A Life in a Year – 17th March, St Patrick’s Day and Irish Bars

When I travel to Europe I really prefer to eat and drink in traditional places, a tapas bar in Spain, a tavern in Greece and a pizzeria in Italy and I generally steer clear of English pubs and other places that don’t really belong there but one thing that is really difficult to get away from is an Irish pub!

With an area of just over five hundred thousand square kilometers Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe after France and with an average altitude of six hundred and fifty metres it is second highest country in Europe after Switzerland. That is a lot of country to try and see and visit and with so many northern European ex-pats living down the eastern coastal strip then the chances of experiencing the real Spain when I visited in 2007 and 2008 was always going to be difficult to achieve in that part of the country.

Most nights we ate at Villamartin which is a modern development built in 1972 and has evolved into a pseudo Mediterranean village of apartments, townhouses and villas with a central square with a bank, supermarket, shops, cafes and restaurants.  There is nothing very Spanish about this place I can tell you and most of the staff are young Brits who were dragged over here by their parents ten to fifteen years ago and this is the only available employment for them.  There is a nice Argentinean steak house in the square however and we enjoyed a few meals and a lot of San Miguel there. 

Speaking of San Miguel there is a municipality of that name about ten kilometers inland which does have a history going back to Roman times that did seem to be a little more Spanish and we found a nice restaurant there that served what seemed to be traditional Spanish food. 

San Miguel de Las Salinas is a village based traditionally on agriculture and the salt industry and more recently the citrus industry of orange and lemon groves. On the face of it this seemed a lot more Spanish but hang on because according to official statistics in February 2008 41% of the population is now British and only 35% is Spanish. 

And there was an Irish pub that would be open in a month’s time.  Oh dear!


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