all nationalities flock in.
Backed by the stern heights of the
Sierra Almijara, Nerja sits amid fertile
fields of strawberries, avocadoes and
sweet potatoes. Although the town has
grown fast, its old section of narrow streets and whitewashed dwellings remains
Sooner or later everybody finds him
or herself strolling along the Balcón de
Europa, a lofty promenade lined with
palm trees and jutting into the sea.
People come here to flirt, gossip, push
prams, take a coffee, admire the view.
They follow in the steps of King Alfonso
X11 who, on a brief visit in 1885, was so
overwhelmed with the coastal panorama
of beaches, sheltered coves and sheer
cliffs tumbling into the glittering
Mediterranean that he declared:
“This is the Balcony of Europe.”
But even royal approval failed to get
Nerja a mention in most guide books until 1959. Then five boys on a bat-hunting expedition stumbled on the opening to a cave on a local hillside. Vast
caverns were revealed, with spectacular
rock formations and evidence of inhabitation by Paleolithic man.
In those days you could buy land at
two pesetas a square metre and wine for
10 pesetas a litre, but suddenly Nerja was
on the map and the tourist boom began.
Coach loads of visitors from the betterknown section of the Costa del Sol bet-
SOONER OR LATER
EVERYBODY FINDS HIM OR
ALONG THE BALCÓN DE
EUROPA, A LOFTY
PROMENADE LINED WITH
PALM TREES AND JUTTING
INTO THE SEA
MOST VISITORS COME
TO NERJA TO RELAX ON
ITS BEACHES, WHICH
CAN BE AS TRANQUIL OR
AS ACTION-FILLED AS
ween Torremolinos and Marbella began
arriving. Some liked what they saw so
much they stayed. When I first visited in
the 1960s, Nerja out of season was a
hideout for artists and writers, hippies,
backpackers and diverse drop-outs.
Bearded types played endless chess
games in the cafes while braless groupies
flirted with the Spanish boys.
From a handy terrace, Pepe the
Gigolo used to scan the Balcón de
Europa with binoculars. Whenever he
sighted a likely prospect, he would pull
on his tightest, bum-hugging jeans, hastily oil and comb his hair and rush to the
Balcón to strike up acquaintance.
The clincher in Nerja's rise to fame
was a popular TV series of the 1980s
named Verano Azul. It related the
adventures of seven children on holiday
in the town. Spaniards, eager to check
out Nerja's televised charms, began visiting in increasing numbers.
So pleased was the Nerja Ayuntamiento at this boost in tourism that it
hung a large oil painting of a leading
character, Chanquete, an old fisherman
played by a popular veteran named
Antonio Ferrandiz, in the town hall.
There's a Verano Azul travel agency, a
Verano Azul apartment block - and
somebody even invented a Verano Azul
Those were golden times. Burriana,
the town's most popular beach, became
crowded with sun-beds, merenderos
(beach restaurants), and exposed flesh.
Delighting in new freedoms, Spanish girls
followed their foreign counterparts and
ripped off their tops. Thus were the puritanical values of Francoism undermined.
Nerja attracted - and continues to
attract - politicians, television personalities and intellectuals. You may see a selection eating and gossiping at the beach
restaurant on Burriana run by Ayo, one
of the town's more colourful figures.
Everyday, wearing his signature sweatband, Ayo puts on a bravura performance
as he prepares a giant paella, adding seafood and chicken by the bucketful to a
steaming pan of rice. Since his appearance in Verano Azul - the series has been
repeated several times on nationwide
television - he has enjoyed national fame.
Meanwhile, from a poverty-stricken
fishing community, Nerja has grown into
a humming cosmopolitan town with a
wide variety of hotels, restaurants and
The famous cave is still its main
attraction. Sometime before 15,000 BC,
tribes of Iberians recorded their hunting
prowess on the cave walls. And it is believed that prehistoric man occupied parts
of the complex until about 1,000 BC.
Dramatic lighting reveals stunning
rock formations created by the steady
drip of water over the ages in vast
caverns given somewhat fanciful names
like the Hall of the Cataclysm and the
Hall of the Phantoms. The world's largest stalactite, verified by the Guinness
Book of Records, can be seen.
The cave was officially opened to the
public with a performance in 1960 of
the ballet Swan Lake and since then an
international music festival in this unusual setting has become a major event
on the local calendar. Every July the
audiences (which have included Spain's
Queen Sofia and other notables) file
underground to view such performers
as cellist Rostropovitch, violinist Yehudi
Menuhin, flamenco dancer Joaquín
Cortés and the Spanish National Ballet.
The acoustics are first-class and the occasional bat winging overhead adds an
Most visitors come to Nerja to relax
on its beaches, which can be as tranquil
or as action-filled as you want. Scuba
diving and water-skiing are among the
sports available but, if you are looking
for a secluded cove, that's within reach
too. Hire a boat or trek down a cliff path
and you can find sandy stretches well
away from the crowds.
Inland, there are numerous options
for exploration whether you are into
hiking, horse-trekking or just wandering
through delightful countryside. Nerja is
located in the Axarquia, a scenic mountainous area planted with grapevines,
almond trees and olives. To the rear rise
the bleak limestone crags of the Sierra
Almijara, now a protected nature park,
where you can easily spot wild goats or
Clinging to steep hillsides are a series of
delightful pueblos blancos, cubist visions
that evolved over centuries but look as
though they were deliberately designed to
make a splash on picture postcards.
Each village has its local fiesta in
honour of the patron saint and each
village proudly boasts its wine is better
than that of its neighbour. Be warned:
this brew, produced from Moscatel
grapes by a system that has not changed
since Roman times, is sweet and powerful. The Axarquia also produces delicious raisins - outside many farmhouses
you will see the south-facing platforms
where they are dried in the sun.
Once the villages were populated by the
Moors. When they were ousted, churches
were built on the sites of their mosques.
Names like Sayalonga, Benamargosa,
Almachar, Sedella reflect this Moorish
heritage. More than 1,000 years ago Ibn
Saadi, a geographer and poet, wrote in
lyrical and sensuous terms of his feelings
for Nerja. Today's sunseekers continue to
evoke his lines to explain their presence
in this enchanted corner of Andalusia:
“Stretched on a carpet of magic colours
While sweet sleep closed my eyes,
Narixa, my Narixa, sprang from the flowers
To bathe me in all her beauty.”
Whatever kind of house
you want, we ve got
the mortgage for you.
Nerja tourism office,
Calle Puerta del Mar, 2.
Tel. 952 52 15 31.
Fax. 952 52 62 87.
email: [email protected]
Nerja has a wide selection of
accommodation, from pensions to
four-star hotels. Recommended
luxury establishments include the
Parador de Turismo (Calle
Almuñecar, 8, tel. 952 52 00 50),
which overlooks Burriana beach,
and the Balcón de Europa
(tel. 952 52 08 00), with its own
beach, located on the famous
For further information please
contact your nearest branch or call
902 343 999
You will receive immediate help
and professional advice.
The Bank you can talk to
Interview Jeremy Hitchen
At 17, Jeremy Hitchen entered the Pub Entertainer of the Year Awards competition along with over 4,000 other hopefuls. The final, at The Royal Albert Hall, left
Jeremy standing trophy in hand dreaming of a dazzling career as a stand-up
comedian and impersonator. After working on BBC radio and cabaret in
England, little did he know that he was destined to become a star in the publishing world. Jeremy has recently launched Spain magazine - a monthly title available in the UK, Ireland and Spain. I met with Jeremy for a chat at his home in
Marbella. By Guy Fiorita.
You won the Pub Entertainer of the Year Award at the ripe young age of seventeen. My first question is
obviously: What was a seventeen-year-old kid doing in a pub anyway?
Well, I had been offered a place at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) for the following year and
I decided to get an equity card. The quickest way to do it was to sign cabaret contracts - so I entered the
competition to get experience and recognition. I was amazed when amongst 4,000 competitors I went
through to the final round at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall with Shirley Bassey topping the bill. You can
imagine what it felt like to be announced as the winner in front of 10,000 people. It was a great start and
I had constant work for 5 years - including many BBC productions.
ENCOURAGED BY FRIENDS AT A PARTY, I PHONED UP THE RITZ HOTEL USING
JACK NICHOLSON’LS VOICE AND BOOKED A FULL FLOOR...
Interview Jeremy Hitchen
I understand that one day Gerry Anderson
heard you on a Capitol Radio show and
gave you a call to come in to audition for
a part in Terrahawks…
Gerry Anderson is famous for creating Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain
Scarlet - all those classics we remember.
He heard me doing impressions on
London's Capital Radio and phoned me
up - I thought it was a friend playing a
practical joke and answered accordingly
- some combination of sex and travel!!
Next thing I know I was playing 14 different characters in his new puppet series well, I was doing the voices which ranged
from a Japanese samurai to a Texan hillbilly fighter pilot.
We used to record 2 episodes a day at
Bray studios and the puppets were constructed and designed around the voices,
long after the recording. I always imagined that it would be the other way round
and felt quite privileged that my voices
played such a part in the creation of the
programme. Windsor Davies was another voice that you will probably remember from‘ It Ain’t half Hot Mum’.
vinced her that we were calling on behalf
of King Fahd. The king, we told her, specifically wanted her to cut his hair as well
as that of a couple of hundred of his
employees. We told her it would probably take two to three days and that we
were sending a limousine to pick her up
immediately. The funniest thing about it
was she believed us but just kept repeating that she was with a client, was fully
booked that afternoon and thus could
not help. We of course, insisted until she
finally got so frustrated she shouted,
“I’m very sorry but the king will just have
to wait” and hung up. That show was
great fun and by the way it was sponsored
Has your ability to do voices ever got you
I have played many practical jokes on
people. It is tempting to see how far you
can go. Encouraged by friends at a party,
I phoned up The Ritz Hotel using Jack
Nicholson’s voice and booked a full floor
- they were really convinced and kept
passing me to higher and higher levels of
management who offered me all sorts of
extras to persuade me to stay there.
On another occasion I went through
to London Transport as Jimmy Stewart
and persuaded them to hire me a section
of the M4 Motorway for a getaway scene
in a new action movie. They were quite
happy to close it off as long as the filming was done at night - I bottled out
when they wanted me to meet with
police and government officials - I don’t
look anything like Jimmy Stewart.
Your latest endeavour, Spain magazine,
is an interesting venture, a magazine
published and distributed in England but
dedicated entirely to Spain, something
which would never work the other way
around... What inspired you to launch
I have been publishing magazines for
20 years - unlike treading the boards it
provides a constant salary and you get
nights off! But seriously, because I am so
enthusiastic about Spain I wanted to produce a wonderful looking magazine that
is an interesting read and is a monthly
top up for people who can't spend as
much time as I do here.
I had an idea that there were a lot of
people out there at least as interested in
Spain as I am but to be honest the reaction to the launch has bowled me overit’s been very well received. I think it’s
really for all of us who are passionate
about Spain and want to find out more.
Spain after all, is one of the most diverse
and interesting countries in the world.
The subject material is endless. The
country has so much more than just sun
and fun and Spain magazine hopes to
reflect this to our readers by giving them
an in-depth look into what Spain is really
I understand you imported some of
these practical jokes here to Spain,
doing them on a local Costa del Sol
Yes right, we did a lot of joking and
very little else on “Out to Lunch” . I did
that show for nearly three years with
Mandy McCarthey. I remember one day
we rang up a local hairdresser and con-
It must be a difficult task to “reflect” a
country as diverse and ever changing as
To be honest that was one of our main
concerns. We definitely did not want to
publish a magazine full of clichés. In
order to achieve this we have gone to
great efforts to find the most knowledgeable writers, those who know the country
inside and out and can offer the reader a
vision of the Spain, its people, cities,
food, politics, etc., that they would not
Do you miss being an entertainer and do
you regret not taking up your place at
I am actually still doing radio work
and commercials here and in the UK this year my voice won the national
media award for the Best Radio
Advertisement for a campaign for Global
video. As far as acting is concerned I am
actually appearing in a new film being
produced on the Costa del Sol later this
year and my part, believe it or not, is a
pub question master - I have gone full
circle. I am rather hoping that, like Ricky
Tomlinson, it will launch me into stardom once more. Meanwhile, Spain
magazine is very demanding so the limelight has to take second place. And although I said that Spain magazine wants
to show more than just sun and fun there
is also a lot of both in Spain which does
make my job a whole lot more enjoyable.
