Saturday, July 30, 2005

New Travel Guide For Spanish Airports

Spanish Airport Guide ( launched today contains vital information for anyone travelling to or through any Spanish Airport this summer. It lists all flights, services and facilities at each of the main Spanish airports.

Spanish Airport Guide provides an easy to understand guide to the 15 principle airports in Spain. The information on each airport in Spain is extensive with whole pages dedicated to shopping and eating facilities, the arrivals and departures halls and the costs of transport to and from each airport. In most cases there is a selection of different Airport maps.We provide a list of all 47 Airports in Spain and give in depth coverage on the 10 main Spanish Airports.
Spanish Airport Guide provides you, the traveller, with all the information you require to make your trip to Spain an enjoyable one.

If you are travelling to: Alicante Airport, Almeria Airport, Barcelona Airport, Bilbao Airport, Girona Airport, Ibiza Airport,Jerez Airport, Lanzarote Airport, Madrid Airport, Malaga Airport, Murcia Airport, Palma Airport, Reus Airport, Tenerife Airport or Valencia Airport, the guide provides links for comprehensive advice on the following topics:
Spanish Airport Transfers, Taxis, Buses, Trains, Maps, Driving Directions, Airport Shopping, Parking, Airport Telephone Numbers, Spanish Weather Advice, Duty Free Allowances, Arrivals & Departures.

Astronomers find large object orbiting sun

Astronomers have found a large object orbiting the sun believed to be one of the largest entities ever found in the outer solar system, reports UPI.

Astronomers of the Institute of Astrophysics in Andalusia in Spain and US astronomers also appear to have detected it. They found it with one of the twin Keck telescopes in Hawaii.The object is reported to be at least 1,488 km across but may be larger than Pluto, which is 2,240 km across.

The astronomers said details of the object are sketchy as it never comes closer to the sun than Neptune and spends most of its time much further out than Pluto.They said it is one of the largest objects ever found in the outer solar system and is almost certainly made of ice and rock.

Israel exports to Spain up 19%

Israeli exports to the EU rose in the first half of the year by 11.2%, or $466 million, to $4.6 billions. Exports to Spain rose by 19% ($53 millions), to the UK by 13% ($83 millions), and to the Netherlands by 12% ($79 millions).

Friday, July 29, 2005

'Spain not in a property bubble'

Friday 29th Jul 2005,

Spanish developers exhibiting at The Property Investor Show in London (23-25 September, ExCeL London) hotly dispute recent reports that high levels of house price growth in Spain mean that the property market is set to follow the downward trend as seen in the UK market over the past year.

However, with an expanding economy, high employment and excellent infrastructure the market is still very strong, suggesting that high yields are achievable and investors shouldn?t dismiss the traditional Costas in favour of the less established emerging markets of Eastern Europe.

Despite negative publicity of a ?property bubble? causing prices to increase to levels comparable with those in England, good low-end investment properties can still be bought for around ?150,000. ?Even though property is cheaper in emerging markets, for reliability and stability of investment income, more mature markets such as Spain still stack up brilliantly against the competition,? comments Stuart Law, Managing Director of Assetz, a property investment specialist company who will be exhibiting at The Property Investor Show.
He continues: ?Capital growth in Spain is high and still forecast to grow at 10% a year for the next five years at least. Off-plan purchases at discounted rates still offer the best opportunity to maximise profits. Year-round sunshine and the extensive development in recent years of world class golf courses, makes 30- 35 weeks annual rental a realistic goal, with potential gross yields of 10 % plus.?

Along with stable macroeconomic conditions, including the availability of cheap, long term credit, Spain still offers excellent market conditions and guaranteed yields. With over 13 million UK tourists visiting the country each year, and an increase in foreign investment in Spanish property from under 200 million Euros a month to 600 million Euros a month, the boom looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.

James Barnes, General Sales Manager of Livingstone Estates, also exhibiting at the show, believes that Spain will continue to offer good investment opportunities, despite adverse publicity: ?The Spanish Costas are still incredibly popular among tourists and investors alike. The Costa del Sol in particular provides good all year round rental opportunities, with the typical beach holiday in the summer and golfing breaks in the winter. Across Andalucia, we have seen prices rise by as much as 15% over the past year. At the moment it?s still very much a buyer?s market, with investors being able to get good deals on property and securing reductions on asking price of around 10-15%.?

Nick Clark, Managing Director of The Property Investor Show, comments: ?Despite emerging property markets creating a real buzz at the moment, traditional markets like Spain are still incredibly popular among visitors to our shows. With low cost airlines leaving for Spain throughout the day, good infrastructure and an established year round rental market, there is no reason to suggest that the recent reports that the market is set to crash are true. However, we would encourage any potential or professional investors to research the market and get advice from a professional before they commit.?

The Property Investor Show will be held from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 September in the heart of London?s docklands at the ExCeL centre.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Property in Spain

Average house prices there have risen 89% in the last four years to £119,519, according to the foreign exchange group, Moneycorp.However, the average price in Malaga has shot up 144% to £147,291, and in Alicante by 119% to £136,619. Prices in Seville have risen by 114%.

Only France has had comparable hot spots, with average prices in Montpellier also rising 144% to £147,291 and La Rochelle rising 126% to £132,619. Properties around Bergerac rose 157%."The property market here is very mixed at present," warns Campbell Ferguson, vice-president of the Royal Institute of Surveyors (RICS) in Spain.

