News from Andalucia, and the Costa del Sol
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JANUARY 25th - JANUARY 31th
BURIED FOURTEEN YEARS ON
Gerald Brenan finally laid to rest in Málaga
The cremated remains of Gerald Brenan (1894-1897) were finally laid to rest in the British Cemetery in Málaga on Saturday.
The body of the author, who was in fact born in Malta and who loved Spain in general and Málaga Province in particular, had been, at his own request, at the disposition of medical researchers in Málaga University for the past 14 years.
At the end of last year the celebrated Hispanist, Ian Gibson, writing in the El Pais newspaper, called for Brenan finally to be laid to rest and his remains now lie next to those of his American playwright second wife, Gamel Woolsey. Earth from Alhaurin el Grande where he died and from Yegen, the village in the Alpujarras where he arrived in 1919 was added to the tomb.
The ceremony at the British cemetery on Saturday was attended by Ian Gibson, together with the Councillor for Culture, Carmen Calvo, the rector of Málaga University, Antonio Diez de los Rios, one of Brenan's two grandchildren, Stephane Corre, as well as other members of the British community.
A LIFE IN AND OUT OF SPAIN
Gerald Brenan had a full and varied life. He survived the trenches in the World War I and decided to live in the Alpujarra village of Yegan, where he spent over six years surrounded by more than 2000 books. In 1934 he left Yegan for Churriana and then for Gibraltar, seven weeks after the civil war started.
He is well remembered for the "The Spanish Labrynth" - written during and at the end of the Civil War - now considered by many to be a classic account. Brenan expressed his feelings of exile by completing three major works on Spanish life and literature. On his return in 1953 he began a series of autobiographical works, including "South from Granada", "A Life of One's Own" and "A Personal Record".
In 1969 he moved to Alhaurin el Grande. He was awarded the Order of the Commander of the British Empire in 1982 and 1984 was declared a living monument of Spain.
TORREMOLINOS PALACIO FINISHED BY MARCH
The work to reform and enlarge the Palacio de Congressos y Exposiciones in Torremolinos is on target and will be finished at the end of February. The May or Torremolinos and President of the company operating the facility have inspected the work done to date and expressed their satisfaction. Amongst the projects carried out were the upgrading of the fire fighting system, as well as the modernisation of the lifts.
ANTEQUERA MAKES A STAND FOR RURAL TOURISM
A six and half metre high replica of the most visited monument in Antequera, the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria la Mayor will welcome visitors to the town's stand at the FITUR tourism fair to be held in Madrid between January 31 and February 4. The local tourist office think the model will catch visitors' attention to the stand which will also be decorated with large photographs of the Menga dolmen and the landscape of El Torcal.
Visitors to the tourist fair, the largest in Spain and one of the most important in Europe, lucky enough to be near the stand in pavilion five on February 1 will also be offered a traditional Antequerian breakfast.
MARBELLA IS WHERE THE SECOND HOME IS
According to a report by Advanced Management Services, for the Consorcio Zona Franca de Barcelona, Marbella is the number one destination in Spain for foreigners seeking a second home in Spain. In 1999 the Cost del sol received more than 20 per cent of the total foreign investment for holiday homes valued at half a billion pesetas.
A NEW FACE FOR FUEGIROLA
Work has started on the remodelling of the Avenida Jesús Santos Rein in Fuengirola. The first phase will take place in the area between the Maestra Aspiazu roundabout and the entrance to the Feria ground. Included in the project is a pedestrian walkway by the railway line and the creation of 140 parking spaces. This phase of the project should be finished in May. A group sculpture by José Manuel Gómez and modelled by Rosario Garcia is due to be unveiled on the Maestra Aspiazu roundabout in April.
NEW FOUR STAR HOTEL
February will see the start of a new four star hotel in Fuengirola. It will be built by the Cadena Beatriz Group, who are investing 4,000 million pesetas in the project. The company already owns hotels in Talavera de la Reina, Toledo and Lanzarote. The new hotel will have 306 rooms and take 18 months to compete. When operational, Fuengirola will be able to offer tourists the choice of 1,351 hotel rooms.
BRITS IN ESTEPONA
The Estepona Town Hall register has set the number of local population at 44,235 an increase of 1,726 on last year's figures. It is interesting to point out that amongst the registered population there are 6,330 foreign residents, 4,866 from the European Community. British residents come first with an overwhelming majority over other European nationalities with 2,567 registered. Germans are a distant second with 673 residents.
750 LEGIONNAIRES OFF TO KOSOVO
Soldiers from the Spanish Foreign Legion based in Ronda were in Alhaurin de la Torre at the weekend. They took part in the inauguration of a new town square which has been dedicated to 'La Legion Española'.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Colonel in Chief of the Third Alejandro Farnesio, José Manuel Muñoz, said that the troops from Ronda would go to the Balkans in March. They would relieve troops presently undertaking peace keeping duties in Kosovo.
As many as 750 Legionnaires would go, the majority of them coming from the Third Alejandro Farnesio in Ronda. They will be supported by units from the Third Gran Capitán in Melilla, the Duque de Alba in Ceuta and the Brigada Legionaria in Almeria.
CIVIL LAW CHANGES
Modernisation aims at accelerating justice
The New Year has brought with it amendments to Spanish Civil Law, unchanged since 1881 and in need of major overhauling.
The changes aim at accelerating the notoriously slow moving justice system by allowing admonitory civil court cases involving sums of less than five million pesetas to take place without the up-to-now obligatory lawyer. Judges will continue to preside over the proceedings, but paperwork will be simpler with all the case details laid out on special forms available at all courts. Until the new law came in, there were some sixty different categories that lawsuits could fall into - now these have been reduced to just four: family, inheritance, admonitory and exchange rate.
BETTER EQUIPPED COURTROOMS NEEDED
The new Spanish Civil Law also states that courtrooms must have special sound and image recording systems installed to monitor proceedings. Until this amendment is carried out and a large number of courtrooms provided, the new Spanish civil law seems to be condemned to working at it's habitual speed with more unresolved cases piling up.
LIFE ON THE WILD SIDE
According to figures released by the regional government, 350,000 people have visited the Selwo Wildlife Park in Estepona since it opened in December 1999. The park has some 2,000 animals, which live in semi-liberty in conditions representative of their natural habitat. This makes Selwo unique in Europe. Price of entry to the park is 2,500 for adults, 1,750 for children. The park has a number of restaurants and self-service facilities where the visitor can eat at a reasonable price.
Serrania de Ronda was recently given permission to have its own denomination for the wines grown in the area. Now permission is being sought from regional government to have the area's fine and distinctive cheeses similarly recognised. If approved they will be marked "Quesos de la Serrania de Ronda.
LOCAL BUSES GO FAR
The Spanish-Cuban Friendship Association has combined forces with the 0.7 per cent office of provincial government to fund the sending of 20 old Málaga buses and seven out of service ambulances to Cuba. The value of the goods, which also includes a supply of spare parts, has been estimated at 10 million pesetas.
This is not the first time that retired public service vehicles from Málaga have been sent to Cuba and as on previous occasions, the Friendship Association intends to send the buses packed full with clothes, medicines and toys.