Connect with us


Spain's Malaga Scoops Up Family Tourism Award – Olive Press News Spain




MALAGA CITY has received a family tourism award for its family-friendly tourist activities.

The distinction is awarded to cities whose tourism industry offers an outstanding choice to families and is approved by the Spanish the Ministry of Trade.

The award ceremony took place on Tuesday July 26, in the Patio de Banderas of Malaga city hall, and was attended by Councillor for Tourism, Jacobo Florido, and president of the Spanish Federation of Large Families, José Manuel Trigo.

Malaga City Snip
Malaga’s tourism is booming.

Photo: Wikipedia

Florido said: “The Family Tourism award endorses us as a great destination which adapts to the needs and desires of family tourism. We know that travelling with families requires extra planning in terms of reservations and the search for leisure activities. That is why we empathise and work towards a destination of excellence that offers solutions.”

Malaga becomes the first city in Andalucia to scoop up the award in the urban destination category, one of the four categories of recognised destinations. 

It means Malaga continues its drive as the pre-eminent tourist destination in Andalucia, and is well on the way to rivalling Barcelona and Madrid nationally.



Mystery Of How The Cold War Spy Who Met The Kennedys Ended Up Dead In A Ravine In Spain's Costa Del Sol – Olive Press News Spain




IT started as a Cold War tale of intrigue involving a spy, international headlines and appearances from Robert and Edward Kennedy.

It ended when a shepherd in a remote backwater of Spain discovered a decomposing corpse in a gulley.

The mystery man could only be identified from documents found in a nearby wallet.

Guardia Civil decided the body was that of 48-year-old Vladimir Kazan-Komarek – an American citizen of Czech descent.

Bobby Kennedy 2
Bobby Kennedy greeted Kazan-Komarek on his return to the US

The year was 1972, with Spain still under the thumb of fascist dictator Francisco Franco and the world in the depths of the Cold War. The location was the now bustling – then sleepy – town of Estepona on the Costa del Sol.

Kazan-Komarek had first come to public attention six years previously when he became embroiled in a spy scandal that would not have been out of place in the pages of a John le Carré thriller.

It involved the shadowy world of espionage and high level diplomatic negotiations.

Estepona Komarek Inset
No one knows why Kazan-Komarek (inset) turned up in Estepona

What was known was that on October 31,1966, when Vladimir was returning from a travel agents’ conference in Moscow, the Soviet airliner on which was traveling — supposedly on a nonstop flight to Paris —was diverted to Prague  for ‘mechanical reasons’.

It has never been proven that the flight was deliberately diverted at the behest of Czechoslovakia, but the authorities certainly grabbed their chance to lay their hands on the suspected spy.

He was hauled off the plane and charged with setting up and operating an underground espionage and terrorist network in the communist country between 1948 to 1950.

They also held him responsible for the death of a policeman.

Press reports from the Czechoslovak media had previously identified him as an agent for United States Army Counterintelligence.

Vladimir 2
Kazan-Komarek was reunited with his wife

A prisoner of the Nazis during World War II, Kazan-Komerak had worked for the US army in Germany in 1945 and 1946, before he returned to his home country.

But when the communists took control, he fled Czechoslovakia in 1948 and lived in Paris before moving to the US in 1953.

There he faded into the background, marrying a noted beauty, fathering five children and becoming a US citizen, all while settling into life as a travel agent.

Life seemed to be going well until he made his fateful Moscow trip. In Prague he was charged with high treason and espionage.

During the Kazan-Komarek trial in 1967, the most serious charges that he had been an American intelligence agent were quietly dropped after an intense diplomatic campaign by the US government.

He was instead convicted on lesser charges of subversive activities against the Czechoslovakian state and jailed for eight years.

His rapid release was brought about largely through the intervention of Senator Edward Kennedy, whose brother Robert was present when Kazan-Komarek’s flight touched down on American soil.

Once safely back in the US, Vladimir admitted that the charges against him were partly true. He had helped people escape from Czechoslovakia, believing that he was working for French intelligence.

Subsequent investigations found he was being rather modest with the truth.

It is believed that he was one of the most important agents for the French Secret Service (SDECE). And that he returned to the other side of the Iron Curtain to organise a network to rescue people threatened with death or prison for their resistance against the regime’s dictatorship.

The network was liquidated by communist police and Kazan-Komarek alone managed to make it back to the West after a shoot-out with border guards. Seriously injured, he returned to Paris and spent several months in hospital.

While the case caused a sensation at the time, Vladimir faded into the background. He severed ties with the Harvard Travel Service, of which he had been president.

Then in 1971 he left his wife and five children in Wellesley, Massachusetts and disappeared to Europe.

In November that year he resurfaced in Estepona where he lived alone in a small flat.

Guardia Civil investigators said he led a normal life, passing his time writing a book about flying.

He made friends with expat Americans and was due to fly to the US with a Canadian couple when he disappeared

On June 5, 1972, the United States consulate in Sevilla was informed by Samuel Berman, an American living in Estepona, that Kazan-Komarek had been missing since May 11.

