Plaza de los Olivos

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    • Day 6

      A Relaxing Saturday

      March 4, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 59 °F

      What a nice day this Saturday in Spain turned out to be. A bit of shopping then home planning my next destination after Spain.

      But I did get to the Municipal Market for my paella. I had to wait a few minutes but the proprietor did remember me. So I took a few minutes to walk the market, inspect the various seafood stands and purchased vegetables for tomorrow's dinner.

      When I returned there were two containers filled with paella. I paid about €7 using my European debit card and rushed home to eat. I devoured one container saving the other for tonite.

      Oh and was it ever the best paella I have eaten. Maybe I was just hungry? No it was deliciously excellent! The picture does not convey well the lovely texture, taste or aroma. I thought about plating it for a nice photograph but I was too inpatient. So I ate right out of the container! No time to lose.

      I am home for the evening with plenty of food. Tomorrow I am meeting a best friend of my younger sister Elsa for lunch at the beach. An easy weekend allowing the calmness of time to revitalize me.
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    • Day 29

      Marbella, End of the Line

      March 27, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 70 °F

      My final three days in Spain. Marbella has been a restful place living here this past month of March. I have been immersed in a different culture which was my primary reason for spending so much time here. Indeed I have been saturated with Spain so much that I am now ready to move on. But have learned that next time I will hope city to city instead on staying in one place.
      However, Marbella is a resort oriented town so beyond the initial introduction to the city there isn’t much to do. A lager city would have offered more entertainment. What I love about Chicago is it’s vibrant music scene. That seems nonexistent in Marbella although the summer will bring Rod Stewart to play at an outdoor venue. Ugh! I haven’t even found record store.
      Additionally, Marbella is filled with expats from Europe including a lot of Russians and Eastern Europeans. Some are permanent resident with strong roots back home others are visiting. They probably go to Puerto Banus or Cala de Mijas. But certainly they all come for the weather, the good standard of living, and the Spanish laid back culture.
      Yes lunch at 2-2:30; dinner at 8:30-9. Prime time programming doesn’t seem to start until about 10 pm. The surrounding building apartments are lit up well past midnight. When I awake at 6:30 or 7 its a ghost town with all the apartments dark. Life usually starts if not ( Am then 10 AM.
      The condo I am staying at is well appointed in the center of town, grocery stores, markets, shops, beaches and restaurants all within walking distance. Even the gym I have been going to three times a week is just around the corner. So a car, in which we Americans spend so much of our lives in has been unnecessary. Of course I did rent to get up to Granada, Córdoba and Ronda but could have just as easily commuted to those cities using the Spanish train system RENFE as I did for Sevilla
      So what do I think of Spain? I love it. The people are friendly and warm. The food is wonderful. The tapas particularly are a good way to not overeat. The climate here has been terrific. Early in the month the nights were cool but now that Spring is finally here the temps do not dip below 60. And they are a pleasant 75 during the day. The sun shines everyday no wonder this is called the Costa del Sol. The transportation system is top notch allowing me to get to any city in Spain or beyond the Spanish borders by train if I so desire. The local buses are clean, run on time, and are inexpensive $1.25.
      In contrast gas is around $6.00 per gallon which is probably why most cars are small. Scooters and motorcycles are ubiquitous but nothing like the horde of motor scooters seen in Rome. I must add that the discipline of the drivers (no left lane bandits) and the courtesy given to pedestrians at cross walks is incredible. Similar to what I have experienced in Germany or the UK. Maybe hitting a pedestrian will ruin or bankrupt you.
      Marbella streets and sidewalks are constantly being cleaned. But those in other cities were well maintained. Tourism drive a lot of this economy. There are street beggars, huskers and the lookie lookies but overall the economy seems to run well. There is a strong environmental emphasis especially now that the war in Ukraine has driven up utilities.
      Television programming available in this condo has been limited of course. So I have watched mostly news and games shows. Male newscasters wearing neckties are out. A smart casual look is preferred both by men and women. One in particular, a word game show has increased my vocabulary a bit. The news programming is typical of news feeds, politics, fútbal, the Royal Family, fraud, taxes, healthcare, environment, crime. But no gun violence crimes have been reported until today, Nashville. When will we learn? Everyone here is horrified. I’ve been asked about it but have no answers. My trainer Fernando does say that special licensing is needed to own a firearm but it doesn’t include semi or automatic rifles. There are guns in the black market and these are usually involved in family disputes or drug related deaths.
      One story recently centered on the king’s daughter who will be the first female monarch to lead the Spanish Armed Forces.
      It has been a good experience spending this much time in a foreign country. We Americans do love visiting France and Italy but I strongly recommend Spain. The history, culture, people, cuisine are all worth it.
      The shorts and polos are packed the warmer clothing is ready. I’ll have a new entry after settling in Berlin in the next few days.