I HAD AN IDEA THAT THERE
WERE A LOT OF PEOPLE
OUT THERE AT LEAST AS
INTERESTED IN SPAIN AS
I AM BUT TO BE HONEST
THE REACTION TO THE
LAUNCH OF SPAIN
MAGAZINE HAS BOWLED
Before closing I would just like to say
how happy I am to be coming out in
Prestige Club magazine. I have been a
client of Solbank for years now and have
always enjoyed the magazine as well as
the bank services. I have saved this for
the end so that it does not look like I am
plugging the bank in order to get an
Living In Spain
minor children responsible for paying
fines incurred when these children operate motorbikes, which they can do at 16
years of age, although they must wait
until they are 18 to obtain a normal driving licence.
Furthermore, children under 12 are
no longer permitted to ride in the front
seat, nor as passengers on motorbikes. In
exceptional circumstances children over
seven years old may accompany a parent.
A new very serious offence is the
“overcrowding by 50 per cent” law. This
means that, in a small or mid-size car
rate for five occupants, the presence of
seven people constitutes a violation. This
is because the number excludes the
“Very Serious” Violations
(Fines from 302 euros to 602 euros,
suspension of licence up to three
(Fines up to 91 euros).
▪ Exceeding limit of alcohol in the
blood, or operating vehicle under
the influence of drugs.
▪ Refusal to take alcohol breath test.
Spain’s New Traffic Law
Spain’s new traffic law, which went into effect January 21 of this year, cracks down on speeders
and prohibits hand-held mobile phones. By David Searl.
he previous law treated all speeding the same way, as a “serious”
infraction, with fines ranging
from 92 euros to 301 euros. It
made no real distinction between those who exceeded the speed
limit by a modest amount and those who
were really zooming along.
Under the new law, exceeding the
speed limit by 50 per cent (and at least 30
kph) becomes a “very serious” infraction,
with fines up to 602 euros and suspension of driving licence for three months.
This would include someone driving
at 150 kph on a normal highway with a
limit of 100 kph, for example. Or someone just smoking his brand-new BMW at
180 on the motorway, where the limit is
120 kph. Speeding violations that do not
exceed the limit by 50 per cent remain in
the merely “serious” category.
Violations are divided into three categories, “minor”, “serious” and “very
serious”. (See Box) Further, the law provides that anyone who accumulates three
“very serious” violations in a two-year
period will have his driving privileges
permanently revoked. This is not exactly
a point system, such as some other countries have, but it has the same result.
The new law specifically prohibits the
use of hand-held mobile phones while
driving. The only permitted use of either
phones or radios is by a completely
hands-off system. No headsets, microphones, helmets or similar rig may be used.
Radar detectors, which warn drivers
of the presence of police radar checks,
are also prohibited. You can also be
fined if you attempt to warn other drivers of police presence by flashing your
headlights or making other signals.
Offenders can obtain a discount of 30
per cent for prompt payment of fines.
This is up from 20 per cent under the old
law. If you choose, you can pay the police-
man on the spot, or you can send a postal
money order available at the post office.
Foreign drivers visiting Spain should be
warned that traffic police will demand
immediate payment of fines if the driver
does not have an address in Spain.
If payment is not made, the police are
empowered to hold the vehicle as a guarantee. Even if you feel that you have
been unjustly fined and you intend to
protest the ticket, you still must pay up,
and make your appeal later to the
The new law places heavy emphasis
on driver re-education in road safety.
Drivers can reduce their fines by up to 30
per cent by attending consciousness-raising classes in special centres, including
hospital visits to accident victims in some
cases. Even a driver who has lost his
licence permanently may be able to recover it by attending these courses. For the
first time, the law makes parents of
driver. So, the rated number of “passengers” is four. If you put in two more, you
have seven people in the car, counting
the driver, and you are 50 per cent over
the rated number of passengers.
And, yes, in this nation of tail-gaters, a
driver is required to maintain a safe distance behind the vehicle he is following,
and he is obliged to leave enough space
for another vehicle safely to pass him
and pull in.
If you have ever thought of reporting
a driver who follows too closely, you are
perfectly within your rights. Any citizen
may report a traffic violation. You must
be prepared to testify in court, however,
to make your accusation stick.
▪ Exceeding posted speed limit by 50
per cent, or at least 30kph.
▪ Parking violations and a host of
(Fines up to 1,503 euros and
suspension of licence up to one year)
▪ Driving without proper licence.
▪ Driving un-registered or improperly
▪ Reckless operation.
▪ Driving against traffic.
▪ Exceeding rated number of
occupants of vehicle by 50 per cent.
▪ For professional drivers, exceeding
the permitted time at the wheel by
50 per cent, or not completing the
programmed rest period by 50
(Fines from 92 euros to 301euros,
possible suspension of licence).
▪ Speeding up to 50 per cent over
▪ Parking vehicle in dangerous
Driving Licence: Who Needs
Genuine Tourist: Any tourist or visitor
to Spain, whether he is European
Union or non-EU, can use his home
country driving licence for a stay up to
six months, driving his own car on its
foreign registration or a Spanish
rental car. He needs no international
permit or translation.
Non-Resident: If you are one of those
lucky people who spends long stays
in his Spanish property but remains
resident in his home country, you may
own a car on Spanish registration. In
this case, even if you are nonresident, you need one of the
following three documents in addition
to your home country permit.
This applies to both EU and non-EU
citizens. The authorities want you to
have a licence they can read if you
are driving a Spanish car you own,
meaning that you probably spend a
lot of time on Spanish roads.
EU Resident: An EU national officially
residing in Spain must have either a
Spanish driving licence or an official
endorsement of his home country
permit. It is quite easy to exchange
your present EU licence for a Spanish
one at the nearest Traffic
If you wish to retain your EU licence,
you must take this to the Traffic
headquarters also, where it will be
stamped and registered in the
Spanish computer registry of drivers.
Then, if you commit any of the
infractions mentioned here, the
computer registry will keep track of
Non-EU Resident: A non-EU citizen
officially resident in Spain must have
a Spanish driving licence and only a
Spanish driving licence. Worse, it is
not possible to exchange his
American or Swiss licence for a
Spanish one. He must take the test
just as Spaniards do. The
international agreements, which
formerly allowed most driving licences
to be exchanged for Spanish ones,
are not in force at this time.
▪ International Driving Permit.
▪ Negligent driving, driving without
▪ Official translation of your home
▪ Throwing from car any object which
could produce fire or accident.
▪ Certificado de Equivalencia, a
certificate prepared by RACE, the
Royal Automobile Club of Spain.
Your Money Solbank’s Home Protection Plan
We have also included additional
cover that may be of interest in the same
policy. For example, protection against
the fraudulent use of your credit cards
up to 600 Euros, in the event of them
being stolen or lost.
Channel Marketing and Product Director
Solbank's Home Protection Plan. By Maribel Sellarès
The best choice
At this stage in the game, nobody questions the need to protect one of the most
valuable elements of your assets: your
home. The question now is how to choose
the product that offers most guarantees.
If, furthermore, you own or are about to
buy a house in Spain, where you will only
occasionally stay, the guarantee of protection must be complete. It is for this reason
that Solbank has designed and exclusively
offers the Home Protection Plan, home
insurance for you and all those like you
who want to live worry-free.
At Solbank, we have years of experience in helping our customers purchase
houses in Spain and in negotiating their
insurance policies. We know the Spanish
market and have chosen the best home
insurance from the most solvent insurance companies in the country committed to service quality. In short, we are sure
you will be safe with our Home Protection
Plan. And now let us explain why.
Protection to suit individual needs
The Solbank Home Protection Plan
offers two insurance modalities: MultiRisk and All-Risk, thus adapting to the
specific requirements of each customer.
Multi-Risk Plan protects your house
and protects you. Your house will be protected against all unexpected risks theft, fire, water leaks, etc.- that may
damage the building and the items it
contains. You are also protected, as the
insurance policy includes public liability
cover for any injuries or material
damage caused to third parties and legal
defence cover for any claims for damage
and prejudicial consequences that you
may suffer as a result of a third party.
The All-Risk Plan is even more complete. As well as that mentioned above, it
also includes any damage that your
house, or the items it contains, may
suffer as a result of any kind of accident.
For example, if you trip over the rug just
when you are about to serve coffee in
your favourite coffee set... we cannot
stop you from feeling upset, but we can
compensate you for the broken cups so
that you can buy new ones. Or if your
laptop is smashed to smithereens
because the bookshelf has fallen right on
top of it, or your grandson breaks the
window with a football, all you have to
worry about is buying another.
With the Solbank All-Risk Plan, you
are covered whatever happens.
We do not want you to have unpleasant surprises, so the priority of Solbank
is to offer you an insurance that covers
the replacement of all damaged goods as
if they were new, with its automatic revaluation system.
What does this mean exactly? It
means that when you take out your insurance policy, the goods are valued as if
they were new. Subsequently, when the
policy is renewed each year, the value of
these goods is increased automatically
according to the percentage established
by the Spanish Retail Price Index, so that
they are always up to date. Therefore, in
the event of a claim, financial compensation is calculated based on the cost of
replacing the damaged goods at that particular time, without taking into account
their age or depreciation. This is very
important, as many insurance policies
pay for the damaged goods according to
their purchase price and this is often not
enough to buy a new one with the same
There are even more advantages of the
Home Protection Plan. When the unexpected happens or an accident occurs, it
is important to know that you are covered
and that you will incur no financial loss.
Other problems often arise following an
accident. With the Home Protection
Plan, forget these headaches. If, as a
result of fire, flood or theft, your house
needs to be watched and protected, you
are covered by an emergency service for
three days. If, as a result of a water leak in
your neighbour’s house, you have to
repaint your ceiling, you will not have to
worry about looking for a painter, the
insurance company will do that for you.
Nor will you have to pay anything in
advance; the painter or other professional in each case will deal directly with the
company. It’s as easy as that.
Another thing: as we know that it is
not always easy to locate and contact professionals such as plumbers, electricians,
gardeners,... for specific repairs or odd
jobs around the house, above all when
your residence in Spain is temporary, we
have reached an agreement with the
insurance company so that all owners of
the Home Protection Plan can benefit
from their professional staff, even when
the work is not an accident repair. Simply
request their help by calling the telephone assistance service on 902 153 851,
where you will be attended to in your
Logically, in these cases, you will pay
the cost of the work and the materials
used, but you will save on travelling
expenses and will rest assured that the
staff in question is reliable. An estimate
will always be provided before starting
work and the professionals will agree to
resolve any problem that may arise upon
completion of the work, offering a threemonth guarantee on the job done.
We hope to extend this type of service
for you in the near future.
Permanent customer service and in your
To ask for an estimate of exactly what
the Home Protection Plan would cost in
the case of your house, to clarify any
doubts on the cover and services it includes, to take out your insurance, to modify
any details on the policy, to inform of a
claim… for any matter relating to the
Home Protection Plan, we provide a 24
hour telephone assistance centre and we
can assist you in your own language. Call
902 153 851 and you will see for yourself.
Of course, there is no problem if you
prefer to talk to the person that always
attends to you at your branch, or if you
prefer to consult the information at our
website solbank.com. You choose. The
Solbank Home Protection Plan has been
tailor-made for you.
Prestige Product Wines
To get some perspective of Spain’s leading wine family, one should appreciate that Torres belongs
to a rather exclusive club called Primum Familiae Vini (PFV). PFV’s leaflet shows the bodegas and
the families, which own them, a sort of mini Who’s Who of some of the world’s great wine dynasties.
