Why Bambú and who will enjoy a holiday here? The short answer:
Bambú is self-
Bambú is close to “civilisation”! -
The Axarquia region of southern Spain is truly beautiful -
Who will and won’t enjoy a holiday at Bambú? If you are seeking bright lights, loud music, “the scene”, souvenir shops and the like, then Bambú isn’t for you. Bambú is rural ... not at all urban. There is no row of shops and restaurants just outside the front door! So, if you are a city-
Why Spain? Why Andalucia? Why Bambú? The long answer:
Northern Europeans – the Brits, the Germans, the Dutch and Scandinavians in particular -
However this view couldn’t be more misplaced.
Yes, avoid Torremolinos, Fuengirola, Marbella and similar notorious tourist enclaves if this applies to you, but these places are mere blots on the landscape! They are not true representations of what this lovely country has to offer.
Away from the tourist ghettos (and they really are ghettos, with holidaymakers barely if ever venturing out of their chosen resort), Spain is historically fascinating and culturally diverse, its people are friendly and warm, and the landscape is subliminely beautiful. Watch or listen to any TV or radio documentary on European history, religion, culture or art and you will find yourself spending a disproportionate part of your viewing or listening time learning about Spain. This country was civilised and flourishing long before its colder northern European neighbours – and as a consequence Spain has a fascinating architectural legacy. And nowhere more so than Andalucia. Then add the Moorish dimension to the mix. Most of Spain and all of Andalucia was under Islamic rule for almost 800 years. So much about this country embodies the amalgamation of the two great civilisations of Islam and Christianity – so relevant to today’s political and cultural landscape. Indeed we have a great deal to learn from understanding a little of Spain’s history, in particular its Moorish era, as it was a time of great tolerance, diversity, scientific advancement and artistic creativity.
So, you Francophiles and Italophiles, set aside your prejudices about the costas, enjoy the real Spain and come to Bambú.
Here’s a bit of a glossary about what you can expect from a holiday in Andalucia and at Bambú in particular:
Firstly, the climate
Notwithstanding the above comments about there being more to Spain than just sunshine, most of us still want decent weather whilst on holiday. And Spain has that in abundance. In July and August it is fabulously hot -
Susanne and I are originally from the lovely Lake District in England, which is a fairly hard act to follow. But Andalucia is truly beautiful against any benchmark.
Dotted amongst the landscape is a myriad of lovely whitewashed villages. Each has its own distinctive character and charm and the majority have an ancient street layout which dates back to Moorish time. Indeed, although the houses and shops bordering the narrow streets will be much more recent constructs, building techniques have changed very little over time, and it is easy to imagine oneself in mediaeval Moorish ‘Al Andalus’ whilst wandering the streets of these villages. Narrow streets, too narrow for cars, although the locals seem to manage to scrape their way through. Steep winding stepped paths. Pots of geraniums at every doorstep. The white villages of Andalucia are a ubiquitous feature of the landscape of southern Spain.
Prior to the Moors, southern Spain was barren and poor, but the Moors, with their highly skilled irrigation techniques made the land fertile and Al Andalus became the garden of Spain and, perhaps now, the garden of Europe.
When the Moors were driven from power, the local populations were forced to convert to Christianity or were expelled from their homes. Many of the white villages were completely purged and new Christian communities moved in from elsewhere in Spain. Those that did convert were subject to the Spanish Inquisition to scrutinise the substance of their conversion ... but then that’s another story!
Our local village is Benamocarra, a 20 minute walk from Bambú. Benamocarra has lots of shops, a couple of banks and, most importantly, many tapas bars including, during the summer months, a lovely new heladeria (ice cream parlour / outdoor bar) and a truly tropical public pool and bar, both particularly popular with our guests. Although we do encourage our guests to hire a car if they can, many guests have chosen not to and instead have spent their whole holiday relaxing at Bambú, enjoying evenings out in Benamocarra with just the occasional public transport journey further afield.
Historical and cultural sights within a short drive of Bambú
But it’s not all countryside and pretty white villages. Bambú is just 15 minutes’ drive from the coast and the nearest of several lively seaside towns of the Axarquia – more on these in a moment. The nearest city, just 10 minutes away, is Velez-
Then we have two sets of massive caves nearby, 15 minutes to the east at Nerja and 15 minutes to the west at Rincon de la Victoria. Both of them contain prehistoric cave paintings and both welcome tourists.
