Life in ancient Benalmadena thrives in the evening.
“Woof woof!” a dog barks, piercing the silence of the balmy evening. Another canine howls back, although this time the call turns into some boyish laughter. Then the voices break into Spanish chatter, and I realise that those talking hounds are actually young boys very realistically ‘playing dog’. The pitter patter of their footsteps fade into the night, echoing down the cobbled lane ways of the mountainous white village of Benalmadena Pueblo.
It’s about 11PM, one of our first nights here and I’m lying under a transparent gauze of white netting that envelops the bed. We don’t have a fan, and there are no mosquito nets covering the window in J’s granny’s home. So to let the cool evening breeze in, the windows are flung wide open and the outside world is invited to join and distract me as I start my journey to sleep.
It is just so difficult to doze when I can hear all life that transpires just outside my bedroom window. From kids playing tag on the street to families passing by on their evening walks together, a lot happens during the night in Spain. Even in our quiet corner of this typical Andalusian village.
Ancient Benalmadena takes up just a few lines in Lonely Planet’s Andalusia guidebook, but to my husband’s family it creates the setting for three generations of stories. There’s a Danish hospital nearby, and J’s grandparents moved to Spain about 50 years ago in order to work there. They fell in love with the area influenced by Moorish architecture, and his grandmother still calls Spain home when she can. J’s family has been visiting her ever since.
J tells me that when he was young, he used to run around with some of the local kids up and down the cobbled corridors. Perhaps not so late in the evening, though, as Danish kids are usually put to bed at a much earlier hour. But the kids are all grown up now, and have moved away from town. Nevertheless, there are clearly still families living in the area, perhaps because of the success of tourism in Costa Del Sol. It’s nice to know that a town can still keep its spirit and uniqueness despite becoming an attractive destination and also a multicultural community. Who can blame travellers for coming, when there are so many charming cities and beach options near to each other? Gradually, the exhaustion from the full day of activities takes its toll and I begin to drift away into neverland. The last thing I hear is a dog howling followed by kids chattering in the distance…
We fled Greenland for a short respite of Spanish summer, where we could count on endless days of warmth and sun, tasty food and cheap wine. It has been lovely to be on vacation!