By Edward Owen.
longside Catalonia’s Torres family
we have Vega-Sicilia of Spain’s
Ribera del Duero (Winston
Churchill’s favourite red) plus the
likes of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild and
Pol Roger in France and Egon MüllerScharzhof in Germany.
What all these famous winemakers
have in common is a fine sense of tradition based on top quality production and
a shrewd sense of where their shifting
markets are. Apart from exchanging
information, the PFV families have established aims which include:
“To support the moderate consumption of wine as a cultural tradition of
good living and good health; to defend
and promote the traditions and values of
family-owned wine companies, and to
ensure that such ideals survive and prosper for future generations.”
The sixth generation of Torres is now
working at the company. With annual sales
of 120m euros to over 90 countries for
wines and brandies from Torres vineyards
in Catalonia plus thriving wineries in
California and Chile, what we have here is
one of the great success stories of Spain.
Although Torres have been connected
with making wines for two centuries, it
was not until 1870 that the company was
founded by the railway station in
Vilafranca de Penedès, 48 kms. south of
The Phoenicians had found the lower
coastal region of Catalonia an excellent
area in which to plant vines, with suitable
soil for cultivation and its Mediterranean
climate protected inland from the cold
north by mountains ranges.
In the Penedès region between
Barcelona and Tarragona, Torres uses both
the fresh climate of higher ground and the
middle lowlands for grape varieties such as
the local Parellada and European vines
such as Riesling, Gewürztraminer and
Sauvignon Blanc. The lower coastal region
grows Spanish Tempranillo for tintos.
Prestige Product Wines
Some of the best Torres wines come from
individual vineyards or pagos that have
their own select varieties.
On average there are about 2,000
vines per hectare in Spain but in Penedès
it is 4,500. Torres avoid the use of harmful chemicals on their 1,500 hectares.
Insects and diseases always threaten vines
and Torres uses biological pesticides or
even sticky paper to thwart invaders.
The best way to follow the Torres
story is to visit the bodega which now
includes all the paraphernalia for group
visits including a road train, museum,
cinema with a surprisingly poignant film
about Torres and of-course a tasting
centre, restaurant and shop. The
museum contains some good collections
of ceramics, Catalan tiles, porrones (long
spouted wine containers) and paintings.
In the 19th-century Torres exported
tinto and sweet Malaga wine, much of it
to Cuba and South America where the
bodegas’ founder, Jaime Torres, sold
the wine which arrived from Barcelona
by clipper. Later this bearded entrepreneur was to import another liquid from
the USA – petrol. In 1904 King Alfonso
Xlll visited the thriving bodega in
Vilafranca, with luncheon being served
inside a 500,000 litre wooden barrel.
Sadly this and part of the bodega were
destroyed by Franco’s bombs during the
1936-39 Civil War.
In 1940 Miguel Torres Carbo, then
31, started rebuilding and decided wines
would now be sold in labelled bottles and
not in barrels, as before. He also gained
a reputation as a fearless and precocious
salesman. It was he who opened up the
valuable export market to the United
States during the Second World War
occupation of France by Germany. In
1956 he launched the Sangre de Toro
and Coronas reds and the Viña Sol white
which are practically household names in
Spain today. In 1931 Miguel Torres
Carbo had married Doña Margarita
Riera who became a shining light in the
A VISIT TO THE BODEGA
INCLUDES A ROAD TRAIN,
MUSEUM, CINEMA AND
OF-COURSE A TASTING
company, welcoming guests and presiding with great style over famous Torres
lunches well into her eighties.
In 1957 their youngest son, Miguel A.
Torres, was packed off to study chemistry
at Barcelona University (there were no
winemaking courses in Spain then), followed by enology and viticulture at the
University of Dijon in Burgundy. In 1962,
he started putting his learning into practice and dramatically modernised the
Vilafranca bodegas, planting non-traditional vines and introducing the bulk cold
fermentation process, which revolutionised white wine production.
Señor Torres says the first time he
wept as an adult was when a brutal hailstorm destroyed the first harvest of his
new vines. He said: “ I had a serious discussion with St. Peter.” They appear to
get on better now. Unfortunately another less ethereal adversary was for some
time his father who lived up to the
maxim that you can’t teach an old dog
Waltraud Maczassek, a charming,
talented German artist, married Miguel
A. Torres in 1967 and was to help enormously with the design and presentation
of Torres publicity material and wine
sales in Germany. Miguel A. Torres
found time to write learned books on
Spanish and Catalan wines which have
become collectors’ items. After his father’s death in 1991 he took over as
Executive President. He keeps trim and
is meticulous about his work. He has a
studious bearing but usually has a twinkle
in his eye - he enjoys putting down wine
bores or pompous critics. His brother,
Juan María, 66, more difficult to fathom,
is Director of External Relations.
Their dynamic younger sister, Marimar,
56, fluent in six languages, went to live in
the USA to promote Torres wines and
now runs the 13 hectare vineyard in the
Sonoma Green Valley, California, acquired in 1982. Thanks to her Catalan tenacity and her good looks, Torres is now
the largest Spanish wine exporter to the
United States. She is also the author of
several scholarly cookbooks. Her
bodega, constructed in 1992, has an
annual capacity for 15,000 cases of
Marimar Chardonnay and Marimar
Pinot Noir with sales worth $2m.
Miguel A. Torres recognised the great
potential in Chile, where vines were not
blighted by the Phyloxera bug which destroyed most of Europe’s old root stock,
and in 1979 he made his first 100 hectare
investment at Curicó, importing the
latest wine-making hardware. Torres now
boasts 400 hectares of vines in Chile and
is producing over half a dozen wines
with annual sales of seven million euros.
Needless to say, Torres also produces
a few drops of the hard stuff, especially
brandies. The Torres Hors D’Age 20
year old brandy was recently voted the
best brandy at a blind tasting in competition with fine, very expensive, French
cognacs at a top international trade fair.
Torres wines have won numerous top
awards showing that Spain can not only
outdo the French but also sell top quality
tipples at more sensible prices. The Bible
of the industry, the Wine Spectator, elec-
THE BIBLE OF THE
INDUSTRY, THE WINE
TORRES AS THE BEST
BODEGA IN SPAIN
ted Torres as the best bodega in Spain in
1999 and in the following year the
German magazine Alles Über Wein awarded Torres a Millennium Trophy for the
bodega’s contribution to the prestige of
Spanish wines during the last 25 years.
For wine buffs in Spain, one of the
most appreciated initiatives by the company has been the opening of Torres
Clubs in various Spanish cities. The
membership fee includes an introductory case of wine and another at
Christmas, plus discounts for the various
courses held at the centres. These courses range from an introduction to, and
tastings of, Spanish wines for enthusiasts
to fully blown classes for professional
barmen and sommeliers. One of the best
teachers is Albert Puig, Head of PR and
Communications for Torres, who speaks
excellent English. For further information, contact Torres at 93-200-8763 or
“Wine is culture, it’s a way of life, the
life around the Mediterranean,” Miguel A.
Torres, 60, says, “It’s been shown that,
drinking a quality wine in moderation gives
protection against cardiovascular diseases.” All in all, a pretty healthy family!
Here is a brief selection of some Torres wines with a rough guide to shop prices.
Fransola 2000. Picked grapes immediately
processed by mobile presses in the vineyard
to preserve maximum freshness. A deliciously fragrant dry white, 90% Sauvignon
Blanc, excellent for accompanying light starters and any seafood. 9,62 €.
Gran Viña Sol 2000, six months in barrel, a
fruity 85% Chardonnay, aromatic and herby.
Milmanda 2000, 100% Chardonnay, 12
months in barrel, oak and fruit tastes, excellent with smoked fish. 27,04 €
Viña Esmeralda 2000, Moscatel and
Gewürztraminer, floral bouquet with a fresh
fruity flavour. 6,00 €.
Viña Sol 2000. 100% Parellada. One of the
best value dry whites in Spain, ideal for fish.
Gran Sangre de Toro Reserva 1996, 18
months in barrel, 75% Garnacha, rich, fullbodied. Good for game or cheese. 7,21 €.
Waltraud 2000, an excellent 100% Riesling
with a fresher and more aromatic taste than
German rivals. 10,37 €.
Mas de Plana Gran Reserva 1995, 18
months in barrel, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon,
Spain’s best Cabernet, once voted better
than top Bordeaux, smooth, complex and lingering. 22,90 €.
Atrium 1999, 100% Merlot, six months in
barrel. 7,96 €.
Sangre de Toro 1998, 12 months barrel, 65%
Garnacha, good, reliable red. 3,91 €.
Gran Coronas Reserva 1996, 15 months in
barrel, 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, well structured. 10,97 €.
Miguel Torres S.A.
Comercio 22. 08720 Vilafranca del Penedès. Barcelona
Tel: +34 93 817 74 00
Destination Golf El Bosque
Valencia may be the one coastal region of Spain still lacking in golf courses. The golf boom sweeping the country with courses popping up across the landscape has seemingly passed her by.
Although the city of Valencia is the third largest in Spain with a population of nearly 750,000, there
are only a handful of courses within a 50 - kilometre radius of the city. What it lacks in numbers,
however, it makes up for in quality. Two of the area courses made Golf World Magazine’s list of
the 100 Best Golf Courses in Continental Europe and both are considered to be among the
country’s top ten. By Gaetano Aly.
l Bosque was ranked 33rd in
Golf World Magazine’s first
ever list of the top one hundred courses in continental
Europe. This rating will not
surprise anyone who has ever played the
course. The course, designed in 1973 by
Robert Trent Jones Sr., is championship
play at its best. Jones said his goal was to
make El Bosque playable for all types of
golfers but also hard enough for the
better golfers, especially off the back
tees. In true Trent Jones style it is long
(7,000 yards as measured from the back
tees) par 72 and is not lacking in his signature butterfly bunkers and greens.
Over the years El Bosque has been the
site of numerous prestigious competitions. V.J. Singh won a Volvo tour championship here, José María Olazábal won
the Mediterranean Open and more
recently Tommy Horne won a seniors
PGA event here.
My visit marked my first battle with Mr.
Jones in years and as usual the latter had
the upper hand. Some of the credit for
my poor round, however, has to be given
to the immaculate condition of the fairways and especially the ultra fast greens.
Water comes into to play on many
holes. Too much into play as far as I was
concerned, swallowing tee shots on
three different occasions. All part of the
game I had to remind myself. I find that,
however badly I score, if the course is
fair I come away feeling satisfied and
looking forward to the next time out.
This is the case at El Bosque. The subtle
difficulties of the round left me feeling
sure that my next one will be much
improved once I had learned to read the
Looking over my scorecard after the
round, enjoying a cool drink in the clubhouse, I realised just how challenging this
course really is. Although I found that on
many holes the wide fairways often allowed for a bad drive, this was offset by the
second shot which invariably demanded
precision and was the usually the hardest
to play. This is due to the fact that the
majority of the greens are both narrow
and elevated, making for tough shots and
difficult club selection. All in all it is Trent
Jones at his best and there is nothing
much better than that.
Apart from a great course, El Bosque
comes complete with a modern clubhouse, a well stocked pro-shop, two-tier
Destination Golf El Bosque
A Day in the life of:
Irish Pub Owner
EL BOSQUE WAS RANKED
33RD IN GOLF WORLD
MAGAZINE’S FIRST EVER
LIST OF THE TOP ONE
HUNDRED COURSES IN
driving range, a practice putting green,
chipping area, showers and changing
facilities, club storage, buggies, cart and
club rentals, private and group lessons.
Self-catering one, two and three
bedroom apartments complement the
course. Personally I find that when travelling alone, as I was in this case, the idea
of self-catering is a scary concept. It took
one brief glance at the kitchen to see that
it was equipped well beyond my culinary
needs. I was, however, pleased to see that
it came with a microwave oven and a dishwasher, these being my basic cooking
needs. For those of you who are like me
when it comes time to don an apron, you
will be happy to know that El Bosque also
has two fine a-la-carte restaurants.