In fact, there is evidence of a sharp slowdown in the holiday property market, with some buyers suffering badly. "There is far too much supply in some areas on the coast and in some price brackets," adds Ferguson.Just two to three years ago Brits were buying "off plan", paying large deposits on unbuilt and incomplete properties, then selling these on at fat profits before final completion. Some took options on multiple properties in one development.

The aim was to collect a sufficient capital gain to complete the purchase of one of these properties in their own name. All that they could lose were the initial deposits, and this did not happen. Better still, the resale of these options avoided local property taxes."Now there may not be anyone to sell on to," said Ferguson. "Either the whole cost of purchase must be met or deposits are lost in full."Estate agents selling Spanish property in the UK confirm this picture. "I would throw out a caution to investors buying new to re-sell in the short term," concedes Martin Bets, managing director of Simply Overseas Property.

Second-hand property, which requires more research and legal due diligence than buying new, is also offering real bargain basement prices. Sprawling, badly planned developments dating from the 70s and 80s now offer buyers the opportunity to own easily rentable properties close to the coast, ideal for groups of young tourists looking for cheap beer and beaches."You might not want to retire to these, but they can yield 10% or more at the cheaper end of the rental market," adds Bets.

Costa Blanca resorts like Benidorm and, further north, Javea, offer just such opportunities.The best way to find them? You can take a working holiday, or contact one of a growing number of auction companies selling mid to low-price properties.The hard statistics on Spanish property should also give British buyers pause for thought. According to the RICS, a whopping 47% of all new-build Spanish properties last year were on the tourist coast.

Last year Ireland built 14.1 properties per 1000, Spain 13.8 and Cyprus 7.8. No other EU country exceeded four per thousand. And since 1992, tourist coast properties have in each year accounted for at least 42% of all new-build Spanish properties.

The best and latest information on the whole Spanish residential market comes free from the Investment Property Databank.It shows a total return of 12.3% from residential property in 2001, 15% in 2002, 13.4% in 2003, and 14.7% in 2004.Of this, more than 10% in each year was accountable to capital gain, with the balance to rental yields. "The problem is that, as in the UK, investors are having to pay more and more for a property on which the rental yields may well be static or declining," adds Ferguson.

If you do decide to buy it has never been easier. UK and Spanish banks are falling over themselves to lend. Spanish euro-denominated mortgages used to be rigidly structured and required very high initial deposits. They had maximum terms of 15 years and fixed rates of repayment.Not today. Deposits have been reduced from at least 30% to as little as 10% of the purchase price. Better still, maximum mortgage terms have been increased in line with UK practice to 30 or 35 years.
Euro mortgage rates of as little as 2.75% and three-year fixed rates of 3.95% may look very tempting by comparison to UK mortgage rates. And not just Spanish but the local branches of UK banks offer these loans."These can be good value, but you should be sure of being able to meet any shortfall in rental income from your own pocket," warns Ferguson.

Harder to justify is borrowing against your main UK home to get a deposit for Spain, then relying on rental income to pay your Spanish mortgage. This practice has been encouraged by some UK mortgage brokers, but if UK and Spanish property values fall together it could leave the incautious in a very uncomfortable position.Among the places more vulnerable to a slowdown, or even a fall, are those dependent on only one budget airline.

In May the European Central Bank warned about high property prices in several of the eurozone countries, with Spain and France marked out for having markets where house prices had risen substantially.The RICS, though, recorded rises in France, Spain and Ireland of between 10% and 15%, with Portugal, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Belgium rising between 5% and 8%.

Wine Wars

Overproduction and competition from New World wines have touched all of the EU?s major wine producers ? Spain, France, Italy, Greece ? this year.

Italy has become the last of the four to apply for crisis distillation, though the Commission spokesperson said its request for funding to distil six million hl of table wine was ?very unlikely? to be successful. Three to four million hl is seen as more realistic.

The EU budget already sets aside around ?220m every year to fund wine distillation, but has not had to find extra crisis funds since the 2001/2002 season; mainly because Italy, France and Spain had managed to reduce wine production by a combined 22mhl (14 per cent) from the year 2000.
However, Spanish production crept up by eight million hl in 2003 and the French and Italians followed suit in 2004, increasing their production by 11m and 8.5m respectively.

Tensions have sporadically erupted between the nations, particularly in France?s Languedoc-Roussillon region where the militant vintner group, CRAV, has claimed responsibility for attacks on tankers and distilleries containing foreign wines.

French wine makers met with government officials last Wednesday to discuss the on-going crisis and ask for help to distil an extra three million hl of ?vins de pays? and ?vins de table?.
France, Italy and Spain still control around 60 per cent of world wine exports, but the New World is eating into their markets.
Australia recently overtook France to become the UK?s biggest wine supplier and a recent report by UK consultancy IWSR predicts Italy could lose 37 per cent of its export markets by 2008.

Hungarian Success in Andalcia

Malév has decided to prolong its scheduled Malaga flight till the end of October. Originally it should have operated only till the end of September, but the flight two times a week, was a great success among Hungarian travellers.

Malév Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft have almost always had full house on board carrying passengers from Budapest to Malaga, the ever so popular Spanish resort. There are mostly individual travellers but also tourist groups, and the number of transit passengers from Eastern-Europe is also significant. According to booking data the flight is going to have 100% load factor in August and September, while the numbers for October are also remarkable.

Spain means a growing potential for Malév. The Madrid flight showed a dynamic growth in years and is operating with high capacity ever since. From June this year the Southern region of Spain, with destination of Malaga, considered the gate of Andalucia can be reached by Malév?s direct flight. This is Spain?s most important tourist region; with 14% of travellers visiting this part of the country. Not only the high standard apartments, hotels, hostels and other tourist services are offered here but visitors can find an authentic Spanish atmosphere.

