Marbella en Realidad: True charm behind the gloss
You must excuse what has been a far from daily Daily Norm of late… for I have been away on my holidays, happily installed far away from the plummeting temperatures of England in the 30s of Southern Spain, desperately gripping onto the last rays of summer, enjoying my ultimate fill of vitamin D, wafting carelessly in the warm clemency of Spanish evenings before, with autumn descending, my body becomes bedecked in layer upon layer of winter woolies.
Yes, I’ve been back in Marbella, the town on the Costa del Sol renowned for its jetset reputation, for its yachts, designer stores, fake boobs and fast cars. And yet this reputation, while perhaps not the worst one can bestow, is far from justified, and certainly misses the point of what this town has to offer. For from the first minute I wandered into the old town of Marbella – the Casco Antiguo – a good 5 miles or so from Puerto Banus and the ritzy hotels and bars of tabloid fodder, I was totally entranced by a historic centre which exudes a cornucopia of Andalucian charm, whose tranquil silence is broken only by the dapple of water splashing from their old stone fountains, or the chirping of birds flitting from one orange tree to another, whose air is fragranced with the sweet seductive notes of Brugmansia trumpets and jasmine buds, and whose white washed buildings are in turn spattered with the vibrant colours of bourganvilla, terracotta pots containing bursts of red geraniums, balconies framed by intricately curled wrought iron balconies, and exquisitely painted local ceramics.
Marbella’s old town is undeservedly overshadowed by the superficial seductions of its modern suburbs, and perhaps this is what helps to maintain its charm and relative exclusivity. But as an artist, and being lucky enough to call the Casco Antiguo my second home, I cannot help but extoll the exquisite aesthetic virtues of this picture-perfect Andalucian town. I’m a resident, not a tourist, so my photos, perhaps sadly, do not depict the obvious – the squares, the cobbled narrow streets, the flamenco dancers or the restaurants. But hopefully through this selection of some of the little details which interested me on this, my early Autumn return to the town, you will gauge some idea of the idealistic charm of Marbella, and in so doing share in a cyber-shot slice of the beauty exuded from the heart of this very misunderstood town.
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