A very warm welcome to 2016! Here’s hoping the year has begun on a great note.I do hope the New year brings in Fresh beginnings, Every Success, Health and of course Exciting Travels to far and beyond along with Culinary experiences that are every bit delightful and gastronomical!
The last two weeks of December were spent vacationing and I”m very excited to share this post with you.When you speak of Sun kissed beaches mingled with specks of history and culture and gastronomy beyond one’s imagination you could only be in Southern Spain or more specifically in the Andalusian region.Our Spanish Sojourn began with landing in Malaga and then onward a short drive to Marbella, where we planned to stay on for a few days.We arrived at the Marriott’s Marbella Beach Resort,which is a pretty spectacular property located in the heart of Costa del Sol (Coast of Sunshine) and boasts a pretty plush beachfront,amenities including a lovely spa,heated pools and jacuzzi and some good restaurants.
Day 1: Chilling at The Marriott’s Marbella Beach Resort:
The hubs and the teen quite quickly resolve to a relaxed first day at the heated pool and I’m quite happy to take a stroll on the beach and get some fresh air.The day goes by well with all of us fairly rested and we sit down at dinner at the lovely heated patio of La Med,the resort’s in-house restaurant,drawing up plans for the next few days.Each one of us have an agenda.The teen was keen taking a trip into cultural and historical Granada and I was absolutely wanting to explore the variety of cuisine, head to a tapas bar,sip endless Sangria’s and just watch the world go by.
Day 2: Old Town Marbella:
We drive off to the Old quarter of Marbella or also know as the Old Town and are quite pleasantly surprised by this charming town.The heart of the town is called “El Casco Antiguo” and is pretty much paved in cobble stone with narrow winding streets that are dotted with curious stores and little road side cafe’s.I point out to La Muralla as it is located in the centre of the square and it’s time for some Sangria sipping, people watching and tapas of course.This cafe is right across from the Encarnacion church ,while cobbled passage ways lead from La Muralla into the heart of the Old Town.We settle for a couple of Sangria’s and a plate of delicious, piping hot meatballs in a piquant tomato sauce and a Spanish omelette.We are seated on the patio outside,it’s a gorgeous Mediterranean winter afternoon with the temperature probably around 14 C and it seemed like time had stood still,well for us holiday makers at least, we take in the sight’s of an otherwise busy square with mothers and their young kids hurrying back from school as the bells toll softly in the nearby church.
Day 3 Puerto Banus:
This gorgeous Marina is located on the Costa del Sol somewhere between Marbella and San Pedro and is a short 30 minute drive from our resort.Being our second last day in Southern Spain we wanted to make the most of our day and so glad that we discovered Puerto Banus. Most often referred to the home of the rich and famous.And quite rightly so. The spectacular Marina is dotted with boats and yachts and is a great place to walk around or even perhaps sit by this beachfront cafe.
Yes of course just in time for yet more Sangria and Tapas.Our first stop was at the Paradise cafe on the beach.It’s quite amazing that despite it being a chilly afternoon,the ice-cold Sangria seemed just perfect with some brilliant tapas.We ordered a smallish platter that came on three individual baguette slices.One with a Spanish Chorizo and cherry tomatoes,the second one with Warm Goat cheese and caramelised onions and the last one with Camembert with an apricot chutney. A tad bit bite sized, yet perfect for a lazy afternoon by the beach side.
The main avenue around Puerto Banus has an array of designer boutiques and stores and a huge El Cortes Ingles and is also lined with many pubs and tapas bars,but we are all set with a mission to eat at La Moraga. I had read up about this Spanish gastro pub and was quite keen to visit it.They do not accept reservations and it’s pretty busy at around 3pm that afternoon,but we are quite determined to sample Michelin Star Dani Garcia’s Spanish gastronomy.The decor is very modern and upscale with diners getting a full view of the kitchen.Our wait time is ten minutes,which is fairly reasonable given that it seemed abuzz with the locals at a late luncheon. They have an impressive wine list and the hubs and me decide to move away from Sangria’s and sample some Spanish Rioja and order some of their classic’s of Spanish omelette made with organic eggs and potatoes served with a salad,Meat Croquettes made with Serrano ham and chicken served with an aioli, Patata Bravas and the now hungry teen settles for The Spaniard,which is a sandwich with Serrano ham,Manchego cheese,sliced tomatoes,and olive oil served on Ciabatta bread,baked open face. Very mild and subtle flavours and an amazing experience at this very contemporary and chic place. A must visit if you are in Puerto Banus.
Day 4 Drive to Historical Granada:
We plan on a day trip to Granada which takes approximately 2 hours from our resort in Marbella,with a pit stop of course.This spectacular town lies encased in the Sierra Nevada mountains and traces its origins to the Moorish occupation in Spain.The main attraction being the Al Hambra palace which is a large fortress surrounded by lush gardens and pools.It’s really quite worth the wait in the line to get your tickets and a get a view of the interiors of the Palace.A lot of the work is still in its original form although some restoration work is in progress for the upkeep and maintenance of the Palace.
interestingly Alhambra comes from an Arabic root which means “red or crimson castle” and quite rightly so. While exploring the palace it is also very worth a visit to the Generalife gardens which are well manicured and have breath-taking views surrounding them.
Generalife: Gardens and spectacular views of Granada
Interiors of the Palace
Our vacation so far has been interspersed with moments of awe and wonder as we have revelled in Spain’s diverse landscape and natural beauty and fine cuisine. As much as it’s heart breaking to bid good-bye to this gorgeous Coast of sunshine,the rest of our journey awaits us. We now fervently await part two of our Spanish Sojourn as we fly into Madrid ,with promises of Museums,Palaces and People watching and then finally onto the last leg of our holiday ,to Enchanting and Charming Barcelona where everything spells Gaudi ,Food markets,Gardens and Gastronomy par excellent.I promise to write-up the next post really soon. Until then…