THE WELL-PLANNED ITINERARY for my four-week trip to Spain, France and Italy has already come undone, and I’m only on Day 5. I stayed an extra day with friends in Andalucia, and a jam-packed day it was. I’d never heard of Nerja before this week; it’s a popular holiday destination for Brits, in particular, some of whom were sunbathing today on the quintessentially Mediterranean beach: crescent-shaped bay, aquamarine water, dramatic rock formations.
It being Sunday, we checked out Nerja’s weekly flea market, which was like flea markets everywhere: Thai jewelry, African wood carvings, loads of crap. I took photos of fancy flamenco dresses and things that seemed a bit more indigenous, and enjoyed the classical Spanish guitar played by two young men.
We strolled along the Balcon de Europa, a tiled promenade with a clifftop view of the sea, walked along the beachfront for a bit, and had some tapas before wending our way back into the hills.
Late in the afternoon, there was a small dinner party down the road from my hosts, at the home of a Dutch-American couple who own two adjoining properties that they operate as vacation rentals. Called Cortijo El Carligto, one villa is compact and modern, the other rambling (4 bedrooms) and more traditional; Both are impeccably designed, decorated and landscaped, with swimming pools, outdoor kitchens, terraces and views unmarred by so much as a telephone wire.
Dinner was largely vegetarian and much to my liking, including pizzas baked in a wood-burning oven, and the company more than congenial.
As if to herald my departure tomorrow from this glorious place, the sunset was especially radiant as we walked the quarter-mile home.