Let Me Take You Down To
Almería (Spain)

John Lennon in Almeria, filming How I won the war


Because John Lennon wrote Strawberry Fields Forever in this southeastern city of Spain. He got inspiration for the song in 1966, during the six weeks he spent filming How I won the war. Furthermore, John came back from Almeria with his forever present "granny" glasses. Besides, Ringo and George visited him and Ringo would come back in 1971 to film "Blindman".


Almería is located in the southeastern corner of Spain. This province is well known among other things, for being the location for films such as "Lawrence of Arabia", "Patton" or Sergio Leone´s dollar trilogy. There are daily air flights from Madrid and Barcelona, although it can be easily reached by car or train. The main places to visit are:

Santa Isabel

Santa Isabel today A large house where John Lennon recorded the first demos of Strawberry Fields Forever. It had a wild garden and a fence. It was abandoned for 30 years until journalist Adolfo Iglesias and the association "John Lennon Almeria Forever" discovered its story. Nowadays is being restored by Almeria Town Council and it will soon become a public cultural centre.

Santa Isabel is cited by several sources (including Mark Lewisohn´s "Chronicle" and The Beatles Monthly Book). Nevertheless in Almeria is better known as the Romero´s Villa. Cynthia Lennon wrote about it in her biography "A twist of Lennon", describing it as a hounted house. It also appears cited in the bootleg "It´s not too bad" of Pegboy-Vigotone, where under the name "Santa Isabel demos" are included the seven takes of Strawberry Fields Forever Lennon made in Almería (a very similar, although improved, version can be heard on the Anthology 2 from the Kenwood demos).

El Delfín Verde and the Playa del Zapillo
John in the Delfín Verde

El Zapillo is the beach of the city of Almería. John Lennon was lodged in a small apartment called "El delfín verde" (the green dolphin) near the seafront during his first weeks there. It was here where Douglas Kirkland took the photo of John on the bed with a guitar and a casette recorder. John begun writing the song here but without the main verse. When Ringo came for John´s 26th birthday, Cynthia decided to move to a larger place, Santa Isabel, where the song was completed.

"El Manzanilla" was a restaurant located a few metres from the Delfín Verde. Lennon and his friends used to have dinner here, and it was the place where they celebrated his 26th birthday. Today is ruined and abandoned

El delfín verde today
Carboneras, Cabo de Gata and Tabernas
Cartel de la película How I Won the War

The main locations out the city of the shooting of "How I won the war". Lennon used to attend every day, even if he was not to appear on the scenes shot that day. The photos taken by John Howard, César Lucas, Douglas Kirkland and others connect Lennon and these pleces for the Beatles fans.

How I won the war was directed in 1967 by Richard Lester (who also directed A Hard Day's Night and Help) and starred Michael Crawford and John Lennon in the lead roles. Lennon played private Gripweed in the movie.

What you should know
  • Adolfo Iglesias started his investigation on John's stay in Almería, after visiting the Spanish Beatles Page and discover the page dedicated to Strawberry Field in this section. It is mentioned there that John had written the song in Almería.

  • John´s Rolls broke down during the filming and he and Cynthia used a taxi for several days. Years after, the taxi driver had no memories whatsoever of his famous passengers.

  • Like many English visitors, John got sunburnt during the first days in Spain. This can be clearly appreciated in some of the pictures taken during the filming.

  • Very few Spaniards asked John for an autograph. But a group of chlidren from the Zapillo neirbourghood did it four times. Ringo was the mediator.

  • Michael Crawford would later appear in Hello Dolly!, and gained fame playing the lead role in Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Phantom of the Opera". Richard Lester would direct, among many others, parts 2 and 3 of "Superman".

  • In some pictures, John appears with a "chupa-chups" (lollypop), considered as one of the greatest Spanish inventions of the 20th century.