South of Spain to Ease the Pain

When you’ve been spoilt with a sunny bank holiday in England, you suddenly feel like every bank holiday should be the same. I definitely did, especially because the warm weather means I’m guaranteed a few less painful days with sickle cell. So I didn’t hesitate when the opportunity came for me to disappear for 4 days over the May Day bank holiday, destination: Malaga – Costa del Sol.

With my travel essentials and a few things in the case, I was off to cram as much sun and fun as possible into 4 days. Here’s what I got up to and why southern Spain is a great idea for a low risk, warm, spring getaway.

Since high altitudes can affect the blood flow and increase the risk of a sickle crisis, short flights are a bonus for us warriors. With a flight time of 2hours 30mins, traveling to this part of Spain was like a drive from Birmingham to London. I was on the beach quicker than I could say adios amigos.

With this being a quick break and a region I’d been to a few times before, I stayed in an all inclusive beach resort in a town called Estepona, which was brilliant value for money since it was outside of the main areas of attraction such as Marbella and Perto BanΓΊs, but still close enough to travel to either one if I wanted to β€” which I did.

I’m not usually big on all inclusive resorts in Europe as I feel the food can be repetitive and a bit of a let down. However, 4 days was just enough to tolerate and having access to unlimited drinks was a blessing being in a warm country with sickle cell, as we all know staying hydrated is a huge part of staying well.

Being the type of person that I am I couldn’t help but venture off the resort where I discovered shops, restaurants and a few cocktail bars too. I actually walked so far I came across schools, show homes and almost ended up in the next town, Benahavis. The step counter on my phone didn’t know what was going on when I exceeded 10000 steps for the day. Lol.

With limited time in a great location, a hire car seemed logical. It was strange being driven the wrong way around the roundabout at first but I got used to it.

Taking a drive out to Marbella I discovered Avenida del Mar; a beautiful walkway in Marbella lined with a collection of sculptures that lead down to the beach.

It was a long downhill walkway but armed with my alkaline filter water cooler and benches along the side, it was a calming and peaceful place to sit and take in if you got too tired of walking.

Spending the day on the beach next to Marbella’s marina, I wasn’t short of things to do. I had a lovely lunch at a beach front seafood restaurant, a browse through some shops including one that sold vegan friendly handmade items and even joined in some watersports.

Heading back down to Marbella in the evening – more appropriately dressed – I had dinner at The Harbour Bar & Restaurant and I wasn’t disappointed. The whole meal from start to finish was like a party in my mouth. I would definitely recommend eating here and I think it’s fair to say it was the best meal of the entire trip.

As well as the obvious places to visit, I took a drive to somewhere that turned out to be less of a tourist attraction and more of a way of life for the locals on a Saturday afternoon.

A few km away from the busy Port of MΓ‘laga, the beach was more ‘beach’ and less beach beds and activities. With cruise ships visible at the port in the distace and the mumble of locals lunching in the background, this was a beautiful spot to chill and get sun kissed β€”despite the fact that I annoyingly left my sunglasses in the car.

On the whole, I managed to do a number of different things in 4 days including getting some much needed rest and rejuvenation. Best of all though I got to sample the salted popcorn from the Cinema in Fuengirola… I’d give it a 5/10.

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