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We returned to Marbella again my friends. And again I was lured by the seductive notes of bergamot, oranges and sunshine, charmed by the beauty of the panoramic mountain views, the dripping pink and white bougainvillea, the deep blue of the Mediterranean that matched the cloudless sky. High up in the Sierra de Ronda’s in magical Andalusia this hot October of 2013  was sublime.

As my readers here know, Marbella and Puerto Banus are favourite places of mine, not I might add in the summer months when it is too crowded and these very pretty places change like a chameleon when the majority of its five million annual visitors arrive during the months of July and August.  I dislike crowds at any time, so prefer to visit in October and if lucky to have as we did the most agreeable weather,  then it becomes a perfect paradise.

Our luxury modern apartment sitting high above the world or so it seemed to me afforded us a magnificent view from the large terrace as far as our eyes could see, looking forward to the Mediterranean Sea  and down on landscaped gardens of topiary and vivid green lawns across the deep verdant valley of exotic trees and to the side a  mountain range with added injections of huge white and terracotta villas scattered across the hills which could if allowed, take your breath away!

Each day on the large terrace we would enjoy our breakfast of delicious fruits, croissants, cheeses and rich olives, sometimes a gentle omelette and always good strong coffee whilst breathing in this sweet smelling air and admiring this fabulous view.

We would sit out in the warm evening air with only the glow from candles to light us and after a very good dinner either in Marbella or Puerto Banus or sometimes cooked up high in our own special heavenly world  and with our delicious wine we would settle to watch the stars and the fast moving satellites well into the night. What could be better than that I ask?

                                                                        Caesar Salad with Avocadoes.

Marbella if literally translated would mean beautiful sea and it is just that. These days, the city is internationally known for its jet-set ambience and superb variety of activities offered to visiting tourists. Perhaps my love for Marbella  has arrived from its valuable richness in the Arab culture. It draws me in, is charming, seductive and the town and green parks are supremely attractive. Now fast becoming our favourite place and visited every year is the wonderful seaside Grand Café which is known as Cappuccino.

Situated on the Calle de Jose Melia at the base of the fabulous luxury “Hotel Gran Melia Don Pepe” The enchanting  Cappuccino is set amongst lush green pine and palm trees, this for me is the place to take time to absorbed the ambiance and the aroma that is perfectly Marbella. To sit quietly with friends or in jovial fun to ‘drink-in’ the warmth of the sun, the beautiful surroundings with its mixture of classic beauty and its own vibes of Latin rhythms, soft jazz and bossanova sounds that make this the place of relaxation that it truly is.  With its lively selection of cocktails, superb coffees, delicate teas, delicious cakes and pastries and a marvellous selection of  outstanding lunches and dinners. It is an outstanding place of relaxation. Where else is the service so fine, so attentive, where else could you sit in comfortable reverie better than this, enjoying your own Marbella.

Then of course no trip to Marbella could be complete without a visit to Puerto Jose Banus, now more commonly known as Puerto Banus. It is situated southwest of Marbella and has since the days of the 1970’s become one of the largest entertainment centres in the Costa del Sol, so very popular with international celebrities, the rich and famous, royalty and just you and I.

Developed around this once tiny fishing village, Puerto Banus now contains expensive shopping malls, restaurants, bars set around the beautiful Marina where the mega wealthy own large seafaring yachts of magnificence  The scene at most times of the day but especially at night, of many exotic cars; Ferrari’s, Lamborghinis and the latest Mercedes are common place,  viewed with great interest and driven with much pride and sometimes much arrogance! It is a people watching paradise and if like me you love to do this – it is second to none. It is fun to stroll either in the morning when it takes on a fresh clean feel as the front of the designer shops receive their daily wash and brush-up and the views back to the Sierras are sublime from the Harbour House. Perhaps later in the evening make your selection from the many good restaurants along the boardwalk, to sit and digest this ambience which still holds much charm especially  out of season if the weather is as good as we have enjoyed this October then it can’t be bettered.

A short drive away and not to be missed even if you are usually a beach lover is the amazing little town of Casarabonela now commonly known as Casara – it is still part of the municipality of Malaga and is situated 48km from the capital of Malaga so quite nearby to visit when in Marbella. It has a population of approximately 2,500 residents which seems impossible to me but not I suppose when you think of all the tiny alleyways and steps up and down that lead to these tiny homes.  The name derives from the Arabicقصر بنيرة – QaSr Bunayra – The Alcazar or Palace of Bonera.

The scenery is picturesque, so take your time on the drive. Suddenly you turn a bend in the road and are treated to a spectacular view of this tiny village with its medieval fortress. This tiny village set like sugar cubes piled high precariously gripping the mountain side is a picture postcard village. Many white villages in Spain are beautiful for sure but the view when sighting Casara is spectacular causing the visitor to simply stare and the wish to walk its tiny lanes. We found it had a rather strange feel- shall we say watchful residents, perhaps something was going-on the day we visited but never-the-less it is well worth a look-see and I would like to return again to study this pretty little village even more.

No holiday to Marbella would be complete without a stroll around old Marbella, I have spoken of my love for this place in a previous post but just to repeat once again that this magical place still delights me so and is simply a must-do.

 With my youngest son Yousef.

We rambled and searched out the quaint little shops of lace, having such fun in one tiny shop when it appeared that the only changing room was the pulling together and fixing with a pin to make a privacy curtain, of just two hanging dresses at the main door!

We rooted out the antique costume jewellery, we wandered the tiny white lanes of tapas bars and street cafes, stopped to view the enticing courtyards beyond the old doors of tiny spotless white houses. No hurry here as we admired the churches and the architecture, no hurry Old Marbella is after all, to be relished.

As usual it was a splendid holiday but do things become more poignant  when your are older? I believe they do. I drink-in the views, absorb the culture of old Marbella, breathe-in the jasmine and sweet eucalyptus  filled air and consume the many memories that for me are sun related; I am alive and  very comfortable with the warmth of the sun, a feathery touch on my back, bringing a glow to my heart. Swimming in the twinkly infinity pool made diamonds of joy pour forth. The company was fabulous and our laughter echoed daily across the Sierras.  A perfect holiday…yes.  And it was much more besides.