|Popular Albir promenade|
Alfaz, located some 3km outside of Benidorm holds a most unusual record - after London it is home to the largest population of Norwegians outside of Norway! Albir, twinned with Alfaz is certainly becoming a favourite holiday destination for many - culturally and visually about as far removed from Benidorm as you can get despite the close proximity. The Town Hall is responsible for both areas, Alfaz and Albir - the beach bit wedged between Benidorm and Altea and the Mayor in charge is Vicente Arques.
The Mayor himself lives in Alfaz and loves how effortlessly all the different nationalities integrate. As well as the Norwegian community there is also an equal volume of British and Dutch nationals living within the town... and not only retirees, there are plenty of young families leaving the UK as is evident from the many children at the British school, Sierra Bernia in Alfaz. They are currently undergoing a publicity campaign to ensure that all ex-pat nationals are registered on the Town Hall padron, as the council receives funding for each and every one from Central Government. This in turn pays for the local police, healthcare centres and schooling like in every town across Spain and so imperative that whichever municipality you live in you are registered. Many worry that it will have tax implications therefore avoid doing so, but it has nothing at all to do with tax. Ironically I find that often they are the ones who will use the facilities yet moan as they are understaffed - you can´t have it both ways!
|Stunning view of Albir from the lighthouse walk|
|Talking to the Mayor in his office|
Vicente told me that each day is different and often a challenge, particularly in the current economic climate where funding has been cut. It is not what can be deemed a 9 to 5 job - he is on call and available 24 hours a day. I have often seen him at various presentations and openings in the evening and at weekends. It is not a career path he would encourage his children into he said - having said that he will be standing for re-election again.
|Always a fantastic selection of seasonal fruit & veg|
Alfaz and Albir are both on the number 10 bus route... so hop on and spend a morning there - who knows, it may become your home one day!
Albir Lighthouse walk