Since my arrival in Southern Spain 14 days ago, I've had the pleasure of experiencing life in two distinctly different towns. Nerja was a small yet lively and vibrant area in the Costa del Sol region. I spent my second week whittling away time absorbing the local ambiance of La Herradura, a quiet beach spot ideal for recharging the spirit.
Observing their particular take on what matters most--family, food, history, and sun--I've begun to embrace the slow pace of life these fine folks experience every day. My time here has taught me that people in this part of the world have somehow perfected a way to mix all of life's elements together into a delightful recipe that embraces their passion for living.
Saturday morning before leaving La Herradura for my 80-mile journey west, I stopped for a hearty breakfast and to take leave of my new friends. My next stop was Marbella. Sitting on the Mediterranean Sea in the province of Málaga, Marbella is home to about 140,000 sun-worshiping residents. Before I left the States, I'd read quite a bit about this upscale seaside community. Frankly, I wasn't so sure a guy from Jersey would fit in that well. While I'm certainly not the Jersey Shore type, neither do I belong to the money-no-object jet-setting crowd that makes Marbella its playground.
Less than two hours after saying my goodbyes in La Herradura, I pulled into a parking spot at Puerto Banus Marina, Marbella's famous yacht harbor a few miles west of the heart of town. One of the most important ports on the Mediterranean coast, the harbor has been used as a waterfront home by the likes of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia among others. Once the local hangout for Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., this area continues to draw the elites of the entertainment and business worlds.
Exiting my posh Ford Fiesta, I found myself surrounded by gleaming Bentleys, sleek Porsches, and a Mercedes or two. I began to think I had picked the wrong place for a guy like me to live like a local. Scanning the harbor, I saw more yachts and pleasure boats than I had ever laid eyes on, including one with a Harley parked on deck. (I suppose one can't go yachting without one's Harley, now can one?) From Louis Vuitton to Cartier, the Puerto Banus Marina area is a shopper's paradise... for those with unlimited credit and personal assistants to carry the bags.
After a quick walk around, I headed
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