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Not so plain, Southern Spain!


David Jackson is a musician, performer, broadcaster and the owner of a beautiful villa in the south of Spain (which is available for hire).  You can hear David on Totnes FM on his “TQ9” show.
I’d like to tell you a story, if I may, about southern Spain. Not the English bars and noisy football supporting rowdy tourists that so many people are embarrassed to admit are from the same country as us, but the more tranquil, beautiful, scenic, and cultured side of Spain that not many people take the time to find and enjoy.
My family and I went to live in southern Spain in the year 2000, where we bought the side of a hill, which was once a beautiful Olive farm. We had designs on building a beautiful rustic Spanish country Villa, and 3 years later we had succeeded, and is what today we call “Sunny Villa Spain” Because it is a villa, it is in Spain, and yes it’s always sunny!
Whilst building the house, I was working all along the southern coast from Nerja to Gibraltar as a singer entertainer, working at many private parties and holiday resorts alike entertaining the holiday makers who thought Spain consisted of beaches and bars, and that’s it. On many occasions I would ask my audiences how many of them had actually seen Malaga city, and very few actually had, saying that they had seen the airport on their arrival and then the bus straight to their resorts.
I would try to educate them by telling them of the many beautiful places in Malaga city alone (let alone the surrounding countryside) for example the Alcazaba which is a fantastic old fortress which towers over the city, at the top of which is a beautiful garden in addition to the stunning views across the city and the bay. Next to this is the palace. Both these locations were where many battles took place between the Moors and the Christians who were constantly battling for power within Spain’s history.
There is even an old Roman Amphitheatre which is being renovated by the local government, and will once again be used to stage live plays from local theatrical companies. The city is also littered with Roman sites of interest, and the remains of once great buildings constructed by a race of people who had spread throughout Europe.
Apart from this history, Malaga is full of interesting streets filled with shops, markets, bars, coffee houses and restaurants, and has one of the loveliest atmospheres of any major European cities, It is an absolute pleasure to sit outside and eat, or simply enjoy a coffee whilst people watching.

In my 10 years of living and working in Spain, I was never disappointed with the new and exciting places I would find off the beaten trail, which are just stunning for any tourist who is interested in finding out a little bit more about Andalucía. I always refer to the area as Andalucía, as most people would refer to this part of Spain as the “Costa Del Sol” but if you are not aware, this area was once known as the “Costa de la Vienta”  (The Windy Coast) it was renamed by General Franco as the “Costa Del Sol” ( The Sunshine Coast) to attract more visitors when package holidays started to become popular back in the mid to late 60’s when the only resort at the time was Torremolinos
On our website for the Villa ( you will find many areas of interest including El Chorro and the area known as “The Lakes”. You will see this beautiful area below you as you make your final approach into Malaga airport. El Chorro is in fact where they filmed the last scenes of a very famous Second World War epic called “Von Ryan’s Express” which starred none other than Frank Sinatra, and Trevor Howard. After a long period of research and asking around to lots of the old locals in Gauro and El Chorro, I discovered that on a day off from filming, both Frank Sinatra and Trevor Howard travelled to Guaro for lunch where one of the local farmers drove them out to the Olive farm, what is now our Villa location, so that they could admire the view. I was absolutely beside myself to find out that Frank Sinatra and Trevor Howard have actually stood where our front porch is today to look at the mountains. As a singer I do like to sing a lot of Frank Sinatra songs, so this for me is perfect. To see more of the railway where this was filmed, go to our website or look up “Von Ryan’s Express” in Imdb
This area also has the very famous “Caminito del Rey” (small road of the king) which is an amazing footpath circumnavigating the mountain some 300 feet off the ground, Currently closed to the public, the local government is spending in the region of €3,000,000 to re open this pathway to tourists. Part of it is shown in the final scenes of the movie. 
This area boasts some of the most stunning views, fantastic lakes in which the whole family can swim on a hot summer’s day, and fantastic restaurants where you can relax and have lunch with the kids or friends after that swim. I love it here and have many fond memories of my family as our kids were growing up in what can only be described as the perfect part of Europe to raise a family, or enjoy a holiday (summer and winter).

Monda Castle

Closer to our beautiful Villa is the historical village of Monda, and the magnificent “Castillo de Monda” ( Monda Castle) this is a miniature version of the gardens of the Alhambra, with a stunning restaurant, and function suite. I spent many nights here entertaining members of wedding parties, and it is literally 5 kilometres from our front door.
Other beautiful places to visit (which are only a stone’s throw from Sunny Villa Spain), are the village of Mijas; Marbella; Puerto Banus; and Gibraltar. We are truly in the centre of the southern coast of Spain, without the traffic of the coast.

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