      Fun news today. King Philip VI and the Queen visiting Cádiz came upon a plaza with a group of box drummers whom they both joined. The King turned out to keep a good rhythm going. So there is good news to be had.
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    • Day 3


      March 1, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 57 °F

      I arrived at my apartment home for the next 31 days. It is very centrally located on Calle de Jacinto Benavente 7, Marbella.
      The manager, Mar, met me outside and gave me the grand tour. She is a lovely, friendly lady. Very conscientious.
      I then unpacked and went to the grocery store for a few items but bought more than anticipated and after grabbing a hand of bananas headed straight for jamón serrano which I had for dinner in a freshly made baguette. Yum. I lingered in the store inspecting the many new products to plan a nice dinner for myself.
      I then walked the neighborhood getting lost but acquainting myself thereby finding my way home. The gym where I’ve contracted a personal trainer for the month is just around the corner.
      Marbella is a large town but feels like a small village adorned with hanging flowers throughout its winding narrow streets.
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    • Day 23

      En Route to Sevilla

      March 21, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 64 °F

      Twelve thirty pm Tuesday afternoon. I am at the Marbella Bus station waiting for the 1 pm to Malaga. I took the city bus here having loaded money onto the fare card when I arrived earlier this month. There are two fare cards at the apartment for renters use. It’s a nice touch by Mar the owner.
      Fare cards can be loaded directly on the city buses. I would have walked yo the station as it’s only a mile. But my trainer kicked my butt again today. And what the hell the walk to the station is uphill!
      From Malaga bus station it’s a short walk to the train station.
      This will be my last trip out of Marbella. I have 9 days to go in this friendly city. And it has been a relaxing few weeks. Weather exquisite. People are super friendly including strangers. Just this morning window washers in the building lobby greeted me. Oh and my Spanish excellent with a few additional words added to my vocabulary.
      Marbella has also been a good base from where to travel to other destinations. But now I realize that beyond the beaches, shopping and restaurants it doesn’t have much else to offer. Therefore, this intercity bus to Malaga or other destinations is essential. There are no trains here.
      My original intent was to stay in Malaga but couldn’t find an AirB&B to my liking. As with all my travels I learn to adapt and make the best of it.
      Now at the Malaga María Zambrano Train station with a two and a half hour wait until the Seville bound train departs.
      The station is modern, clean, and spacious. It is connected to a shopping mall filled with stores and eateries. This mall is no different from any other nondescript American mall. It could be placed anywhere, Kansas City or Pasadena.
      Luckily I’ve found a quiet table between Burger King, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and KFC. A strong American presence that overtakes the other eateries.
      I stay away from the fast food chains back home and more so here.
      Instead I opted for a cafe con leche and a palmira or elephant ears. Delicious with coffee. Once in Sevilla this evening I’ll find a tapas place before settling for the night.
      Tomorrow a tour of the Sevilla Cathedral, Alcázar and La Giralda.
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    • Day 14

      Old Marbella. Little Streets Everywhere.

      March 12, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 63 °F

      Early Sunday morning walk. My place was cleaned today so decided to get out of the way and get lost in the Old City. Hardly anyone out. I donned the headpiece Brian Eno vibrating my temples as I wandered into the maze of brick and stone streets . Up and down. Across and to the other side. Down steps to the right. Past a religious grotto and to the left. Left, right, back or forward. Which way?

      Totataly lost and a bit disoriented. Recalling a large maze on the Malecon the seafront drive in Havana that my aunt would take me to as a child. Unnerving as I was shorter than thus unable to see over the wall thinking I would never be able to find the exit. I’m lost forever! But suddenly I was out or back where I had begun. My aunt waving at me. "Can I go again I would ask?” Always seeking the thrill of the unknown. She never tired alway letting me go again and again. Sweet dreams.

      Old Marbella is like that but of course now as an adult I know I will find my way out.
      But what if I didn’t? No when you think that you find yourself going down one tiny alley and you are back in the same location. And that’s without a Tardis or Transporter Room.

      I found several nice looking little hotels scattered about. Peeking through the entrance doors and windows all looked very well restored and modernized. It would make for a romantic getaway for newlyweds or a couple looking for a refresh.

      There are also multiple little restaurants in this area one them with Michelin stars. Many are not near main Plaza de las Naranjas which is a beautiful place in the center of town but draws a lot of tourists.

      I sat on a park bench the rays of the Spanish morning sun warming my cheeks while enjoying the solitude. But after a short while from one of those little alleys a group Belgian, or Swiss or Danes appeared. Speaking loudly all dressed in similar colored shirts and shorts a sigil on the breast, sneakers on their feet. It turned out it was a teamn building exercise. How cool! Perfect site. It would be fun in this maze of streets. My reverie broken I had to leave.
      There is a city in Cuba whose streets are an intricate maze that only locals know how to navigate. Over the years it was intentiaonlly designed as such to catch and thwart marauders pirates wwho came up river to loot. But once the looting and probably too much rum they could not find they way bak to their waiting boats.
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    Plaza de los Olivos

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