This is my favourite time of year in southern Spain. I moved out of Marbella itself a few years ago, having lived in Puerto Banus for nearly a decade. So, I live a little way up in the mountains which gives me spectacular views and amazing weather.
Picture January in Southern Spain. Let me guess; sunshine and temperatures like mid-summer in England. Well yes, some of the time. But also no. Visitors arriving from northern Europe are always easy to spot at this time of year. It helps that there are fewer of them; though we in the leisure and entertainment love our visitors! But the real reason that they easy to identify is that they are the ones wearing T shirts and shorts. We locals are the ones wrapped up in sweaters and coats.
We are indeed lucky enough to have warm days and far less rain than the rest of Europe. Three hundred days of sunshine is pretty accurate. But the sixty five (and a quarter) days of rain are fairly well concentrated over autumn and winter.
It is not much in the scheme of things, but it is enough to make the orange and lemon trees thrive during the winter growing season. And since I live in the countryside I can literally step outside in the morning, pick oranges off the trees and make my own freshly squeezed juice. Freshly squeezed juice is always better, but juice from fruit that was on the tree until five minutes ago is something else.
But my favourite thing about this season – and January especially – is the fact that when I step outside to pick my breakfast, there is ice on the ground. If you are in England, no big deal. But here in Spain, it is really refreshing. Especially safe in the knowledge that by mid afternoon the temperature will have reached eighteen or nineteen degrees…
But the extremely large temperature gradient makes for some really fun experiences. I can sit outside in the afternoon and read a book in the sunshine, and then sit by a roaring log fire either in the sitting room or outside under the terrace. And yes, that really is as much fun as it sounds. Especially with a nice glass of wine or a big tumbler of Gentleman Jack Daniels.
Icy mornings, sunny warm days, fresh fruit and flowers all around and log fires in the evening. I admit that it is a hard life. But I do it so that you don’t have to.