The apartments are superbly appointed and decorated with traditional
Spanish style furnishings. Each has its own
private terrace and all come with air conditioning, telephone, satellite TV, VCR
and stereo system with CD player. Guests
also have use of one of two massive swimming pools and an outdoor spa-pool.
El Bosque offers its guests one, two or
three bedroom apartments at two separate
locations: The Clubhouse Apartments
overlooking the tenth and eighteenth
holes and the Poblado Apartments built
along the eighth and ninth holes.
Non-playing members of the family
will be happy to know that the city of
Valencia is only a twenty-five minute drive
away. Thus while one is out on the course
the others can be enjoying the city’s
museums, including the newly opened
Ciudad de Ciencias, or a paella in the city
that invented the dish. The city also offers
fantastic shopping and if you are here in
the first half of March you won’t want to
miss the Fallas, one of the most important and spectacular festivals in Spain.
For more information please contact:
El Bosque Hotel Golf and Country Club
Ctra. Godelleta Km. 4,100. 46370 Chiva (Valencia)
Tel.: +34 961 808 000. Fax: +34 961 808 001
[email protected] • www.elbosquegolf.com
Declan Patrick O’Halloran
By Matthew Arribas
alk through any city in Spain today and you are sure
ration, a small business really needs only one voice, otherwise
to come across at least one Irish pub. The boom is not only in
nothing ever gets done. It’s also a lot easier to control costs,” he
major cities like Madrid or Barcelona but even in small towns
says with a grin.
where authentic Guinness on tap is no longer hard to come by.
Declan particularly likes the way people enjoy themselves
This was not so only 10 years ago. Part of this is thanks to
in Spain. And as a pub owner he can be considered
Declan Patrick O’Halloran. Born in County Claire, Declan was
somewhat of an expert on the subject. “Here,” he says, “Having
instrumental in setting up the O’Brien chain of Irish pubs in
Spain, with pubs in 6 locations. As general manager, Declan
fun is not all about getting drunk. From a pub owner’s point of
not only ran the pubs but also helped to select the locations.
view, Spain is very civilized. People drink socially, to enjoy each
Don’t think, however, that he spent all this time looking at
other’s company, not to get drunk. Also in all my years in this
Spaniards from the other side of the bar.
business, I have yet to see a brawl, which
Apart from his position with O’Brien’s,
is remarkable when you consider the
Declan has spent a lot of time travelling
trade I am in.”
the country. He even did a one-year stint
And the weather! What person living in
in Galicia where he played rugby and
the south of Spain does not mention the
worked at odd jobs that the rugby federaweather when listing the things they like
tion would find for him. “They needed
most about the country. Declan takes this
someone who at least knew which way to
a bit deeper however, claiming it is the
move the ball and in order keep me
weather that dictates the rhythm of life
around they were very helpful in finding
and allows for a better sense of well being.
me jobs to make ends meet,” he says of
Does he miss anything from Ireland?
“Whenever I am asked this question I
Getting O’Brien’s up and running was
always say the same thing. How could I
a great challenge and an even greater
miss Ireland? I am surrounded by Ireland
success. When, however, everything was
all day long. Everything here is Irish.
finally going smoothly, when most would
The decoration, the drinks, the music
sit back and reap the benefits of a job
and the TV sport are all authentic Irish.
well done, this was exactly the time
Furthermore, whether I want it or not I
Declan decided to bow out. “It started to
am also constantly getting news from
become routine, by the time I left it was
home. People stop in all the time with
really only a matter of supervising the
the latest gossip or rugby scores” he conbusiness,” he says.
cludes. For this reason he rarely feels the
Not content to sit still, Declan decided
need to go back to Ireland.
it was time to go into business for himself and wisely he chose
His advice for anyone wanting to set up in Spain is commuthe one he knows best, Irish Pubs. His pub, Rory’s Tavern locanication: Learn the language! “You can’t get anywhere without
ted midway between Estepona and Gibraltar has been open for
communication. You have to be able to communicate with
a little over a year. Every piece of decoration was brought in
your staff, your clients, your suppliers. For example, there are
from Patrick’s own County Clare. “The style” he says, “Reflects
many foreign business owners who are just happy to work with
that of a pub from the mid-west of Ireland. It is a country cotsuppliers just because they speak the same language. This often
tage style pub from mid 1930’s.”
means they are not getting either the best service nor the best
Declan’s earlier experience taught him that in this kind of
prices available to them,” he explains. Often he feels it is this
business taking care of the clients is of the utmost importance.
inability to communicate that is the ruin of many otherwise
Putting this to practice is one of the reasons that Rory’s Tavern
decent business ventures.
is already making a name for itself along the coast. “Actually I
began with a couple of partners but it soon became clear that
For more information contact: Rory’s Tavern. Tel.: +34 95 289 3517
decisions were not being made properly. Unlike a huge corpo-
Spain’s Hidden Treasures Hotel Buenavista
plete with cava, served in the roomy yet cozy glass atrium which serves as the dining
room. Whenever weather permits there is the possibility to enjoy your meal on the
patio overlooking the gardens. In the evening this is also the venue of choice for discerning locals and travellers looking for the best in Mediterranean cooking. The
menu is a delightful mix of traditional regional dishes and modern haute cuisine. At
midday don’t miss the chance to enjoy the house specialty: Paella. After your meal take
time to enjoy a drink in the hotel bar with its well stocked lending library, English,
German and Spanish magazines and good assortment of parlour games.
For the more active, the hotel has a fully equipped gym, paddle tennis courts and
of course a swimming pool. For others looking for less strenuous endeavours, an evening stroll through the 15,000 sq. metre private garden is always a welcome possibility.
Spain’s Hidden Treasures
By Guy Fiorita.
or those who think finding a
hidden treasure is a matter of
scouring the countryside in search
of the most out of the way place
possible, think again. One such treasure,
Hotel Buenavista, is just 2 kilometres
from the bustling tourist town of Denia
in Alicante. These few kilometres however are enough to hide it from the overcrowding and noise typical of the area.
Set amid a splendid Mediterranean
garden of towering palms and blooming
flowers at the foot of the Montgó Massif,
the 19th century Mansion has been
lovingly converted into one of the most
charming hotels in the country. The 17room hotel is a haven of calm and pampering, small enough to ensure peace
and quiet yet large enough to offer a
host of modern comforts and interesting activities.
After checking into my spacious
room, a quick tour of the rest of the
hotel showed that each room was decorated with the same elegance and taste as
my own but with its own individual
colour scheme and fabrics. Most had
queen- or king-sized beds and were an
elegant mix of formal antique furnishings and oil paintings with comfy
modern soft furnishings, the emphasis
throughout being on comfort and style.
All rooms come equipped with jacuzzis
and massage shower heads and most
have balconies overlooking the garden
and out to the blue sea on the horizon.
The common areas of the Hotel
Buenavista are decorated with this same
splendid combination of old world
charm and modern conveniences. Many
of the pieces found throughout the
hotel are antiques from the owner’s personal collection.
At hotel Buenavista the day begins
with an enormous buffet breakfast, com-
Partida Tossalet, 82 - La Xara
03709 Denia (Alicante)
Tel.: +34 965 78 79 95
Fax: +34 966 42 71 70
Hotel Buenavista is a member of
the prestigious hotel group
Rusticae. Reservations for this or
any other member hotel can also
be made by calling the reservation
centre: 902 10 38 92.
Garden, exterior parking,
swimming pool, restaurant, bar,
salon, elevator, fitness centre,
paddle tennis court, security
Satellite television, airconditioning, telephone, hair dryer,
safe, minibar, jacuzzi.
Singles: 90 € + 7% IVA
Doubles: 150 - 180 € + 7% IVA
Junior Suite: 210-240 € + 7% IVA
Presidential Suite: 330 € + 7% IVA
Valencia 100 km, Alicante 110 km.
Take the A-7 towards Denia. Get
off at exit (salida) 62 direction
Denia. Turn left at the La Xara
crossing. You will see the sign for
the hotel on the right.
The beaches at Las Marinas and
Las Rotas, Dénia old town, Dénia
Golf - Club de Golf La Sella.
Club de Golf Don Cayo.
Water sports, fishing, horseback
riding, bike rentals, paddle tennis.
Walking Tours The Pueblos Blancos of Cádiz
Blancos of Cádiz
We are going to spend three days in one of those places where time seems to have stood still and
where the locals still gaze in friendly wonderment at travellers. In the streets of these villages it is
still possible to smell the home wood fires in winter and bread freshly pulled from the oven. Before
setting out on our hikes, we must not forget that we are in one of the regions of Spain with the
greatest annual rainfall and that Grazalema is the Spanish town with the record for litres of rain
per square metre in a year. Text and photography: Fernando Barrios
Salta del Cabrero
Villaluenga del Rosario
n the first two stretches, we
will be travelling along rural
paths through the autochthonous plant life in the forest of
Spanish firs (first route) or
meadows sprinkled with copses (second
route), while the last route, ending in a
district road with very little motor traffic
for the most part, runs parallel to the
bed of a small stream that has carved out
a small valley full of pleasant surprises in
terms of landscape and botany.
Our walk starts from El Bosque, a
crossroads of different paths linking
Arcos de la Frontera, Ubrique, Villamartín
and Grazalema and the entrance to
Grazalema Natural Park. Our destination
is the village of Grazalema (approximately 18 Km.) through the fir grove known
to the locals as “El Pinar” (the Pine
Forest). Before starting the hike, we will
be passing through Benamahoma, a tiny
white village with a very Muslim name,
where we will find a truly spectacular
spring. The holm-oaks and carob trees
will soon give way to Spanish firs, pinsapos, unique to Spain, some of which are
over five hundred years old and almost
thirty metres tall.
We will be traversing the northern
slopes of the Sierra del Pinar between the
firs and a varied flora comprising gorse,
hawthorn and a wide variety of other
plants. It is not unusual to come across an
occasional mountain goat, roe deer or
stag, the easiest of the fauna to identify,
along with vultures and choughs.
The first part of the route will stretch
any lazy muscles as it is uphill, but there
is no need for concern as the slope is
gentle. Although the path through the
Spanish fir grove is pretty much on a
level, the last part downhill into
Grazalema means we arrive completely
fresh at this beautiful little village.
Walking Tours The Pueblos Blancos of Cádiz
eagle or the almost invisible eagle owl,
perched unflinching in some sheltered
point along the route.
How to arrive
From Jerez de la Frontera by private car or on the regular bus service. We head
for Arcos de la Frontera and then along a district road to El Bosque.
Apart from the landscape, all true travellers enjoy good company and of
course good food, which should never
be in short supply or lacking in quality, as
contact with nature tends to stimulate all
our senses and whets our appetite. A
stroll through Grazalema followed by
lunch at one of the many restaurants will
let us gather our strength and for the
following day's hike up towards the luminous town of Benaocaz, sheltering in the
limestone mountains. At our well-earned
dinner in Grazalema, no hiker should be
deprived of the local cheese and a plate
of scrambled eggs with wild asparagus.
Early next morning, we will leave
along a country road leading to the
Salto del Cabrero (Goatherd's Leap), a
limestone formation that tells us we are
approaching Benaocaz. Throughout the
day's hike, we will be walking along
gentle paths with few trees, allowing us
to enjoy the splendid scenery and the
warm light on the surrounding limestone. In spring, botany-lovers must keep
their eyes peeled for the beautiful
orchids in the damp meadows along the
way. Birdwatchers must have their field
glasses at the ready to identify the fleeting sparrow hawk, the rare Bonelli's
Where to sleep
El Bosque: Apartamentos Casa Gil, Hotel Las Truchas (956 716 061) or at the
Hostal Enrique Calvillo.
Grazalema: Casa de las Piedras (956 132 014), Villa Turística de Grazalema
(956 685 136), Hoteles con Encanto S.L. (956 234 384).
Benaocaz: Lentisk property Pereo (956 460 764) and San Antón (956 460 764).
Where to eat
El Bosque: “Enrique Calvillo” Restaurant, “Los Nogales” Restaurant,
“Las Truchas” Hotel (956 71 60 61) and “Mesón Tabango” inn.
