THE month of May signals its arrival in Marbella each year with the blossoming of Jacaranda trees all over town and, as the pretty, purple petals bloom, scatter and dance in the wind, I wish it could stay like this forever.
It’s the loveliest month here by far and whether meandering about the old town, cruising along by the sea or rambling further inland, Andalucía in May is picture postcard perfect.
When visitors ask me what activities I recommend doing in Marbella, climbing La Concha, the town’s most famous landmark and the statuesque backdrop of the town usually tops the list. It’s a delightfully scenic hike (not to mention a fantastic workout!) and the views from the summit are truly mesmerising.
I’ve climbed La Concha many times over the years in varying weather conditions, and every single time I am blown away by the magnificence of the natural beauty of this corner of the earth.
The charismatic DJ and Marbella personality, Russel Sodden, organised a climb to raise funds for local photographer, David Toms, who was left paralyzed following a motorcycle accident in 2016, so The Monkey and I raised sponsorship and joined the climbing party.
With its stunning wildlife, daring drops, ragged edges, and a diverse landscape that is forever changing, this is a day out for nature lovers, sporty types, adrenaline junkies and Sunday ramblers alike. Pass through a dry terrain of pretty olive groves, before entering a dark and dense pine forest and, as you climb higher, venture over uneven ground, rocky paths and a couple of challenging precipices.
It took us about three hours to reach the summit, (two and a half to descend) but there was no chance of getting bored as the landscape is so varied and the higher we climbed, the more spectacular the views.
The Monkey kept us entertained with mischief and anecdotes and sprinted ahead with the boundless energy of a ten-year-old, shouting back to us with thoughtful warnings and helpful suggestions for the less confident climbers.
Until finally came that glorious moment when we hit the summit and exhaustion and exhilaration collided.
The Monkey and I stood together taking in the splendour of the view: The Istan Lake sprawled out below us, shimmering in the sunshine, to the east: Marbella, San Pedro, Estepona, Sotogrande, Gibraltar and Morocco on the horizon, and to the west: Elviria, Benalmadena, Mijas and Cabopino.
Finally we slumped to the floor exhilarated.
On a somewhat more stylish occasion, we were invited to the British Ambassador’s Residence in Madrid to celebrate the Royal Wedding. I traded trainers for a tea dress for a delightful afternoon of quintessential Britishness!
The ambassador, Simon Manley, was a formidable host, inviting expats from all over Spain to thank them for their contributions to the local communities.
The Olive Press was honored with an award for its ‘Outstanding Contribution’ and we spent a marvelous afternoon munching on cucumber sandwiches, tarts and quiches and meeting other expats who have traded Blighty’s grey skies for a laidback life in Spain.
And I did chuckle as I overheard a group in passionate debate over the most British argument I’ve heard in years. Is it pronounced scooooones or scones?
A perfectly British afternoon was the cherry on the cake or jam on the scone (skon?) of a glorious month of May.