Thursday, October 6, 2011

A little coastal town

For us, vacation wouldn't be complete without a few days by the sea; soaking up the sun and breathing in the bracing sea air always does us a world of good. And along the Costa del Sol there are plenty of places to choose from.  But this sun-filled part of the world hasn't remained undiscovered. All along the coast there are huge apartment buildings for the hundreds of people coming to partake of the sun and sea.  Every possible cove, islet and beach is literally filled with people.  Luckily for us, by the time we arrived, most of the crowd had left.  And we managed to find a town, more charming and relaxed than the other towns. We found ourselves in Nerja.

Playa Calahonda
Nerja has a long history. Its main claim to fame, aside from its beaches of course, is the Cave of Nerja which has primitive drawings and contain remnants of ancient dwellings. The Romans too settled here and built three settlements.  During the years of Islamic rule, Nerja was famous for its silk. It was renowned all the way to Damascus.  In more recent history, Nerja remained relatively untouched by the crazy construction boom of the 70s and 80s because it was unconnected by highway to the rest of Andalucia till the late 80s.  It has since caught up thanks in part to its beautiful beaches which lie dramatically against high cliffs.

Playa el Salon
But despite this influx of tourists, Nerja remains a town with its own rhythms and a daily life far from the crazy crowd who invade the town during the summer months.  It was at Nerja that I found a shop called Manos selling artisanal leather bags made completely by hand in a tiny atelier.  Unfortunatey I wasn't allowed to take pictures of their beautiful bags but I did get a picture of the designer at work.  It is a family run business that has been selling out of Nerja since 1974.  Their only other shop is in an even tinier town called Frigiliana up on the mountain.  

And here you will still see the quiet pleasures of dancing cheek to cheek with your beloved to the strains of traditional Spanish music,

and nightime strolls along the Balcon d'Europa is a part of the daily ritual of those who live there the whole year round.


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