Marbella Inside & Out

Discover the magic of Marbella from an "insider" point of view – by Liz Glazer


Marbella reconquered!

Today, 11th June 2018, marks the last day of Marbella’s week long celebrations of the Feria de San Bernabé.  And while visitors will have enjoyed mingling with the locals as they party with gusto at the day and night-time celebrations, in a cacophonous clash of the traditional and modern, that sees elegant women in flamenco costumes jostling with tourists in their shorts and t-shirts, dancing to Sevillanas and bopping along to modern hits; few will be aware of its historical significance.

For it was 533 years ago today, on the 11th June 1485, that the keys to the fortified Moorish city of the then named Marbil-la, was handed over peacefully to the Spanish Catholic King Ferdinand, coinciding with the Catholic feast day of Saint Barnabas; Marbella’s patron saint ever-since.

With only ghostly traces remaining of Marbella’s Moorish past; reflected in the lay-out of the narrow-streets of the Old Town around which the newly reconquered Marbella developed and grew, along with the remains of the east-face of the fortress wall; it was wonderful to witness the historical re-enactment of the arrival of the Catholic King Ferdinand to reclaim Marbella, that took place yesterday morning.

I made my way to the Church square where costumed actors, some on horseback, gathered for the start of the event and I experienced the first of many “flash-back in time” moments, on looking up and spotting a robed guard patrolling on a parapet.


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I literally bumped into a very imposing bearded man in an ornate Arab costume.

“Who are you?” I asked.

Alcaide Mohammed Albuneza,”he boomed in character. “And I’m just about to meet King Ferdinand and hand over the keys to the city,” he added, with a note of regret in his voice.

Before the procession began, we were given a background explanation of the events to be re-enacted by the president of Marbella’s Fernando el Católico Cultural Association, who told us that the reconquering of Marbella was of vital importance in the subsequent fall of Malaga, due to its strategic position and sheltered harbour, essential for providing supplies for the Spanish Catholic troops to keep going.  Apparently, King Ferdinand had just taken the city of Ronda and exchanged a series of letters with the Moorish governor, Mohammed Albuneza to persuade him to hand over Marbella, who in turn, did his best to hold the King off, while he waited for back-up defence.   Seeing that Ferdinand’s troops were advancing upon Marbella regardless, after entering into negotiations for the safety of his people, he eventually capitulated, which culminated in the peaceful hand-over on the 11th June 1485.

And so, “King Ferdinand” mounted his horse and followed by a retinue of guards and musicians, made his triumphant entrance through the streets of the Old Town – ending at Orange Square, where to the cries of “Viva El Rey Fernando!” from an appreciative audience, he waved regally from the balcony of the Town Hall, much to the bemusement of the tourists sipping sangria at the restaurant tables that are dotted around the square.


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The whole experience was like momentarily living in a bifocal time warp, medieval snapshots photo-bombed by shop and traffic signs and summer-clad observers and passers-by – but bravo to the organisers and all the performers who put on a great show, to remind us all of the significance and origins of Marbella’s San Bernabé Feria celebrations.

“¡Viva el Rey Fernando! ¡Viva San Bernabé!”

Text & Photos: Liz Glazer


A walk in silence through the open-skied, fertile fields of Coín…

After weeks of incessant rain in Marbella Town, a glorious sun-filled day and the opportunity to spend my birthday as I’d optimistically planned; a walk in silence through the open-skied, fertile fields of Coín’s Rio Grande valley with friends and dogs, a picnic by some ruins and a siesta by a burbling brook.

In the hope that it will inspire you to get out in nature to see for yourselves what marvellous magic this rainfall has brought to our natural surrounds, I thought I´d share some photos of this glorious day spent in rain-drenched nature and some memories of our silent walk that I jotted down in my notebook when I got home.  Hope you enjoy… Continue reading

Sharing some Marbella sunshine…


It’s raining! At last ! After months of sun-flooded days here in Marbella Town. View the pictures →

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Going Green in Marbella – follow my journey as “The Marbella Allotment Apprentice”

After my coverage in my previous post of The Arboretum Foundation’s Autumn Festival, I put it to Alejandro Orioli, founder of the Arboretum Foundation here in Marbella, that I’d love the opportunity to spend some time with a seasoned allotment holder up at the Arboretum Park.  “It would make interesting reading”, I said, “seeing as I am hopeless with plants, to learn from someone in the know”…

And before I knew it, I was accepting his challenge to take on my own organic allotment for a year.

