Marbella: So Chic

Posted by Tni Newhoff on Monday, September 10th, 2007 at 8:08 pm
Position: 36.5065 by -4.8758 map

Yes, it is true, we were quite happy to be on our way from Gibraltar and eager to get back to Spain. The trouble is that the southern coast is littered with highrise resorts and apartment developments and during the summer months, is completely overrun with tourists. While these shores offer the promise of inexpensive package vacations for many, it is not the Spain that we came to see. Regardless, unless we wanted to make a big, several day hop at once to the Balearics, we would need to suck it up and continue to make our way east along the coast. We had heard good things about Marbella, so Marbella it was. You can imagine our disappointment when from the water, it looked much the same as what we had already experienced everywhere along the coast – white sand beaches whose beauty is hard to discern b/c of the hordes and hordes of people and umbrellas, all against a backdrop of highrises and endless development. Sadly, the beautiful Sierra Nevadas only just loom in the background dwarfed by the oppressiveness of sprawl. And on the subject of sprawl, I must make this note. It is EVERYWHERE. We are floored by the amount of development that is taking place everywhere. I have always associated this sort of urban development with the US but not so. With the exception of the Azores, it has been ever present in every place we have visited. Actually, I don’t think I have ever seen as much development per square mile as in Gibraltar. Ok, I digress…back to Marbella.

We had had a pleasant sail to get there and were in good spirits, despite the disappointing view. We set out immediately (almost immediately, David changed the oil first and you can witness below how much fun that was) in search of the old town. Well guess what? It was an absolute gem. It was so incredibly beautiful. There were flowers and vines everywhere – hanging from balconies, adorning the squares, and lining the quaint (immaculate!) cobblestone streets. What really struck me was how everyone dressed up. It was actually refreshing to see. Just out for an afternoon or evening stroll, everyone, men and women, all so smartly dressed. It was the first place that we’ve been in forever where the women wore heels…I even almost pulled out a pair of mine that have not seen the light of day in many months and have long since been relegated to the depths of some locker.

While we were there we took in a fashion show that just happened to be taking place one evening in one of the many squares, followed by a fabulous meal with our friends from Moonstruck. I’m sure you can imagine why David was happy to be back in Spain, just two words…jamon Iberico ;) There was a wonderful dirt path that led for miles along the waterfront and joy of joys, I rediscovered the runner in me. We would have liked to have stayed in Marbella longer but alas, we had to plan ahead for our overnight to the Balearics and had to take advantage of our next weather window.

Our sailing companions, Moonstruck  Oops...a little oil spill while changing the oil           

One Response to “Marbella: So Chic”

    Marbella is lovely, from these photos, even the one with David splashed in eau de petrol.

    Your concerns about the SPRAWL remind me of my parents’ adventure in 1974-75 when they relocated to Rio with the corporate overseas job. My mom asked me what she should take and what she should not (I was a young whippersnapper with lots of opinions), and I urged her not to take plastic bags. I was thinking of the environment even then. But of course when they arrived with minimal plastic, they found the place much overrun with plenty of plastic.

    A return visit to Rio in the late 1970’s with a group of 19 of us for my brother and his bride’s honeymoon trip (yes, there’s a story or two there) saw some changes, but not monumental ones for those who had been there earlier. But a newcomer on seeing the skyline from the beachfront road kept repeating, “Just like Miami Beach, only more commercial”. This line has (in my family of origin) come to stand for a kind of rigidness, an inability to find uniqueness in a new experience, but also to comment on the SPRAWL wherever we find it.

Please send us your comments...

You must be logged in to post a comment.