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Torremelinos, Costa Del Sol, Spain

We have been to Torremelinos Spain twice. We book through a travel club and it is very inexpensive. Airfare, Hotel and two meals a day are included. The hotel is the Pez Espada (The Sailfish). It used to be an exclusive private club in the 50's and 60's. There are autographed photos up and down the halls of the kings, queens, princes and celebrities that visited there. Apparently, Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti were regulars. Then for some unexplained reason the place closed down and stood empty for 20 years or so. It was reopened as a resort hotel and does a huge trade with Brittish tourists.

Costa Del Sol is a very nice place to vacation. Summer is their big season. The beaches are spectacular. Just down the road from Torremelinos is Mihas a mountain top village with a fantastic view of the whole Costa Del Sol. They have donkey cart rides through town if your so inclined. It's a beautiful old world village.

Further down the coast is Fueinguerola, it's a fairly large modern city. There is excellent shopping there. You can get some good bargains there on Lladro spanish porcelains. Also in the center of town is a big market. Vendors sell all kinds of stuff there, fish, vegetables, fresh fruit, dried fruit, dates, nuts, spices, candy, and of course, olives. Tons and Tons of olives, any flavor you can think of, garlic, onion, anchovy, hot pepper, black, green, purple, you never saw so many olives. Huge ones, big ones, regular ones and small ones. Olives everywhere. They just spoon them into plastic bags, no cups or containers with lids, just a bag.

The dates are dried still on the vines! Raisins are dried on the vine with seeds still in them! I don't know what you do with those. They have these very sweet grapes called Muscatel Grapes. They make a syrupy sweet wine with them. I like it in small amounts, but most people can't stand it, it's too sweet.

A bit further down the road is Marbella. This is where the rich and famous go to play. Sean Connery keeps his Yacht there. There are 18 golf courses in that one city alone. There are Lamborgini dealers, Masarati dealers, and all the other luxury car dealers on this one stretch of road in Marbella. The Yachts are really something to see. This is one fancy city!

Back up the coast toward Torremelinos there is a nice aquarium to visit. You can hand feed stingrays in this huge tank they have there. They give you a cup of this chopped up fish or dead sardines and you hold out a piece and the rays come right up to you turn over, upside-down, open their mouths and wait for you to drop it in. It's amazing.

In Torremelinos El Centro (Center of Town) there is so much shopping it will take a couple of days to see everything. Porcelains galore! Jewelry, Leather, you name it. There is a little restaurant there right on the main road that serves Grilled or Raw Shrimp that are 7 inches long. They call them Prawns. They cost about $6.00 each, but they are delicious. Another restaurant we found served an unbelievable glass Sangria wine. It's almost a lunch. They hang all this fresh fruit on the glass like pears, apples, grapes, it's like a fruit salad! They are very festive and a real treat.

If you drive up into the Sierra Nevada Mountains you will see the most beautiful vistas known to man. We drove up there on Christmas Day. We left the beach in the morning and it was 80 degrees, by lunch we were in snow. At the top of the mountains there is a ski resort. In one day you can swim and ski.

We had lunch at a charming restaurant in the mountains. It was cold up there. Goat herders were a frequent sight along the way. After we were seated at a huge, hand hewn table we asked for 4 menus. It was a fairly long wait, but we were in no hurry. All of a sudden, they brought over these 4 tremendously big 15 inch plates full of food. Yellow rice, chunks of meat, we have no idea what it all was. We said, this isn't ours, we were still waiting for menus. The waitress didn't speak any english. We tried frantically to explain that we didn't order whatever all this food was. She kept saying that we got what we ordered. Finally, they sent over a girl that spoke a little more english. We said we had only wanted 4 menus. She said that those 4 plates were the menus. After another 3 or 4 minutes of confusion, we finally understood. The word "menu" in spanish is "Specialty of the House". We now know to ask for "La Carta" (the list). The food was really good, even though we still don't know what it was.

The restaurant had a fireplace so big you could stand up in it. That was the heating system. They filled big wide-rimmed copper pots with hot coals and slid them under the tables to distribute the heat. Can you imagine someplace doing that in the USA? The fire marshalls would close the place up so fast it would make their heads spin. But it was so cozy we didn't want to leave. This place had obviously been there for years and years, the toilet flushed with a pull chain. That's ambience.

We drove to nearby Malaga, but it seemed that 2 out of every three places are out of business there. We drove to see the Alhambra but it was closed too. We did enjoy the bird santuary. Have you ever seen a real stork? Ugggly!

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