Restaurante Cantueso goes Greener

There is something comforting knowing that somewhere in Spain our old cooking oil, long after it cooked your calamari, is running someone’s car.

Increasing oil prices and Middle East tensions make biodiesel fuel increasingly important as it is so environmentally friendly, renewable and above all cheap.  And when converting old cooking oil it makes even more economic sense.

For some years it has been a geeks’ paradise with “home brewing” DIY biodiesel kits costing a few hundred Euros, and as long as they could find sufficient used chip fat they had a fuel for their cars costing a few cents per litre.

More recently commercial operators have entered the market and will not only produce biodiesel from waste oil but also deal with unwanted by-products previously a problem for home producers.  For Cantueso, this means our old sunflower oil is now converted into fuel and we have a supply of soaps, hand and floor cleaners all from the glycerin that is the main by-product of the process and someone somewhere drives down the Autovia on Cantueso biodiesel 🙂

New Guide to Beaches in Axarquia

The new Axarquia Beach Guide from Cantueso

At Cantueso Cottages and Restaurante we are often asked by visitors to recommend a beach and always found it difficult to offer adequate information due to the numerous possibilities along this part of the Costa del Sol.

Now thanks to our front of house manager Jo Mitchell’s hard work during the last few months, we have her own personal recommendations for some of the many beaches between Malaga and Nerja. Her illustrated guide runs to over twenty pages and will be available to visitors staying at Cantueso Cottages.

 

Jo the author of our guide

Jo is a sun worshipper and spends much of her free time on the beach and writes from first hand experience. She includes a wealth of information on each beach and will guide you to: lively beaches, those ideal for children, secret coves, the best beach-side bars and restaurants, or even a nudist beach.

Latest News from Jo

She has now added to her great beach guide with a companion volume “An A to Z of things to do in Andalucia” It runs to an impressive 158 pages and has over 1400 photos of all the places you are ever likely to visit in this part of Spain. As with her beach guide the latest volume is available to guests staying at Cantueso Cottages in Periana, Spain

1400 photos in a guide to Axarquia

See also the 14 pages of “Things to do” on our website.

GEOGRAPHICAL NOTE:

No doubt many readers will be as confused, as we sometimes are, regarding how Axarquia, Costa del Sol and Andalusia all fit together.

ANDALUSIA

Andalusia is a Spanish Autonomous Community with regional government and has the greatest number of inhabitants of any region. It is sometimes called the Lake District of Spain having over 300 lakes and reservoirs. See our blog on Lake Viñuela.

It has a benign climate boasting 3000 hours of sun per year, with many kilometres of golden sandy beaches and those beautiful natural ports which have made it a safe haven for navigators for centuries past, and now plays host to many thousands of tourists from all over the world.

COSTA DEL SOL

Within Andalusia is the COSTA DEL SOL (The Sunshine Coast). It is that part of the Southern coastline of Spain which stretches from Gibraltar in the West, to Almeria in the

East. The Northern boundaries are not always easily defined and here in Periana we are sometimes said to be “Inland” Costa del Sol.

AXARQUIA

Axarquia is a district (comarca) within Andalusia. It stretches from Malaga to Nerja along the coast and inland as far as Alfarnate hence we title Jo’s beach guide La Axarquia (Costa del Sol East).

For maps and information on the regions of Spain see: Maps of Spain or Absolute Axarquia

Bad News for Train-spotters at Cantueso in Periana

Imagine the scene, a Thomas the Tank Engine locomotive and rolling stock that would have looked at home in an American western, rolling through the hills of Periana surrounded by billowing white clouds of steam.  In the last century this was a common sight as there was a narrow gauge railway linking Vélez Málaga, Periana and Ventas de Zafarraya.  It surprises visitors to Cantueso that the unmade road as you approach the complex is in fact the old railway track.

Thomas the Tank Engine Spanish Style

In about 1905 just after Málaga had installed electric trams and the need for more sophisticated transport increased, The Suburban Railway Company was set up, funded with 4 million Pesetas from the Bank of Antwerp in Belgium.  The company received various concessions to build and run lines from Málaga and along the coast.  The grand scheme envisaged a network linking Málaga with cities such as Granada, Seville, Almeria and Gibraltar.  The line from Málaga to Vélez was routed close to the sea and is said to have been a wonderfully scenic journey which, after Almayate, continued through agricultural scenery dominated by sugar cane.  Like the railway we have sadly lost the sugar cane plantations, more of which we will write in a future blog.

Embankment near Periana

The Vélez to Periana line was started in 1911 and opened in 1914 less than two months before the outbreak of the First World War.  Work was halted and the line was only completed in 1921.  The line which was 31 km long had a planned extension from Zafarraya to Alhama but due to the poor economic climate was never built.

The route particularly the stretch from Periana to Ventas de Zafarraya had some serious inclines and Swiss engineers were involved in the design of a rack system to enable the trains to climb to 1000m above sea level.  This part of the route was truly alpine, often encountering seriously bad weather, and it is a tribute to those early engineers that the route never in forty years of service encountered any serious accidents.  At its peak over 500 people were employed on the railway and there were stations at Vélez Málaga, Periana, Ventas de Zafarraya with halts at Trapiche, La Viñuela and Matanza.

Full Speed on the Flat Sections

The demise of this railway and many others like it has been put down to several factors, both economic and social.  After the civil war (1936-1939) and the Second World War, the railway was in much demand carrying loads of sugar cane and other crops to and from the coast, but slowly the introduction of cars and buses lead to a loss of passengers and freight.  Then came the increase in tourism, with a concomitant migration of people from the villages to the coast, and the need to fund many projects along the Costa del Sol, led to a lack of capital spending on the railway.  Eventually what should have been a franchise until 2015, was wound up by Royal Decree in 1959.  The railway closed the next year and the tracks were removed.  After less than fifty years, a form of transport that had replaced the mule trains of old was itself displaced by “progress.”  As fuel costs make travel ever more expensive one can only imagine what could now be made of a scenic railway passing through some of the most attractive landscapes in Spain.

Continue reading