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"A fantastic holiday in Piso Blanco – the Barrio San Francisco, balcony and pool heightened our enjoyment of Ronda.  Was happiest watching the sunset from this balcony over the mountains."
Jamie Pearson
Brussels, Belgium

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By Javier Flores (Translation by Paul Whitelock)

MÁLAGA HOY, Sunday 27 June 2010

Distinguished tourist visits the province of Málaga

The new British Prime Minister, David Cameron recently told Spanish Premier José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero that one of the things he would miss most as a result of his change of status would be travelling to the Ronda area. In the Serranía he could always go around virtually unnoticed.

Few people know that the new British Prime Minister, the Conservative David Cameron, is a regular visitor to the Serranía de Ronda. This came to light in statements to the Spanish media at Cameron's first meeting with his Spanish counterpart, Zapatero. He let it be known that the only thing about his past that he would miss would be not spending holidays with his family in Ronda.  Up till now only a small number of people had been aware of Cameron’s presence in the area.  At that time he was Leader of the Opposition, which allowed him to go unnoticed and even to walk around without the need of a bodyguard.

Nevertheless, there were a few locals who knew about his visits.  A good example is the small village of Jimera de Líbar, beside the river Guadiaro, one of the places he visited during one of his stays in the area. Paul Darwent, an Englishman who set up in business in a restaurant there almost three years ago, has the proof, a photograph on a poster showing that the Prime Minister passed by there before he entered Downing Street

The owner of Bar Allioli told Málaga Hoy that it was another English customer standing in the doorway of the bar who recognised Cameron. “You’ve got a  famous Englishman outside,” he said.

It was then that Paul Darwent went out and saw him, although he didn’t recognise him until his other customer told him who it was.  “I asked him if he was famous and he said ‘A little’,” explained Darwent.

After appropriate introductions they had a brief conversation about different things and they tried to get him to stick around for the local romería (religious procession) which was on that very day.  Cameron politely declined the invitation, saying he had to return to his accommodation in Ronda.  He had come to Estación de Jimera de Líbar by walking a popular path which links this rural spot to the village of Estación de Benaoján. His wife was with him.

Darwent reported that the British Premier had a pleasant way about him and didn't behave as if he was someone important in his own country.  Cameron even asked him what had brought an Englishman to such a remote area of Málaga province.  All this while he consumed a coffee and a bottle of fizzy water.  His wife had ordered a fruit juice.

Now, since the General Election, Paul Darwent has retrieved the poor quality photo he took of David Cameron at the entrance to his bar and has designed a publicity poster for his business showing that the British Prime Minister had been there.  He thinks it’s the best “hook” he can have among his fellow countrymen.  Moreover, he has sent a copy of the poster to Cameron himself, together with a letter recalling his visit and an invitation to the next Fiesta de la Cerveza (Beer Festival) Darwent is going to organise.  Up to now he’s not had a reply.

Only a tiny number of villagers were aware of the visit.  One was the mayor, Maite Domínguez, who knew that he’d been in the area but didn’t see him in person.

In the meantime, Cameron’s favourite place to stay is a hotel on the outskirts of the Town of the Tajo, although in Ronda itself very few dared to confirm that they saw him there.  The majority of restaurant and café owners just said that they recognised his face, but couldn’t say for sure that he’d been to their premises.

Nevertheless, for the last two years strong rumours have circulated that Cameron may have attended the traditional Corrida Goyesca de Ronda bullfight, although nobody took a photograph of him there, making it impossible to be sure that he managed to attend one of the recent bullfights unnoticed.

©  Javier Flores and Paul Whitelock

To read the original article in Spanish, click on Las vacaciones rondeñas del 'premier'