Spain, Sandals and Socks

Published on 1/18/2011 in Facts About Spain

Sandals and socks, the most repulsive footwear ever devised by man, and it had to be a man as no woman would ever conceive of such a thing. Particularly white sports socks with blue and red bands at the top or grey socks with red diamonds, yucky! How on earth did Spain ever come to this, to allow a horde of fashion inept, milk bottle white Northern Europeans to invade its beaches? Well, the answer might at first seem obvious, money of course. Spain had the sun and we had the cash, but the true story of how Spain, especially Benidorm, ended up like this is a little more complex.

Old BenidormTry to imagine Benidorm in the 1950's. Only the occasional Madridista came here on holiday to get away from the big city plus one or two travelling salesmen and that was that. Spain was in the grip of an ultra conservative dictatorship and not much happened without the permission of 'the government'. This is where Pedro Zaragoza Orts stepped in and the first moves in Benidorms development began. He was the Mayor in the 1950's and in those days the post of Mayor was nothing to do with democracy.

Previously, he had single handedly, and without any consultation with the town council, authorised the wearing of bikinis on the beaches. A brave move indeed considering the political climate. This enraged the powerful Catholic Church, very much allied to the ruling establishment at the time. Orts was in danger of becoming the first person in Spain to be excommunicated since the Spanish Inquisition. (I'll bet no one expected that). This is the exact point where Benidorm and tourism became irrevocably linked forever. Pedro Zaragoza Orts got on his moped at 4am one morning and putt putted nine hours to Madrid to see Franco in person. You have to admire the mans bottle!

Pedro Zaragoza OrtsOn a billion to one chance he was allowed in to see Franco and ask permission to develop Benidorm. A plan was hatched to ask speculative builders to come and build the first hotels. When Franco himself waved the plan through how could anyone refuse! In 1959 the first bricks started to arrive and ancient almond, orange and olive groves were being 'grubbed up'. Soon after Orts visit to Madrid, Franco's wife Carmen started to take a couple of weeks by the sea at Benidorm and this was the big signal for everyone else to do likewise. For the next forty years Benidorms skyline was marred by the jagged silhouettes of tower cranes. The Franco government were not slow to capitalise on this cash cow of sun, sea and sangria, (or sun, sangria and sex), whichever you prefer. Franco knew Spain had an infinite resource and people would come in droves.

Soon, Spain was being advertised in the rest of Europe as an exotic land with practically guaranteed summer sun. Sunshine deprived sun bed bagging, (didn't you hate the way Germans were up at the crack of dawn with their towels), Northern Europeans with their distinctive coconut aroma arrived literally by the plane load at Valencia at first and then at a somewhat primitive Alicante airport. When Franco died in 1975 and Spain went into 'transition' Benidorm seemed immune form events in Madrid and tourism continued pretty much as normal. This steadily developed until today where the 'Costas' contribute a double figure percentage to the entire Spanish economy so I'm told. The coastline is now more or less one long urban conurbation with alarmingly few natural wildernesses or agricultural land left.

Pedro Orts on Benidorm beachGetting back to sandals and socks, could we consider striking just one blow for good taste amongst all this high rise craziness? Now Spain has been a European Democracy for a good number of years isn't it about time we had another law similar to the one that allowed bikinis and ban men from wearing this particular fashion atrocity? Anyone, other than a little girl under the age of 8, should be fined on the spot. Customs control at Alicante Airport should be alerted! But when all is said and done Benidorm is here to stay along with all the good and bad it brings but don't get me started on men over 21 wearing thong Speedos! Learn to love it.

Written by: Malcolm Thompson

About the author:

Malcolm Thompson BEd (Hons)
Hondon de las Nieves

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tteedd said:
Monday, May 31, 2021 @ 11:47 PM

Stop your lilly-white pinkies getting sun burnt.
Stop the stitches on the sandels cutting your feet.
Stop blisters.
Look good with long trousers.
Keep cigarette ends and dog muck off.
Sandels and crunckly toes are as bad as shorts and knobbly knees!

Malcolm Thompson (Author) said:
Sunday, January 20, 2013 @ 10:38 PM

Hi Big Bad John, congratulations...! You've just won this weeks prize for missing the point.

Malcolm Thompson (Author) said:
Sunday, January 20, 2013 @ 10:37 PM

Hi Big Bad John, congratulations...! You've just won this weeks prize for missing the point.

Big Bad John said:
Thursday, January 20, 2011 @ 6:34 PM

Before you criticise anyone who wears socks and sandals - be careful what you say!!!! I have to wear sandals all the time for medical reasons. When it is cold, as it is in Andulucia at the moment, I am also wearing socks to keep my feet warm. Just remember this before you open your big mouth!!! said:
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 @ 6:05 PM

Makes you so proud doesnt it? I travelled through Benidorm last autumn and met an old guy in a cafe who actually remembered the place when it was a fishing village - the change that has happened to the skyline is so dramatic it's hard to remember that it took place over such a short time. But I guess you could say that about much of Spanish life and culture!

midasgold said:
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 @ 11:28 AM

Whats wrong with socks and sandals ?
It goes with "builders bum", tatoos,knotted head hanky,
beer gut and bad speeeing.You people don't how to live.
Get a life and get pyssed. Give the natives something to talk
about -our british way of life !

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