Grazalema: “Casa de las Piedras” (956 132 014), “Grazalema Plaza” Restaurant
and Bar (956 132 053), “El Pinsapar” Restaurant (956 132 202) and
“La Garrocha” Restaurant (956 132 376)
Benaocaz: “Las Vegas” Restaurant (956 125 502).
Dinner and a good night's rest in
Benaocaz before continuing our trek
This last day's hike will be along the
barely-used local road, passing through
Villaluenga del Rosario, another little
jewel in these mountains of Cadiz. We
have deliberately left this route till last
because, even though it is the longest
hike (21 Km.), it is quite gentle and will
relieve our hiker's muscles after all the
hard work. Scarcely 3 Km. outside the
village there is a mirador where we can
delight in a landscape that would not be
out of place in the Alps and prepares us
for the sight of rocky mountain crags
bereft of man-made dwellings until we
reach Villaluenga del Rosario, a lovely
little village where a sandwich is mandatory and the purchase of a delicious
cheese at the local co-operative store is
almost obligatory. Trees are far from
abundant, but that just means there are
more open spaces in which to enjoy the
always spectacular and varied views
along the last part of our proposed
route. You are sure to enjoy it and you
will take away with you the gift of treasured memories of this rugged land with
its steep hills, dense woods and silent
meadows in the mountains of Cádiz.
Places of interest
El Bosque: Trout fish farm, “El Castillejo” botanical gardens, old mill called
“Molino del Duque”, Tavizna Castle and the Church of “Santa María de
Guadalupe” (Saint Mary of Guadalupe).
Grazalema: the 17th-century church of “Nuestra Señora de la Aurora y de la
Encarnación” (Our Lady of the Dawn and the Incarnation) and that of “San José”
Benaocaz: Aznalmara Castle (Arab style), Town Hall (Baroque), Roman road and
the "Ermita del Calvario" (Calvary Chapel).
El Bosque: Festivities of “Moros y Cristianos” (Moors and Christians) in August.
Grazalema: Feast of Carmen (“strung bull”) in July.
Benaocaz: Festival of the “Romería de San Esteban” (Pilgrimage to Saint Steven)
Food and Drink
One of the happy quirks of fate is that not
only does Galicia boast superb seafood, it
also produces the perfect wine to enjoy with
it. Albariño vines have grown in this northwest region of Spain for so long that that
experts still argue about whether they are
indigenous or imported by the boozy
Benedictine monks of Cluny in Burgundy in
about the 11th-century. They bear a similarity to some German grapes.
Restaurante Nito - Hotel Ego:
Ctra. N-642, Km 4
Playa de Área
Tel: + 34 98 256 09 87
Food and Drink
Nito - Hotel Ego
Galicia in northwest Spain is famous for its Celtic origins, rainy climate and the wild beauty of its
jagged coast and rolling countryside. The Atlantic often hits this westernmost point of Europe with
such savagery that the area around Cabo Finisterre (End of The World) is called the sailors’ Coast
of Death. But like the southern coast of its English cousin, Cornwall, the Galician coast is also perforated with numerous tidal ria valleys, many meandering deep inland. By Edward Owen
ince most of the rias are
surrounded by verdant
hills with vineyards, small
fields and thick woods of
eucalyptus, they are a
major attraction to holidaymakers. But they have
always been the Eldorado
to fishermen who now cultivate shellfish
in the rias and trawl as far away as the
Falkland Islands and Newfoundland.
Add this wealth of seafood to great local
vegetables, fine dairy products, excellent
beef and white Albariño wine and you
can understand why “a la Gallega” represents fine regional cuisine.
The great advantage of the Restaurante
Nito is that it combines pedigree Galician
cooking, spectacular vistas and an adjoining hotel. They are both perched on
the side of a hill with lovely views of the
countryside, the large Ri[ac]a de Viveiro
with its long sandy beach, Playa de Área,
offshore island and distant sea. A perfect
position for enjoying the less developed
northern coast of Galicia between Ribadeo
Galicians Manuel Baseiro (Nito) and
his wife Charo first opened here in 1970.
All the comfortable rooms in their 3-star
Hotel Ego face the view - the top floor
ones are best - as does of-course the elegant restaurant next door. The tablecloths are pink and yellow drapes frame
the view. Book early for a window table.
The service and presentation is excellent and the long menu has extra
appeal since one can order half-portions. We had a rich seafood soup (Sopa
de Pescado, 6 euros), delicious steamed
clams (Almejas Marinera, 12 euros), ohso-tender fresh squid in season in their
ink (Calamares Frescos en Tinta, 19
euros), freshly caught hake steamed on
boiled potatoes and onion and garnished with sweet paprika and garlic
(Merluza a la Gallega, 18 euros) and
slabs of cheesecake (Tarta de Queso, 3
euros) plus of-course the white house
Albariño (13 euros), a good fruity wine.
Clams Fisherman Style
Ingredients (2 persons)
1 kg. of Clams ▪ 1 Onion ▪ 4 cloves of Garlic ▪ Parsley ▪ Bay Leaf ▪ 1 small Chilli Pepper ▪ 75
ml Olive Oil ▪ 100 ml of White Wine ▪ 100 ml Water ▪
Soak, wash and rinse the clams thoroughly in salted water - adding vinegar to the soak
helps expel sand. Heat the oil in a large, deep pan or casserole. Throw in the finely chopped onion and garlic, the bay leaf, the chilli and fry until the onion is golden. Add the clams,
stir for minute and then add the wine and water, bring to boil and jam on a lid. Stir or shake
frequently. When all the shells have opened, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve in
pre-heated, individual dishes. A dark bread is good for mopping up the sauce. This also
works for mussels but they need more liquid and some cooks add liquid tomato as well as
dried breadcrumbs mixed with water to thicken the sauce.
Merluza a la Gallega
Ingredients (2 persons)
4 (250 gr each) thick round slices of Hake ▪ 2 large Potatoes ▪ 1 large Onion ▪ 4 cloves of
Garlic ▪ 2 large spoons of Sweet Paprika ▪ 25 ml of Olive Oil ▪ Parsley ▪
This is the traditional dish at its most basic. Peel and slice the potatoes (new are best) in
1 cm rounds. Halve and slice the onion. Just cover with water in a wide, deepish pan and
cook the onion and potato until just done. Trim the dark interior skin from the hake spines
but leave the outside skin. Place the fish in a layer on top of the onion and potatoes, cover
and steam gently for about six minutes. In a frying pan very slowly fry the thinly sliced garlic
in the oil until just golden, remove from heat and then add the paprika and mix. Serve with
the fish drizzled with the garlic-paprika sauce and sprinkled with chopped parsley. You can
also cook and serve the fish in individual casseroles after transferring the water, cooked
onion and potato to them. Peas can also be cooked with the potato and onion. This recipe
also works well with monkfish (rape).
Ingredients (6 persons)
4 Natural Yoghurts ▪ 1 litre of Liquid Cream ▪ 4 Fresh Eggs ▪ 250 gr. of Burgos Cheese (Fresh
White Cows’ Cheese) ▪ 250 gr. of Flour ▪ 250 gr. of Sugar ▪ 1 Packet of Royal Yeast ▪
Mix everything in a large bowl using an electric whisk or use a blender. Preheat oven to
180C and bake for one hour in a pie dish. If you like crust with your cheesecake, enjoy this
with petits fours.
Now Albariño wines are produced in four officially controlled areas of Galicia, with the
Albariño grape always making up at least
70% of content. On the northern slopes of
the upper Rio Miño, which marks the border
with Portugal, is the Condado de Tea area
where Treixadura grapes can up the balance,
or in the Rosal area further down the Miño,
Loureira grapes may be added.
These white wines are comparatively expensive since the yield from the grapes is low
and the land is valuable, mainly being in tourist zones. Granite posts holding up the trellised vines can be seen all over the growing
regions and in fact over 5,000 growers
supply the bodegas. Most good Galician restaurants sell their own Albariño, which is
usually good value for money. What unites
the seafood and the wine is the Atlantic
Ocean. The cold sea is especially good for
crustaceans and it is the high humidity and
rains which give succour to the grapes, giving
a lovely fresh flavour. And there’s enough
sun to ripen them but not to sweeten them.
If you want to taste fine Albariños, some of
the best, with numerous top awards, are
from Granja Fillaboa on the outskirts of
Salvaterra do Miño. Vines have grown here
since the Romans built a bridge over the Rio
Tea near the large finca. In 1806 the vines
were owned by the local count and in 1884
the Fillaboa (“the good daughter” in Gallego)
bodega was established. Fillaboa has the
great advantage of growing and controlling all
its own Albariño grapes on 26 hectares of
sandy soil with good drainage.
With the bodega in the middle of the land,
grapes are fully processed within three hours
of harvesting and modern technology
ensures the wonderfully fresh, perfumed taste of dry Albariño is preserved in
the Fillaboa wines. The Albariño Fillaboa
is 100% Albariño with an intense, fragrant, clean bouquet of fresh leaves
and tropical fruits. In the mouth its
aromatic taste and subtle dryness
underline a finely balanced wine.
A recent addition is Fillaboa fermented in French oak barrels (barrica) for
4-5 months. The result is a much
more complex, but still balanced, dry
white with a fresh bouquet but with a
hint of oak and lingering tastes more
akin to dried fruits. This wine (15.75
euros) gets top marks from Spanish
Albariño Fillaboa, 12% by volume. 9.62 €
Granja Fillaboa S.A.
36450 Salvatorre do Miño. Pontevedra. Galicia
Tel: 34 986 658 132. www.fillaboa.es
By Paul Aitken. Photography: Jeronimo Alba.
Improve your game:
any people think putting is completely personal and is 100% feeling. As in all sweeping generalities
there is some truth in these two clichés. Unfortunately it doesn’t offer much hope to those of you who
can’t buy a putt. Either you are born with the touch of Ballesteros or the silky smooth stroke of
Crenshaw or Mickelson, or you are condemned to a life of the odd good putting round among several bad ones. There is some hope however - I believe very strongly that good putting can be learnt. All
it takes is some intelligent, organised practice over a period of time. I would suggest you make putting practice your
priority for ONE YEAR. This doesn’t mean you never practice your swing or the other aspects of the short game.
Nor does it involve spending four hours a day with a bunch of balls hunched over the same 10ft. putt. I would suggest there are four main things to work on to make real progress: Technique or the stroke, including alignment,
Distance control, routine and rhythm and developing the competitive edge.
Building a solid stroke is imperative if you want the other things to follow. So that is where we will start the lesson.
I have highlighted some of the most common errors I witness during my teaching. And then I will give you some
ideas about how to practice to develop a consistent stroke.
In putting, as in the swing, most faults can be traced back to the address position. Photo 1 shows many of the
common set-up errors. Note the elbows are splayed, the hands are too far behind the ball, the weight is too much
on the right foot, and the back of the left wrist forms almost a right angle with the back of the left forearm.
Photo 2 shows several faults all in one. Excessive movement of the upper body and “peeking” too soon to see where
the ball has gone has forced the club off line.
Photo 3 shows the breaking down of the left hand and the wrist through impact leading to poor contact and inconsistent distance.
In a nutshell we are looking to establish: (1) a good set-up, (2)
a stroke controlled by the pendulum motion of the shoulders
and the arms, (3) a solid left wrist at
impact. Blend that together with a generous portion of rhythm and you have a
pretty good stroke.
First of all, try the exercise illustrated
in photo 4. The elbows point towards
the hips and the palms fall away from
you. This helps create the triangle
formed by the arms and shoulders,
which, in turn, is necessary to encourage the pendulum action.
Photo 5 shows the triangle. Notice also
the ball is placed left of the centre in
the stance, weight slightly favouring the
left foot, and, using the reverse overlap
grip, the back of the left hand is flat
and in line with the left forearm. It is
also important that the arms are soft
and relaxed and that the grip pressure is light to promote
touch and feel.
Photos 6 and 7 show me at address with the two aids in place.
Notice how in photo 7 my eyes are over the ball.