Malév?s new flights launched this year met a warm welcome. The Dublin-Athens, Helsinki-Athens flights proved to be remarkably successful from the very beginning among the Irish, Finnish and Greek travellers.

France Telecom Buys Spain's Amena

France Telecom announced its biggest acquisition in more than four years on Wednesday, paying 6.4 billion euros ($7.72 billion) in cash for control of Spain's third-biggest mobile operator, Amena.

France Telecom is to buy 80 percent of Amena in a deal that it said valued the whole company at 10.6 billion euros, including debt.

Freed from the shackles of debt restructuring and cost-cutting, France Telecom had just lifted a 500-million-euro ceiling on the price of potential targets last month.

Europe's second-largest telecoms company in terms of sales said it would pay for Amena with 3.4 billion of cash, to be financed by new debt or existing resources, and by the issue of 3 billion euros worth of shares.

Amena is part of Spain's second-largest telecoms group, Auna, whose main investors include Endesa, Union Fenosa SA and bank Santander.

The deal comes as Auna shareholders are finalising the sale of Auna's cable unit to rival Ono, valuing the unit at 2.2 billion euros, Santander Chief Executive Alfredo Saenz said.
Shares in France Telecom rose as much as 2.5 percent on Wednesday and were up 1.4 percent at 24.72 euros at 1455 GMT.

The Amena transaction marks a further pick-up in telecoms mergers and acquisitions, coming fresh on the heels of Eircom's takeover of Ireland's third-biggest wireless operator, Meteor, for 420 million euros via a share issue.

Champagne Popping Record on Costa del Sol

You can tell news is short with August looming in Costa del Sol when opening 1000 bottles of bubbly draws press releases....

Federica Loi, Director of Public Relations for Ocean Club Marbella, states ?We consider that having strong partners in our promotional events is just as important as having a strong product to offer. Our concept is to offer a whole new beach lifestyle integrating relaxation, entertainment, wellness, fashion and cuisine.

It is a huge project and with partners such as Marbella Options, Casino Marbella and Moet & Chandon, our expectations are constantly being exceeded.?

The event is open to the public, will have a nominal entrance fee, and will take place at the Ocean Club Marbella, next to Puerto Banus, on Sunday the 31st of July from 4pm until late.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Forrest Fires

Mediterranean countries could save lives

New York, Jul 25 2005 10:00AM

Mediterranean countries could save lives and billions of euros every year if they better trained and mobilized communities in preventing and controlling forest fires, which destroy up to 700,000 hectares annually in the region, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today.?The northern Mediterranean countries are spending billions of euros annually on their fire fighting budgets, but only a small fraction of these resources are used for the training of rural and urban populations,? FAO forest fire expert Mike Jurvelius noted.?Since people are the main cause of forest fires, prevention and control must mainly involve communities living near forests,? he added, stressing that investing in fire education will reduce the number of fires and the cost of fire management.

In the Mediterranean region, there are often more than 100,000 fires in a single fire season, with some countries recording over 20,000 fires every year.The cost of fire education campaigns is very low compared with the operating costs of a water bomber, which average 3,500 euros per flying hour; the cost of a large fire helicopter can amount to as much as 20 million euros. ?For the price of one large fire helicopter 10 million people could be trained in fire prevention and control,? Mr. Jurvelius said.

The main causes of outbreaks in rural areas are agricultural burning and conversion of forests to croplands, burning of residues and waste, burning forests to improve hunting, and arson. Barbecues and fires in camping sites also cause many wildfires. The recent destructive fires in Central Spain, which killed more than 10 people, were caused by the careless handling of fire during barbecues, FAO noted.Since the 1980s, climate fluctuations have caused more frequent changes in wind direction and have also led to more intense winds. This has made fighting forest fires more difficult and has resulted in more severe fires and higher death tolls.
?As long as people do not understand the dangers of using fire in the open without proper protection and often under extreme weather conditions, like hot summer temperatures of sometimes over 35 degrees, the fight against forest fires will continue to rely on heavy and very costly equipment such as fire-fighting planes and will be of only limited success,? Mr. Jurvelius said.

FAO has called upon governments to prepare voluntary guidelines for fire management and provide financial resources for awareness campaigns. Early warning systems should keep the population aware of the risk of fires in critical periods, and the use of open fires should be absolutely prohibited.

?As long as people do not understand the dangers of using fire in the open without proper protection and often under extreme weather conditions, like hot summer temperatures of sometimes over 35 degrees, the fight against forest fires will continue to rely on heavy and very costly equipment such as fire-fighting planes and will be of only limited success,? Mr. Jurvelius said.FAO has called upon governments to prepare voluntary guidelines for fire management and provide financial resources for awareness campaigns. Early warning systems should keep the population aware of the risk of fires in critical periods, and the use of open fires should be absolutely prohibited.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Rising Olive Oil Prices

Spain's drought sets off a rise in olive oil prices
Reuters News Service


A scorching drought in Spain has sent olive oil prices soaring as farmers in the world's top producer estimate this year's harvest could fall almost 30 percent.

Extra virgin olive oil is being quoted at $3,620 a ton, some 20 percent above prices of a year ago, as the combined effects of frost and now drought ravage the crop.
"Consumers won't pay those prices. ... Everything has a limit," said Oscar Lopez, the market administrator of an olive oil futures exchange set up last year.
The industry estimates people consume more olive oil each year.

