Back in 1963 Nils Gäbel and his family sailed from their native Sweden and came across the small harbour town of Torrevieja. How different it must have looked back then, for he became the first foreigner to settle in the town. Imagine living there with nobody else but the Spanish. it must have been amazing.
Nils and his family worked hard to establish a Scandinavian community in the town. In honour of this a monument was erected in 2003 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of their arrival. It seems incredible, with so many foreigners of all manner of nationalities living there nowadays, that there was a time when a foreigner was welcomed as something out of the ordinary. I can’t find any information about Nils today, so if anyone knows if he is alive or dead, and what happened to his family, please leave a comment.
You can find the monument on the small plaza near the Torre de Moro at Cabo Cervera, some 5km to the north of the town centre. It’s an intriguing piece of history. Can you see any other town erecting such a tribute to their first foreign residents?
Nils’ family still live in the area. You can read more about them here, (thanks to Google Translate!)
You can find some interesting old photos of Torrevieja here. the website is in Spanish, but it’s not too hard to understand if you speak some of the language.