Exploring the Stories of the Islands and the Freedoms of Third Age


Bunkers on the Beach: Stories of El Médano

I’ve lived in El Médano for around five years – not all at the same time, but when I put all the bits together that’s what it amounts to. Not the longest I’ve lived anywhere (in bits or no) but thinking about it now, at the beginning of this shiny, new year, it’s the only place I’ve actually ever chosen to live…..every time – I came here because it was where I wanted to be, not because it was handy for work, or schools or the property was cheaper, but simply because I fancied living here (well, it may not exactly have been first choice,but most affordble and so it will do). Reasons for moving away have been varied, and, because I’m odd that way, I’ve never missed it that much either, but the place does have a pull I can’t quite put my finger on……….or can I?

No less than 3 times in the last week  interesting stories about this wee town have come my way, and although 2 of the 3 are myths, you have to recognize that this is a town which revels in the weird and the offbeat, even those good old boys watching the sunset down on Playa Chica (one of whom asked me out for breakfast the other evening)  like to think this is a town apart, and it surely is.


Much as I love to preach about appreciating where we are, discovering the unknown within our familiar surroundings during the times we cannot be in motion, and much as I go on about the electic mix of folk which makes this place so unique and interesting, I had missed the wealth of stories that a village of less than 7,500 can nurture. Here is the first (I will be writing about more), and it’s a true one:

A few years back I read that the worst thing anyone had ever said about…..wait for it…..George Bush … isn’t your mind racing to guess the answer????…… was that he was incurious. Won’t go there, of course (we don’t have all day, do we, and it’s all history already) but giving the comment some thought I absolutely understood it, and I deserve a kick in the pants for not being more curious about the odd and yet familiar structures which dot El Médano’s beaches.

They are familiar, basically, because I’m a BabyBoomer, a first wave BabyBoomer at that, some of my earliest memories involve leftovers of World War 2; my father’s RAF uniform hanging in the wardrobe, ration books, the eerie ruins of bombed buildings in Liverpool, and – bunkers.

I lived very close to an airfield, and although it must have been of  minor importance, there were bunkers hidden amongst the hillocks surrounding it.  They were things of mystery – grown-ups were then reluctant to talk much about the goings-on of recent history – but in typical childhood fashion our imaginations were soon distracted by other things, horses which moved into a field opposite, the newly-available (when sugar ceased to be rationed) candy in the corner shop and, of course, television. And so bunkers became just a part of the landscape.

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I guess this was why, when I first saw bunkers on the beach at El Médano I didn’t see them as anything out-of-the-ordinary, until I realized that Spain had avoided involvement in World War 2, since it was recovering from a devastating civil war. So why were there bunkers on this beach? Continue reading