Sailing Long Distances


Like many cities in Andalusia, Marbella was founded by the Phoenicians in the 7th century BC, as they established several colonies on the coast of Málaga province. The Normans didn’t have much brain and devastated the coast in the 10th century. The next period was better when the country got under Islamic rule. The Caliphate of Cordoba fortified the coastline and built a series of several lighthouses. The Muslims erected a citadel, the Alcazaba, built a wall for protection, a city of narrow streets, small buildings with large courtyards, a fortress, and a mosque. Orchards surrounded the village; the most notable crops were figs and mulberry trees for silkworm breeding.
In the fifteenth century, in 1492, the Catholic monarchs conquered the country without bloodshed. The date must have been a year of triumph in Spain, the dawn of Catholicism.
Interesting is the more recent history, the early nineteen fifties when well-known personalities discovered Marbella. In this context, people love to talk about the rich and beautiful. Rich and beautiful? I never made that connection. Bismarck? Rothschild? Thurn und Taxis? They all came to Marbella, and yet I still can’t see beautiful people. Today, with digital photography, photoshop, and a capable designer, it might be true. Well, I’m with Grace Kelly, Prince Rainier of Monaco, or Julio Iglesias can also still be accepted.
Some of the rich couldn’t hide where the money came from, as the fugitive financier Marc Rich fled from the USA’s tax authorities. The then-anonymous Osama bin Laden visited Marbella on several occasions with his family between 1977 and 1988. The man was also an excellent example of the world’s beauties if one claims to have a western view. And, of course, I’ve to mention a nobleman who, always in the service of Her Majesty, successfully kicked the bad guys in the butt, Sean Connery. Too bad for the British Rock musician, Alvin Lee, who lived here and got killed by the local doctors in March 2013 due to routine surgical treatment.
Speaking of inhabitants, the last time they got counted, the number stopped at 141.000 people. The stats didn’t say whether the rascals are included or not. Most likely, there is no need to. Eight kilometers west of Marbella, they got their resort, a marina called Puerto Banus. A paradise for tax collectors, lawyers, Ferrari and McLaren dealers, silly huge motor yachts, and countless shops sell stuff the typical sailor doesn’t need. I think it’s great that all the rich gravitate to one spot. It clearly states where not to go. Please don’t think it is a mere prejudice or, even worse, nursing a grudge against these people. There is an upside, as they spend considerable money and employ many people, directly and indirectly. A marina employee said we immediately note as fewer people come. But it’s not just the marina; the real estate market is also affected straight away.
In an Irish Pub, we talked to a twenty-five-year-old English waitress. She was interested in a chat, had some time on the serving tray, and spoke of her life. Her parents moved from London to Southern Spain in the early nineties, bought a property, and lived in Marbella ever since. The young lady was born and brought up here. However, she is of British nationality, a wish of her parents. Besides a few family visits on English soil, she knows as much of the UK as we do, maybe less, she responded, referring to our cruises between Scotland and the South Coast.
The topic changed to life and living in Marbella, a city that still attracts many Brits, despite Brexit. I mentioned the estate market we usually have an…Read More