Hello, chickadees. Mr. Apricot has informed me that while we’re flying into Malaga, Spain, we’re actually staying in Marbella. I don’t know a lot about the Costa del Sol, so I decided to show you how Miss Expatria does her research when discovering a new vacation destination!
I know little about this area of Spain other than where it is in the world, so I’m starting from scratch. First, of course, is Wikipedia. (What did we do before Wikipedia? I shudder to think.) From the Marbella entry, I find out some tantalizing treats of information only a bitchy jet-setter like me could love:
Yummy! I wonder if Marbella, then, is like some sort of glamorous Disneyworld:
“You’ve just broken the bank at Monte Carlo. What are you going to do now?”
“I’M GOING TO MARBELLAAAAAAA!”
Also of note was the 1987 kidnapping of the daughter of a Korean princess and a “local billionaire.” Intrigue! Love it. But I did in fact read the whole article, and now I have a clearer picture of Marbella.
My next stop is the Marbella entry in Wikitravel. Although Wikitravel can be inconsistent – just as many articles are written by local hotel managers as by experienced travelers and/or enthusiastic natives – it’s still worth a shot. From this page, I can tell there are photo opps in town and that the city seems to be well connected to everything else around it.
I have my bearings; let’s get down to bidness.
I check out our digs at the Marriott. Nice! It’s a little geared toward American families and seems to be stuck in the early 90s, but I am looking forward to the pool, at least one American meal (sorry, but I’m an expat) and full-power air conditioning.
I’m a big fan of getting to my destination in the easiest way possible; exploring can come later. I check to see if the hotel has shuttle service; they do not. I’m not a kabillionaire, so I’ll be schlepping to Marbella on public transport and then taking a taxi to the actual resort, which seems to be 15 km from the bus station. OK, not bad. I’ll make a note to learn the proper Spanish phrases for this leg of my trip, and put a card in my bag with the name and address of the resort to give to the taxi driver.
FOOD is obviously the next thing on my list of priorities. Here, I must admit, I have an edge – one of my favorite bloggers, who seems to be as big a food freak as I am, lives in Marbella. I will scour her Marbella-tagged posts until I come up with some gems. And I don’t have to go too far – YES PLEASE, OK, now I’m just going to faint – so I will be sure to write these down in my little travel book.
Which brings me to my little travel book. It’s a notebook I keep in my bag all the time, that I use for many purposes – anything from an idea for a blog post to a reminder to write a client to shopping lists – but when I travel, everything goes in the book:
- Phrases I’ll need to know
- Flight information
- Any other travel info – bus company name, train times, number of stops, etc.
- Restaurant info – names, addresses, phone numbers, websites, must-have dishes
- Sights info – any particular statue, church, museum or landmark I don’t want to miss, with address, opening/closing times, closed days (VERY IMPORTANT), cost
- Phone numbers that would normally be in my cell
The thing I am most excited by is the possibility of seeing the coast of, and/or going to, AFRICA. As in, like, AFRICA. The continent. AFRICA. I can’t even stand it! It just seems so… foreign and exotic. AFRICA! Wow.