When I came to Torremolinos, it was to play a darts competition. I just came for the darts and else had no big expectations. All I knew about the place, was that James A. Michener had written a book about it: "Drifters", which I had read some time in the Seventies.
Actually, Michener had done the research on site. He sat in the bars, mingling with the "hopeless generation", young people, who were fed up with Western civilization and sought some kind of freedom in the sun and the smoke of grass. Already by then Torremolinos had been a touristic center, partly initiated by the Dane Simon Spiess, who built one hotel on the other.
Considering all of this, it was obvious that a place, that had been crowded for more than half a century not really was at its best any more. The first impression didn't convert my thoughts in any way. Gigantic hotels, one next to the other, room aside room, that was almost a nighmarish sight.
Not even the view from my balcony did brighten my mind. There were some palm trees alright and a pool - but all around rooms like in a honeycomb.
Well, anyhow, I was going to play darts and enjoy that - nothing else was really important. To be fair, I must say that the hotel held a very high class.
And yes, the darts tournament was definitely a lift for the spirits (pun intended). The boards were placed next to the bar (very practical) and there were lots and lots of nice people, from about ten different countries, making it a good international competition.
Neither was there anything wrong with the Mojitos ... The hotel had of course a mega-mega dining room, which made meals rather noisy. But the food was more than plenty and diversified, so it would be a shame to complain just about the noise.
So far, so good. But as there were a lot of good players, I didn't advance too far in the different competitions. And as I went out rather early (from the darts), I had time to go out (and see Torremolinos). Well, a part of it at least, because the town is far bigger than I ever had imagined.
I started walking along the seafront and soon came to an interesting sight: the Navajas' house. The dynasty of Navajas built it in Moorish (Mudejar) architecture in 1926. Later the building was sold to the municipality, which restored it and uses it today as an object of interest. There is no entry, so I plucked up some courage and climbed all those steps.
It was worth it. One has a good view over the park downstairs and the Mediterranian Sea behind. But it is also marvellous to have a close look at all the details of an architecture, which is so different to ours.
The furniture inside is also kept in original style, similar to the Alhambra in Granada. Today one of the rooms obviously is used for weddings. The inlay in the tables is simply unbelievably beautiful. What more is there to say? Maybe that the sugar cane fields of the Navajas today have given way to Malaga Airport ... By the way, the word "navajas" means penknife, but also razor and hunting knife.
Happy about my experience and my new knowledge, I leave the house and continue my stroll.
I pass a house called "Mare nostrum", which means "our sea", an expression, that was used by the old Romans, when they referred to the Mediterranian Sea. They could do that, as all shores along that sea was controled by them during a couple of centuries.
I pass another house, built on and over a cliff, which seems to be rather daring ... Surely, it is a nice place, but imagine what would happen if the ground gives way one day.
I want to find the center of Torremolinos, the so called street of San Miguel, but the ascent is rather steep, as all of Torremolinos is rather hilly. I am lucky, though, and find a lift, saving me from most of the sweat.
The pedestrian zone of San Miguel is definitely a center for tourists. It seems to be a place, where you can get absolutely everything. Though most of the shops offer typical souvenirs, such as plates, magnets, hats, shirts and a lot of more odds and ends.
I am really astonished of how clean everything is, in spite of the masses of tourists wandering around. Walking down is much easier, so I decide to follow the street downwards. As long as it goes down, it will lead me closer to the sea. From there it won't be very difficult to find the way to the hotel.
On my way down I pass a church. I pop in, to have a look. I am not really religious, but there is a lot of culture preserved in the churches - if it hasn't been ruined by wars and upheavals, like an iconoclasm. Besides you can get other surprises as well. As in this one - no ships here, just one big room, almost a square. Plain, whitened walls with just a few paintings and a reliquery casket make up the decoration. Apart from the front wall. The altarpiece is a magnificent carving with St. George slaying the dragon, which isn't really dreadful, though. The statue of Virgin Mary to the left is as outstanding. Even in its simplicity the church gives an impression of reverence and worship.