“What? Me?” I squeaked in astonishment,”but I haven’t got a clue where to begin!”

“Exactly” he replied.

And so, on the 2nd October, I was handed a spade and a patch of land and my marvellous journey as the willing urban guinea-pig in this living green experiment to convert a self-confessed former plant assassin into a proficient allotment gardener,  began….

Please click here or on the link  below, if you’d like to find out how I’ve been getting on… (would love it if you would support me on my green journey of discovery by following me on this new blog too – and sharing with friends who might enjoy!)

Here’s to my flourishing organic vegetable garden! Wish me luck!

Liz Glazer

Here’s the link again –




Going Green in Marbella – celebrating all things sustainable at Arboretum Foundation’s Autumn Festival (17/9/2017)

I was up at Marbella’s Arboretum Park early on Sunday morning to continue helping the Arboretum Foundation’s team of volunteers prepare for the 2017  Autumn Festival: a celebration of all things sustainable.

I’d gone up there a few days before to find out more and ended up signing up on-the-spot as a volunteer, delighted to have found a place right here in Marbella, where I can become actively involved in a project that aims to take the concept of sustainable living out of the textbook and make it real for the ordinary urban dweller through various educational courses and environmental initiatives, including an organic farm, an apiary, the creation of a conservation forest for the endangered native cork trees in which over 22,000 trees have been planted to date and the two plots of land, dedicated to growing organic produce, in which over 130 local species are being cultivated in the 110 existing 45 m2 urban allotments. Continue reading


The Outdoor Farmer’s Market in Coín – a glorious collage of edible goodness

Every time I step into Coín’s Sunday outdoor Farmer’s Market, as I did last week, I get the sensation I’m entering a glorious 3-D collage of edible goodness .

Stalls stacked to over spilling with a kaleidoscopic array of  fruit and vegetables of all shapes, textures and sizes; some seemingly gargantuan; a feast from Mother Nature’s pantry, perfect in its imperfections.

In contrast to the dimly-lit hustle and bustle of the flea market that is also held every Sunday in the nearby underground car park of Coin’s La Trocha shopping centre, the open-air setting of the Farmer’s Market with softly etched out mountains as a distant backdrop,  makes the ambience here one of rural languor and good cheer; with the stall holders seemingly beaming with the health and the happiness they infuse into the produce they so lovingly cultivate from the land, as shoppers stroll around in this pleasant phantasmagoria of earthly natural abundance.

The wafts of earthy, citrusy and herbal aromas that impregnated the early morning summer air as I strolled around taking photos, intensified as the day slowly heated up, teasing and tempting my palette.   I stopped off at one of the stalls for a glass of freshly-pressed beetroot gazpacho and although I’d already stocked up on fruit and vegetables from my favourite local fruit shop in one of Marbella Town’s side-streets, I couldn’t resist the glowing-with-goodness allure of the radishes, beetroots, spring onions and succulent dew-fed figs, which crowned the salad I made later that day…

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This is definitely one of my favourite regular outings from Marbella Town and setting out on an early summer morning, makes for a deliciously refreshing drive  – windows down, breathing in lungfuls of chilly nature-scented air, as the dew evaporates in the still sleepy sunshine, past pine forests, olive groves and the fertile fields of the Guadalhorce valley,  in the midst of which the market lies.

Text and photos by Liz Glazer

If you would like more information about the Sunday morning markets in Coín and their location, click here to read an earlier blog post  (FYI – the Artisan market mentioned, is closed for the rest of the month of August).




Moonstruck from Marbella…

I don’t know if any of you were out doing some moon-bathing in the glorious glow of August’s Full Sturgeon Moon a couple of nights ago,  as I was in Marbella – but it really was a spectacular sight to behold.

I went down to the shores of Marbella Town on the eve of the full moon,  where obscured at first by mottled clouds, she revealed herself in a haze of orange glory, on the backdrop of an inky black sky.

On the night of the full-moon itself, I went with a friend for a moonlit picnic on a beach out of town, where moon-gazers like us,  basked in her mystical beams and strolled along the shores before a sea mist descended and it was time to go home.

