Monday, October 6, 2014

Postcard from Andalucía: Nerja + Marbella

Playa Burriana in Nerja, Spain  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Nerja + Marbella on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

After the cultural wallop that is the Alhambra, we needed something soothing for our crackly-edged nerves hopped up on all the beauty, history, and grandeur we'd spent the day absorbing. A look at Google Maps showed us that we could take the southerly coastal way back and stop in a seaside town for dinner before returning to our hotel in Málaga. A beach-side fish fry, salty sea air and something icy cold sounded perfect, so we pulled out of the parking lot and set out on the hour'ish drive to Nerja.

We parked near Playa Burriana and strolled for a bit, eying the slowly waving palm trees and sunbathers packing up for the day. That scene, especially with the mountains on the fringe, reminded me so much of Sicily and Letojanni. Soon though, our eyes wandered over to the men stirring cauldrons of paella on the boardwalk (not at all reminiscent of Sicily) and we headed over to choose one to feast on.

Playa Burriana in Nerja, Spain  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Nerja + Marbella on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Playa Burriana boardwalk grilled fish in Nerja, Spain  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Nerja + Marbella on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Playa Burriana paella in Nerja, Spain  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Nerja + Marbella on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

After settling ourselves down with a good view and some local beer, we waited for our dinner of roasted vegetables, battered and fried seafood (clearly a trend), grilled fish and the paella to arrive. Once we were stuffed we took a walk to the farthest side of the beach, beyond the restaurants and lounge chair rental kiosks, for a few more moments of sea air before climbing back into the car for the drive back to Málaga.

Playa Burriana in Nerja, Spain  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Nerja + Marbella on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Playa Burriana in Nerja, Spain  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Nerja + Marbella on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

Maybe all the sea air got to me, or maybe I went crazy for a moment, but the next morning I tested my marriage by insisting to R that we had to check out, get in the car and drive 45 minutes before we had our morning coffee. I was clearly playing with fire, but as we hadn't had a really good espresso (for him, cappuccino for me) since landing in Spain, I promised that instead of having something sub-par near our hotel, a little delayed gratification via a drive to a gorgeous coastal town where I found a place that other travelers had raved about on TripAdvisor would be a much better idea.

I'm not sure who was more surprised—me (since he trusted me and delayed his essential morning espresso), or R (who willingly drove on a highway on an empty stomach). But just under an hour later when he parked directly on the beach and walked a few hundred feet to this lovely oasis, he finally smiled.

Breakfast at Cappuccino Grand Cafè in Marbella, Spain  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Nerja + Marbella on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Breakfast at Cappuccino Grand Cafè in Marbella, Spain  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Nerja + Marbella on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

Based on the name I had been a little worried that this place would be kitschy, but those TripAdvisor reviewers were spot on, Gruppo Cappuccino's Grand Cafë in Marbella was delightful. The food, the ambiance, the service, and even the floral scent around the patio were all wonderful.

I promptly ordered a cappuccino, a toasted jàmon e queso sandwich (I kept the insides and gave R the toast) and the most adorable little boiled egg. R took an orange juice, a double espresso, and a cornetto with a medley of jams on the side. After we finished and were lolling in the sunshine enjoying the Cafë del Mar / Buddha Bar-style music playing in the background and watching people amble by on the boardwalk—neither of us wanting to leave just yet—we caught each others' eyes, nodded in silent agreement and asked the passing waitress if we could have a second round of everything.

Updated—other Andalucía posts:
After 9 years, 9 days in southern Spain
Postcard from Andalucía
Postcard from Andalucía: Málaga 
Postcard from Andalucía: Granada and La Alhambra
Postcard from Andalucía: Gibraltar + Tarifa
Postcard from Andalucía: Conil de la Frontera
Postcard from Andalucía: Cadíz + Medina-Sidonia  
Postcard from Andalucía: Vejer de la Frontera 
Postcard from Andalucía: Jerez + Carmona  
Postcard from Andalucía: Sevilla    

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J.