- Torremolinos, sunday 10th of november. Sunday is when the Spanish families come out, many in their best sunday clothes, going to church, have a tapa, go for a coffee and a pastry and enjoy their sunday. Also, this time of the year, many Spanish people from other parts of Spain seem to visit Andalucía.
It's just past noon and I decided to go for a walk on my own outside the town center and have a tapa later on. I'm in the neighbourhood of one of my favorite places in Torremolinos, Jamón.es, wine and tapa bar annex wine and Spanish charcuterie shop. Jamón.es is an excellent stop for a "tabla" size plate to share, with fresh handcut spanish cured ham and other delicatessen.
But, today they have almejas, swimming in a buttery substance that my doctor would not approve with at all! They are precisely what I needed, accompanied by a glass or two of excellent white wine. Not a small tapa size, oh no, this is a ración, kind of a "just right" size to get you through the next hours. What a joy to eat outside in November, something unthinkable in my own cold country. But then this lady flamenco singer and guitarist show up and start playing inside. Let's check it out. The entire place has no more than a dozen seats. Hams are hanging everywhere and there's a counter where you can buy whole chorizos and other specialties, bottles of wine etc.
Pretty soon traditional flamenco music fills the room. I bet the only tourist inside is this guy taking pictures! Both that guitarist and the singer are stunning musicians. The woman sings in her microphone, or, simply ignores it and moves around in the bar while singing without using the microphone at all! And, she combines her singing with dancing, castanets in the hands and some agressive drumming heelwork on the wooden floor.
Flamenco dancing is taken very seriously; it's so much more than the moves, stomping the feet and that graceful turning of hands and arms. Posture is what strikes me most; a very serious look on the face, straight back, head up, eyes almost expressing an intriguing "I'm ignoring you" message. She's absolutely breath-taking. Pretty soon spectators join in dancing and the place fills with genuine Spanish ambiance; rhytmic hand clapping as only the Spanish manage to do well, singing along and dancing. Meanwhile, other people at their tables watch and eat their "tablas". A few wines later, the singer performs this silent solo using only her heels drumming on the wooden floor. The whole place goes silent when a few people call for silence; ssst..! ssst! The rolls of drums go slower and quieter and end almost unheard but start again in a violent crescendo of heel drumming and wild dancing. The whole place goes absolutely crazy; olé!... olé...!!
The most perfect apotheose to leave and go for a walk to burn off the wine and the excitement. Let's cross town center and go for the beach area wich is a gazillion steps down, as center town lays much higher.
Torremolinos has two beaches; facing the sea, at the left is the newer Bajondillo and on the right the old fishing village La Carihuela. Both direction have a very long promenade, the one at the right ending after a 4 km walk in the beautiful port of Benalmádena.
La Carihuela Beach
The port of Benalmadena
But, let's do the left side, Bajondillo. Some 30 years ago when I came here the first time, there was almost nothing. Now its palmtrees are fully grown, there's a lot of shops and hotels and quite a nice holiday ambiance. All the more since some of the beach bars, called "chiringuitos" are still serving food on this late sunday afternoon. Most chiringuitos have this barbecue built in some kind of a boat, filled with the dense sand of the beach. What else can you eat than fresh sardines and other fish and shellfish prepared on a woodfire? Or simply deepfried anchovis, "boquerones", in a light batter.
Still time for a nice coffee... with milk. I never have milk in my coffee except in Spain. Café con leche or a small version, a café cortado. And one tip; in front of hotel Don Pablo is an ice-cream place where you can have the ultimate ice-cream... Ben & Jerry's. I know, I forgive them since Spanish ice-cream is not really in the same legion.
Hasta luego Torremolinos.