I hope you´ll enjoy the photos I took, some with magical moonlight effects…

Photos and text by Liz Glazer


Joining in the family fun of a traditional local summer evening fair in Marbella Town

To escape from the hustle and bustle of Marbella Town’s busy tourist season last Friday night, I decided to take myself up to the “Verbena” (traditional summer night-time local fair) which was being held at the very top of the Arroyo de la Represa park, beyond the suspension bridge.

As I walked past the remains of Marbella’s Moorish castle walls, patches lit up by strategically placed spotlights, offered ghostly glimpses of a long-gone past.

I entered the fairground and stepped into a time-capsule of a scene, reminiscent of the village fairs of my childhood summers spent in Andalucía, long before the property boom took hold:  A gathering of local families out enjoying a balmy summer night – children clamouring excitedly around the sweet and games stalls or delighting  in rudimentary fun-fair rides, while the adults looked on indulgently or sat around tables eating and drinking and watching the performance of traditional dance groups in front a stage.

I got chatting with a stall-holder who came from a family of fairground workers. He told me how when he was a boy, this same Marbella Verbena was held on the banks of the river that once flanked the castle wall, until it was first covered over and converted into a park in the late 60’s. His eyes lit up, as with a whimsical smile he painted a picture of a summer evening get-together organised by the local people, picnics shared, as neighbours celebrated, dancing and singing into the early hours amidst the natural, untamed riverside setting …

And then the magnificently cheery local music entertainers Duo Arenal came on stage –belting out a mix of popular rumbas and blast-from-the-past Spanish summer hits  -urging everyone onto the dance floor.

What else could I do but join in?

I eventually made my way home, bathed in the warm glow of neighbourliness and simple good-old fashioned fun that this traditional family summer evening Marbella fair still embodies.

(Text and photos by Liz Glazer)



Dawn Mass on the shores of Marbella Town – a ritual of simplicity and unity

Viva la Virgen del Carmen!

There’s something that transcends the purely religious when it comes to the beachside Dawn Mass that starts a day of festivities every 16th July in Marbella Town, honouring the  Virgen del Carmen, protector of fishermen and Marbella’s patron saint.

There’s absolutely none of the sense of formality you get within the confines of a church but one of a unified local community, gathering as one, barefoot around an altar in the sand.

Perhaps it’s the natural setting but you get a feeling of witnessing and participating in a more primal ritual – a ceremony of gratitude for the simple things in life, the blessings of good health, and the love of family and friends, departed and presently in our lives.    A homage of respect to the force of nature in the guise of the sea.  A celebration drenched with devotion for the Virgen del Carmen and her role of mother-protector but a devotion expressed as joy.

This is the feeling it transmits to me at least and the reason why out of all the festivities, I chose to join in the celebrations again this year. Here are some photos I took, as I embraced this enchanting early-morning ritual and felt equally embraced by the simplicity of spirit and the overwhelming sense of unity that pervades…


A mooch around Coín’s “La Trocha” Sunday morning markets

by Liz Glazer

With cloudy skies and a chill in the air, the weather was perfect for my planned outing with a group of friends last weekend, to visit the inland town of Coin´s weekly  Sunday morning markets. Held in the grounds of  La Trocha Industrial Estate, there are three separate market areas: an outdoor farmer’s market, a small artisan produce and crafts market and the enormous covered flea market, held in the car park beneath the La Trocha shopping centre building.

Driving along the inland roads above Marbella to reach Coín,  there was a magical  moment when the landscape changed from winding mountain roads, to Coin’s vast valley landscapes of ploughed fields and open skies with the sierras etched out softly in the background, swathed in a light morning mist.  Winding down the car window, I sniffed in the delicious smell of damp rich earth. The Valley of Guadalhorce in which Coín lies, is renowned for its fertile agricultural land and is referred to locally as “La Despensa de Malaga” – Malaga’s pantry.

We got there just before 10 a.m, for the early pickings of fresh local-grown produce from the organic farmer’s market.  I read somewhere that Coín is one of the first “transition” towns in Andalucia that aim at creating a more sustainable local economy through initiatives such as this one – a platform for small-scale farmers to sell their produce to local consumers.  What a great idea-  and it’s certainly going down well, judging from the people that streamed around the stalls while we were there, despite the relatively early hour. Continue reading