Tapa derives its name from its literal meaning….to cover, from the Spanish verb tapa, The original tapas were the slices of bread or meat which sherry drinkers used to cover their glasses between sips. This was a practical measure to prevent flies from hovering over the sweet sherry. The meat used was normally ham or chorizo, which are both very salty and create thirst. Bartenders and restaurant owners began to get the message and create a variety of snacks to serve with sherry. This increased their alcohol sales so much so that the idea of tapas became as important as the sherry.

Malaga tapa
The other great thing is that the serving of tapas encourages conversation and that satisfies another great trait of the Spanish; talking and opinion making. It is designed to encourage conversation because people are not so focused upon eating a large meal that is set before them. It is easy for people to stand, talk and move about while eating beautiful helpings of tapas.

In Spain, as dinner is usually served in the evening between 21.00 and 23.30hrs and sometimes later, this leaves a significant period of time between work and dinner. Therefore, the Spanish often visit bars and eat tapas in the time between finishing work and having their main meal. Since lunch is usually also served early to mid afternoon, another common time for tapas, particularly at weekends, is around noon. Usually, as a means of socializing before the family meal at home.
Interestingly, there are other thoughts of how tapas came about.

People are usually standing while eating tapas, therefore they need to place their plates on top of their drinks to eat, making it effectively a top or cover.

There is also a belief that the name could have originated originated when certain tavern owners found out that the strong taste and smell of mature cheese could help disguise that of early powerful wine, thus “covering” it. This started the offering of free cheese served with wine.
Another option began when King Alfonso X of Castile recovered from an illness by drinking wine with small dishes between meals. After recovering, the king ordered that taverns should not serve wine to customers unless it was accompanied by a small snack or tapa.
Other alternatives with reference to royalty intimates that King Alfonso XIII stopped by a famous tavern in Cádiz where he ordered a wine. The waiter covered the glass with a slice of cured ham before offering it to the king, to protect the wine from the beach sand, as Cádiz is windy with sand in the air. After drinking the wine and eating the tapa, he ordered another served in the same way.

A further notion surrounds Felipe III who passed a law in an effort to curb rowdy drunken behaviour. The law stated that when a drink was purchased, the bartender was to place over the mouth of the goblet a cover containing some small quantity of food as part of the purchase .The idea being that the food would slow the effects of the wine and fill the stomach to prevent over indulging .

Tapas can be increased in size to provide bigger portions, equivalent to half a dish (media ración) or a whole one (ración). This is very popular when there is a group of people socialising. After all, getting together is one of the pleasures of life, particularly in Spain.

Sometimes, a beautiful tapas bar is a pleasant alternative choice to a full meal in a restaurant. You can see and choose your dishes as they are laid out before you in a superb presentation in the bar area. This is particularly handy if you are in a rural vicinity and your Spanish language is not up to recognising the myriad of different dishes on the menu.

So, next time you’re out and about, look for a tapas bar. Not only is it superb for food but it’s also a great way of meeting the locals. Be sure there will always be a warm reception. “Que aproveche !!”


Outlaws, smugglers and armies have all taken the road from Algeciras bay to Ronda. It is one of the most scenic routes in Spain, climbing more than 3000 feet above sea level through the wild Sierra. This road forms part of the trip from Malaga and back again.

Take the beautiful new motorway from the city, travel through the wonderful countryside up in the hills and through its tunnels. Heading west the motorway will bring you to the junction where the road to Gaucin joins it.

Turning onto this, from here it takes you on a superb journey through the true hinterland of Spain but first it passes one of the biggest wind farms in the country. The wind turbines are positioned very close to the road and the slow rhythmic turns of the blades are mesmerising. Leaving this behind the route begins to climb into the mountains passing by the Pueblo of Casares on the right. After half an hour, the road then drops down to cross the Rio Genal then once over the bridge and bubbling water, it continues its journey to Gaucin.


Avoiding the temptation this time to enter into the pueblo, turn right onto the old smugglers route heading towards Ronda. On leaving the vicinity of Gaucin, there are two or three panoramic viewpoints that look over the complete incredible vista that is the Rio Genal valley. This beautiful scenery stays with you all the while you are on this road, which in itself has been renovated to a very high standard. After some 20 km, a road veers off to the left to the Pueblo of Jimera de Libar and takes one to a whole new Vista. Another valley with another river, the Rio Guadiaro, meandering gently through it before tumbling down into the sea midway between Estapona and Gibraltar on the Costa. The view now is one of sweeping hills laying at the foot of beautifully formed mountains. The river ensures that the countryside is lush and this is reflected by the colour of the meadows. Following the riverbed there is a single line railway which links the coast at Algeciras with Ronda and this adds to the quaintness of the area.

Following this road to Ronda, the journey just gets more and more pleasant and takes us to the next pueblo of Benaojan. Time your journey to have lunch here because just as you leave the pueblo, making sure you are on the Ronda Road, there is a small venta run by a family who prepare the most wonderful food imaginable. If it’s chilly, then there will be an open log fire burning brightly in the restaurant. After taking a leisurely luncheon, continue on your way to Ronda then depending on your plan, either take the beautiful highway down to the Costa del Sol at San Pedro or continue across country taking the high road. If you choose the latter, the route passes by the wonderful Natural Park of the Sierra de las Nieves on its way to El Burgo, Alozaina and Pizarra before finally dropping down to Malaga. A further choice is heading south after Alozaina, via Coin and Mijas and then rejoining the motorway back to the city.

