Wednesday, November 9, 2011

COSTA DEL SOL, SPAIN

Our favorite restaurant in Marbella
Spain’s Costa del Sol runs for about 100  miles along the Mediterranean.   We wanted to experience as much of it as possible during our 7 weeks here so we moved several times.  After Torremolinos, we headed west to Marbella. 

Thanks again to Skyauction, we spent 10 days at the Don Pepe Gran Melia in Marbella for a fraction of the usual cost.  Melia is a worldwide hotel chain; Gran Melia their luxury brand. We had a beautiful room, and an unexpected bonus: a fabulous breakfast buffet was included. 

Like Torremolinos, Marbella has an extensive promenade along the beach.  One day we walked  to Puerto Banus and back, about 4 miles each way.  I think of Puerto Banus as Spain’s answer to St. Tropez.  Upscale shops and restaurants circle the harbor which is full of luxurious yachts even this time of year. 

Pool at Gran Melia Marbella
Long walks in the morning were followed by afternoons at the pool overlooking the sea.  At night we sought out local restaurants.   There were plenty to choose from.  They line the promenade along the beach, surround the plazas in old town and are plentiful all over the city.    
On October 29, we packed up and moved to Marbesa, a residential area not far to the east of Marbella.   It had a very different ambience and provided a totally different experience. 

Walkway along beach from Marbella to Puerto Banus
Here we rented a bright 2 bedroom apartment with a big balcony overlooking the pool.  Spoiled as we were by the hotels we had stayed in, it was nice to feel ‘at home.’  Ron made great use of the washing machine and we enjoyed shopping at the local supermercado, having breakfast and lunch at home.  There were a number of restaurants in walking distance but no beach promenade.  On sunny days, it was fun to walk to them along the beach.  On rainy days, we followed back roads until a side street dipped down to the beach and restaurant.  Our dinners are very simple.  We share a large salad, one entrĂ©e and a bottle of Rosado.   

Our apartment in Marbesa
Purto Banus
Another totally different experience awaited us in Benalmadena which is to the west of Torremolinos.  Here we rented a very modern, comfortable one bedroom apartment at Holiday World, a huge complex with its own market, cinema, spa, restaurants.  One cannot really walk anywhere from here so we take the bus into town or into Fuengirola, a very busy hub where one gets a better sense of the local lifestyle.  On those days, it is likely that we will have our main meal at lunch time and tapas for dinner.  Ron has even cooked a few dinners here.  I don’t want him to lose his cooking and laundering skills just because we are homeless.

Now it is November, the days are a bit cooler and we’ve had some rainy days.  They call this winter but for the most part the days are still sunny and bright.  


Walking the beach to dinner in Marbesa




View from our balcony at Holiday World
Sunrise in Benalmadena