Marbella is definitely my favourite town along the Costa del Sol, I won't repeat details about Marbella that you can find elsewhere for example on the excellent website "The Blue Colour of the Sky". But there's nothing nicer than to get up early (well relatively early) while the kids are still in bed and head into the Old Town. The narrow streets are clean, colourful, and lined with flowerpots or wall growing bouganvilla, with twists and turns that take you to new delights around each corner: A chapel, fortress walls, a small art gallery or museum, the indoor market where they sell fish, meat fruit and flowers, the cathedral, little shrines where they keep the statues they march in the Easter parades, shops and boutiques, some for the rich others for the locals. It's great when you find another little tapas bar where you've never eaten before. The trick is not to go to places that have seats and umbrellas outside specifically to attract the tourists but to look for the hidden local haunts which at first look dingy but where locals enjoy cheap and fabulous treats.
This week Sharon, here sister and I headed in and stopped at a local cafe where we had a light breakfast. We headed around the town in the lovely sunshine, and very bearable heat. Sauntering up and down the narrow streets and popping into the odd shop or two. Sharon delighting in getting a few dresses in a boutique with a great sale. "Just perfect for that wedding coming up!" at home.
Then off to the indoor market, though by now we are a bit late and many places are closed, you need to be early for the market. But we get some fruit and vegetables and some very sharp knives for the apartment from Jesus. All in all a lovely morning.
That evening we head back in with the two families and this time head down along the promenade to our usual Indian Restaurant. At night and along the promenade the contrast is stark, it's busy, bustling with people of all ages, families, couples, and groups. Street traders, mainly from North Africa ply their trade, weary of the local police, as they pester you with their counterfeit bags, sunglasses, DVDs, watches, bracelets, scarves and other bric-a-brac. The restaurants of many nations try to entice you in, the bars are full, the streets are teeming with people ambling along taking in the atmosphere, music is playing, neons light up the street, and everything is just a little boisterous and the police keep a watchful eye. It seldom boils over like in Benalmadena or Fuengirola, well maybe it does later at night but I've never seen it. None-the-less it's lively and enjoyable. We stop at a trendy cocktail bar for Mojitos, Daiqaris, beer and soft drinks and soak up the lovely balmy night and watch the world go bye. Another perfect but contrasting day in Marbella!