So this is a trip of many different choices. If you are renting a vehicle then CarGest, the leading car hire company in Malaga will help you plan your itinerary to get you on your way. More information is on their website.


Recent tourist facts have revealed that the heydays back in the 60s and 70s are returning to the Sierra Nevada. Once again, it is fast becoming one of Europe’s hippest ski resorts.

It has seen the return of the Spanish royals, always a good sign as they traditionally frequent the Pyrenees to ski. Contributing to the real sense that the Sierra Nevada is becoming once again the place to be. It was the destination for the rich and famous who spent much of the year on the Costa del Sol. However, Prince Felipe and his wife Leticia were spotted recently taking advantage of the wonderful snow and skiing conditions.

Sierra Nevada

One local businessman and head of one of the ski schools explained that in the 1960’s and 70’s everyone knew of the Sierra Nevada but somewhere along the way it got forgotten; probably with the avalanche of properties on the Costa itself. But it is finally making its way back again helped with the arrival of better quality restaurants, hotels and accommodation. There is now very much a cosmopolitan feel to the restaurants to be found offering great food at sensible prices. New wine and coffee bars are now apparent along with revamped traditional tapas bars keeping prices pegged and therefore encouraging people to revisit time and time again. Children are catered for with entertainers and Disney figures wandering around at holiday time.
It is also helped that going to the Sierra Nevada is back on people’s travel agendas who now realise once again that some of the best skiing in Europe is less than a few hours away from the Costa del Sol and half an hour from Granada. Particularly, when they realise that it also has the longest season for skiing beginning in December.

With over 100 km of ski runs, the Sierra Nevada offers much more than other resorts in Spain and the Alps can. This being while it’s foggy and cold in the Pyrenees and beyond, most days in the Sierra the sun is shining. It can actually be warm enough to ski in T-shirts, particularly towards the end of the season in April/May. It has been known for young ladies to ski down in bikinis!

Even if you do not ski, the Sierra is a wonderful place to visit with panoramic views that are literally out of this world.The main village is actually called Pradollano, although many people refer to it simply as the Sierra Nevada resort or ‘Sol y Nieve’ which is Spanish for sun and snow. The latter better named as its likely that is what you’ll experience during your visit. Climbing up to higher parts from Pradollano, spectacular views can be found from the many bars on the way to the pristine snow and polar blue skies; ideal for photographers seaching that perfect winter scene. From the top of the highest ski lift, at 3,300 metres, the views make the Mediterraneanan below look like a small pond, with the coastline of Morocco clearly in view.

I you are skiing then a good times to visit the Sierra Nevada is midweek when sometimes you can find yourself skiing alone. Another hint is that any queues for the ski chairs and hoists can be avoided by arriving before 8.30 in the morning or by waiting for midday.

So, by way of a change of scenery away from the Costa, visit this most spectacular of destinations. If you wish to rent a car for your trip then Cargest, the leading car hire company in Malaga, will advise you on every aspect of your journey and help towards planning your itinerary. Further details can be found within their website.


Contact Cargest Car Hire with WhatsApp

On February 13, 2013, in WhatsApp, by admin

It’s easy, fast and free …


If you need to contact us immediately for an urgent inquiry or question last minute, note our number WhatsApp. The new smartphones are booming, and its use is becoming more popular, having internet connection from anywhere, which greatly favors to be interconnected at all times.

Cargest Car Hire understands that contacting us from certain foreign countries can get rather expensive, and although there is always the option of sending an e-mail, by using WhatsApp a conversation is immediately created and without having to check the mail continuously, and it’s totally free. We will respond by the same means as an answer to your inquiry, and at absolutely no additional cost to you (*)

This application is available for all types of terminals, such as iPhone, Android-powered, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Nokia, as well as tablets and iPads. Simply add the phone number +34 668 887 870 in its agenda and contact us, we will be happy to assist you.
* Excluding the charges associated with data that you would have contracted with the company that provides you the service.


Kids city in MalagaThese past Christmas we have complied with the desire to offer a small contribution to the Mary Laborers Brothers Foundation.
As announced in early December, the company management made the decision to donate one euro for each of the sales of the products we sell within the month. After the sale closed administratively, we delivered our donation at the Kids city center. Mr. Eugenio, director of the center received a check from the hands of Mr. Lopez, representative of Cargest for this act.

Sometimes it often happens that a little help of each one of us, support the needs of many of them… well as the miracle of the fish and the bread this is the daily mission of the Mary Laborers Brothers Foundation. We also delivered a bicycle donated by one of our client, which from here we transmit the thanks words from the sports responsible of the Kids city school, he said, “It’s great as the weekends we hike in them and the kids really enjoy making appropriate routes for bicycles, thank you. “

Kids city in MalagaLater on we found out that in the center there is a learning workshops, as a school subject where the children’s learn the mechanical and repair the broken spare part pieces of older bikes to have replacement spare when needed, … “admirable”.

