Remembering Benidorm

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I WAS in Benidorm recently. To be honest I wasn’t really sure why I was going, and I am not exactly sure even now what I did, but I had a great time and was going to leave it at that until a local bar owner here in Almerimar, Kurt, asked me how I had got on.

I explained to him the above and his response was a classic “Benidorm is like the 60’s, if you can’t remember it you weren’t there!”, and on such sayings does a column grow.

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To be honest I am not even sure I have been to Benidorm before. I suspect I may have as we used to take family holidays in Spain in the mid 70’s, but if I have all I remember is a big hotel that was brilliant, lots of sand and splashing in the sea, and being allowed to stay up way later than normal, oh and on one holiday a family friend kicking my ball into the sea and being told that it would probably wash up in North Africa.

I have passed Benidorm many times since both in the car and on the Harley, and I must confess the foot gets pushed down a little harder on the accelerator, or the throttle tweaked a bit more on the Harley each time! That wasn’t an option this time though and as we pulled off the motorway I could feel a cloud of depression descending, but then we swung back over the motorway, round a few roundabouts and turned into the Asia Gardens Hotel. What an amazing hotel! Absolutely the last thing I was expecting, but then I looked at the details I had been sent through and it made sense. It was the ITT Travel Conference, we were ‘guests’ of News International, and Jon Gaunt was broadcasting live for SunTalk. I have worked with and in the Travel Industry in the past and they do know how to do things in style.

Post show it was lunch on the terrace with News International, an hour listening to Jon Gaunt host a World Cup Q&A with Ian St John, a few drinks, then off into the old town for an evening’s entertainment on a roof top overlooking the bay. Bar, food and music, and as night fell, a very attractive view of the Benidorm skyline all lit up.

Admittedly it all got a bit fuzzy after that, but I do remember some very nice small Tapas bars in the old town, an excellent steak and more than adequate red wine in a restaurant we stumbled upon. Walking along the beach in the early hours it was buzzing, lively and fun; not at all threatening and much cleaner than I had expected. But then again my impressions of Benidorm are based on historical anecdotes, and the TV series, which is brilliant but somewhat exaggerated… although I used to think the same of the short lived BBC Soap Opera Eldorado before I lived in Spain!

It is interesting that it was Kurt that prompted this column. A few years we had what you might call a ‘falling out’, but over the years maturity, time spent together, and experience has ensured we found enough common ground to enjoy each other’s company and to get on pretty well. By accepting our differences, and focussing on mutually beneficial and enjoyable areas, we muddle along happily enough and have put the past behind us (even though he is a Man City fan!) – rather like Benidorm really!

By Chris Marshall

www.almerimarlife.com

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