Back in the hotel there is just another meal waiting, a drink in the hotel bar and afterwards there will always be a group, that will look for a bar in the town. Preferably that might be a bar off the tourist routes, because those have gotten so much more atmosphere. Maybe they are not as gleaming and full of mirrors, but they certainly have an individual look and besides they are not so loud and crowded. The prices are unimaginably low - it is not much of an understatement, if I'd say that a whisky costs one tenth of what you would be charged in Sweden. And finally, if you turn up for the third time at the same place, they already will treat you as a friend.
By now I had made friends with Torremolinos as well, understanding that my expectations were far lower than reality showed me. So, I wanted to know more about the place. The cultural center seemed a good place to visit. It is named after Pablo Picasso, who was born in the neighboring Malaga. You won't believe me, but this is his name according to Wikipedia: "Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso". Imagine spelling that on the phone ...
It was Friday morning before Palm Sunday and the building was open. I thought. There were three people chatting in the reception as well.
But they told me unanimously that it was closed until after the Easter holidays. Now, I know that the "Semana Santa", the week before Easter, is rather special in Spain. But already in the week before Semana Santa? Nothing to do, so I left again.
On my map I had made out, that there was a Congress Center as well. It was situated at the top of one of those hills in Torremolinos. Well, it might take some time, but I would certainly get away from the touristic paths again and get an impression of how the locals were living. Indeed I encountered some quite different buildings while walking.
And then ... I see it. I don't know, if I shall feel honoured ... nobody has ever erected a monument for me, so I have no experience of that. - Still, here it states clearly: "Monument for the tourist".
But then I follow the pillar upwards and find a female figure up there, without any connections to tourism, that I can become aware of - so I wonder about the sense of building such a piece.
Later, when I talk to local people, they tell me that this monument was built as a monument for the last mayor, who wanted to be unforgotten. It is likely to be torn down again ...
From the locals, and among them not at least cab drivers, I learn a lot of other things as well about Torremolinos. It has about 68.000 inhabitants and is a town of its own since 1988. Before that it was a part of Malaga. And still before that, in the beginning of the 20th century it was a fishing village, like so many at the coast. At that time there were only about 2000 people living there. But the place has been inhabited since historic times. Actually, there were findings of sculls from Neanderthal men, about 150.000 years old! There are just two mountains, which keep the snow in winter, but they too are only about 2000 meters high. The latest information I got from a female cab driver, who liked wandering in the mountains ...
At the Congress Palace I experience a deja vu. It is open and it says that it holds an exposition for the moment, but when I enter, the man in the reception tells me - rather unfriendly - that it is closed. But then he has a bad cold, so he is excused.
At least I have a nice view over the sea and can let my eyes wander all the way over the bay to see the city of Malaga on the other side. The sky on the photo looks bright and blue, but from behind there are dark clouds coming over the mountains. I am not really bothered, I am in Spain and I can always find a café if it should start raining. Wrong thinking again. When it started raining, a couple of hundred meters from "home", there was no café to be found.
And within a couple of minutes, that I needed to the hotel, I got entirely soaked. Professor Higgins and My Fair Lady were not right. Apparently "the rain in Spain doesn't stay mainly in the plain". And besides it pours down rather strongly at the coast as well.
That evening we went to see an old acquaintance. She didn't want to be famous ... just remembered - as the quotation under her name says. Well, I say that she is not only remembered, but quite famous as well. Poor girl! In the bar she keeps smiling, though. There she stands near the entrance and welcomes the visitors. All over the walls are pictures of her. It is a nice idea and the bar is officially named Monroe-bar.
On my last day I met somebody else, who is rather famous. I had a walk along the shore, to the Marina, where sailing boats en masse wait for nice weather - and when I turned around, the two Yetis stood there. I posed myself at the side of one of them - I hope, you can tell the difference ...
The Yetis promote an Ice bar in the cellar, where all the furniture and a lot of animals are carved in ice. You get a thick cloak to wear, so you won't be cold. I didn't have the time to sit down and have a drink there. Maybe another time.
Because I have already made up my mind. This isn't the last, that Torremolinos has seen of me.

Copyright Bernhard Kauntz, Västerås 2016

Back to   or to the   of  

last update: 6.4.2016 by webmaster@werbeka.com