In Cargest, we have been a few years supporting sport in general, we have collaborated in youth handball events, Football, Golf, etc.. This year has been different, this year we have supported a cause that unfortunately is happening now worldwide. And only when something or someone strikes us about it, we put aside our daily grind and we realize that there are children without homes and family who need our help … Lets give them hope for they future.


Some refreshing news for tourism in Andalucia. The Alhambra Palace in Granada is Europe’s favourite tourist destination, figures reveal.
Last year in 2012, an amazing total of 2.26 million visitors travelled to Granada to explore this wonderful example of Arab architecture and design. Dating centuries back to the mediaeval period of Spain, it has made the point that recession is no hindrance to travellers wishing to experience this historical complex. The figure show an increase on the 2.18 million tourists who visited it in 2011.

Interestingly, it was the number of Europeans visiting the Alhambra that was significant in creating last year’s figure. They accounted for an increase of 8.08% and amassed for almost 50% of the total. Apart from visiting the palace itself and the Generalife Gardens, over 1 million of them went to the Alhambra Museum, the Fine Arts Museum and the many exhibitions.

More good tourist News
Additionally, over 73,000 travellers went to the Alhambra to enjoy the concerts. These included the Granada International Music and Dance Festival, the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Palace, the award to the complex of World Heritage status and the stunning shows put on in the gardens. The Summer at the Alhambra spectacular encouraged thousands of visitors in its own right.

Other good news was the fact that nearly 80% of the 2.26 million visitors stayed at least one night in hotels in the city with four and five star resorts being slightly more popular than the one to three star categories.

The most popular day of the year to visit the Alhambra Palace and its beautiful surroundings was October 12 which was a bank holiday in Spain. Every available ticket was sold totalling some 9,258. January 16 was the quietest day of last year but even so a very healthy 1784 tickets were sold. April was the month with the highest number of tourists. There was just under a quarter of a million visitors who attended the Easter celebrations during Holy Week. January was the month with the fewest visitors, but still achieved just under 11,000. A further healthy sign was the number of guided tours that accounted for approximately a quarter of the total. This equated to an increase of 50% over last year.

The profile of the typical visitor to the Alhambra Palace is aged between 30 to 44 with a high level of education and who have come to experience all that the wonderful complex has to offer and to see first hand its excellent conservation programme. Graduates who were aged between 35 and 54 and female, provided the profile of the average person who actually purchased tickets to the Palace on their website. On-line booking is now becoming more and more popular and it does make sense that in this case the majority of users for this service are female.

So, all in all, it is good to hear positive news about foreign visitors to our shores. If one wishes to visit Granada and its beautiful Alhambra Palace and surroundings then CarGest, the leading car hire company in Malaga, have a choice of vehicles to suit your needs. Simply go to their website to obtain further information.


The first new arrival is the appearance of new snow in the Sierra Nevada during recent weeks. This has added more than 30 cm of much needed snow after a worrying period and has resulted in more than 60 km of ski runs now open for all to enjoy. The latest official figures indicate that the snow is 80 cm in depth at the top of the runs with 20 cm further down in the village. Further light snow falls are expected on a continuing basis which is good news. This almost brings ski runs up to the total of 100 km of pistes that are normally available. All 22 lifts and hoists are working and servicing the slopes for beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers where there is a selection of black runs and off-piste routes for the most advanced.

The second arrival is the Marbella Club El Lodge Ski & Spa Resort. Built in the traditional mountain lodge fashion, it’s finished in seasoned Finnish timber and is located in one of the most beautiful locations in the Sierra Nevada. Andrew Martin, the interior designer brought in by the hotel group has lent his touch to this wonderful venue that is aimed at those skiers looking for something with that extra touch.

Sierra Nevada

With just 20 rooms, the Lodge does retain the feel of a private chalet. Particularly with its personalised service aimed at satisfying the needs of the most discerning guest. Rooms can be booked by the night and the whole Lodge can be booked completely for private parties. There is a spa which is perfect for a relaxing après ski complete with sauna and Jacuzzi alongside four treatment rooms. A heated outdoor pool and sundeck for making the most of the sun completes the picture. The position of the lodge means that it has direct access to the slopes as the resort is located just 50 m from the chairlift Parador 1. From there 45 pistes and six off piste routes are on the doorstep. Ski rental is managed in-house and they are other services including boot warning and the provision of outdoor slippers that allow guests and visitors to fully enjoy the property’s unique location.

Not that one needs to be a client of the hotel to enjoy its facilities as it is open to all skiers as well as guests for most of the day. One can sit on the terrace and watch some of the most spectacular sunsets to be seen in the whole of Spain. With the twinkling lights of Granada far below, it really does present a fairytale vista.

Being Europe’s most southernmost ski resort, both Costa del Sol residents and holidaymakers are able to visit on a day trip or a short break as it is only two and a half hours by car. Cargest, the leading car hire company in Malaga, offers a choice of vehicle that are ideal for the trip. They will also offer advice on all aspects for your itinerary. Their website provides further information.