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March 30, 2014

Struth! Light dims in Spain

SOMETHING you've always wanted – your own lighthouse.
This one at Cabo de Palos near Cartagena is one of over
300 being put up for sale by the cash-strapped Spanish Government.
(Photo: Keeping-tabs.blogspot)

IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says authorities in Spain have been overwhelmed with enquiries to buy over 300 lighthouses the government's put up for sale to help its ailing economy.

There are some 387 lighthouses in Spain, but today only 50 or so of these still have full-time light keepers living at them – the rest have either been turned over to automatic operation that only require occasional maintenance visits, or have been replaced by more compact and cheaper-to-run lights.

The country's Ministry of Public Works put the rest up for sale or lease in early December 2013, and says it's been "inundated" with enquiries from those interested in turning the buildings into everything from permanent homes to holiday rental accommodation, mini-hotels, B&Bs, restaurants and even art galleries.

Some of the lighthouses date back two to three hundred years and have cottages or apartments large enough for several families to live in them, as those originally living in the larger ones also maintained other nearby lights; others had only basic facilities for single light keepers who worked weekly rotations.

Whatever new use they're put to today, those occupying or visiting them can be assured of grand views – including at some, regular, if fleeting, illuminated glimpses at night.

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