June 1996, Becehegy, Hungary
I remember the day, like it was yesterday, we needed to wake up early and leave to Budapest to the airport on time in order to reach our flight. I had already packed my luggage the day before, carefully chosen my cool teenager outfit, in which afterwards I was of course crazily freezing on the plane. It was the first family trip when we went for holidays by plane, it was as well the first time, when we went together to Spain. As I was 13 years old, I didn’t care much about the travel plan, what kind of places we would visit, I left these details for my parents then…
Those were the kind of years, when my Dad had asked the cabin crew if we could take a look on the pilot cabin and they allowed us… when I spent all the flight duration with looking out on the window and kept checking above which country we were flying, and my Dad was keep telling me what we could or should be able to see down there, regardless it was recognizable from the above or not.
June 1996, Malaga, Spain
We landed at Malaga Airport, that was already shocking, back at the time I felt that it’s super modern, huge and so well organized. And Nerja was just 50 km away from there…
June 1996, Nerja, Spain
I remember when we arrived to the last roundabout on A-7 highway, where you need to take Nerja direction, where the road goes down from the hill into a valley, and gives you the breathtaking overview of the entire village and the bays down surrounding… 🤩
Also, the beautiful beach where we had spent almost all days with my Brother jumping into the big waves… 🌊 also where we got sunburnt and sun sick so much…
The Alhambra all-day-visit and the landscape, the high peaks of Sierra Nevada… the little matchbox in Moorish style that my Dad bought as a souvenir at Alhambra, and after he proudly kept on his bookshelf at home…
The day trip to Gibraltar and the far view of the African continent…
The Balcón de Europa, and the white, picturesque, tiny streets that guide you there, and where we walked back to almost every evening before or after the dinner, and where I imagined that one day would be so nice to come back to again…
The day we had happily spent on a sailing boat on the Mediterranean Sea with the unforgettable view of the Costa del Sol… ☀️
The fresh, juicy, sweet strawberries that we always ate for dessert with whipped cream, the gambas pil pil, that my Dad was keep ordering, the entire tortilla de patatas, that I had ordered proudly to realize it later that instead of a pincho I received the whole portion in a huge round pan, and then the looks of my parents, after I was able to eat only a tiny bit out of it… the gazpacho, the ajo blanco, and the toblerones, that we bought in the shops with my Brother…
August 2019, Nerja, Spain
We had dedicated 10 days to our Vuelta España end of July, beginning of August last year. We were on the road, just the two us, with a beautiful, gelato-bianco Fiat 500, starting from and arriving back to Barcelona and slept in different locations every night. Our goal was to end up in Andalusia but wanted to enjoy the trip in between too, therefore we carefully chose certain locations to cross.
One finally became Nerja, on the day of my Dad’s death anniversary… ❤️
The view from the last A-7 highway roundabout down on Nerja was still the same, still breathtaking… While the surrounding streets seemed more packed, with more stores, newly built neighborhoods, and tourist facilities.
We didn’t have much time, but we definitely wanted to have a nice bath under the crazily hot Andalusian summer sun, take a stroll in the old village, check the wonderful seafront promenade, the Balcón de Europa, its views of the Mediterranean and surrounding mountains, sandy beaches and cliff side coves.
Well, back in 1996, maybe because it was pre-season, or given the fact that time Nerja was less popular among tourists, the Balcón was usually empty, only with couple of lovebirds, and elderly locals. Today it’s an other thing. We needed to wait in a queue of inpatient tourists to be able to take some pictures for ourselves. But the view is still gorgeous!
“Its name – Balcón de Europa – is popularly believed to have been coined by King Alfonso XII, who visited the area in 1885 following a disastrous earthquake and was captivated by the scene. Local folklore says that he stood upon the site where the Balcón now stands, and said “This is the balcony of Europe“. Local archive documents are said to show that its name predated this visit, but this has not prevented the authorities from placing a life-sized (and much photographed) statue of the king standing by the railing.”
I needed to realize that Nerja actually became a big holiday, resort town during the years. Many tourists everywhere, newly built apartment buildings, hotels, bars and restaurants all around, but luckily still all organized with a style, that didn’t ruin much the beauty of this place.
After enjoying an ice cream in front of the old church (Iglesia El Salvador) on the main square – where we had many dinners back then, 23 years ago with my family – we decided to go for our well deserved beaching session with crossing the old quarter of the town.
The old quarter luckily is still virtually unchanged with narrow, winding streets and whitewashed houses. But we need to admit that the deep Andalusian culture that the town exudes, perfect climate and cosmopolitan atmosphere, undoubtedly have made Nerja one of the most attractive holiday hotspots during the years.
After our visit in Nerja, we decided to explore the surroundings as well a bit. If you go back to the same roundabout where you left the highway, you can choose to go up into the mountain direction, where are some other beautifully preserved and picturesque whitewashed Pueblos Blancos (white villages). One such is called Frigiliana, built on a mountainside, approximately 6 km from Nerja.
Frigiliana, besides is indeed beautiful, is the place from where you can enjoy the best panoramic views to the Mediterranean and the “Jewel of the Costa del Sol”, how Nerja is often referred to. 🤩