But if it is cities that inspire and excite you, then head west just 30 minutes to Malaga city. Malaga was said to be the favourite city of poet Federico Garcia Lorca and he clearly had great taste. Despite the importance of its airport as a major tourist entry point, few of those who pass through its arrivals hall venture into the city next door. And that’s not a bad thing. Malaga hasn’t been polluted by tourism but instead retains a very Spanish identity and atmosphere. Phoenician, Roman, Moorish and mediaeval Christian landmarks dot the city. The city also has some excellent art galleries, including the Picasso Museum (he was born in Malaga), the Contemporary Arts Centre and, about to open in 2011, is the Thyssen Museum, sister to the Thyssen Museum in Madrid and housing one of the worlds largest private art collections. Beautiful parks, lovely waterfront, great shopping, an infinite number of tapas bars and restaurants and a different fiesta seemingly every week; Malaga is a lovely city not to be missed ... and a very easy commute (by car or public transport) from Bambú.
Not much more than an hour from Bambú is Granada, home to World Heritage Site, The Alhambra. The Alhambra is one of those iconic historial monuments that really have to be seen at least once in a lifetime -
45 minutes to the North West of Bambú is the small and attractive city of Antequera (named even by the Romans for its vintage!), a treasure trove of historical curiosities spanning thousands of years.
Then further afield but still just about reachable in day trips or overnight stopovers are the exquisitely beautiful and historically important cities of Cordoba and Seville. Cordoba is remarkable for its geranium filled patios, its Jewish quarter and its Mezquita, the idiosyncratic spectacle of a cathedral constructed in the centre of a mosque. Seville, home of oranges, Carmen and the unrivalled Alcazar, not Moorish but Mudejar and with its very lovely gardens.
So, if swimming pools and beautiful landscapes are not enough for you, there are plenty of opportunities nearby to get your city and cultural fix!
A little about the local seaside resorts
So let’s return to what Spain is famous for – its seaside resorts. Well around here they have very little in common with the aforementioned Torremolinos and Marbella. They are places where the Spanish, not the Brits or the Germans, go on holiday. Here you can experience real Spanish food, enjoy the company of the Spanish relaxing and enjoying themselves, and completely avoid fish and chips and lager louts.
Our local seaside town is Torre del Mar. The Torre del Mar promenade is very attractive, long, palm-
So onto the cuisine
As already mentioned, Torre del Mar and the other seaside towns offer pretty much any cuisine you might wish for ... but it is their fish restaurants which are the very best. Whether or not you eat fish or like sardines, few people find the aroma of the wood fires along the beach fronts, cooking sardines, anything other than intoxicating ... an aroma which imbues the seaside atmosphere.
In Malaga city, the same diversity of cuisine prevails, however here you start to see trendy eateries with more northern European fare, provided for a more cosmopolitan population. Malaga also has at least three vegetarian restaurants, unheard of anywhere else around here. Indeed life is difficult for vegetarians in southern Spain – other than Spanish omelette and the occasional tapa, you’ll struggle. And for vegans, it is impossible. However Bambú is self-
If you do eat meat or fish, then you may like to try Menu del Dia, surely the best value meal anywhere in Western Europe. For as little as ˆ7 you can enjoy a 3 course meal plus a drink. And Menu del Dia is available at almost every restaurant at lunchtime (from 2pm). Fabulous value and usually great food.
Value for money
Talking of value for money, another reason to enjoy your visit to Spain is the relatively low cost of eating and drinking out. There’s Menu del Dia but also most a la carte meals are much cheaper than comparable dishes elsewhere in Europe. And tapas are a true bargain. In the villages ˆ1 will buy you a beer, a glass of wine or a coffee -
You will also find flying to Malaga and the overall cost of your holiday relatively inexpensive
Flights will also always be plentiful and of great value into Malaga. Here we have to thank the massive tourist market to the resorts to the West of Malaga. Whether you prefer to fly with the national carriers or with the ‘no frills’ airlines, flights to Malaga are always fairly inexpensive.
Lastly, a word about eco-
We know than many of our guests will be conscious of their carbon footprint and may have some unease about the carbon impact of taking a holiday overseas. However, if you are going to have an overseas holiday, at least Spain is short-
So, Francophiles and Italophiles ... and those who only think of Spain in terms of the costas ... think again. This place is special. This place is seriously classy! And Bambú is a home from home for lesbians from all over the world who wish to explore the real Andalucia, the real Spain ... or to just chill out for a week or two!