Keys to the castle / Llaves del castillo

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

SOME OF YOU MAY KNOW we have our very own castle here in Fuengirola, Castillo Sohail. Read on and you’ll understand why I believe it should actually be our very own castle.

It was built by Abd al-Rahman III in 956 AD during Moorish rule of the Iberian Peninsula and, after years of neglect, was restored in 2000. I haven’t been inside the castle for a while and was pleased and surprised to see the continued improvements and discoveries. There are also ongoing digs outside the castle exposing structures from Phoenician times (1100 BC to 300 BC).

San Geraldo has family connections to Castillo Sohail. Abd al-Rahman III’s grandfather, Abdulla Ibn Muhammed, was the first husband of San Geraldo’s 34-greats-grandmother, Onneca Fortúnez of Pamplona, a Basque princess. She was a rare example of a Christian princess marrying Muslim royalty.

The union created strong ties between the Muslim and Christian rulers of the Iberian Peninsula, as well as a son and two daughters. During that time, Onneca was known by her Arab name, Dur, which means pearl.

Given all San Geraldo’s connections, I didn’t expect it to be so difficult to get the keys to the castle.


ALGUNOS DE VOSOTROS PODÉIS SABER que tenemos nuestro propio castillo aquí en Fuengirola, Castillo Sohail. Sigue leyendo y entenderás por qué creo que debería ser nuestro propio castillo. 

Fue construido por Abd al-Rahman III en 956 d.C. durante el dominio árabe de la Península Ibérica y, después de años de abandono, fue restaurado en 2000. No he estado adentro por un tiempo y me complació y sorprendió ver las continuas mejoras y descubrimientos. También hay excavaciones en curso fuera del castillo que exponen estructuras de la época fenicia (1100 a.C. a 300 a.C.).

San Geraldo tiene conexiones familiares con Castillo Sohail. El abuelo de Abd al-Rahman III, Abdulla Ibn Muhammed, fue el primer marido de la 34-tatarabuela de San Geraldo, Onneca Fortúnez de Pamplona, una princesa vasca. Ella era un raro ejemplo de una princesa cristiana que se casaba con la realeza musulmana. 

La unión creó fuertes lazos entre los gobernantes musulmanes y cristianos de la Península Ibérica, así como un hijo y dos hijas. Durante ese tiempo, Onneca era conocida por su nombre árabe, Dur, que significa perla.

Dadas todas las conexiones de San Geraldo, no esperaba que fuera tan difícil conseguir las llaves del castillo.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

50 thoughts on “Keys to the castle / Llaves del castillo”

  1. Happy Pearl Holidays ~ I tried give me a break! 🙂 It’s all about the connections, eh! Listen take care as always and enjoy all the foods, sights and love in the air. Best Ron!

    1. Ron:
      Wishing you guys a happy healthy holiday! Jerry is in the chicken cooking dinner. He baked apple cake this evening and we finished lunch with ice cream. Not bad for a non-holiday holiday.

    1. Judy C:
      It was glorious. Another day like that today, and even warmer. Happy Christmas Eve to you, too!

    1. Debra:
      I think you’re right. I don’t know why I’m waiting for permission. I’ll just have the locks changed.

    1. anne marie:
      Incredible isn’t it. Almost as good as the views from our apartment (well, maybe better).

  2. I wonder what the property and inheritance records look like? You’d probably have to share with 500,000 cousins.

  3. Looks like you may have some repairs to do toots!!!

    Happy Yuletide to you boys!🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

  4. Those castle-keepers can be a pesky bunch. Looks like that day, at least, was finally just warm enough for SG.

    Hope you and SG have a safe and lovely holiday period. 🙂

    1. Mary:
      SG didn’t complain once about the weather. It was “chilly” in the shade. Wishing you happy holidays and a much better year to come!

  5. I agree! It should be YOURS! And not just the crumbly bits, either!

    I’m impressed San Geraldo has traced his lineage so far back! I’m not sure I could tell you any of my 34-greats grandparents, although my dad went pretty far back along some branches when he did our genealogy. As far as I know, no castles were involved.

    1. Steve:
      SG can go back, legally documented, to 1288. It’s fascinating. My ancestry is not quite so interesting. Although he did find a relation in Russia several generations back whose profession was listed as “beggar.”

  6. I plugged Onneca Fortúnez of Pamplona into my account at and she came up as my 30th great-grandmother, through the English side of my mother’s family by way of Sancha Blount, Lady of Ayala who was married to Sir Thomas Blount, Knight. Small world! Can I have a room at the castle too? 🙂

    1. TTPT:
      I got all excited thinking you and SG were related, but I can’t find the connection on his genealogy website ( Thomas Blount is there but the connection isn’t showing. I’ll have to ask SG. But on, it looks to me like Sancha de Ayala was Thomas’s mother and his father was WALTER Blount. Do you find that, too? (I don’t have an account.) HOWEVER, you obviously have just as much right if not more to those keys. Give it a try and I’ll settle for just a room!