Photo 8, 9 and 10 show me executing
the stroke and are self-explanatory.
Notice in Photo 8 how the left shoulder
has gone down and the right shoulder
has gone up. Photo 9 shows the finished
stroke and is more or less a mirror
image of Photo 8. Photo 10 illustrates
how the putter head stays square and on
line until the end of the stroke. I recommend that you hold the finish position
for a few seconds so that you know
exactly the size of the stroke you have
made. This is vital to controlling distance. If you do not have the gadgets
shown in the photos, a club under the
arms and another one on the floor will
do the job just as well. Practice for a few
minutes with these aids in place and
then without them. It gives excellent sensations and will put you
well on your way to a great putting stroke.
Costa del Sol News
Costa Blanca News
Compiled in cooperation with “Costa del Sol News”
Top golf course for Mijas
The European PGA has presented a proposal to Mijas town hall
to construct a golf course for professionals. The project includes
a luxury urbanisation and is
backed by a 5,000 million
peseta budget. It would be operational within two years. The
idea is to create a playing and
relaxation zone for players from
Northern Europe during the
winter months. The golf professionals would form their own
club and stay in small dwellings.
The whole development would be
both luxurious and selective. The
golf course would have 18 holes
and cover a site of around 70
Representatives of the PGA and
Mijas will meet at the end of
January to discuss the project.
Central to the plan is the required land being made available.
The PGA intends to create five
such complexes in various parts
of Andalucía in the next few
years. However, Mijas has been
Upgrade to fire brigades
The regional government delegate, Luciano Alonso, has entered the debate on fire safety on
the Costa del Sol. He has stated
that the town halls of Mijas,
Fuengirola and Benalmádena
must upgrade their fire stations
to meet the volume of people
who both currently reside and
visit the coast.
Sr Alonso added that if Mijas was
to depend on Fuengirola and
Benalmádena for fire protection
then the fire service must be enlarged to account for the increased
population and risk. Recently the
Andalucía Ombudsman had criticised Mijas, devastated last year by
forest fire, for not providing its own
selected by the association to be
the home of the first “professionals only” golf course.
Mijas already has six golf courses within its boundaries. Apart
from the PGA course there are
another four in the project stage.
Whilst this latest proposed
course would only be for tour professionals, there is also good
news for the more average players. Mijas is seeking permission from regional government to
construct a public golf course.
More sand for
Work is about to start on regenerating Almuñécar's beaches.
Over 3 million euros (557 million
pesetas) will be spent in the
next six months on Velilla, San
Cristóbal, Cotobro, Caletilla and
La Veintiuna beaches, where
fire service. Meanwhile Estepona's Councillor for Civil Defence,
Juan José Zapico, has stated that
work will start on the town's new
fire station within nine months.
Work is currently being held up due
to bureaucratic delays on planning
for the site. The land is currently
employed as the municipal car
sand will be imported. A techni-
Pendón, “we will all remember the
peseta - a coin which, 80 years
ago fed our grandparents for a day,
40 years ago provided bread for
our parents, 20 years ago bought
us a bag of seeds, and which
today, although of little value, is
always around the house”. El
Borge hopes that the move will
help to promote rural tourism in
the area. The road chosen to bear
the currency's name is a major
new thoroughfare in the municipa-
Marbella's association of small
and medium sized traders has
seen sales drop by 20 per cent
this year. None-the-less the group
is taking an optimistic view for
2002. The traders report good
business over the Christmas
period, which they insist, will act
as a springboard for improved trading levels next year.
Caves and parks
Nerja Caves ended 2001 with
visitor numbers up just two per
cent on the previous year.
520,000 people visited the
caves, the third most popular
tourist attraction in Spain, after
the Prado in Madrid and the
Alhambra Palace in Granada.
Meanwhile, around 40,000 people
visited El Torcal natural park near
Antequera during the year, a little
down on 2000. The park, renowned for its unique rock formations, remains one of Andalucía's
Cats poisoned in Calpe
Around a dozen cats were found
dead after eating deliberately poisoned food last weekend on the
Enchinent urbanisation in Calpe.
A spokesman for the animal protection society said that some of
the dead animals were found in
gardens close to the feeding site,
others had managed to crawl
home before dying. The bodies of
six cats had been thrown into a
rubbish container. The Guardia
Civil sources said the cats were
apparently in good health prior to
eating the food, making it fairly
obvious that they had been poisoned. Toxicology tests on the
food are being carried out to
determine which type of poison
was used. Alarmed residents
Alicante earmarks euros
Provincial government has earmarked close to 5,640 million
euros for public works and services during 2002. The money,
divided between various projects, will be used to improve
existing infrastructures in many
Costa towns. Improvements to
roads, lighting, sewage, water
and electricity networks are just
some of the major projects that
will benefit from this huge investment, part of which comes from
European Union funds.
Some of the towns to benefit are
Alfaz del Pi, Finestrat, Benissa,
La Nucia, Benidorm, Denia and
ahead of the building of a breakwater at Punta Velilla, considered to be of major importance.
This would protect the area of
beach next to the water park,
one of the most seriously affected by bad weather, from both
east and west.
lity. It has had a five-year investment of 600,000 euros (100
million pesetas), and is due to
become an important connection
between the lower part of the town
and the river bridge, as well as providing access to an existing
college and a future hotel and
museum. The ceremony to name it
“Calle de la peseta” will be held on
the last day of February, the day
before the peseta finally goes out
Hotels on the Costa del Sol
achieved a 53.3 per cent occupation rate last November. The
Costa received 167,774 visitors
of whom 73,748 were Spanish
and 94,026 foreigners. Fuengirola had an above average occupancy rate of 60.98 per cent
followed by Torremolinos with
57.7 per cent. However, Torremolinos received the most visitors, compared with Fuengirola’s 17,350.
now fear for the safety of other
pets and small children, as the
poisoned food had been placed
in a public area. This is the
second mass pet poisoning incident in Calpe over the past three
months, following the death of
dogs poisoned near Baños de la
Reina. The Guardia Civil have not
ruled out a connection.
The OAMI European Patents
Office in Alicante received 3,500
employment applications last
year, mainly from within the EU.
Only 14 applications were processed during the year because
most of the positions on offer
were filled internally. More
employment offers are expected
after the second phase of the
patents office is constructed.
Lack of schools has forced the
regional education department
to use prefabricated classrooms
to cope with overcrowding. More
than 7,000 children will be
taught in the temporary structures this year as the failure to
provide new schools hits home.
The cost of prefabricated blocks
is 125 million pesetas and
opposition parties are calling on
regional government to construct new schools rather than
hire temporary accommodation.
Three-year-olds in Alfaz del Pi
and La Vila are facing problems
this term because of the acute
shortage of classroom space.
cal study is also to be made
The peseta is streets ahead
The village of Borge is set to
become the first municipality to
name a road after the peseta. The
proposal, approved recently by the
Town Hall, notes that the currency
“has represented Spain for more
than 130 years”. The Mayor of El
Borge, José Antonio Ponce, said
that it would not be good to forget
a currency that had signified so
much to the Spanish people:
“From the youngest to the oldest,”
added youth councillor Salvador
Small but strong
Compiled in cooperation with “Costa Blanca News”
Benidorm school zone
Benidorm council is to install an electronic gate at the entrance to the
large Salto del Agua school complex next month. The move comes
after complaints about increased incidents of vandalism and drug related crimes in the area. Apart from the added security of the gate, extra
police patrols will be provided to control access to the complex, which
comprises various schools and educational facilities near Benidorm’s
main A-7 junction. Nighttime security will also be increased to prevent
gangs of youths entering the area.
Denia's Rotary Club is proposing
the construction of a new car
park under El Rodat football stadium. Around 570 parking places
are planned at a cost of over 400
million pesetas. Access to the
new underground car park will be
via Calle Barbacana and Avenida
de Alicante. If the project is given
the go-ahead by the council it will
alleviate the severe parking problems in the area.
Benidorm council has installed
barriers and warning buoys
around Punta Canfali to protect
bathers from being dragged onto
the rocks. Beaches councillor
Josefa Pérez explained that at in
the winter the undercurrents are
Airport passenger increase
Alicante Airport saw a 10 per cent increase in passenger movements during last August. The rise, up on totals for the corresponding period last year, emphasizes that air travel is by far the most
popular means of transport for many tourists. Train travel also rose,
especially over last August weekend when many people returned
home at the end of their summer breaks. Renfe increased its capacity by 25 per cent to cope with the demand on its major routes.
Helicopter service for the islands
Plans are underway to bring a
regular helicopter service to
Mallorca and Menorca. Air Catalunya is studying the possibility of
linking a number of Spanish and
European cities with regular helicopter services. The company
would base operations in Girona
and would offer regular scheduled flights to include: Palma,
Mahon, Barcelona, Bilbao, Valencia, Brussels and Toulouse.
UK travel agents are offering
more than one million less package holidays to the Balearic
Islands for the coming summer
season. The agencies claim this
is in part due to the September
11th terrorist attacks in the U.S.
and mainly affects family travel
which they expect to decrease
by up to 15 per cent.
It keeps going up
The price of new housing in Majorca rose by over 18 per cent last year.
Malaga (the Costa del Sol) holds the record with housing prices rising
an average of 18.3 per cent per square metre. In Ciutadella the square
metre cost of new housing rose by over 17 per cent. Overall prices,
however, are still far behind the country’s two most expensive areas
which are once again Barcelona and San Sabastian.
Palma airport to get more money
This year, the Spanish airport authority AENA will invest an additional
20 million euros for improvements to Palma’s Son San Joan airport.
The money will go to the opening of new VIP lounges as well as an
inter-island flight terminal. Due to the tremendous increase in private
jet traffic 6.33 million euros will be spent on expanding the private jet
terminal and installing extra lounges.
New electric buses for Palma
The municipal transport company, the EMT, is operating six new
electric buses in Palma. Another four electric buses are on order
which, when in service, will bring the fleet up to eighteen making
Palma the Spanish city with the biggest number of buses which do
not pollute the air.
Although each of the buses costs over 150,000 euros their low
energy consumption means they will have paid for themselves
within 18 months. The company also plans to increase its total
fleet of buses to 150, in an effort to reduce waiting times to a
maximum of 20 minutes.
UK holiday makers
Use of seat belts
could save lives in
Last year, 148 people died on
the region's roads, six more than
in 2000. Traffic officials indicate
that speeding is still the number
one cause of road deaths in the
region. Island by island figures
show that of the 148 deaths,
121 were in Mallorca, 20 in Ibiza
and seven in Menorca. In 16 per
cent of all fatal accidents the drivers were under the influence of
either drugs or alcohol.
The statistics also show that of
those killed less than 50 per cent
were wearing either a seatbelt or a
crash helmet. The three worst
months of the year were June, July
and February when 49 people lost
their lives on Balearic roads.
Plans to reduce
both accidents and
The Balearic environmental organisation GOB has come up with a
series of measures which aim to
reduce the number of road deaths
in the region. The plan includes
reducing both the speed limit and
the number of hire cars on the
roads. The Balearics has the
dubious honor of one of the highest road death tolls in the
country. The GOB also calls for
more investment in the public
transport system, which they feel
will be an incentive for people to
leave their cars at home and consequently reduce traffic accidents.
Hospital to get new
intensive care ward
Always by your side
A new intensive care ward has
been opened at Son Llàtzer
hosptial. The new ward has a
total of 20 beds. By early Spring
other areas of the hospital will
be opened which will include
110 hospital beds, three operating theatres, a pharmacy and a
902 343 888
The Bank you can talk to
Costa Brava News
Canary Island News
By Steven Guest
Coastal building reaps chaos
Uncontrolled building over the
last half a century has left the
Costa Brava at the doors of a
total environmental meltdown,
claims a controversial new study
by the University of Girona.
Investigator Carolina Martí says
the Palamós, Calonge, Platja
d’Aro coastline has been irreparably damaged because of
“shockingly shoddy urban planning”. The 70s and 80s proved
disastrous, she says, with massive swathes of farm land being
ripped up to make way for a line
Opposition leaders at Blanes
Council have come together to
force their mayor to abandon
construction plans for a new
stretch to the N-II ring road between Tordera and the Blanes.
