Join Guest poster Leon Levy on a journey from Breakfast to Lunch in Marbella, Spain.
I threw down my copy of Don Quixote as I realised el desayuno (breakfast) of bread, cheese and café con leche had made me rather too docile for my present location: why on earth was I reading a book? It’s 11 am and I’m in Marbella! Leaving the detritus of my breakfast in my wake I made for the door and entered the hotel corridor – squeezing past to the pretty Spanish chambermaid destined to deal with my mess – I offered a sheepish smile, and flew down the stairs.
Marching straight out the welcoming lobby of the La Villa Marbella in the centre of town the warm flash of the Andalusian sun beat the cobwebs out of my brain enough in enough time for me to hail a passing yellow-black taxi and for it to stop. It was time to take a mid-morning cruise around Marbella, Spain.
I was pretty relaxed about my destination and so was my driver – a moustachioed middle-aged local who clearly loved eating out in Marbella as much as I was sure I was going to do. He didn’t have a lot of Inglés so he had to put up with my makeshift Spanish requests – which today started with el mar por favour!
In two minutes we were at the harbour of the southern Spanish Mediterranean town – populated with the bright white yachts of the international bold and beautiful – this part of Spain certainly lived up to its name of being the play boy capital of Europe. From my seafront vantage point inside the cruising cab I could see at least half a dozen parties going on – in full swing with the latest Spanish pop. Hollywood stars such as Antonio Banderas and the late Joan Collins were known to frequent the town.
For the next half hour we took in the jaw-droppingly grandiose villas of the rich and famous – intersected by roads lined with lazily swaying palm trees and studded with glittering sports cars. Flashy ultra-modern air conditioned malls stood shoulder to shoulder with glitzy condos. The medieval Arabian wall and the remnants of the old town square were the only reminders of the town that until the 1940’s was a sleepy and dusty little provincial village of 900 people.
As we rounded inland I caught my first glimpse of the 1,200 meter high La Concha Mountain and considered climbing it. But if I was going to attempt such a feat – breakfast wouldn’t be enough – it was lunchtime in paradise and I needed to think about where to eat in Marbella.
Would I choose a fresh calamari salad or the grilled lobster I’d heard so much about? Succulent locally cured Spanish jamon from acorn fed iberico pigs or perhaps a selection of tapas await this greedy traveller? It was going to be a tough choice, but someone would have to make it…..
Leon Levy is a British writer specialising in travel, the environment and current affairs. He has a particular interest in the Middle East and South Asia.