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Published: November 30th 2006
The glory that is Marbella
In the summertime months, Marbella is known as the jewel of the Costa del Sol, Spain’s coastline towns on the Mediterranean Sea. With a long, broad walkway along the beach and many lovely hotels, restaurants and clubs, Marbella attracts the glitterati from all over the world. Everyone from P Diddy and J Lo to the King of Saudi Arabia has spent time here - in fact, the King of SA liked it so much, he built a summer home here in the exact dimensions of the White House in Washington, DC. Marbella is snuggled in between the mountains of central Spain and the clear blue water of the Med Sea. Truly gorgeous. A hotel to relax and enjoy in
In the winter, however, it’s much quieter and the prices drop significantly. Thus, a place where Mike and I could take a couple days of pure R&R and admire the water and enjoy. Coming into Marbella, we didn’t have a reservation - or knowledge of any hotels, hostels, anything - so we headed straight to the Tourist Information office to find a listing. For any future European travelers, the gift
of having a TI office in almost every small town is huge. They have everything from maps to hotel & dining lists and it’s (mostly) free. Good stuff. We made a couple of calls from the list and found a lovely hotel called the Puente Romano. Designed in the style of an Andalucian village, it’s a collection of small 2-3 story buildings around a central garden. Each building is white stucco-looking and contains about 6 rooms with balconies. I’m actually sitting on ours right now while I write this, listening to the waterfalls trickle through the garden, hearing birds sing and seeing sunshine on the plant leaves and flowers. For a decent size hotel, they designed it really well - every room feels like it’s on its own with the garden and the sunshine.
The hotel connects directly to the water and the long boardwalk along it - it’s actually a wide dirt and tile path, but with the bikers, walkers and joggers all cruising along, it could be a boardwalk. Every day we’ve been here, we’ve walked between 5-7 miles on the path seeking lunch, dinner and seaside sunshine. In Marbella proper, we explored little shops, ate on
the boardwalk looking out at the sea and people watched like crazy. There’s a British travel agent’s convention in town, so the Brits are in force along with retirees of every variety from Germany, France and Spain. This is the Florida of Europe in that respect =) So much walking and so much watching
Yesterday, we walked a good 2.5 miles down to Puerto Banus, the site of a major marina for the rich travelers who come to Marbella. Yachts and luxury boats park side by side to party in this area of the Costa del Sol. We stopped a while to goggle at the giant boats . . . and the cars of their owners. BMWs and Mercedes were the standard, with more than one Ferrari and Bentley parked casually in front of cafes as well. Even in the winter, people were dressed very fashionably with their new bags and designer shoes on the move. To serve this crowd, stores like Juicy Couture, Louis Vuitton jockey for space with Dolce & Gabbana and La Perla in a 2 block stretch. The window shopping is very fun for the price =)
We stopped at a
place called American Jack’s Brasserie for lunch (funny name) and decided to try the Spanish interpretation of Nachos and Buffalo Wings. They made a valiant effort but they were still about 25 degrees off the mark. Fun anyway, with Top 40 music on the speakers and a table next to the boardwalk to people watch while we ate.
The hotel has a daily buffet breakfast included with our room so we’ve tested that out as well. While you can find most any ethnic restaurant in the USA you want to try - from Cambodian to Egyptian - for the most part, they only serve lunch and dinner. Thus, breakfast in another country is always unfamiliar and new. The hotel caters to a mostly Spanish, German and British crowd so their choices are reflected strongly. Ignoring the extensive blood sausage and beans options that the Brits so love, I have opted for cold roast chicken and Brie on small baguettes. Accompany that with a sliced tomato or two and some Diet Coke and it’s the breakfast of champions! Yum. Mike’s stayed more traditional on the breakfast front, sticking to pastries of any background and sliced sausages and ham. Buffets are
fun because we can both indulge our own tastes, as different as they are. A lounge by the pool with some local wildlife
It has been beautiful and sunny here, for the most part in the 60s. To completely be bums yesterday, we commandeered chairs by the pool that overlooks the water and beach. Wrapped in towels, we settled in with our books in the sunshine. So nice! After about 10 minutes a small well groomed cat wandered up and meowed at me. Thinking she was maybe a little friendly, I made a movement to pet her gently. She however, saw that as an invitation to join me in my lap and stay a while . . . or until I forcefully shoved her off an hour later to return to the room. While a bit strange, it was nice to have an animal to pet and warm me up . . . we both miss our pup, and while a cat’s an incomplete substitute, it was enjoyable all the same. Purring on both sides commenced =)
Last night we took our final marathon walk about a mile down the beach to find dinner. We
stopped at a place called La Pesquera, a fish restaurant along the boardwalk. Feeling adventurous, we got a Sea Bass baked in Coarse Salt. I’d seen it on cooking shows before, but it was really cool - and tasty! - in real life. They take a whole unskinned fish and wrap it in a mound of salt and bake it at high temperatures. The salt keep in the flavor and moisture within the fish so it bakes perfectly. Delicious!
Today we are leaving Marbella and heading up to Granada to return our car and get back on the sightseeing wagon. Granada has the Alhambra and lovely cathedrals that we’re looking forward to seeing.
Hope all is well in the good old US of A!
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