Even before the drought started, olive oil producers were trimming their estimates after frosts destroyed some of their trees. Spanish Cooperatives Federation reckons about 4 percent of all Spain's olive trees lost this year's harvest because of the frosts.
Some of those trees will have to be replanted, and so will not produce for about five years, said the federation's olive oil expert, Javier Lara.

Spain has had below-average rainfall since September, and farmers are hoping for rain before the November harvest.
Italy is the world's No. 2 producer, followed by Greece.

Friday, July 22, 2005

New Signings to Five Continent Group

Five Continent Group 's new additions:

It has been a hectic week for the company with 4 new starters learning the ropes and a concerted effort to expand outwards through out the Costa del Sol with the Costa Blanca next in our sights.

At this very moment FCG has photographers and a Company Director in Norway and Sweden getting our Scandinavian Section up and running with Denmark next on their agenda.

The company has grown exponentially and come a very long way particularly over the past 6 months with more contracts for web design & solutions and marketing for some very notable leaders in the tourism industry.

Five Continent Group has a basic agreement with Bylos Andaluz Hotel in Mijas, Alsatli Spa Hotel and several more deals to be concluded in the forthcoming weeks.

The Dining Section has seen Caruso Italian Restaurant (San Pedro de Alcantara) sign up, Toni Dalli's famous Marbella Restaurant, Marbella's Taj Mahal Indian, a superb French/Indonesian Restaurant in Nueva Andalucia called Bistro the Gallery, and decisions are waiting from 6 top restaurants in Benalmadena Costa.

The Web Design Section is in the process of completing for a Guadalmina based Estate Agency specialising in mortgages and distressed sales, and our team has 3 new projects ready to go

The real estate property section has undertaken to sell 76 bargain detatched wood frame villas in Granada (3 beds for 125,000 Euros) and a large selection of repossessions.

Clampdown on the Costa

Spanish authorities take action against house building

The Spanish government is taking action against the housebuilding epidemic taking place along the Spanish coast, in light of mounting environmental concerns and growing pressure to prevent the coast from being irrevocably damaged. At present, new-build properties in Spain are being erected at a rapid rate, in a bid to meet steady demand for homes in popular holiday locations from European investors.

Subsequently, it is thought that somewhere close to a third of all of Spain's Mediterranean coastline has been taken up by the construction of new homes. Already popular holiday destinations are becoming inundated with new-builds in an attempt to meet strong demand, and many of these properties are not fully legal or authorised.

The Costa del Sol is a prime example of a region in which this has taken place, and recently, regional authorities announced the possibility of demolition to help resolve the issue.Now, the Spanish environment minister Cristina Narbona, has announced a plan to buy up "ecologically sensitive" land and private property that prevents access to the beach, in a pre-emptive, protective measure.

According to the Guardian authorities are yet to reveal exactly how much is being spent on the land purchases, which will take effect in "exceptional cases".

Greenpeace is warning that rapid house building could be have a huge adverse effect upon the Spanish coastline, and the environmental group stresses that more needs to be done to prevent the situation from worsening. According to Greenpeace the constructions of 768,000 new houses along the Spanish coast have been approved as well as 58 new golfing clubs and 77 sailing ports.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Blackpool to Malaga

Monarch today announced the launch of daily flights from Blackpool to Malaga.

Up to 100 jobs will be created when Monarch Scheduled arrives at the Squires Gate terminal in November.And company bosses hope to add at least two more foreign destinations to their portfolio before the end of the year.Monarch is the UK's largest independent charter airline and tickets for the daily Malaga flights on board a 174-seater Airbus A320 will go on sale today.Prices to Malaga start from £39.99 one way and £74.99 return.

The Luton -based company has 22 jets in its fleet and currently flies around five million people to more than 100 destinations every year.The addition of the Malaga flights mean Blackpool will now fly daily to two major Spanish destinations ? the other is Girona.It is one of just four airports to offer flights by Monarch Scheduled ? the others are Manchester, Gatwick, and Luton.Executives from Monarch Airlines touched down at Blackpool Airport's Squires Gate terminal this morning to announce the news, which will increase runway traffic by more than 25 per cent.Paul Whelan, chairman of City Hopper, said: "We are delighted with our new partnership with Monarch Scheduled.

Alan Cavill, head of corporate policy and development at Blackpool Council, said: "This is exciting news. We are very pleased to welcome another quality airline to add to the growing family in Blackpool."We know Monarch Scheduled will provide an excellent service to people both here in Lancashire and the North West, as well as customers in Spain."We are especially looking forward to helping promote the facilities and attractions of the Fylde to the people of Andalucia."

"It truly enhances the relationship of the local stakeholders here in the North West and those in Malaga."On the Costa del Sol, a massive marketing campaign is under way, driven by Monarch, to encourage thousands of Spanish tourists to visit Blackpool.Passengers flying into the Fylde will be encouraged to see the sights of the coast and the North West.Tim Jeans, managing director of Monarch Airlines, said: "Blackpool attracts millions of tourists each year."The council and regional tourism bodies are right behind us and can't wait for the influx of Spanish passengers ? up to 20,000 that we'll bring in each year."

Passengers passing through the departures gate at Blackpool Airport can also fly other cities including London, Dublin, Douglas, Aberdeen, Amsterdam and the Bulgarian seaside resort of Bourgas.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005



Jellyfish invasion causes chaos for Costa tourists
By Mike Swain

BRITISH tourists were warned yesterday about an invasion of stinging jellyfish that have attacked thousands of bathers in Spanish resorts.
The Red Cross said it has treated more than 1,400 holidaymakers on the Costa del Sol alone last weekend.
Swarms of the mauve stinger - or pelagia noctiluca - have forced some beaches to ban tourists from the sea.
Red Cross spokesman, Andoni de Saracho, said: "We have never seen an invasion of jellyfish so big before.

