I love being a writer. It takes me to beautiful places to meet interesting people. Yesterday, it took me to the Casino in Torrevieja to meet Inka Piegsa-quischhotte, a travel blogger from Germany who has lived in Turkey, Miami, London, Beirut and Malaga, and is now based in Torrevieja. I’ll be profiling Inka in my Writers On Spain series, but I thought you’d like to know a bit more about the Casino, and see some of the fabulous photos we took yesterday.
I’d never been inside the casino before, although I have sat with a glass of wine on a table at the rear of the building, and people watched the customers using the nearby indoor market. I was totally unprepared for the assault on my senses when I walked up the steps and entered the main salon, with its big, comfortable, elegant chairs.
We’re talking Victorian opulence here, although strictly speaking, since we’re in Spain, it’s not actually Victorian, but you get the picture. Think fin de siecle instead. Lavish, elegant drapes, oil paintings the size of Algorfa, crystal chandeliers, giant mirrors and an ornately coffered Andalusian ceiling dating back to 1901 make for for a wonderful setting in which to conduct an interview.
The bar is pure Moorish, with its beautiful tiles and intricate arches. Imagine the Alhambra converted to a tapas bar and you get the idea. And the rear vestibule, with its stained glass skylight, sweeping staircase, gallery and tiled walls is Art Deco meets Moorish Magnificence. You wouldn’t think two such different styles could exist in harmony, but they do, and beautifully.
The Casino is the headquarters of the Torrevieja Cultural Society, which was founded in 1867. The building was completed in 1896, and was used as an army barracks during the Spanish Civil War. Today, it hosts a number of exhibitions and cultural programmes, and you can enjoy a drink, tapas or an excellent meal in these wonderful surroundings.
As the Casino is situated on the Paseo Maritimo, you can also sit on the terrace and look out over the Marina, and in the summer, you can enjoy the sea views from the Casino’s balcony. In England, you have to pay for your surroundings, so you expect to pay a premium on food and drinks, but it’s different here in Spain. My agua con gas was a very reasonable €1.30, and if we’d have been eating, we could have enjoyed a delicious paella for just €9.95. Inka tells me that, unusually, you can order a single racion of paella at the Casino. Usually, unless the paella features on the Menu del Dia, it has to be a minimum of two people, so that’s another plus to chalk up to the Casino.
Why not check out the Casino next time you are in Torrevieja? Remember to take your camera along though! You can find out more about the Casino’s events and browse the photo gallery at the Cultural Society website. And my friend Jane Cronin has also written about the Casino and its activities.
Photo credit: All slideshow photos are my own, except for the first photo, which comes from the Cultural Society website.