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Puerto Banus 
Southern Spain

October 2001

It was half term and we were off to Southern Spain to catch the last of the sun before winter set in. Robyn and Ben were taking a friend each. Sophie and Matt have both come away with us before to the Isle of Wight so everyone knew each other. 

We would be staying at Villa Caracola which is located just outside Puerto Banus, about 3 miles west of Marbella. The area is known as Cortijo Blanco and although we had seen pictures of the villa on the owners web site we did not really know anything about this area of Spain. We thought it may be similar to Nerja, which is to the east of Malaga, so we were disappointed when we discovered that there were buildings still going up and the whole feel of this area was of a giant building site with very fast and noisy traffic which used the dual carriage way all day and all night! The villa itself was big but 'time warped' and it really did need renovating, but the gardens were lovely. Here is a picture showing the pool area and patio.

 

One drawback though was that the rather oversized VW Caravelle we had hired was so long that we could not get it into the driveway as the road was so narrow and on either side were high walls. The thing was just too long for these roads. It was really a small bus but we needed something big as there were six of us plus luggage. We nearly didn't get any transportation as the car hire firm that the owner recommended had lost our reservation! Luckily though the guy behind the counter was really helpful and we managed to get to our destination, albeit frazzled!

We soon discovered that this area was full of English bars. There were three just up the road from the villa and as the licensing laws are relaxed concerning minors and hours we all had a good time. One place called Buddies was great for breakfast and pizza. It had a karaoke night and other entertainment. Another had a pool table which got good use. The Hotel Cortijo Blanco was also a favourite with the kids but we were not allowed to eat there as it was all inclusive, so we would all eat elsewhere, usually in Puerto Banus  and then Dan and I would go for a beer or go back to the villa to relax and everyone else would hang out at the hotel watching the evening entertainment. This worked fine. Below is the Cortijo Blanco Hotel. I have since read some horrendous reports about this 'all inclusive' so perhaps it was just as well that we didn't eat there!

We were determined to just rest and relax and basically this is what we did. For most of the time the weather was kind to us and we sun bathed and swam in the rather cold pool. It took you at least five minutes to get in, that is unless you were one of the boys who just jumped!
Here is me relaxing, or sleeping to be precise.
Me gusto mucho el sol!


One day Dan and I went exploring along the beach towards San Pedro. We were looking for the Basilica Paleo-Christiana which was to be located in the area known as Linda Vista. It was considered an important archaeological site. However, Spain is not renown for its care of these type of sites so I was not surprised to find no sign for it and no direction leading to it from the beach. Dan said he did find it on another occasion but it was inaccessible. He managed to take some pictures though.
 

Notice Board..

Ruins.


Along the promenade we did find a modern set of statues though which looked like Olympian runners. The promenade only goes a little way into San Pedro but it was a nice walk albeit very spartan. There were a few restaurants but it was all very quiet when we were there.

This part of the beach was still being developed and I suppose if you visited in about five years time it will all be time share apartments. Someone will make a lot of money but I wouldn't buy property here. This is not my favourite part of Spain and I don't think I would like return to the Costa del Sol. Dan said it should be called the Costa del Crane as there were so many of them in this one spot. See for yourself.

Dan and the boys did go into Gibraltar for the day and they had a good time. The Rock is a funny old place to visit and apparently all the time they were there it was cloudy while the mainland was bathed in sunshine. But then it does belong to G.B. so the weather would be bad, right! 

Gibraltar is in the news this month as Spain wants it back but Britain wants to keep hold of it. I think that both countries are forgetting one thing, the Gibraltese. I wonder what they want? 
 Here are some pictures of the visit including those famous Barbary Apes.

Narrow streets.

Wonder how long this will remain flying?

Barbary ape and baby.

Barbary ape spots the boys!

Ben gingerly gets closer but 
the baby runs off.

Matt gets closer but the ape 
has other plans!


The girls and I went to the local market in San Pedro for a few hours but as far as markets go this one was nothing in particular. We were hoping to get some tattoos like these!

We tried various restaurants and one night Ben had to choose his live lobster before it was grilled and prepared for him. The waiter brought it to the table and said was it ok! Ben said he thought lobsters were pink, but that's after cooking. He enjoyed it anyway! We also had paella one night. Here is the dish before we started eating it. It was yum!

Puerto Banus was the place to visit and we went there most nights. It is great for shopping, eating and just people watching. One evening we went in and they were shooting an episode from East Enders with Mike Reid. They boys went up and shook his hand! We ate in an American Diner that night and we had a great time.
Here are some pictures.

I think this statue must be saying, 
'Please stop building here!'

Restaurant shot. 
This was called 
'Jacks American Bar and Grill'.

Robyn had fun.

So did Sophie.

And Matt.

And Dan.

Ben's thinking about it.
Or is he thinking about ordering another lobster!

All in all we had a good time but this part of Spain is very different from the type of holidays we usually take. The walk into Puerto Banus would have been nice along the beach but there was too much building rubble and when it got dark there were no lights. You also had to walk across a dry river bed which led down to the sea and you could have easily have twisted your ankle on the uneven ground. You couldn't really walk along the busy road so the only option was to drive or get cabs. We would have been better staying in Puerto Banus itself as the Cortijo Blanco residential area is not really well placed. But we made the best of it in true holiday spirit and we survived!

A view of the bay 
walking from Cortijo Blanco
 to Puerto Banus along 
the beach.

 

A view of the sierras from between the villas.

 

Fishing boats along the 
coastline towards 
Linda Vista.

Saying goodbye to the lovely gardens at the villa but looking forward to going home.


Adios from Andalucia. 


Tried to get Dan to pose for this 
but he didn't have the right sort of 
sun tan, or sombrero!
This would have been more like it!

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Material Copyright © 2001 Dan & Jacquetta Holle