PCR Tests 

Travellers to Spain from countries with a recent high incidence of COVID-19 will be required to show a negative PCR test result at the airport. 

Although the UK is still one of the countries that requires anyone arriving from Spain, including British residents who have been on holiday there, to quarantine for 14 days – even with a negative PCR – Spain has opted to go down the testing route. 

Having to quarantine effectively prevents tourism, unless he or she already works from home and stops them from carrying out essential errands, like grocery shopping. 

A PCR test showing a visitor or returner does not have the virus is a better guarantee, as even after a completely symptom-free quarantine period, the traveller may still be COVID-positive, but asymptomatic and is able to pass it onto others, yet if they are known not to have the virus at all, they cannot infect anyone else. 

Spain has also set the 72-hour criteria, to allow time for results to filter through – any less and the traveller may end up having to cancel a flight. 

Although it is quite feasible for a person to be tested and then catch the virus before the results arrive, it is recommended that anyone planning to travel, makes arrangements to stay as isolated as possible between testing and flying. A PCR test takes under a minute and results are typically sent by email within 24-36 hours. The process is unpleasant, as the swab has to be inserted some considerable distance up the person’s nasal passage, but is only in place for 20 seconds. 

PCR test requirements for entering Spain do not apply to land borders, only to those travelling by sea or air, which means anyone who lives in Portugal, France, Andorra or Gibraltar and works in Spain, or the other way around, will not have to obtain one for their daily commute – neither will anyone living in the north African enclaves of Ceuta or Melilla and working in Morocco, or vice versa. 

Anyone who cannot present a negative result upon arrival will be fined and have to undertake a test there and then. 

PCR tests are only free of charge at the point of use for those who either have symptoms compatible with COVID-19 or are summoned for screening as a result of having been in close contact with a known positive. Private clinics are offering them at varying prices. Local providers can be found online. 

Alicante-Elche Airport To Be Renamed. 

Alicante-Elche airport will be renamed after Alicante’s most famous poet, Miguel Hernández. He was born in Orihuela, but died young; a victim of Dictator General Franco’s forces. 

Although sentenced to death when he was jailed in March 1940, aged 29, Hernández was not one of the estimated hundreds of thousands executed by firing squad. He caught TB whilst behind bars and the permit for his transfer to the specialist hospital in Valencia came too late. He died on March 28th 1942 in the prison’s medical wing. 

Hernández, who was romantically linked for a time with celebrated artist Maruja Mallo and who was married to Josefina Manresa, had joined the Republicans and the Communist Party of Spain, a more socialist and ‘pure’ form of Communism than that which characterised the countries east of the Iron Curtain, based upon shared wealth and guaranteed minimum living standards and one of the main movements which opposed Franco’s fascist régime. Doing this once the General gained power after his faction won the Civil War was a dangerous move and although numerous firing squad victims are now being exhumed from unmarked common graves, the handful of these that have even been traced are suspected to be the mere tip of the iceberg. 

During his life, Hernández published seven books of poetry and five theatre plays, much of which has been translated into several languages since his death. His posthumous honours include Elche University being named after him, being named Predilect Son of Alicante and Adoptive Son of the city of Murcia. 

Spain’s transport minister José Luis Ábalos said he wanted to add Hernández’s name to the terminal on October 30th, the 110th anniversary of the poet’s birth. An official commemoration was held at Valencia’s Temple Palace, in the presence of regional president Ximo Puig, Valencia’s Mayor Joan Ribó and MP for the region Gloria Calero. Hernández’s granddaughter was also there, as was his daughter-in-law, the widow of his son Manuel Miguel, who died in 1984 aged 45. Manuel had grown up as an only child, after his elder brother Manuel Ramón, born in December 1937, died at nine months old. 

Farmer Digs Up Prehistoric Lioness Statue 

A farmer, Crespo, dug up a 2,500-year-old stone sculpture of a lion, perfectly intact, whilst working on his olive groves. The sculpture was in the middle of his field in the tied hamlet of Cañablanquilla, part of the larger village of San Sebastián de los Ballesteros in Córdoba. It is a solid statue dating back to the 6th century BCE. 

It seems the lion had been ‘sleeping’ beneath the soil for 25 centuries, with no signs of erosion or breakage. Although Roman findings in and around San Sebastián de los Ballesteros are well-documented, the statue Crespo ploughed up is thought to date to the time of the Iberians; Spain’s first-known native inhabitants. 

The female lion does not have a mane and is about a metre long and around 30cm high. She is now at Córdoba Archaeological Museum being professionally cleaned up and thoroughly examined so her origins and back-story can be catalogued. Whether or not she will remain as a display piece, or whether Crespo will get to keep her on permanent loan, is not clear, although he will probably have to visit the museum whenever he wants to check in with his new feline friend. 

Deadline For Cashing Pesetas Extended 

If you are still sitting on any of the €1.6 billion pesetas that remain in circulation, you have another six months to change them into legal tender and spend them. The final deadline was originally the last day of 2020, but because of problems with getting out and about due to the pandemic, this has been extended to June 30, 2021. 

The remaining pesetas, which went out of use when the euro became Spain’s currency in 2002, are ‘a major issue affecting individuals and tertiary sector companies’, such as shops, bars and anywhere else that accepts cash from members of the public. The €1.6bn in old money is equivalent to 266 billion pesetas, based upon a million pesetas being €6,000. 

Any coins that were still in circulation as of January 1, 2002 can still be changed until the end of June next year, since those which were no longer legal tender on that date had already been given a cut-off of the beginning of 1997. Peseta notes minted after 1939 can be changed, but those issued between 1936 and 1939 – the Civil War years – need to be examined by experts first. Changing pesetas to euros involves contacting the Bank of Spain in Madrid or any one of its branches and there is no upper limit on the amount that can be exchanged. 

Anyone thinking of changing pesetas is advised to check with a specialist dealer or collector first, since many of the rarer or more sought-after coins and notes can be worth far more than their face value – up to €1,000 in some cases. Some of those fetching up to €100 date back from as recently as 1995.