60 Years ago in the Costa Brava

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It is 60 years ago since the first package holiday from the UK arrived in Catalunya in the Costa Brava. The cost at the time was £35. This amount was the equivalent of 10 weeks wages to the average worker at the time. This of course was the first package to anywhere in Spain. Remember the song ''We are all off to sunny Spain, to the Costa Brava shore'' How has CB changed since then ? Have any of you memories of the eary day package holidays to CB ? Why was CB chosen as the first destination for these holidays ? How does CB compare to other destinations in Spain or anywhere else in Europe ? How does the value compare now with the old days in CB ? How are holiday makers getting to CB now ? I think that CB is the most beautiful, interesting, best value, best beaches, nicest people, most historic, greatest weather etc. etc. etc. place on God's earth. What do all you other lovers of CB think ? 

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bigben-859970 1414874265

I agree.It's a beautiful little corner of a very mixed up world.


My wife came to Lloret about 50 odd years ago with a package company called Martin Rook. Rook was an ex-railman and specialised in packages for BR staff who had free passes.


We came as a family here in 1986 and we worked the first two summers with a Cambridge company called Starvillas. They had rental properties in Sant Antoni, Callella, Llafranc, Tamariu and Estartit. Along with Costa Brava Villas and Beachvillas they had flights from various parts of the UK to Girona Airport every Friday. These companies didappeared quickly when everybody had to register property in the catastral register and do a tax declaration.


There were also lots of people who came "flight only". They were called "pollos" and were always looking for a lift on the bus to the coast. The bus driver charged them 1000 PTAS each and split it with the guide so it boosted the rather poor wages.

joaquin-860354 1414955269

Great topic marino! Looking forward to some interesting replies. I haven't been coming here for that long, but do really love this part of Spain and hope to spend many more years here.

CaterinaBat 1415010361

I first came to Lloret de Mar in 1961 and it was like an adventure of a lifetime.  I came on a package holiday organised by a company called Panorama based in Brighton.  We paid 25 guineas each for the all-in trIp. We flew from a small airport in Kent on an Elizabethan aircraft to an airport near Paris.  From there we boarded a coach for the rest of the journey. I can't remember how long the journey took, but there were no motorways then so it must have taken a good few hours.  We were accommodated in the annex of a small hotel near the seafront, although I suspect that the 'annex' was someone's home, with three single beds squashed into a very small room and the bathroom somewhere else in the house.  We then spent an idyllic week or so on the beach and visiting various small bars in the evening, where there was dancing under the stars to Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole records, as well as some Spanish singers.  Our favourite night spot was called La Fusta in the centre of Lloret, now called Bumpers, but I guess the inside decor now is nothing like as primitive as it was in 1961.  The following year I came back to Lloret and met a very handsome young Catalan man who I kept in touch with during the winter months, returning in subsequent years to see him again and again.  We've now been married almost 43 years and although Lloret has changed totally since those days, we're still happily together and enjoying our life and family on the Costa Brava.

bigben-859970 1415047301

When I did my post (above) about Martin Rook I was pushed for time so I didn't mention Panorama. It's funny now that  CaterinaBat mentions them. Panorama and Martin Rook went head-to-head in the book of the railwaymens union, trying to sell the latest destination. Then they moved into buses and planes and disappeared when the big tour operators took over. But there is no doubt that these smaller companies led the field. I'm glad my wife (also Catherine) didn't meet a handsome Catalan but after Lloret, her and her Dad went to Alassio in Italy and I nearly lost her to a handsome Italian.

Michael-Chapple-925566 1521560079

These posts are bringing tears to my eyes!! In 1960s as a lad I went with my parents to the Med with both Martin Rooks and Panorama - Dad worked for BR. Our first holiday was to both Lloret de Mar in 1962 and therafter Alassio (twice), also Rosas, Lido de Jesolo, Rome and Sorrento.  I well remember the excitement of the channel crossings and the overnight couchette train journeys from Paris to Spanish/Italian borders. It was all so new and exotic.  We loved Alassio so much that we went there twice.  It left a such lasting impression on me that I took my wife there on a day trip from the south of France in 2005 and am going back for a week in September this year. I'd love to go back to Lloret too and see if the Hotel Dex still exists. I remember that the hotel was not quite finished when we arrived, but unlike the battles tourists had with tour operators had in later years, there was a refund waiting for us when we arrived and free drinks for the week!!  Happy days.

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