"On some beaches we have had 60 people waiting for treatment. It is very worrying."
The worst hit areas include the Balearic islands - mainly Minorca - Costa Blanca, Costa Brava and the Canary Islands.
And on mainland Spain in Catalonia, on the Barcelona coast, there have been reports of up to 5,000 stings a day.
The jellyfish grows up to 10cm long and has eight tentacles - each up to three metres long. Its powerful sting leaves a large red mark.
Some people suffer allergic reactions which need urgent medical treatment.
Those in most danger include children, the elderly, asthmatics and people with heart problems.
Lawyer Mark Chopin, 37, of Beckenham, Kent, was stung on a beach in Benalmadena on the Costa del Sol. He said: "It was excruciatingly painful."
Josep Maria Gili, of the Institute of Marine Sciences, Barcelona, blames a rise in water temperatures in the Med and a decline in sea predators such as turtles.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Don Pepe Marbella´s chef headlines Gastronomy Conference

"Best" brings one of the most nationally renowned young cooks, and liquid nitrogen to Bilbao

The conference, presented by the gastronomic critic Mikel Zeberio, hosted a presentation by Dani García, one of the most renowned cooks in our country.

Daniel García's Cooking School, of the Zortziko restaurant in Bilbao, has hosted an interesting conference called La Cocina del frío (Cold cuisine), within the framework of the Gastronomic Lessons and Cooking Techniques of ?Best (Bilbao Estimula '05). Year of Basque Gastronomy? and coordinated by the Communication Consultancy ?A Media Gastronomic Consultancy ? Viandar?.

The conference, presented by the gastronomic critic Mikel Zeberio, hosted a presentation by Dani García, one of the most renowned cooks in our country and responsible for the gastronomy area at the Gran Melia Don Pepe Hotel in Marbella (Malaga).

Together with his kitchen chef and assistant Juan Carlos Hernández, he showed the public the use and application of liquid nitrogen in cooking, a technique that allows for the creation of different textures. During the presentation, Dani García transformed textures and deoxygenated food products in order to create dishes such as frozen semolina of olive oil, toasted bread and garlic; pickled lobster, popcorn of raf tomatoes and olive oil; gazpacho of cherries, fresh cheese snow and anchovies; and oxtail ravioli with cauliflower and truffle.

The way this cook from Marbella and holder of one Michelin Star uses liquid nitrogen, surprised the large number of people who attended this new Best event. The assistants had the opportunity to experience the different textures of the frozen olive oil semolina and the popcorn made from raf tomatoes and olive oil, seasoned by Dani García's professionalism and sympathy, which conquered the audience that packed Daniel García's Cooking School. For several years, the Michelin Star-holder has been experimenting new cooking techniques together with Raimundo García del Moral, professor at the University of Granada and gastronomic critic, with the objective of modifying the textures of cold soups, ice creams, gelatines and many other food products, using sophisticated technical equipment. Born in 1975, Dani García started his education at the Hotel Management School of Malaga, ?La Cónsula?. In 1996, he started working as an apprentice at the Martín Berasategui Restaurant in Lasarte (Guipúzcoa).

After his training with Berasategui, Dani worked in several restaurants in the province of Malaga. Daniel earned his stripes as a kitchen chef at the Tragabuches Restaurant, which opened its doors in 1998 in the city of Ronda. He now holds that same position at the Gran Melia Don Pepe Hotel in Marbella. This event is one of the more than 40 activities carried out throughout the year 2005 within the framework of ?Best (Bilbao Estimula 2005). Year of Basque Gastronomy?, jointly promoted by the Bilbao City Council, through its Department of Employment and Economic Promotion, the Regional Government of Biscay and the Basque Government.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Costa de la Luz Information

Sun, sea and space - it's a trick of la Luz

Cassandra Jardine mingles with the Spanish on the Costa de la Luz

When you say you are having a beach holiday in Spain, the news is generally received with pity. "How lovely, which bit?" people say and you know that they have an image in their minds of hideously crowded beaches filled with bright red Brits and Germans knocking back the sangria and spending their evenings clubbing or hunting for somewhere that serves good chips.