      1. Your’e correct, Mitchell. My bad. Thomas was the son, now that I look at the relationship pathway again. If you’ll bear with me, I’ll give you my connection backward starting with:

        Sancha de Ayala, Sir Thomas Blount (her son), Sir Thomas Blount (his son), Anne Marbury (his daughter), Robert Marbury, Esq. (her son), William Marbury, Esq. (his son), Reverend Francis Marbury I (his son), Anne Hutchinson (his daughter), Susanna Cole (her daughter), William Cole (her son), Mary Dickinson (his daughter), Mary Head (her daughter), Britton Head (her son), Brighton Head (his son), Juliette (Gillett) Head (his daughter), Adeline Gillett Hiles (her daughter), Harold Hiles (her son), Iris Amelia Shumaker (his daughter) and me. 🙂

      2. TTPT:
        I find it so exciting when someone can trace their lineage like you. None of the rest of that line is in SG’s genealogy. And the connection to Thomas Blount turns out to be tenuous because recently a historian questioned the assumptions made about Sancha de Ayala who married the Moor and the Sancha de Ayala 20 years later in Córdoba (who was the mother of Thomas Blount). It’s thought they may not be the same person. So, maybe a guest room at the castle is all you can expect. I’ll keep you posted once I get the key.

      3. TTPT:
        Oh well. Looks like the keys will not be yours after all. I just realised these Sancha de Ayalas are more than 200 years apart. But it looks like you might be eligible for the keys of a castle somewhere else (and maybe one more liveable than Castillo Sohail).

  7. Is that Jerry overlooking his kingdom from above?
    The least that they could do is have a suite in the castle for your use…..a nice getaway.
    Have a wonderful day tomorrow no matter if you celebrate or not.

    1. Jim:
      Wishing you and Ron a happy Christmas. Yes, that was Jerry. And, sadly, they don’t have a suit for ANYBODY in that castle.

    1. Mcpersonalspace54:
      Thanks for all that! Selfies always distort the face, but sometimes it’s OK. At least I’m smiling!

      1. mcpersonalspace54:
        Thanks again. It’s just that I’m so much better looking in person. (That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!)

  8. I made our traditional Christmas ambrosia with my mother’s recipe. Freshly grated coconut in layers with de-membraned orange segments with the resulting juice (sweetened if necessary) poured over the top. We always made it on Christmas Eve to have as dessert on Christmas Day. Just think of how you could go crazy decorating your castle for the holidays!

    1. Wilma:
      I have only had ambrosia once or twice in my life. Yours sounds delicious. SG hates coconut. I LOVE coconut, especially fresh! Probably good we don’t have the castle. We used to have enough lights and decorations for the entire place, but we got rid of 80 percent before we moved to Spain. I would hate to have to start over (well, actually, no I wouldn’t; that would be really fun)!

  9. You have a great smile. Of course the castle belongs to San Geraldo, but I’m afraid he’d be even chillier there than usual. He’d have to wear so many layers of clothes he wouldn’t be able to walk.


    1. Kirk:
      Oh my god, they’d be in heaven. And stairs fascinate them, since they’ve never had any. They make a beeline for the stairs when i take them out to the hall.

  10. If Hollywood is accurate, the keys to the castle should be about a foot long and very heavy. Once you take possession, will you be accepting applications for a court jester?

      1. Walt the Fourth:
        Danny Kaye also famously said, “Pthbbpt, get out of town.” So, I’ll take him at his word.

  11. I am a follower of “John and Mandy on Tour”. They have a YouTube channel and record their adventures travelling around in a motorhome. They look for free parking spots and recently spent a bit of time parked at Castle Sohail. They have a small dog. I’m not sure if they are still there. I should have mentioned it to you before, so that you could say Hi to them.

    1. Mbutterworth:
      What fun. I’ll check and see what I can find out about them. If they’re still there, I might make another visit. Thanks!

  12. P.S. I wish I could be in Spain, but currently confined to barracks in Australia because of Covid. All my Spanish and Portuguese travels are on my blog:

    1. Mbutterworth:
      Thanks so much for the link. So sorry about the travel restrictions. I’m headed right now to caminconfidential!

    2. Mbutterworth:
      I’ve tried to visit but i receive the message that the blog doesn’t exist.

      1. Mbutterworth:
        Don’t know why your follow-up message with the typo corrected doesn’t appear here; it’s in my email and it didn’t go into spam here. Anyway, I’ve got the correct address (THANKS) and will try again.

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