Having recently read how Marbella in Southern Spain had changed in the past few years becoming a tad tawdry and no longer that magical place I had visited several times as far back as the seventies, I was delighted when my youngest son Jo ask me to join him and his delightful Julia, for time again to visit a much favoured place of mine.
I was not disappointed. It was a late holiday – October would not be considered the best time to visit Marbella as the season is coming to a close or at least a slowing of pace but how delightful this time of the year can be! The sun warm and gentle, a feathery touch on bare shoulders, not the fervency of the relentless burning months of July and August. Perfect for long walks on the Avenue Maria de Salamanca free now of so many of the rollerbladers and joggers – do they go somewhere else at this time of year I wondered? Stopping for good coffee and pastries at the enchanting front line cafe “Cappuccino” at the base of the watchful eye of the Hotel Grand Melia Don Pepe and choosing to sit looking out at at the deep blue sea of the magical Mediterranean. Peaceful tranquil times with impeccable service and not that fast pace of the busy hotter months.
How this suited my spirit, how this suited my soul. An old friend joined me and we sat in perfect harmony enjoying this pleasant interlude, the sun warm on our backs with time to reflect as very good friends do.
Our base was the wonderful luxury Los Aquerous Apartments out on the Ronda road and high above Marbella – way up in the Sierra Ronda’s and each morning we were greeted with spectacular sunrises stretching across the mountains, often in a magical early morning mist as we sat for ages on the terrace enjoying those stunning views with our breakfast of fresh croissants, eggs and fruit – good coffee and great company. The views below complete with private swimming pool – as we were the only guests at this time of year – were spectacular.
Of course how could you go to Marbella and not visit Puerto Banus? Quite lovely still at this time of the year. Again gentle strolling in the warm luminosity of clear sunny days. I love the view of Puerto when you walk past the control tower that looks more like a round house to the furthest point on the jetty and then turn back to look at this once quiet little fishing village, still imagining it then, the natural beauty it once had long before the endless lines of fabulous boats and great shows of wealth ever arrived and lined the bay.
Night time in Puerto is a must – A time to dress-up and go people watching, yes it is expensive but if you choose well there are many delightful places to eat. We love “Khans” for delicious fragrant tasting Curry served perfectly and in splendid ambiance. Be careful to saviour your cocktails if you go clubbing, as they are mighty expensive but they come large and fancy! Try a cooling Mojito at the Plaza beach, glasses stuffed to bursting with tons of mint,golden rum and limes, or visit Sinatra’s and The Piano Bar (Joys Place) where we danced till 2am and I loved the live music- gentle jazz songs and then the disco. I could have danced till dawn – perhaps helped along by two tia- maria frappe’s!!
Then there is old Marbella – did a prettier place ever exist? Tiny alleys and small quaint streets, Flower covered villas and apartments dripping from attic balconies to ground with colourful bougainvillea and vines. Good places for tapas or a cooling beer in the shade of tropical trees, colourful umbrellas and awnings, adorning the open cafes and tiny interesting shops. With the smell of special incense wafting through the lanes, I think I could stroll there forever – it never ever changes and it brings me such peace. The beautiful 17th century church of Iglesia Santa Maria de le Encarnation. sitting as it does in a quiet corner near to the 16th century – Capilla de San Juan de Dio’s The Spanish are proud of this place and rightly so with not a scrap of rubbish anywhere – walls and doors freshly whitewashed and wrought iron railings sparkling. The street musicians on odd corners create a festive sound to this enchanting area.
I wax lyrical about Marbella which in recent years has become a playground for the rich and famous and that’s fun too! But if you look beyond all that, Marbella is charming. It will always bring back good memories for me and now I have even more to add, out of season Marbella strikes a good chord in my heart….