Spain – A Drive to Marbella
We left beautiful Sevilla on a Saturday, driving down to our next destination Marbella on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain. It’s a beautiful drive through rolling hills , agricultural landscape and picturesque white villages cascading down the hillsides along the way. The independent community of Andalucia (one of 17 such communities under the Spanish constitution) has 8 provinces within it and we were driving from the province of Seville through the Province of Cadiz to the our destination in the province of Malaga.
Cadiz contains the famous sherry triangle, where the world’s best sherry is made. In fact the wine can only be called sherry if it is produced within this region. I expected to see more palomino or pedro ximenez vineyards (the main grapes used to make sherry) along the way but we were outside of the “sherry triangle” and didn’t really see many vineyards. The one or two we saw seemed to have thick and dark ancient vines, all stripped of their leaves and trimmed of excess branches now in dormant state outside of the growing season. The town of Jerez, the best known sherry producing town in the sherry triangle, was on our way and I wanted to go through Jerez and stop at one of the sherry bodegas. I chose Bodega Tradicion, famous for the top end sherries they produce in this 300 years old bodega in old town Jerez. We made it to Jerez and found the small bodega hidden behind a narrow side street but it was closed for the day (the website said it was open on Saturdays but since it’s low season anything can happen). We looked around the old Moorish town but decided to come back to Jerez on another day as it is a reasonably short drive from Marbella and was on my list of places we must visit.
We reset our trusted GPS and got on the way to our final destination. Soon enough, after driving around the small streets leading us out of the centre a battle ensued between us and the GPS, a battle which we inevitably won as we were behind the wheel. The GPS protested and tried to redirect us to the original route but eventually conceded defeat and redirected us through a different route to Marbella. It turned out okay because this alternative route took us through smaller towns and country roads, very pleasant and very pretty, just a little longer.
We arrived at our destination and as we usually do dropped the luggage off in the apartment and went out exploring to get a feel for the place. We can unpack later. We drove to the beach area in Marbella and found the long and beautiful promenade, extending some 8 km between Marbella and the neighbouring flashy Puerto Bañus. People were out in droves strolling along the promenade. It’s a very unique experience, something we don’t ever see where we live. We looked at boats (yachts, really) and at the view of the city in the background built up the hills above the beach, glistening with it’s white painted homes. Marbella is sheltered to the north by the Sierra Blanca mountain range, rising not far from the sea. The mountain range protects Marbella and creates a micro climate that keeps temperatures here at average of 18-30 all year round. There are four peaks in Sierra Blanca range and the most famous is the La Concha, guarding over the Marbella and Puerto Banus and very recognizable in any Marbella images you would find. There is hiking trail between the four peaks but I don’t think it’s on the list for this visit.
After walking along the promenade and stopping for some tapas at a beach restaurant we walked up to a white marble plaza forming part of the Alameda park just off the beach separating the beach from the town. The plaza features nine large bronze sculptures by Salvador Dali that the city of Marbella purchased a while ago. It’s quite a rare treat to have this collection on public display.
We walked through the Alameda park and up a couple of street and were immediately smitten. We were now in old town Marbella, an incredibly charming and beautiful old town with remains of a fortress on top of the hill and gorgeous narrow streets lined with giant pots and paved with tile and stone. This has to be one of the most picturesque old towns we have seen. I fell in love immediately (I have a big heart, there is room:). The small plazas we passed through had orange trees, restaurants and stores, the trees were decorated with white lights, tables and chairs were set out for diners. Oh, it was so beautiful I wanted to eat at every restaurant, sit at every cafe and rest on every bench. We have to spend more time in this gorgeous old place.
My first impression of Marbella lived up to my expectations and I am looking forward to explore it and the neighbouring towns over the next couple of weeks. More about Marbella in the next post. Will show and tell as it happens.
Thanks for dropping by.