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Puntos de vista - a personal Spain blog

Musings about Spain and Spanish life by Paul Whitelock, hispanophile of 40 years and now resident of Ronda in Andalucía .

The Long ‘Bridge’ – Día de la Constitución and Immaculate Conception
Thursday, December 2, 2021 @ 6:52 AM

This year two Spanish national bank holidays fall in such a way that a puente, or bridge, in between these two dates creates a break from work of five days.  Pablo de Ronda explains.

We are all familiar with the concept of a “puente”. In other words, if a bank holiday falls on a Thursday or a Tuesday, the Friday or the Monday is taken as holiday to create a long weekend of four days. This happens a few times a year in Spain.

In 2021, however, Constitution Day is on Monday 6 December and Immaculate Conception on Wednesday 8 December, so most people will take Tuesday 7 December as “puente” and banks, offices and schools will remain closed.

This five-day break is great for everybody, for workers and their families and especially for the tourist, catering and retail industries. These three sectors will hope to be very busy in order to recoup some of the losses caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Many hotels are already fully booked, restaurants are anticipating full dining rooms and terraces and shops are gearing up for increased sales.

Ronda hotelier Julian Marshall, of Cortijo Perla Blanca, near Ronda, said: “My wife and I have other commitments outside Spain on those dates, but we can’t afford to close, so we’ve brought in locum staff to run the hotel and attend to our ‘full house’ of guests.”

Another Ronda hotel, Hotel Molino del Puente, and its restaurant, La Cascada, have been closed for three weeks while the owners, Ian and Elaine Love took a well-earned holiday after a difficult year coping with Covid-19 restrictions. But they’ll be back in time to open for this special “puente”.

As Elaine said: “This puente is always important for us in the hotel and catering trade, but this year should be even better as it’s five days long! We’re hoping for a bumper time.”

Álvaro Gutiérrez, proprietor of Hotel Palacete de Manara and Restaurante Entre Ascuas in Montejaque (Málaga) told me that things are looking really good.

“I am fully booked from 4 – 8 December. I also have a wedding for 400 people on Sunday 5 December. Things are looking good at last!”

Another factor to consider is that employees have just received their Christmas bonus, ie two months extra pay (most workers in Spain are paid 14 months per year, unlike the UK where 12 months is the norm), so they have money to spend in the run-up to Christmas and New Year.

So, here in Ronda, then, we not only have the three famous bridges in the town, namely  the Puente Nuevo, the Puente Romano and the Puente Árabe, this year we have the “Puente Largo” too!

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