I arrived at the Airport welcomed by somewhat admiring Spanish chicos, slirring, ‘¡oh, Señorita!’. The contrast from rainy, dull Britain into a heat cloud of smouldering hot Marbella calmed my flying nerves. I padded cautiously across Málaga’s ‘Arrivals’ terminals following a variety of signs.
I couldn’t hear clearly due to my ears popping mid-descending airplane, and I was unaware as to why Spanish Security didn’t understand my English plea to help direct me to my Airport Transfer. I re-read a printed e-mail from a member of Enforex staff, realising I was still stuck in the Baggage Collection Department! Dismissing my ditziness, I was relieved to see my Airport Transfer smiling welcomly, (a little patiently, perhaps?!) holding my name sign.
Driving towards Marbella from Málaga involved some beautiful scenery, and from the moment I done up my seatbelt I was being taught some of the language. I managed to squeeze out ‘Ce’ at most, and furiously nodded with agreement to anything I didn’t understand. I was given my keys, apartment number and useful info I’d surely need as soon as we arrived in Marbella, which re-assured me.
I was pleasantly surprised by the greeting of the other students in my apartment, all of which spoke very good English- but also Spanish-, which provided a strong learning environment for my Spanish language to progress. My student accommodation was paved with cool, marbled floors and felt airy in contrast to the Spanish heat. My room was locked up, and boasted flowery pink attire and it’s own balcony. My Airport Transfer and I said ‘Adiós’, and I was soon tottering around barefoot to watch Marbella life from my personal balcony.
My first night was stunning, I had already acquired a pal, we were sitting among Spanish Waiters flaring our water bottles under the shade of giant palm trees. (We attempted to speak as little English as possible)
During free time…
Marbella days are wonderfully lazy. School finishes at 1pm, so there’s plenty of time to do next to anything. Crazily,November in the ‘Del Sol’ is averaging at 22-24-30 degrees, so indulging in coffee in Marbella’s cute outside bars is still on the itinerary, as is soaking up Marbella’s pretty parks. The Avocado is fresh and the yacht ports full of big fish, not to mention a quickly developing Costa del sol tan! Internet cafes are easy to find to keep in contact with family and friends, and the supermarkets are utterly fascinating- the alcohol is cheap and the baskets are on wheels! Cheap Tapas in Marbella taste every inch as indulgent as a posh meal, and public transport such as buses (running to La Cañada, Puerto Banús, Central Marbella, etc) are frequent and reliable. Marbella is a playground for the posh and the famous, and it shows!
I adored Puerto Banús – the barbie-like women and their Chihuahuas, fast cars, shopping, orangy-pink Banus sunsets. The evenings were packed with clubs and their Representatives, free cocktails for ladies and an endless booming atmosphere.
Classes at Enforex Marbella..
Enforex Marbella itself is petite, welcoming and very professional. On arrival, you are given an information pack, and the Enforex staff give you a small written/oral language exam. The exams distinguish which level/group you will be studying in; the small groups are encouraging, and the tutors speak almost entirely in Spanish which forces you to progress within the language.
I found school rather difficult in the beginning, particularly pushing my ‘Farmer’ Norfolk accent to sound Espania. I was almost glued to my English-Spanish dictionary ready to translate, but felt very supported and my group were very patient. Gradually I could communicate in shops, speak with my apartment friends a little and watch Spanish News. My Intensive Spanish course payed of massively as the days passed, giving me a better quality stay in Spain! Getting up early blessed with Spanish sunshine is something you’ll want to get used to.
Upon my last day (sob*), I received a diploma from the school saying I speak ‘Básico Espania’ and a good report. I had an evening of free pink champagne in Banús and the sun was blazing at 24… which made it harder going home!
One of my tutors drove me back to Málaga Airport, in very good time to find my flight (a repeat of my arrival was out of the question!) The Airport was very aggravating and busy as I’d chosen to fly on a weekend (not recommended).
I managed to speak enough Spanish to enquire where my departure gate was!
Looking back on Málaga in the evening with all it’s lights as the plane took off was a beautiful ending. Marbella certainly gave me enough experiences and memories to last a lifetime!
Leonie Ann Garlick is in the process of editing her own travel website based on working abroad. She is a keen travel blogger and wishes to progress in travel journalism.
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