The reason: the road would have
passed just 300 m from a popular town beauty spot, the village
football pitch. Now local greens
want to get another planned
road sidelined - a link between
the future Costa Brava motorand Tordera in the centre - this
time because of the extra traffic
it would bring to the town centre.
Sea barriers to save Calonge beaches
sand loss on the construction of
Palamós port, which they say
changed the bays natural underwater currents. Storms last
November again left the shoreline
bare along Sant Antoni beach.
Worse still, say locals, the existing sea breakers are themselves cracking up under the steady
pounding of winter waves, leaving the beaches even more
exposed than usual.
Rough times for Girona airport.
Not only has there been a considerable downturn in the number
of passengers flying into the
Costa Brava’s main airport, but
the airport has also lost its daily
Air Nostrum connection to Madrid
and the regular Girona-London
service run by British based
Buzz, which won’t start again
until next Spring. The Brits are big
users of the airport, accounting
for a massive 72% of some
619,000 passengers, so any
drop from this country could have
grave consequences. Even so it’s
not all doom and gloom, thanks
to a 6M € airport refurbishment
package announced earlier this
year by the Spanish government
and the real possibility of a new
Madrid service in the new future.
Palamós pitches for
Palamós has set its sights on
becoming the Costa Brava’s
turn-round port for Mediterranean cruise ships. Last year 10
ships docked in port bringing
some 2,000 passengers to the
city’s shore. Now the Palamós
council and Catalan government
plan to invest in new embarkation
facilities to help draw twice as
many ships this summer season.
Oyster farm gets
no-no from Port de
Plans to build a 30 hectare oyster
farm off the natural reserve of
Cap de Creus and the quaint seaside town of Port de la Selva
looks to have come to a clammy
end. The local council, the fishermen’s guild and managers of the
natural park have teamed up to
lobby against the project. “We’re
Cycle track to link Pyrenees and coast
dedicated to the quality end of
By the end of 2002, pedal-power lovers will be able to cycle some 100 kms from sandy Sant Feliu de
Guíxols on the Costa Brava to a mountainous nature reserve in Vall de Núria, in the Pyrenees, without
ever going on a road. At the moment there are three holiday bike tracks in the Girona area: between Sant
Joan de les Abadesses and Ripoll, Olot-Girona, and Girona-Sant Feliu. Now the government has announced a 2.7M € package to join the three into one grand cycle route.
of farm would absolutely ruin that
the tourism market and this sort
industry,” claims mayor Genís
Pinart of Port de la Selva. “We’ll
adopt any legal measure we can
to avoid what would be a blot on
our beautiful seascape.”
Wall Mural Los Cristianos harbour
In a two week period over last Christmas, a small group of international
volunteers working alongside Canarians completed the first stage of
what will be the world's largest cetacean
mural. They had to work through some of the
worst tropical storms in living memory, (on
three days, work was lost as the quick dr ying
paint wasn't quite quick enough!), flash
floods and hurricane force winds. The
results, however, are superb! The mural is
spectacularly beautiful. The mighty blue
whale, some 28 metres long, is symbolic of
the project. On the mural, the eye of the giant
of the sea is formed into the planet earth set within a star-filled universe,
with Tenerife shining in the centre. This will become one of the most
famous photographs of the Canaries and will strengthen the role of whale
watching in Tenerife in promoting the need for nature conservation in
Europe with the many millions of visitors
from the continent to the Canaries each year.
The mural completed thus far consists of lifesize depictions of cetaceans living in or passing through Canarian waters. The design
was by British muralist, Daisy Clarke. Each
whale was painted by individual volunteers,
and one of the most striking features of the
mural is its international nature. In addition
to Canarian, there were volunteers from
China, Sri Lanka, Guyana, England, Holland, France, Nor way, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, Spain and Austria.
way just to the south of Blanes
of coastal high-risers. During
this time the amount of wooded
areas on the Costa has been cut
in half, says Martí.
Spain’s government has announced a 9M € package to help
save the beaches around the
bay of Palamós.
Underwater dikes and sea
barriers look to be the only
answer in the fight to stop the
golden sands from being washed
down the coast, leaving the local
councils the expensive task of
shipping in new sand after winter
storms. Ecologists blame the
Football pitch tiff
stops TorderaBlanes road
Compiled in cooperation with “Tenerife News”
new halls in museum
Road split widens
The Spanish queen flew into
Tenerife on January 9 to inaugurate new exhibition halls in
Santa Cruz’s Museo de la
Naturaleza y el Hombre.
Surrounded by a bevy of dark
suited regional politicians and
minor local VIPs, Queen Sofía
expressed her admiration for the
big set pieces and state of the
art interactive installations.
Positively glowing after the regal
encounter, Cabildo president
Ricardo Melchior described the
royal visit as “a total success”.
“Her Highness was most taken
by the luminosity and clarity of
the museum building,” he said.
Progress can't stop at Los Realejos - or can it?
A deep division has opened up at
local, provincial and regional
government level over the controversial plan to extend the TF-5
highway from Los Realejos to
Icod de los Vinos.
The split became apparent when
Ricardo Melchior, president of
the Tenerife Cabildo, told reporters: “There has to be some way
more respectful to the landscape because if there isn’t I can
assure you that while we hold
power in the Cabildo this highway will never be built”.
Meanwhile, the Cabildo councillor
responsible for roads, Lorenzo
Dorta, had this to say: "Official
estimates show that within five
years traffic between Los Reale-
Art for Kan’s sake
The quay of Garachico's fishing
harbour is the old-world setting for
a controversial piece of modern
art. Tensei and Tenmoku is the
name given to the monolithic
minimalist structures created by
Japanese sculptor Kan Yasuda.
Purchased by the Cabildo for
120,202 euros (20 million pesetas), Yasuda initially wanted it to
be installed in the Rambla in
Santa Cruz. Fierce opposition
forced the artist to seek a new
location and Garachico was
decided upon after a brief flirtation with Las Teresitas.
jos and Icod de los Vinos will have
increased by some 40 per cent,
but our responsibility as I see it is
to ensure that the natural environment of this important part of
the world is respected."
There is a citizens' platform fighting against the scheme and
another, just as vociferous, fighting for it. The majority of environmental groups and green activists have expressed their undying opposition, while the business sector and retailers have
given the scheme their unreserved approval.
La Orotava Celebrates 500 years
The Teobaldo Power Theatre in the town centre was chosen by the city elders as the ideal place to hold
the celebration of the five hundredth anniversary of La Orotava's founding in the north of Tenerife.
During most of the fifteenth century, Spanish invaders were at constant war with the local Menceyes or
kings of Tenerife before they finally capitulated.
Professor Nicolás Gonzalez Lemus claims that “five elements determined the basic structure and
growth of the town of La Orotava: sugar production, exploitation of her wines, the dominating presence
of Mount Teide, the abolition of the great estates, and the development of the banana industry. This
town is a constant surprise for any visitor. Venerable houses and convents, ancient churches and chapels, the palaces of the nobility, traditional balconies, this is living Art; harmony, perfection and beauty”
Remember, it is up to you to fill up these pages. We invite all of you to write in and
voice your opinions or give advice on any aspect of living in Spain. If you think you have
found the perfect weekend getaway, or a place to buy hard to find products, discovered a new restaurant, need help raising funds for a charitable project or anything else
you feel our fellow readers should know… then drop us a line at:
Dirección de Pomoción y Publicidad Solbank
Gabinete de Marketing y Publicidad
Banco Sabadell. Plaza Catalunya, 1. 08201 Sabadell
Tel.: 902 343 999
Email: [email protected]
May I through your readers page thank Mayte of the Torrevieja branch
of Solbank for her help in resolving my problems with my Telefonica
Having waited a year for the telephone, my first account arrived one hour
before I was due to fly home to England. Following hurried telephone calls
to Telefonica and Solbank on finding that telefonica had no direct debit
authorisation, I felt happy that I could return home and make a transfer of
funds from England to Telefonica to settle the initial account and further
amounts would be taken from my Solbank account in Torrevieja.
Not so! A phone call to Telefonica by a Spanish friend in England confirmed that my transfer was lost, and there was no direct debit for the next
account. Many calls and faxes followed to Telefonica, and my bank in
England confirmed that my money sent by them was in Telefonica's
account. It was to no avail, as following calls to Mayte and her investigations we had been cut off for not paying our bills!!
I am happy to say that following the faxing of relevant paperwork to
Mayte she was able to trace our money with Telefonica, arrange to pay
all subsequent bills, and get Telefonica to reconnect the telephone!
Mayte was extremely pleasant and helpful at all times and greatly helped
a very worried and frustrated Spanish holiday home owner!!
Thanks a lot.
PS: Could a copy of this letter be e-mailed to the manager Solbank in
JANET GARRETT. ENGLAND
After having just spent two weeks in Spain I
am compelled to write this letter as warning
to anyone thinking of making the trip in the
near future. BE CAREFUL ON THE ROADS.
Many Spanish roads are not up to the quality
that we come to expect here. Combine the
poor road quality with excessively high speed
limits and you are just asking for trouble. To
add to the problem many Spaniards do not
obey even these high speed limits and make
driving some kind of Macho competition. Try
to leave a safe distance between your car and
the one in front and someone is ivaritablely
going to squeeze in between the two. Tailgating is also common with some drivers staying so close on my tail that I swear I can
smell their cologne.
As far as my husband and I am concerned it
is the only thing that tarnishes an otherwise
perfect vacation destination.
I have had a holiday home in the Costa Blanca for
nearly twenty years and I still can not get used to
how noisy it can be. My neighbors’ dogs bark all
night and it seems their owners are either hearing impaired or are immune to the disturbance
they make. When the dogs quiet down out come
the motor bikes. Is there no law restricting the
noise these infernal machines are allowed to
make? One of these bikes driving across town in
the wee hours is likely to wake everyone in the
whole village. By the way, the passing motor
bikes get the dogs going again and the thing
comes full circle.
If it weren’t for the sun and the beach I would be
counting the days to get back to our tranquil
Home Protection Plan
Don t leave your
home without it...
Home Protection Plan
Come in and talk
to us or call:
902 153 851
I have been a customer of your
Empuriabrava/Girona branch for over
My wife and I are very satisfied with
the cooperation and attention and
especially with the branch manager,
Mr. Xavier Caball.
We both consider the market expansion of Banco Sabadell through Solbank as a positive move, as are the
marketing activities within the field
of communications, such as a customer magazine published in German,
our mother tongue, or your newly
acquired presence on the Internet.
What we do miss, unfortunately, is a
customer card. Our idea is a customer card as an additional marketing
instrument, containing information.
On one side, the Solbank logo, as
well as the account number or a
number per account and, on the
back, the opening hours and postal
address of the particular branch.
To date, we have had no success in
expressing our wish in your branch
and are therefore addressing you,
as the management. Please do not
hesitate to contact us for any further
information or so that we may personally give you an example at 0049171 630 4746 although, unfortunately, we do not speak fluent Spanish.
We look forward to hearing your response. Yours faithfully,
Anyone who has ever spent anytime in Madrid
or Barcelona will have noticed how wonderful
the public transportation system is. When I
mention this to my friends here they normally
just laugh. Who would have thought that Spanish public transport could ever be better
than ours here in Great Britain?
For all those non-believers I suggest you take
a ride on Madrid’s or Barcelona’s metro. They
are fast, clean, safe, efficient and covers the
entire area of the city. They are also so cheap
that once you have ridden them the only question you will have is how they can do it for
such a low price. Oh yes and maybe why can’t
we do the same.
R. MAIER. DÜRNAU
BancSabadell Correduría de Seguros
Vinculada a BanSabadell Vida, S.A. de Seg. y BanSabadell A.G., S.A.
de Seg. y Reas. Generales del Grupo Banco Sabadell
Gazpacho Is Good for You
If you live in Spain, you’ve certainly sampled gazpacho, the refreshing cool soup with lively flavour.
