Apart from the lovely, reliable sunshine, the south coast of Spain doesn’t feel that Spanish. There’s a lot of Brits, a lot of English signs and numerous offers of All Day Breakfasts. We are resigned to holidays being all about the kids these days, and not at all about where we would actually choose to travel to. Certainly our days of camping on the banks of the Nile and wandering the souqs of Damascus are so far behind us it’s hard to recall they ever existed. So Costa del Sol it is.
But given a babysitter and a setting sun, we thought we’d head away from the coast and the motorway running along it, and walked inland from our villa. Within 100 metres the tarmac had given way to unpaved road, there were horses in the fields, and we could clearly make out the mountains that sit just behind the coast. We wandered along to the nearest village where a gaggle of Spanish taxi drivers were chatting outside a bar and sat down for a drink. There was a terrace with plastic chairs (always a good sign of local credentials), an old lady eating her supper, and we ordered our Tinto de Verano (red wine + lemonade, delicious). Ah, we thought to ourselves, it’s still early but later this must fill up with Spanish families! Isn’t it charming that this old Spanish lady is having red wine with her supper! Haven’t we done well in heading off the beaten track!
Then an older English couple arrived and sat at the table next to us. ‘How is your son?’, the lady bellowed at the Spanish proprietor. ‘S. O. N. Son.’ He mumbled something about his son working at a golf course then left the lady to discuss squid with her husband in a voice so loud and posh we wondered whether she was joking. Then a family from Manchester arrived – two adults, two kids, they really wanted some chips. Finally it turned out the old lady was from Liverpool. Then we left.