The Costa Del Sol, Spain’s Rivera was very much like Hawaii to me. Our resort had swinging palm trees and many pools with tourists lying around looking like lobsters. This is where many Brits come to escape to the sun. Most restaurants have English menus and English is widely spoken here. Expats send their children to English schools and basically, it seemed like England was transported to the sea. Unlike Hawaii however, the traffic is very bad. Small two lane roads and no parking, it was frustrating.
So what’s a girl to do when everything is touristy, no historical architecture to be seen and traffic is a nightmare? We headed inland to the Ronda Mountains for a Mediterranean cooking class. Simone (our guide) and David (our driver) picked us up at the hotel. Our first stop was an indoor market to purchase ingredients for our feast in Marbella. What a sight! The colorful produce was arranged like a floral bouquet and the fish, fresh from the sea that morning was inviting. The hour drive took us through Gaucin, one of several Puelbos Blancas, “white villages” that dot the Andalusia countryside.
We arrived at the Hacienda La Herriza, a charming boutique hotel whose chef, Marco, would prepare our meal using the ingredients we purchased, and teach us how to do it as well. We had several courses, including a salad, two tapas, seafood paella and chocolate lava cake. Marco was charming, a native Italian who spoke a unique blend of Spanish and Italian, and prepared the most delicious meal. Simone was a great hostess, and the ambience was amazing, including sweeping views and of course the onsite dog-Monty- who was our favorite companion, while we sat on the terrace enjoying the view after lunch. Stuffed and content we rolled back to the resort and decided that it was the most authentic Spanish experience to date.
Next: Being a tourist in my city – The Nixon Library. Much more than I thought…till then!