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Musing on the Magic of a Marbella Morning

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I’ve often thought that the true magic of a town happens not in the bustling middle of a day, but first thing in the morning, when the first rays of sunshine hit deserted squares, when workmen and women head quietly into the streets to prepare for the visiting masses, when cafes start to open up for business, and when the squares and fountains and pavements are scrubbed clean in readiness for another day. In Rome I remember savouring the view from my hotel window in the Piazza Della Rotunda at 6am, watching the elegant fountain being scrubbed clean in front of the Pantheon before the tourist masses descended. In Krakow likewise I would be mesmerised watching the cleaners out on the streets first thing in the morning, while from the Mariacki Basilica the Hejnalista trumpeter would play his mournful tune. 

Marbella, one of the gems of Andalucia, is no exception when it comes to the tourist crowds. And while I often find myself becoming vexed at the sheer number of visitors who clutter up the streets of the city’s old town, which I am lucky enough to call my second home, I cannot blame them for wanting to visit. For Marbella’s old white washed streets and cobbled squares are amongst the most beautiful on Spain’s Costa del Sol.  But for me, they never look better than first thing in the morning, empty and in the first sun rays of the day. 

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So when I headed out to Marbella this Easter, the first thing I did on my first morning when, accustomed to rising early in London, my body clock got me up early, was to stroll out into the deserted streets of the old town to enjoy these rare quiet moments of having the town almost to myself. The shop shutters were still closed, and the postcard stands hadn’t yet made it out onto the streets; the rising sun was casting long shadows over the cobbled squares; and the only people around were those few taking equal advantage of these quiet moments: to head up a ladder to change a light bulb in a street lamp, to mop the patio in front of a cafe, to quickly walk the dog before work. 

So as Marbella gradually opened up for the day, I took a seat in the Plaza de Naranjos at the heart of the old town, sitting in one of the only spots being hit by the slowly rising sun. And with the square’s cafes only just beginning to open up, with chairs being unstacked and umbrellas gradually opening up around me, I gave the first order of the day to an open cafe’s lone waiter: churros and coffee, to be sampled slowly while watching the world around me awaken. 

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Now that is the magic of a Marbella morning.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2014 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. 

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. millie #

    You painted a perfect picture in my head, it’s as though i am there :)

    April 23, 2014
    • Yipee! I’m so glad as that was what I was intending to do…wish you had been there x

      April 23, 2014
  2. Lovely pictures!

    I guess everyone must be quite delighted to see these pictures and discover how beutiful Marbella is. It’s a bit different for me, I know that place since I was a kid and routine and having things for granted make us not observing in detail the beauty of a well known place. Your pictures made me see the square with different eyes and made me want to go there again!

    April 23, 2014
    • Thanks! I think it’s easy to take somewhere like Marbella’s old town for granted, especially when you know it well – I’ve been going there around 4-6 times a year for the last 14 years, and it becomes so commonplace that sometimes I need to sit back and look around me and think: wow, this place really is amazing isn’t it. And to be honest, I never tire of the beauty of the place. I must have walked through the Plaza de Los Naranjos about 5000 times, but it never loses the magic it had for me when I saw it for the first time. So glad you like the post.

      April 23, 2014

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