Shore thing: you can find good family packages
Spain's costas - the Costa Brava, the Costa del Sol, the Costa Blanca and the Costa Packet (ha, ha) - have become anathema for the discerning tourist, but all children like to go to the beach so, when I was told that there was another costa, one untouched by the fell hand of all-inclusive, free-brandy-for-breakfast package tourism, I was game.
Named after the bright white light that shines off the Atlantic, the Costa de la Luz in eastern Andalusia sounded promising.
"It's amazing. As soon as you turn the corner on to the Atlantic, everything changes," said someone who had spent a wonderful holiday on the southern section. "The big blocks fall away and there are these wonderful beaches and fantastic old towns such as Cadiz and Arcos and Jerez de la Frontera."
I'll have to take her word for that: the only family hotel offered by Sovereign, the tour operator we travelled with, is on the northern stretch of the Costa de la Luz, between Huelva and the Portuguese border. The flamingos in the Coto Doñana National Park may flit easily between the costa's two sections, but humans will encounter a delta that takes a very long time to drive around.
Our arrival was not auspicious. London was sunny as we set off but Spain was hidden under thick cloud. We had taken off at dawn, and planes to Faro were booked solid, so we had a four-hour drive from Malaga to reach the promised land.
On arrival it was all too obvious that, although five years ago there had been nothing but dunes and umbrella pines along the Islantilla stretch of coast, five years is a long time in tourism.
Far from sitting in splendid isolation, the Puerto Antilla Grand Hotel was surrounded by rows of others to left, right and inland. It had been standing only a year, and its wispy-topped palm trees were still settling into their new homes.
When we found that the sprawling hotel pool was out of bounds because of an annoying rule about no swimming after 6pm, depression set in. So gloomy were we that my 15-year-old son spent the evening on the internet looking for cheap flights home.
But once you realise that you are in a place for a week, you look for the good points. We all slept extremely well on that first night, thanks to the sea air and effective luz-barring blackout blinds, so we awoke in a better mood.
Driving rain made us cut our losses and head to Seville (an hour and a half away on a new, empty motorway) for the day. That in itself was worth the whole trip.
The cathedral, the Alcazar and the bull-ring are all magnificent, as are the tapas bars. The flamenco bars might be, too, if you can stay up that late; but the Isla Magica theme park is something I would recommend only to those with a passion for concrete and queues.
When the sun shone the following day, we made the most cheering discovery of all: the beach. It is wide, stretches for miles and is covered in fine, golden sand. Even more exciting was to discover that we could swim.
I had been told that at the end of May it would be too cold for anything more sensitive than an anchovy to enjoy a dip, but that was nonsense. The water was far warmer than it has ever been in Cornwall and offered respectable waves - not big enough for surfing, but much more fun than the stillness of the Mediterranean.
Even in high summer, a Spaniard told me, the beach is empty enough to find space, and thanks to a cool breeze, it never has that feeling of a giant sauna. "Last year, when I was in the Costa del Sol," he said, "the towels were packed so close together on the beach that you had to wait for someone to leave before you could put yours down."
A Spaniard? That was the other revelation. The Costa de la Luz is packed with them. They formed the majority in our hotel, with Portuguese coming second; German and British families are only just beginning to arrive in bulk.
From the point of view of our children, who like to run in packs with other English-speakers, the preponderance of Iberians meant a limited social choice, but there were just enough Hannahs around - why are English girls always called Hannah? - to keep them happy.
From every other point of view, being surrounded by Spaniards is an asset: they demand food with a local flavour (lots of good paella and local prawns), and they have their extremely well-behaved children around them at mealtimes, which means that they tolerate rather less well-behaved English children racing about with plates of fried eggs.
Most important, they speak a foreign language, which prevents the Costa de la Luz from feeling like a microcosm of England with the heat turned up.
The Spanish come here from the nearby cities of Huelva and Seville. They have always done so in small numbers, but in the past five years the area around Islantilla has woken up to its new future as a big tourist destination.
Architects have devised ways of building on dunes, so the coast is developing fast, with every yard between the ocean and the escarpment boasting either a building or a crane.
Where there are tourists, there are also amusements. Islantilla already has one golf course and another is due to open soon. A small market in nearby La Antilla sells potato crisps made before your eyes. And, next to our hotel, the children could hire motorised scooters and bikes, which they raced at alarming speeds.
A further joy lies in discovering that Huelva province's modest income has, until now, been based on strawberries, melons and - transportable home if you get it shrink-wrapped - jamon and chorizo from inland Jabugo, where the pigs have arguably the finest flavour in Iberia.
To get away from the crowds at present, all you have to do is drive a mile down the coast to an empty stretch of beach occupied only by boys kite-surfing and locals dredging the sand for cockles.
Or you can head farther east over the Portuguese border to the part of the Algarve where, thanks to a sand-spit, mass tourism has yet to arrive. If development stops now, Spain has a major asset in the Costa de la Luz. But the signs are that local developers are getting overexcited...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Gulf Finance House Commercial Bank offers Gazules Del Sol - premium residences in the heart of Spanish grandeur

Gulf Finance House Commercial Bank offers Gazules Del Sol - premium residences in the heart of Spanish grandeur

In a strategic initiative aimed at diversifying its portfolio of high-value products and offering regional investors a slice of contemporary European lifestyle, Gulf Finance House Commercial Bank (GFHCB), today announced the commencement of sale of 107 residential units in the prestigious Gazules Del Sol apartment project in Spain.
Bahrain: Wednesday, July 13 - 2005 at 16:12 GMT+4

Located in the heart of Andalucia amid the tropical gardens of Costa Del Sol, Gazules Del Sol is a fully integrated residential complex that offers fascinating views of the Mediterranean sea and its sunny beaches, not far away from the majestic mountains that line the tranquil Spanish countryside. Gazules Del Sol is a mere seven minutes from Marbella - Europe's most marvelous resort, famed for its 5 spectacular beaches. The project, comprising two and three bedroom apartments, and penthouses with private gardens, is slated for completion by June 2006.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Building blight on Spanish coastline

Thousands of illegally built homes could be demolished
Giles Tremlett in MadridThursday July 7, 2005
The Guardian

Tens of thousands of illegally built Spanish holiday homes, many bought by unsuspecting Britons, could be demolished as the country tries to limit the destruction of its Mediterranean coastline.

Local authorities on the Costa del Sol said yesterday that demolition was being seriously considered, though attempts would have to be made to compensate people duped into buying illegal properties.

Greenpeace says more than 44,900 houses and flats have been constructed illegally in recent years. About 20,000 of those have been built in one town alone - the southern Costa del Sol resort of Marbella.

