TRADITIONS, FADING LIKE FLOWERS

In our fast-changing times, legends of historical personalities and anecdotes based on visits by celebrities may no longer be sufficient to maintain interest in our tourist destinations

ALEKK M. SAANDERS

It is a tradition - every May Cordoba boasts its blooming patios. Traditionally, travel agencies promote the city because of its Mezquita (mosque-cathedral) and of course, the May patio festival. For one hundred years, people have flocked to Cordoba from practically everywhere to admire the display of flowers in spectacular courtyards. However, my Cordoba visit recently will be remembered only for the mandatory taking of my temperature (this new 'ritual' was obligatory before entering a patio). Fortunately, I had no fever, but unfortunately, neither did I have the slightest hint of emotional fever.

Of course, everything is relative. We, who live in the resorts of the Costa del Sol, are definitely 'spoilt', being surrounded by flower murals and façades covered with sunny blossoming plants on a daily basis.

While wandering through tiny streets of the old town of Cordoba, I found myself thinking of Estepona which, over recent years, has really begun to flourish in every sense of the word. In contrast, it seemed to me that the patios tradition in Cordoba is fading, just like the condition of the flowers in them.

Traditionally, Andalucía is proud of its Muslim monuments. A worth-a-visit triangle was even formed for this purpose: Seville, Cordoba and Granada have always been recognised for their sightseeing value.

A pity, though, that other capitals of the Andalusian provinces still remain underestimated, and not only by tourists, but by the locals as well. However, there are good examples of less attractive cities, or rather ugly ducklings, turning into swans after a lot of hard work to get their name on the map.

Take, for example, Malaga, which over the last 20 years has transformed itself from an insignificant city to a popular tourist destination. Another example is the aforementioned Estepona, which today really lives up to its slogan Garden of the Costa del Sol.

After always being in the shadow of Marbella, Estepona now seriously competes with its neighbour for the throne of the most glamourous and mesmerising.

Another good example of rebirth is Torremolinos. This resort eventually realised that it had lost its enormous attraction after years of international fame. The legend of Costa del Sol tourism really had faded after several decades of continuous rule by the same mayor. The new party came to power thanks to a campaign promising to recover the glamour of the 70s, and be «charming» once again.

Charm is something that is possible to achieve, and mountainous villages of Malaga province can confirm this. Genalguacil acquired its charm thanks to the most original, or rather non-traditional of artistic initiatives, and the neighbouring Júzcar is different and enchanting thanks to its change in colour from white to blue.

In our fast-changing times, legends of historical personalities and anecdotes based on visits by celebrities may no longer be sufficient to maintain interest. Even Paris has waned somewhat, while, for example, Dubai is becoming more appealing by offering more emotional experiences.

It looks like tradition is losing its significance and many things that before seemed to be outstanding, are today, probably, just a habit that 'makes' us ignore the reality and new beauty that surrounds us all - when we take the time to look.