As the summer silly season hits its height over the next few weeks, stay cool with Planet Marbella’s suggestions to avoid the madding, not to mention maddening crowds
“Summertime and the living is easy” – and while this may have been true for Janis Joplin (and after her usual two bottles of Jack Daniels she normally was pretty easy) for those of us living on the Coast the days from now until September 1 are a Hawaiian-Tropic drenched assault course.
I have to use my razor-sharp elbow technique and the dark cunning of the French Rugby front row to get to the bar at my favourite watering holes, the supermarkets are full of English tourists who think that Bimbo bread is the funniest thing that they’ve ever seen and that the checkout girl is trying to short change them because they’ve never seen a Euro before, and getting around is more fun than usual because trying to get a taxi is like trying to get on the last helicopter out of Saigon.
Meanwhile the good citizens of Madrid descend on the roads, indulging in their favourite trick of driving very slowly and then suddenly stopping, turning left without indicating or a combination of both.
And just to add a little spice to the mixture is the usual rag-tag convoy of dog-tired Moroccans trying to make the ferry to Algeciras and who have usually been driving for 36 hours nonstop in beaten up Peugeots with the extended family in the back, what looks like the contents of the house on the roof and the granny stuffed muttering in there somewhere as well.
As an old hand at surviving the summer in Marbella, here are a few tips that I have found invaluable.
Stay at Home
Even though I live in a cottage on a lake, I never normally subscribe to the trendy mantra that staying in is the new going out. But during summer it can help to “go a little Garbo” and give free rein to your reclusive side.
Don’t move further than the fridge, TV or pool. Catch up on your reading, sit through that boxed set of “Game of Thrones”, download those long forgotten CDs to your iPod, try and conquer the latest games on your games console or cultivate your culinary side by becoming a BBQ master. It’s a great excuse to throw on a silly apron, get a couple of mates over and throw some shrimps on the Barbie.
Who knows? Getting out in the fresh air might bring out the hidden horticulturalist in you and see you trying to recreate the glorious gardens of the Alhambra in Granada. Failing that, invest in a large pitcher of Margaritas or jug of Pimms, head to the nearest sun lounger and let it all wash over you…
Go to a Gallery
If the thought of lying on a sun lounger reading the latest airport blockbuster fills you with dread, fear not. Marbella has more than enough air conditioned art galleries for culture vultures. These include the Museo Miraflores and the Museo de Grabado housed in the old hospital in the old town that hosts an outstanding collection of contemporary Spanish engravings. Check out the Museo Ralli next to the Coral Beach Hotel as well, that houses a large and fascinating collection of contemporary South American art, as well as work s by Dali and Chagall. It has great air con too!
Hit the Hills
While the rest of Spain is sweltering on the beaches, why not head inland and discover some of Andalucía’s most beautiful towns and villages? Ronda is a firm favourite, with great bars and restaurants and the dramatic Tajo gorge and bridge spanning it. The blue Smurf village of Juzcar just off the Ronda road is certainly different, while the village of Benojan is home to the renowned hotel and restaurant Molino del Santo.
If speed is your thing, check out Andalucía’s largest go-kart track at Campillos or Spain’s lake district with the fabulous lakes and climbing of El Chorro, home to the newly opened walkway, El Camino del Rey. And if you just fancy a little history, try Antequera, located dead centre in the heart of Andalucía, which has more churches and chapels per square metre than any other town in Spain and the famous “Indian’s Head Rock” where legend has it that a pair of doomed lovers, one Christian, one Muslim, leapt to their deaths.
So if you are looking for something other than sun, sand and sangria, take our tips and keep your sanity this summer!