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The Spanish Fly - Travels in Spain

The Spanish Fly is a nom de plume of Paul Whitelock who first visited Spain at the age of 20. Now more than 50 years later, he has been to most parts of the country, including nine of the 12 islands. He has owned property in Andalucia since 2001 and has lived in the region for the last 15 years. This blog is a Travelogue about some of the places he has visited.

Capital "Punishment"- Part Two
Tuesday, January 30, 2024 @ 1:33 PM

By The Spanish Fly


Not a punishment at all, rather a pleasure. I like to travel, although I'm not so keen on long-haul.

Perhaps because of my background in foreign languages, I developed a real wanderlust from my late teens onwards.

As a result, over the course of half a century I've clocked up a surprising number of capital cities, thirty-four, in fact.

Surprising for me, a working class lad from the sticks. Others, like my younger brother, Simon, or my friend Nick, will no doubt scoff and say: "Is that all?"

Well .....

In Part One I wrote about the 18 European mainland capitals I've been to. 

Here's Part Two - The Rest of the World. 16 more capital cities I have visited.




Ajaccio, Corsica - a two-week holiday with the family in the late 90s.







Corfu Town, Corfu, Greece - a two-week holiday with the family in the late 90s.


Eivissa/Ibiza Town, Ibiza - Jeryl and I spent a week on the island in 1975. Not too touristy back then. That's where we first discovered el nudismo, nude swimming and sunbathing. Illegal, but tolerated.





Heraklion, Crete - We went to Crete a couple of times during our "Hellenic phase". Once before kids, and once after.

Great island. Heraklion is quite stunning (see photo).

Loved the walk through the Samaria Gorge, and the best breakfast ever afterwards!

The fabulous sandy beaches on the south coast were empty (back then!). Nudism was very popular.


Mahón, Menorca - I was in a wheelchair/on crutches for this family holiday in 1989. I'd ruptured my Achilles tendon playing squash a month or so before. We had a great holiday, despite the restrictions imposed by my "accident".

Strangely, most people seemed to think I was also mentally disabled. They didn't speak to me direct, but asked my wife what was wrong wirh me!

We spent loads on that holiday: a hire car and lots of meals out, but it was worth it - one of my best family holidays ever!


Mahón is the home of mahonesa/mayonesa, by the way.





Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca - I've been to Palma a few times over the years.

With my first wife Jeryl when we were in our 20s; on a family holiday, way back in the 80s; to attend a conference/training week with LifePlus in 2009; 

and again with soon-to-be-wife Rita at Easter 2010.


Rhodes Town, Rhodes - The second-largest Greek island. Jeryl and I went on holiday with two friends, Ian and Christine

We still see Ian and Christine most years, as they love to holiday in Nerja, Andalucia, where we often join them for a couple of days.




San Francesc de Formentera, Formentera - Jeryl and I caught the ferry from Ibiza and spent the day there. Totally unspoilt back then (early 80s).


Valletta, MaltaJeryl and I spent our delayed honeymoon on the island in 1975. Jeryl hadn't had time to get her passport changed. As a result we got some funny looks when we checked into our hotel. Different times!

We returned many years later, when Jeryl attended a conference there.

A dusty place where local drivers don 't have a clue! Nudism is tolerated.


Victoria, Gozo - Just north of Malta, we went to the island for the day on that first visit in 1975. Charming and undeveloped.





Copenhagen, Denmark -  A short weekend visit in the 1980s. The Little Mermaid is lovely.


Oslo, Norway - Also a weekend visit in the '80s, tacked onto a business trip. Very cold, very expensive, but very beautiful.


Stockholm, Sweden - A third weekend visit in the 80s. Don't remember much about this trip.





Eastern Europe

Moscow, Soviet Union/Russia - We were invited to The Soviet Union in 1991 by Russian friends who had stayed with us in Warrington the year before. I was still recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon, our kids were very young, seven and three, but we managed it and had a good time. Moscow was stunning, I have to say. Red Square, St Basil's Cathedral and The Kremlin are amazing.

The 'highlight' of our trip was when the coup d'etat took place on 19 August. We were staying in a mountain camp in what is now Georgia. We woke to martial music on the radio and a very sombre mood in our host family, Sacha and Rita. We were trapped, no vehicle movements were allowed and all Soviet airports were shut. We were due to fly home in the next few days. I started making plans to escape over the mountains into Turkey and to fly home from there.

Then it was all over. After two days Boris Yeltsin clamboured onto a tank in Moscow and saved the day. Life more or less returned to normal (NOT, I suspect, for those who had organised the coup!) and we we were able to fly home as planned.

The Soviet Union started to break up over the course of the next few months. Soviet after soviet declared independence until by 8 December 1991 The USSR had ceased to exist.


Prague, Czech Republic - Our visit to Prague was another based around a business trip. Amazingly, at the same time our daughter Amy was touring there with her Oxford University Orchestra. Amy is an oboeist.

Prague is in my top two favourite capital cities alongside Edinburgh (qv). What a beautiful place, from the Charles Bridge over the Danube to the Old City, the 63 churches in the historical centre alone, and, of course, the beer!

We saw Amy perform and visited some famous brewhouses.



Funchal, Madeira - A beautiful island. No sandy beaches, but who cares? Went way back in the mists of time. 







Las Palmas de Gran Canaria - We love the Canary Islands. We used to visit a lot back in the day. Of the seven islands in this archipelago, off the west coast of Morocco, we have been to five. Las Palmas is the capital of the eastern three islands: Gran Canaria, Formentera and Lanzarote.




Santa Cruz de Tenerife - We've been to Tenerife more than any other Canary Island. We've stayed in the north and in the south, we've visited Mount Teide, the highest mountain on Spanish territory, and we've attended a wedding in La Orotava (see here).

Santa Cruz is the capital of the four western islands: El Hierro, La Gomera, La Palma and Tenerife.





Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Our group had an overnight stay in Dubai on our way to Australia (qv). It was dark when we arrived and foggy when we got up to go back to the airport. Not at all like the photo to your left.





Singapore City, Republic of Singapore - We had a stopover at the airport here on our return flight from Australia. I popped up to the roof terrace at the airport, but you cannot believe how hot and humid it was!








I've spent time in Australia, but didn't visit the country's capital Canberra. I did visit two state capitals: Adelaide (South Australia) and Sydney (New South Wales), both of which were impressive.

I was there, in Adelaide, as leader of a group of teachers on a Socrates study visit to look at Teaching Gifted Children.



The Americas

I've been to North America, once, but not Central or South America. Although we spent time in some great places - Anaheim, Los Angeles, New Orleans, San Diego, San Francisco, San Simeon, Seattle - we didn't go anywhere near the east coast and the capital Washington DC.

I enjoyed the places we visited, mostly staying with relatives and friends, but we we were distinctly unimpressed with the food, except chowder in SF, and hated the blatant discrimination towards Hispanics.


© The Spanish Fly


See also: 

Capital "Punishment"- Part One (


Tags: Adelaide, Ajaccio, America, Amsterdam, Anaheim, Australia, Austria, chowder, Copenhagen, Corsica, Denmark, Dubai, Formentera, Ibiza, Los Angeles, Madrid, Malta, Moscow, New Orleans, Norway, Orson Welles, Oslo, Paris, Prague, Russia, San Diego, San Francesc, San Francisco,  San Sebastian, San Simeon, Seattle, Singapore, Soviet Union, Spanish Fly, Stockholm, Sweden, Sydney, UAE, Valletta, Victoria, Vienna, Washington DC 

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