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Gentle change in Costa way of life.

Byline: Brian Hayhurst Huddersfield Ex-Pat editorial@examiner.co.uk

ULLFIGHTING continues to decline in Spanish towns and cities.

BMost local councils now ban circuses with animals and fairgrounds are not now allowed to use little donkeys or horses to trudge wearily around carrying children in sweltering conditions.

But there are on-going ancient barbaric rituals which include several species of animals.

The traditions are too gruesome to mention, but one annual event which gets regular airing worldwide is the Pamplona bull running festival where the bulls get their chance to put their horns where it hurts!

Since 1924, when it began, 15 people have died during the nine-day festival as adrenaline junkies attempt to outrun the huge aggressive and frightened beasts over the 825 metres. Some people make it but many get injured.

Most of us have never agreed with this kind of barbaric entertainment and always ask 'what is the point of it?' Now we've reached the height of the season the coast is filling up with tourists and most beaches are extremely busy.

There is an influx of Spanish families from the north who descend on the area in their thousands, pitching mini-marquees on the beaches and virtually living there, dawn till dusk, with all mod cons except toilets. They use nearby restaurants and bars, much to the disdain of owners.

I am sure all beach lovers will be aware of the current invasion of millions of jellyfish close to the shores between Malaga and Marbella.

Authorities are still weeding out pockets of corruption, sending more mayors and officials to jail for unlawful deeds.

The latest elections have given many new mayors in big towns the chance to shine and continue to make the area a safe and fun place to visit or live, although Spain is on red alert for terrorist activity with more roadside document checks by Guardia Civil, mostly overlooked by officers carrying Kalashnikov rifles.

I recently wrote about the Caminito del Rey (King's Walkway) now described as the world's most dangerous cliffside path.

Since opening in March it has become a tourist hotspot with an anticipated 110,000 visitors attempting its 3km hair-raising trek by the end of summer and bookings are only available after November.

But it had to be closed at the beginning of July due to excessive temperatures. We think some of the new metal structures may have expanded.

Alora and other neighbouring hamlets have been inundated with requests for accommodation from all over the world. But once again mindless bureaucracy has halted the building of two desperately-needed hotels by the regional government over two missing words.

Municipal Regulators insisted that 'Rural Hotel' must be included on the plans therefore work had to stop. People are up in arms about the decision saying the area is missing out on an unprecedented influx of tourism and it needs sorting out quickly.

Behind the massive range of tourist attractions, restaurants, festivals and fiestas there are hundreds of sports clubs and classes for youngsters and adults offering a high level of coaching in things like karate, basketball, gymnastics and, of course, golf and tennis. It's amazing what can be found with a brief visit to a town hall or information centre. And in this climate it makes it all the more fun.

There is a big debate going on in the Spanish Interior relating to a campaign to unite Gibraltar with its neighbour La Linea (The Line).

This rather untidy township adjacent to the border crossing into Gibraltar with a population of 70,000 has had a fair share of media attacks about drug trafficking and smuggling over the years, but there is a growing group who want the town to be a part of Gibraltar and leave the Spanish territory.

The last I heard about La Linea was that it had a very serious problem with drug addiction with not enough police to contain it and unemployment was very high. I cannot imagine that Gibraltar, which is booming, will ever agree to annex this poor old town into its wealthy economy.

And finally ... it's a balmy summer evening and these Huddersfield expat friends share one of their regular outings with well-known league cricketer Dennis Midwood (pictured centre) between his sister Elaine and her hubby Allen Conroy with whom Dennis is staying.

All four couples moved on to the bustling Costa del Sol from Hudders-field around the same time at the turn of the century and none of them have any intention of leaving at the moment, having settled into the Spanish way of life, enjoying good health and a multitude of recreational/cultural activities as Spain claws its way out of recession.

CAPTION(S):

Examiner correspondent Brian Hayhurst (far right) enjoying life in Spain with (from left) Linda Noble, Elaine |Hayhurst, Chrissy Parkin, Allen Conroy, Dennis Midwood, Elaine Conroy, Jack Wells and (at the back) Jeff Parkin A reveller thrown by a cow at the San Fermin |bull festival in Pamplona, Spain, last month
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Aug 5, 2015
Words:830
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