the finest trip – Nerja
Coastal town of Nerja
We don’t know for sure if it was a day in September, but we know it must have been a day about 40,000 years ago on which our admittedly pretty distant relative immortalised himself (or herself?) in murals in the cave of Nerja – thus leaving behind the oldest preserved works of art in the history of man. A picture for eternity, if you will – discovered in 1959… and even now one of the top attractions of the famous coastal town of Nerja in the east of the Axarquía. On the whole: the cave near Maro is a place of superlatives. It stretches over almost five kilometres – and houses nothing less than the largest stalactite column in the world, which arose as stalactites merged with stalagmites (which of these grows from top to bottom and which in the opposite direction is something you can discuss over a cool glass of wine on the Balcony of Europe). No one will be copying that in a hurry.
So, Nerja – a town with a history… and, as usual in the Axarquía, a history mainly dominated by the continuous to and fro between Moors and non-Moors. The Romans settled in the vicinity of Maro; the Moors built the first houses a little further inland; and at the beginning of the 10th century the area saw the first written geographical name – meaning “abundant source of water”.
Enchanted alleys, sheer cliffs, lonely lagoons: it’s the big pictures that make Nerja so attractive. No wonder then that “Verano Azul”, The Blue Summer, a 19-part Spanish TV series that was even broadcast in Latin America, France and Poland, was shot here in 1981 (at the beginning of the century the Germans sent
Balcony of Europe
Gila von Weitershausen and Elmar Wepper into the fray with “The Dream of the South”… which is unlikely to have reached much of the big wide world). The Irish author Aidan Higgins, who died in 2015, was inspired by Nerja in the 1970s to write his second great novel “Balcony of Europe”, in which a young Irish artist called Dan attempts to chase after the no less young American Charlotte who, however, is the wife of his best friend… you know how it goes.
The “Balcony of Europe” at any rate, is of course one of the very special landmarks of the town. And it does indeed exude a certain magic – the end of the world (or at least Europe) becomes palpable when you stand at the balustrade and see nothing but water all around, the Mediterranean at your feet – and at some point in the distance, Africa.
Nerja, however, is also worth a visit for other reasons – especially on 8 September when the “Feria de las Maravillas” takes place, the Festival of Miracles, in which homage is paid to the “Virgen de las Maravillas” with a procession, spectacular fireworks included.
International Tourism Day is then celebrated on 27 September – with traditional food, a whole lot of refreshing cold drinks and typical Andalusian dancing… naturally on the Balcony of Europe.
To finish, yet another special tip: on the “Plaza Tutti Frutti” – especially in the summer months–there’s a very lively scene night after night. There are loads of bars and restaurants and music for virtually every taste. Nightlife pure – as the culmination of a trip to Nerja.