Bar Balcon de Maro

The bar in the main square , or Café, Bar, Restaurante, Balcon de Maro, to be precise, is the hub of the village , situated next to the church and with stunning views over the campo land to the sea.

We have had so many great times here. Different at different times of the year. Winter is propping up the bar, eating tapas, talking to the locals ( only in Spanish),with the ubiquitous football on the TV in the corner. There is one high tapas table under the awning at the front that woe betide any visitor who might dare to plonk themselves there, as it is ( we jest), an unwritten rule that you have to have had at least three generations of family here, to be allowed to prop yourself against it, with your mobile phone, a cigarette, a glass of beer or wine, and a tiny plate of gambas or a very traditional Spanish snack of Pipas ( these are roasted and salted sunflower seeds, and by the end of the night ,the floor under the table is usually scattered with the discarded shells!

We have had drunken nights , staggering up the road  back to our house, impromptu musical nights where someone will just start tapping a plastic napkin box and singing flamenco, a late, late night raucous New Year`s Eve party with friends dancing to Spanish disco music, and ,as the weather heats up, the awnings are lifted, and more tables and chairs are put out into the square under umbrellas .You can then drink cold, cold wine , people watch, and look out to sea and just be.

August brings Flamenco evenings on Fridays, ( full of mad, swirling, frilly frocks and impassioned expressions of `Duende`). It`s mesmerising and I adore it, and our local singer/musician Placido sings on Saturday nights, to a backdrop of coloured lights projected onto the white wall next to the church. The square is then full of locals and visitors alike, and the wives of the men who prop up the bar every night ,come out to play, dressed in their finery, and dancing with each other, while their husbands still prop up the bar!

There is of course the occasional ( usually older) man strutting his stuff, and I love to see how obviously they have all been taught to dance Flamenco from an early age.

Because the bar has been closed, it has been greatly missed. It`s so easy ( too easy sometimes!), to walk the few metres down the road from our house for an early doors drink.

But before it re-opens in July, it is having a facelift; new bathrooms, kitchen etc. So I suggested to the owners that they might put a group of framed old black and white photos of the village, on one of the walls of the bar, so I have been asked to organise it. I have been sorting through them ,and they are being printed now. It`s fascinating to see how the village has changed . Even in the 1970s , you can see that farming was very much to the fore, note the sugar cane which was an important crop, and the roads in the village were still just dusty tracks, hewn out of the rock.

 There are interesting photos showing how the women used to wash their clothes in the spring on the edge of the campo, the well in our road, ( no mains water then), the mules and traps returning from town , and several photos of well-known faces in the village in their younger days. I think they will look good in the bar, and be of great interest too.

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