Marvelous Marbella, Spain!

By Dee Dixon

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When my brother, Lloyd, and his fiancé, Cheryl Randle, invited me to join them at their time-share in Marbella, Spain, I did not hesitate, especially when Cheryl found round-trip tickets from JFK for $450! Since they live in Kansas, we joined forces in New York on March 17 in what began a weeklong journey of incredible excitement, discovery and just a little angst.   (Understand, finding your way around in a new country in a rented car, with a fast-talking Spanish GPS, can be a bit disconcerting, to say the least.)

Marbella is an absolutely charming town in southern Spain, in the province of Malaga. (I actually had not heard of either of these places until this trip.) Our resort was top-of-the line, with an excellent view. The beaches were wonderful and the weather perfect — not a drop of rain during our stay. Of course, shopping is always on my list. I LOVE to shop in a new country, and Old Town Marbella did not disappoint.

Gibraltar Excursion

Our first excursion from the resort was to Gibraltar, where my enlightenment began. I didn’t realize Gibraltar was controlled by the British, which is quite odd.   And yes, we visited the famous Rock of Gibraltar, along with St. Michael’s cave and of course, we saw the Barbary Macaques.   We also visited the Moorish Castle — which was quite fascinating.   There’s a lot of dispute about who the Moors were, but I believe they were dark-skinned skin people from Africa.   I didn’t realize they conquered Spain and built this castle. Imagine my surprise when I saw the sign about Queen Charlotte at the castle. You DO realize the heritage of our Queen Charlotte has arguably been linked to the Moors, yes?

Cordoba Excursion

With a bit of regret, on my part, we decided to take our second excursion to Cordoba, another city in southern Spain that was an important Roman city and major Islamic center during the Middle Ages. I wish we had chosen Granada or Seville. My motivation was to learn more about the Moors, who at one time ruled the city, but I was disappointed. We should have done a tour, rather than explore on our own. We did, however, visit a few museums and saw some examples of great Moorish architecture, but not much else. This adds to the great concern I have about the Black race around the world. Our accomplishments are minimized or, in some cases, totally obliterated. Lloyd and Cheryl bought quite a few jewelry items in Cordoba.   I was not impressed, and after I had a bit of an altercation with the waiter during lunch, I was ready to go.   OK, so it was not the best day for me.

On to Morocco 

Sometimes you have to hit a reset button during your travels. I did so after Cordoba, and was beyond ecstatic to learn our next excursion would take us to Tangier, Morocco.   OMG! I did not realize at the onset of this trip that I would be adding another African country to my repertoire of visits, which include Ghana, Cape Town and Jo-Berg, Kenya, and Egypt – and now, Morocco!

Get this. Tangier is only about three hours from our resort in Marbella. It took only two hours on a tour bus and a one-hour ferry ride across the Mediterranean to get to this part of Africa. It was mind-boggling to learn about the dynamic relationship between the United States. and Morocco – the first country in the world to acknowledge us as an independent nation. Gosh, I must have slept through world history. Anyway, Tangier was the absolute pinnacle of this trip. We first drove through some amazing neighborhoods where the rich and super-rich live, and learned that many Americans have come and gone, with a lot of expats there now. Of course, the main attraction for us was Tangier’s Old City, called the Medina. We were able to get a feel for everyday life, as walking was the only way to move through the narrow streets. I was intrigued by the beautiful, ornate entry doors we saw. So much so, I’m planning to rid myself of the dull, beyond boring, basic front door to my house and replace it with something a bit more inspiring.

Yikes, I’ve already gone over my word count, so it’s wrap-up time.   We visited the American Legation Museum, mingled with the locals, ate some interesting food and of course, shopped. I purchased two paintings in Tangier, including one of a beautiful mosque, which is now artfully framed and on display at the office.

What can I say? It’s truly a small world.   Spain was off the charts and I really, really, really, must go back to Morocco.