The authorities discounted the report after being informed he had been seen in the first week of June. But a body was discovered on September 7 in a hillside gully on a farm outside Estepona.

A Marbella court decided there were no signs of foul play and confirmed the corpse’s identity as Kazan-Komerak through the documents found nearby, together with a key to his front door.

Strangely, the US authorities in Spain failed to inform his widow of the death. That was left to the Canadian couple he had been set to travel with some months earlier.

US State Department officials said there was no indication that Kazan-Komarek might still have been involved in intelligence work, and insisted he had not been employed by any United States intelligence agency. And there the matter rested.

But the mystery of his life and death has never quite been forgotten. There are still people who wonder if the body truly was his and why he should have given up a successful career and large family to disappear into what was, at the time, a remote backwater of a country living under a dictatorship.


Continue Reading


How Sotogrande Has Greatly Improved It's Food Scene Over The Last Few Years – Olive Press News Spain




WHETHER you’re looking to see how the other half live or just looking for some decent food, Sotogrande has a lot to offer these days.

There are many good places to dine with a bustling vibe developing over recent years.

This is no surprise considering the wealthy clientele who frequent this privileged enclave, with many now staying open through the winter.

One of the biggest changes has been the development of the port area, in particular in Ribera del Marlin.

It’s a buzzing hive of activity on summer evenings with hundreds of punters fighting for the best waterside tables.

One of the best is superb Foodisiac, which has a distinct swagger about it and manages to be both stylish and cool in equal measures.

121161156 1372769169736542 416135360295006620 N
Foodisiac restaurant in Sotogrande. Image from Foodisiac.

It has its own bakery and a large number of different coffees on offer, not to mention some delicious looking cakes and desserts.

The original mix of starters is perfect for a hot summer’s day.

Neighbouring Don Diego has an intriguing mix of Mediterranean dishes fused with Asian and South American cuisine.

Finally, the true godfather of the port Midas is still going strong after over 30 years.

Well established in the extreme, this is THE place for a business lunch or a dinner to impress, sitting right by the main port area.

Interested in Asiatic food, you might also want to try the emblematic La Finca, which sits next to La Casita campsite in San Roque and is another great find.

La Finca 2 E1440083071362
Restaurant la Finca in Sotogrande. Image The Olive Press

In summer you sit around a leafy courtyard, a riot of colours and candles, while in winter you dine inside the authentic farmhouse with stone floors and fireplaces.

In the opposite direction, restaurant Mar Sana at the Milla de Plata hotel is a charming spot for an evening meal, heavy on fresh fish with its own speciality tuna menu. Just outside Torreguadiaro, it sits on a headland overlooking a rocky cove with views to die for.

For more casual chiringuito fare a little closer to the resort, head for wonderful Gigi’s Beach, ensconced on the edge of the marina by the sailing club.

The creation of Georgina ‘Gigi’ Taylor, her youthful, hard-working approach to style and taste makes this a surefire winner for local foodies and the international jetset alike.


Continue Reading


Sotogrande Is Home To More Top-Notch Golf Courses Than You Can Shake A Nine-Iron At – Olive Press News Spain




IT would not be unfair to call Sotogrande the home of Spanish golf.

After all, it has some of the oldest courses in the country and has even hosted the Ryder Cup.

Indeed, anyone with half an interest in sport will remember the fantastic last few holes of the 1997 Ryder Cup, when Colin Montgomery played the best round of his life.

That was at Valderrama, now viewed as one of the must-play golf courses in Europe, beautifully maintained, pricey and, some say, a touch too challenging.

Valderrama Golf Club 1 1
Valderrama Golf Club in Sotogrande. Image from You Golf Travel.

Golfers up for a change should try Alcaidesa, claimed to be the only Links golf course in southern Europe. 

Seaside courses require a different style of play from your standard 18 and if the ball lands in the water, forget it! 

As an added touch, Alcaidesa may be the most scenic of all the Sotogrande courses, with breathtaking coastal views to Gibraltar and North Africa.  

It might explain why the course entices a serious number of high-quality events to its doors each year, from parties to society weddings. 

There are, of course, half a dozen more courses on the Sotogrande circuit. 

Real Club de Golf de Sotogrande, a.k.a. the ‘Old Course’, was the first to be built in the area

and said to be a dream to play after tricky sister course, Valderrama. It was here that so-called Bermuda grass was first introduced into Spain.

Image 99550
Real Club de Golf de Sotogrande, a.k.a. the ‘Old Course’, was the first to be built in the area. Image

Almenara Golf, designed by Ryder Cup champion turned respected course architect David Thomas, is up in the hills where celebrities Glenn Hoddle and Glen Johnson have homes.

La Canada, La Reserve and San Roque complete the ‘famous five’. 

“There are few places with such a high concentration of great golf courses,” says Ian Bateman, of Holmes estate agents. 

“When you add the fabulous tennis facilities and polo club, with its 11 full size courses, the facilities in Sotogrande are second to none.”


Continue Reading


Copyright © 2017 Spanish Property & News