3 Nov, 2010 @ 08:10
1 min read

From North Devon to South Spain in six decades – Part Two

The first night in San Sebastián (Guipúzcoa,) where I had arrived at the age of 20 to start my year abroad from university, had been an orgy of cheap wine, pintxos and music by Santana. This had led to the worst hangover of my life.

Part Two: After the Hangover

By the time I was fit to drink alcohol again two days later the price of wine had doubled to two pesetas a glass!  That’s one hundred per cent inflation!  The locals were up in arms, but we didn’t care, as it was still ridiculously cheap, less than 2d (<1p).  By comparison a pint in the UK in 1970 was about two shillings (10p).

Once we were billeted with families, the only affordable option, we spent the next three months enjoying our new surroundings and new life.  Typically mornings were spent on the beautiful beach of la Playa de la Concha, afternoons at lectures and evenings in the Old Part checking out the range of delicious pinchos and monitoring the price of the wine, before heading back to our digs for dinner prepared by our landlady Maria Nieves, Snow White as we called her!

The three months went quickly by, after which we were left to our own devices for three months.  I’d got myself work in the office of a local tour operator, which eventually turned into a job as a guide collecting British and Irish pilgrims from Lourdes in France and showing them the high life of this most beautiful of the Basque cities.

After my six months’ sojourn in Spain it was off to Stuttgart for a placement as a translator at Daimler-Benz, the car manufacturer.  But Germany just wasn’t the same and I missed the carefree, life-on-the-streets ambience of España.

The next several summers were spent repping back in Lourdes/San Seb, before the demands of a job in teaching and a new marriage made it too difficult to sustain.

Over the next several decades we (my wife and subsequently our two children) explored most parts of Spain through holidays and business trips.  Although the country changed dramatically and quickly after the death of the dictator Franco in November 1975, it remained a great attraction for us all.  Over the years our jobs took us to Madrid, Barcelona and Oviedo (Asturias) for short visits, which enabled us to experience something other than the sand, sea and sun of the ever more ghastly development of the costas.

To be continued …..

Paul Whitelock

Anglo-Welsh, born 1950. Two children (b. 1983 and 1987). Retired school inspector, and former languages teacher. Living in Serrania de Ronda. Re-married 2010. Freelance writer, translator and interpreter.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Story

Clicking cameras in Córdoba

Next Story

From North Devon to South Spain in six decades – Part Three

Latest from Paul Whitelock's View From The Mountains

Jack Frost in Andalucía

It has been a very cold winter in the Serranía de Ronda. Paul Whitelock was inspired to write about Jack Frost by the continuing icy
Help, help me, Ronda!

Help, help me, Ronda!

Paul Whitelock reckons an extract from the lyric of the Beach Boys 1965 hit resonates with lots of people who have come to Ronda to

Doppelgängers in Andalucía

You’ve all heard the rather wacky theory that John F Kennedy, Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Princess Diana et al aren’t dead at all and
Go toTop

More From The Olive Press