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Automotive Traveler Magazine: 2012 01 Costa Del Sol Part 2 Page 2

Situated on the extreme eastern edge of the Costa del Sol, Nerja was to be my first place of residence while in Spain. At the foothills of the Sierra Almijara mountain range, this Mediterranean-fronted city has a diverse mix of architecture that offers a small urban feel combined with a bit of yesteryear fishing village thrown in. An idyllic piece of paradise, it is home to more than 22,000 year-round inhabitants. During the summer months, the population swells to nearly 80,000, as the warmer temperatures bring hordes of out-of-towners. Don't let the added crowds keep you from visiting during Nerja's peak summer season, however. You'll find ample room for a few more sun worshipers.

Preferring a more sedate environment, I chose to visit Nerja during its off season. I realized soon after my January arrival, however, that vacationing during the off season has its pros and cons. The lack of noisy makes it an ideal time for a quiet getaway to this corner of the Costa del Sol. Yet with cooler weather comes chilly water temperatures, cold enough that for most people dipping one's toes in the crystal-blue Mediterranean waters is probably all you'll be tempted to do.

Definitions of cold are relative though. The southern part of Spain has exceptional weather, with daytime temperatures hovering between the low 60s and 70s and little, if any, rain. Perfect for someone fleeing the Michigan winter who seeks only the warmth of the sun on his back. I'd soon find out that this part of the world wouldn't disappoint me.

While planning my escape to sunny Spain, I concluded three weeks was simply too long to endure in hotel rooms. Searching the Internet, I booked three lovely condos through a vacation home rental website, one for each week. My condo in Nerja included three bedrooms and two full baths. After filling me in on the details, owner Christine Marcus convinced me this was the place I needed to be (see sidebar). In fact, it was more than I needed, but that didn't stop me from booking it. I hoped it would be as nice as the photos suggested.

After a grueling 18-hour trip that included getting lost near the Malaga airport, I arrived late Saturday night too tired to do anything other than find the nearest bed at my new home. The time change and arduous trip were responsible for what would later become a rather dreadful sleep that first night.