Building blight on Spanish coastline Thousands of illegally built homes could be demolished Giles Tremlett in MadridThursday July 7, 2005The Guardian Tens of thousands of illegally built Spanish holiday homes, many bought by unsuspecting Britons, could be demolished as the country tries to limit the destruction of its Mediterranean coastline.
Local authorities on the Costa del Sol said yesterday that demolition was being seriously considered, though attempts would have to be made to compensate people duped into buying illegal properties.
Greenpeace says more than 44,900 houses and flats have been constructed illegally in recent years. About 20,000 of those have been built in one town alone - the southern Costa del Sol resort of Marbella.

The buildings were either put up by developers who did not have proper permits or who had been awarded licences by town halls that deliberately ignored their own planning laws.
Many owners were unaware that they had bought flats or houses built on greenfield or protected land, Juan Sánchez, the president of the association of western Costa del Sol towns, told the Guardian yesterday.

"Those who have bought apartments in good faith should not be punished. The costs [of compensation] should be assumed by developers or town halls," he said.
Mr Sánchez said Greenpeace's figures for the number of illegal buildings probably fell short of the actual total.

Marbella's town hall, which has turned a blind eye to much of the development over the past decade, was reported to be lobbying against demolition yesterday. It was hoping for a blanket amnesty on illegal buildings.

Greenpeace said that would set a terrible precedent, "showing that impunity rules on the coast".
Illegal building continues in Marbella without anyone doing anything about it, the organisation said.
A town hall spokesman refused to comment yesterday.

Greenpeace said that illegal holiday homes were just one of a series of problems caused by an explosion of building up and down Spain's Mediterranean coast in recent years.
Developers had sought permission to build some 750,000 new houses and flats over the next few years.

As space ran short, the building boom was now threatening the last few protected coastal areas, including the Cabo de Gata and Doñana parks.
"The last corners of the coast are now being built on," said Juan López de Uralde, the head of Greenpeace in Spain.

A new hotel complex on the Algarrobico beach in the semi-desert at Cabo de Gata, which won planning permission from a local council, was proof that even the most valued ecosystems were no longer safe, Greenpeace said.

Second-home owners from Britain and elsewhere, unscrupulous developers and town halls dependent on income from building licences have fuelled the construction boom.
International drugs money and the profits from the illegal arms trade are also said to have been sunk into Spanish coastal real estate. Some Costa del Sol town halls are so used to living off the proceeds of building licences and land deals that they receive between 50 and 70% of their income from construction, Mr Sánchez said.

The 11 former fishing villages that stretch west along the Costa del Sol from Torremolinos to Manilva are expected to have a permanent population of 1.5 million within ten years. That does not include the millions of visitors who come each year or those who live part of the time.
A plan to control and organise building on the Costa del Sol has finally been drawn up more than 20 years after it was first called for.
"Some things are too late to fix," said Mr Sánchez. "But we should not be afraid to grow as long as we do it in an organised, orderly way.
"Private enterprise and public initiatives work at different rhythms," he said. "It may take three years to put up a housing estate, but it takes 20 to build a motorway."

A recent Costa del Sol survey showed that hoteliers, who predict a fall in business, are among those most worried about overbuilding.
Greenpeace said that one of the biggest strains on coastal infrastructure was the building of new golf courses that each consumed as much water as a town of 15,000 people.
More than 20 of these were being opened each year, meaning that the country would have about 500 golf courses within a decade.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Overseas Property Investment

Overseas property investment doubles in five years

More and more Brits are buying overseas properties, the Office for National Statistics has reported.
By the end of 2003/2004 some 69,000 owned homes in Spain, 51,000 in France, 5,000 in Portugal, and 3,000 in Italy.
In total overseas property investment totalled £23.2bn, some £183.3bn of which was in Europe. The figure has more than doubled in the last five years.

Spanish property investment accounted for nearly a third, both in terms of numbers and value. Nearly two thirds of Brit-owned overseas properties were in Europe, 6 per cent in the USA and 29 per cent outside Europe and the USA, in countries such Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the Caribbean islands.

Almost £70m of the £190m rental income from foreign property now earned each year comes from Spanish investments, close to £50m from French and just over £40m from the rest of Europe put together.Meanwhile, a separate study on Spanish property investment by Grupo i? in collaboration with ?Live in Spain? and sponsored by Banco Santander Central Hispano found that Britons headed the list of foreign property buyers, followed by Germans.

It also suggested the Costa del Sol was by far the most popular area for foreign property investment.The study put the demand for second Spanish homes 117,000 this year, a figure that will increase to 150,000 by 2010 with more sales in the other ?Costas?.

Sunday, July 03, 2005's analysis of Spain Property

Spain Property Reports from the UK

What can you say about Spain: excellent year-round weather, a superb infrastructure, plenty of sport and leisure activities (including some of Europe's finest golf courses), great food and even better drink. No wonder this is the number one destination for both holidaymakers and holiday homers - and looks set to remain that way.

Having said that, southern Spain - and the Costa del Sol in particular - are having something of a tough time at the moment; property prices are high, the papers are full of reports of agents overcharging on commission, money laundering scams and 'land grab' horror stories. Yet, the famous costas march on, because, the truth is, nowhere else in Europe can match the year-round sun and fun of Spain, or the range of holiday property available - and all just a two-and-a-half-hour budget flight from the UK.

Furthermore, Spain is a big country with many possibilities for investment; inland properties can represent excellent value, city apartments are easy to rent, and previously 'undiscovered' parts of the coast are now emerging for bargain hunters.