But, did you know that gazpacho is good for you? Just what the doctor ordered, in fact. A bowl of
gazpacho followed by grilled fish and some of Spain’s luscious fruit for dessert add up to just
about the perfect meal with all the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.
By Janet Mendel. Photography J.D. Dallet.
nd, take heart! You’ll be pleased to
know that you can enjoy a few
Spanish tapas with a glass of wine
and still be eating in the best of health.
That’s because Spanish foods are, in the
best Mediterranean tradition, replete
with nutritious and healthful benefits.
What is the Mediterranean Diet,
anyway? It consists of an abundance of
plant foods--fruits and vegetables, grains,
potatoes, pulses (legumes), nuts and
seeds; olive oil as the principal fat; moderate portions of fish and poultry; low
consumption of eggs, cheese and red
meat. Oh, yes, and a moderate consumption of wine.
If we take another look at the abovementioned menu, we find that gazpacho, made with raw tomatoes, bread,
olive oil, garlic and vinegar and served
with colourful and tasty accompaniments of chopped raw green peppers,
onions and cucumbers, fits the bill
nicely. Add the fish, fruit and a glass of
wine and you’ve hit all the bases.
Just what are the benefits of the muchtouted Mediterranean diet? Simply stated,
eating Mediterranean contributes to a
reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes.
The medical research took off around
the middle of the last century when
scientists Ancel Keys and Paul White
noticed that mortality from coronary
heart disease was much lower in southern Italy and Greece than in Northern
Europe and the United States. They started the famous “Seven Countries Study,”
which followed the lifestyle and dietary
habits of more than 12,000 men, from
Crete to Finland, Italy to Holland,
Greece to the United States.
Astonishingly, the premature death
rate from heart attack for Greeks was
found to be 90 percent lower than that
of Americans. The adult life expectancy
for populations in these Mediterranean
areas were among the highest in the
world. The rates of coronary heart disease, certain cancers and other diet-related chronic diseases were among the
lowest in the world, despite the fact that
medical services were poor. Those folks
living by the Mediterranean were onto
Scientists found that a common
factor of the diet of the Greeks and
Italians in the study (Spaniards were not
included in the original study) is a very
low consumption of saturated fats
(butter, cream, lard, meat fat) and a
high consumption of mono-unsaturated
fats, such as are found in olive oil.
Northern European groups, with much
higher rates of heart disease, consumed
diets relatively high in saturated fats.
Switch to Olive Oil
For centuries olive oil has been the
principal fat in the cuisine of Mediterranean peoples. Everything from glowing
complexions to good digestive systems
and strong hearts have been attributed to
its beneficial qualities. Now modern nutritional science is verifying the folklore.
Olive oil is a mono-unsaturated fat.
Mono-unsaturates lower the “bad” cholesterol levels (LDL) and raise the
“good” (HDL) cholesterol, the one that
helps clear your arteries of plaque.
Virgin olive oil contains a natural
balance of anti-oxidants, which prevent
the oil from turning rancid without additives. It also has a good dose of natural
vitamins - A, E, D and K. So digestible is
olive oil that it is used in protective diets
for ulcer patients and diabetics.
such as chickpeas, lentils and dry beans,
are a nutritious addition to everyday
meals. Pulses contribute protein, the building blocks of cells and tissue. But, unlike
meat, pulses are virtually fat-free. (A juicy
steak, for instance, might be only 20 percent protein. The other 80 percent is fat-mostly saturated fat.) Another plus for
pulses--they are fibre-rich.
Fibre is the indigestible part of grains,
fruits and vegetables. There are two
kinds--insoluble fibre, such as the bran
from grains, and soluble fibre, such as
pectin, present in fruits such as apples
and quince. Fibre aids digestion and
keeps the bowels operating smoothly.
That’s why it’s considered a deterrent to
cancer of the colon. Fibre also helps
bind fat and cholesterol in the digestive
system, so less is absorbed by the body.
kers have a significantly lower death rate
from all causes than either abstainers or
Fish and shellfish are so typical of
Mediterranean meals. They are nutritionally superb, because they provide highquality protein with very little saturated
fat. Additionally, the fatty fish such as sardines, boquerones (fresh anchovies),
tuna, mackerel, swordfish and salmon
contain “omega-3” fatty acids, which
appear to lower the incidence of heart
disease. So, have a plate of crisply fried
boquerones-fried in olive oil, of course-or
grilled sardines. So delicious and good
for you too.
Garlic, that quintessential Mediterranean seasoning, is an excellent source of
selenium, a trace mineral. Scientists
aren’t sure just what selenium does,
Eat Your Veggies
While early research turned on the
issue of lipids--saturated versus monounsaturate fats in the diet, follow-up studies point to other benefits of the traditional Mediterranean diet. In particular
they show that foods full of natural phytonutrients and antioxidants, such as are
contained in vegetables, pulses, fruits,
whole grains and nuts, apparently provide protection against cell change that
can lead to various diseases.
Some evidence shows that a diet low in
saturated fats and rich in antioxidants
(vitamins E and C and carotenoids) and
polyphenol compounds may protect
against cancers such as colon, breast and
prostate. Good sources of Vitamin E are
whole grains and nuts; Vitamin C sources
include citrus fruits, strawberries, melon,
dark green vegetables, tomatoes and
peppers. Beta-carotene is found in yellow
and orange foods such as carrots, sweet
potatoes, pumpkin, apricots and peaches.
So replace those sugary, high-fat puddings
and pastries with fresh fruit for dessert
and get on the Mediterranean healthwagon. In the Mediterranean diet, traditionally poor in meat, pulses (legumes),
An apple a day might keep the doctor
away. Eat the skin too, where the most
pectin is concentrated.
The Mediterranean lands are generally
too poor to support dairy cattle, so butter,
milk, cream and cows’ milk cheeses (and
the highly saturated fats these dairy items
contain) have never played a part in the
traditional diet. Cheese and yoghurt made
from goats’ and sheep milk were an addition to the diet, consumed in very small
quantities. Calcium in the diet was provided by other sources, such as almonds,
which grow extensively in Mediterranean
countries. Recent investigations indicate
that nut consumption also improves the
blood lipid profile. Almonds and hazelnuts, for instance, have a high concentration of oleic acid, the same fatty acid present in olive oil. Nuts also contribute fibre
and antioxidants, which play an important
role in the protection against arteriosclerosis. So, nibble some almonds while you
sip your wine.
Wine-particularly red wine, which is
made with grape skins intact--contains
phytochemicals, which may protect
against heart disease. Epidemiologic studies indicate that low to moderate drin-
though they point to a statistical correlation between regions where selenium is
low with higher cancer rates and more
deaths from high blood pressure. Until
the results are in, throw an extra few
cloves of garlic into the gazpacho!
The only food category not statistically
linked to any health problem is carbohydrates. The traditional Mediterra-nean
diet always has been rich in complex carbohydrates--starches such as potatoes,
bread, pasta, rice and pulses--the stuff of
peasant life. Especially recommended for
optimal health are whole grains and
minimally processed foods.
There’s one more ingredient in the
Mediterranean diet, only it’s not to be
found at the market. That’s physical
exercise. The researchers discovered
that, not only did those long-lived,
healthy Greeks eat differently than the
Northern Europeans studied, but they
worked hard physically. So follow up
your meal of gazpacho, fish and fruit
with a nice long walk. No better way to
celebrate Mediterranean life.
Janet Mendel is the author of Cooking in Spain
(Santana Books), available at bookstores everywhere in Spain. Her newest book, My Kitchen in Spain,
will be published in June by HarperCollins U.S.A.
Letters David Searl
I’m Glad You Asked
David Searl is author of the books, You and the Law in Spain and The Spanish Property Guide. He writes a monthly
column in Lookout Magazine on legal matters in Spain. In forthcoming issues David will be happy to answer questions
related to Living in Spain. Please send any questions you may have to:
Living In Spain
Solbank Prestige Club
Calle Molino, 5. 28690 Brunete (Madrid)
with the gr
Solbank Prestige Club Magazine cannot accept responsibility for any loss or damage suffered by readers.
What are my rights if the
developer does not deliver
my apartment on time?
The developers promised to
deliver our new apartment
almost six months ago. The
contract says only that they
undertake to deliver the finished apartment one month
after the issue of the “First
Occupation Certificate”, which
apparently comes from the
Town Hall. They verbally gave
us an expected completion
date of six months ago.
They tell us that the Town
Hall has not completed some
street and sewage work in
this sector, which is a newly
developed part of the town.
Although the flats are finished, the certificate will not
be forthcoming until all the
services are in place. Hence,
the builders say, it is not
During these six months we
have suffered inconvenience
and expenses of all sorts. We
had to spend our holidays in
a hotel, we had to cancel furniture deliveries, and we have
made several trips to the property with no results. What
are our rights in the matter?
Any attempt to obtain indemnity for loss you have suffered
as a result, such as the extra
expenses you mention, would
have to come through a lawsuit against the developers.
They would surely allege that
the delay is caused by the
Town Hall, not by them. You
could then proceed against
the Town Hall, for its failure to
provide the necessary services. This sounds like a tough
case to win. Some contracts
contain a penalty clause, in
which the developer must pay
a sum of money for every day
he is late, but this is not frequent. On paper, the moneyback guarantee seems quite
fair, but in real life we usually
find that your property has
gone up in value during the
time you have been making
your payments and waiting
for it. So it is now worth more
than you have paid and you
don’t want your money back,
you want the apartment.
The usual procedure is to
make the final payment to
the builder, with a clause
conditioning the contract on
final arrival of the certificate
and your title deed.
You can then occupy the place,
often using the builder’s own
provisional electric and water
connections, until the paperwork is complete. Thousands
of Spanish buyers have done
this over the last few years. It
is not legal but it is often done.
How many red triangles must I have in my car?
I make several extended visits to my Spanish property every year, usually driving my UKregistered car. I carry one of the red warning triangles in this car, as UK regulations specify.
Now I have been told that I can be fined if I don’t carry two triangles, because Spanish law
requires that drivers on Spanish roads have two instead of one. Is this true?
Your basic right, even if not
specified in the contract, is
that once three months have
elapsed from the promised
completion date, you may
request the return of all
money you have paid out to
BASF plays an active role in the development of cars
powered by fuel cells. The NECAR 5 prototype by
DaimlerChrysler incorporates a new BASF catalytic
converter which guarantees the supply of energy. The
BASF catalytic converter transforms methanol, liquid
fuel, into hydrogen for the fuel cells in a simple, safe
and environmentally-friendly manner.
In this way, BASF is committed to finding innovative
solutions for providing alternatives which permit the
long-term mobility and supply of energy.
No, it isn’t true; you are perfectly all right with one triangle, as are all other European Union
drivers. There has been a great deal of confusion about the triangles since they were first
required in 1999, and it is true that Spanish traffic authorities first tried to impose the twotriangle requirement on drivers of foreign-registered cars as well as Spanish cars.
However, other European Union countries require only one triangle and Brussels has ruled
that these cars may legally circulate in Spain with only one triangle. Spain’s Traffic
Department has formally accepted the ruling, so you, like all EU drivers, are all right.
Foreigners operating cars on Spanish registration must have the two triangles.
Further information on: www.basf.es/innovacion
Companies in the BASF Group in Spain:
BASF Española S.A. - BASF Coatings S.A. - BASF IT Services S.A.
BASF Curtex S.A. - Elastogran S.A. - BASF Sistemas de Impresión S.A.
Norteña de Distribución S.L.
BASF Española S.A.
Ctra. N-340, km. 1.156
Ground-breaking solutions. A responsible approach.
Chemical, Plastic and Fibre Products, Finishes,
Products for Food and Agriculture, Petroleum and Gas.
Solbank is a registered trademark of Banco de Sabadell, S.A.
MERCAT DE L’OR
GÓMEZ Y MOLINA
Teléfono: 93 272 05 41 • Fax: 93 272 05 42
e-mail: [email protected] • www.hysek.com