Dakar Rally 2006

The Dakar Rally, formerly Paris-Dakar, course runs from Barcelona to Granada, down the Costa Brava and Costa del Sol, over the Sierra Nevada mountains through Andalucia Southern Spain.

The Dakar course goes across Gibraltar to Morocco, Rabat and Agadir. Then Mali, Mauritania and Senegal: Smara, Zouerat, Tichit, Tidjikja, Atar, Kiffa, Bamako, Kayes, Tambagounda ... and the stretch sprint to Dakar's Atlantic beaches.

"It'll be like taking candy from a baby," Robby Gordon of Nascar fame said, looking ahead to the 2006 challenge. He'll be racing in his own car, out of his Los Angeles race shop, Robby Gordon Motorsports West, a California partner to his new Charlotte NASCAR shop.

As a Dakar rookie in the 2005 race, Gordon amazed everyone by leading the first five days of the rugged adventure, in a personal duel with legendary Colin McRae. Then they both crashed within an hour of each other. "Running one and two," Gordon said.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Benahavis: What A Difference (Part One)

1. Benahavis : Costa del Sol's Secret Rural Getaway

The history of Benahavis starts at the end of the XIth century, when the Arabs founded the town. Closely related with the Costa del Sol's Arabic past, and particularly with Marbella, the district which it belonged to until it was granted the so-called "Carta Puebla" by Philip II in 1572.

Montemayor Castle, built prior to the Construction of Benahavis, playes a very important role in the battles between the various Arabs kings in Andalusia, because of its strategic position. It was disputed for many years by the military factions of the epoch. Its prominent location overlooking up to a hundred kilometres of seaboard, and even the African coast, was extremely useful at a time when piracy and invasion were commonplace.

The town takes its name from Havis, who reigned in Montemayor Castle. To be precise, Benahavis means son of Havis".
The castle's strategic location drew the attention of the Catholic Monarchs, intent on conquering the last Moorish kingdoms in the south of the Iberian Peninsula. Isabel and Ferdinand's forces had already laid siege to the Nazarite kingdom of Granada, but they decided first to occupy the nearby province of Malaga.

Soon on the 11th of June, 1485, Benahavis, together with the localities of Daidin, Montemayor Castle, Cortes Fortress, Oxen, Arboto, Almachor, Tramores and Calalui Fort (the Castle of Light), in the Bermeja Mountains, all within the district of Marbella, were handed over to King Ferdinand the Catholic, by Mohammed Abuneza after the signing of the capitulation.
The Catholic King entrusted their custody to Don Pedro Villandrado, Count of Ribadeo, the first christian mayor of Benahavis. From that moment on, a dispute arose between Benahavís and Marbella which lasted three and half centuries, until Benahavís achieved the status of a completely independent community.

As for Montemayor Castle, it is worth noting that as well as its impressive location, it had an underground passageway connecting it with the coast, through which the Arabs were able to transport soldiers.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Car Hire Costa del Sol. Tony's Rent a Car Malaga

Tony 's Rent a Car Car Hire Rental Agency

Malaga Airport Costa del Sol

Tony's Rent a Car is located opposite Malaga International Airport,(AGP), Andalucia Costa del Sol, Southern Spain. Tony's Rent a Car, in conjunction with Five Continent Group offers you an unbeatable Special Offer on Car Hire for the remainder of 2005.
Tony 's Rent a Car is a family business dedicated to offering the most competitive prices on the Costa del Sol, and offers services such as delivering your chosen car right to the airport or any given destination along the Costa del Sol.


Añoreta Golf Course is a parkland course, designed by Jose Maria Canizares. His design and layout for Añoreta Golf offers the golfer an excellent challenge. Water is a major hazard and is featured at eleven of the 18 holes.

The fairways of Anoreta Golf are lined with semi-mature trees. Golfers get the opportunity to play whilst enjoying fantastic vistas over the Sea from this golf course from several of the holes. Añoreta Golf Course Costa del Sol is located approx. 13 km from the centre of Malaga (East towards Nerja). It comprises 18 holes with a total yardage of 6538yds (par 71).

Wi-Fi in Spain


Bern, June 27, 2005.

The new network partners cover major cities, airports and hotels in their respective countries. All new partners will support landing page, WISPr and WISPr EAP-SIM access. By joining the open WLAN roaming platform, they underline WeRoam's position as a leading WLAN aggregator and global roaming solution provider.

The French telecommunication specialist ADP Télécom operates extensive WLAN networks in the international Air hubs of Charles de Gaulle and Orly in Paris. Other highly frequented hotspots of ADP Télécom include the Alliance Hospitality hotel group with 36 Holiday Inn's throughout France and the capitals top locations Concorde La Fayette Hotel, Palais des Congrès de Paris and Paris-Expo Porte de Versailles.

Wifieuro of Spain, an operator covering the Costa del Sol provides access to all WeRoam customers in the attractive cities of Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada and Malaga.

FORTHnet of Greece also joined the neutral roaming platform, offering WLAN service on Minoan Lines ferryboats travelling to all major islands in the Aegean Sea. On the mainland, venues include Starbucks coffee shops all around Greece and hotels in Athens and Thessalonica.

More hotspots are now available in Finland too, where under the brand Zonet eight power companies have combined their regional WLAN networks, fully covering entire cities.
Toni Stadelmann, CEO of WeRoam, says, "Our focus on hotspot footprint is to cover highly frequented locations where mobile end-users expect and ask for WLAN services. Our recent agreements are implementing our strategy to add both attractive venues for business users and holiday destinations where in the future the consumer segment will further drive usage."