"Three hours? Forget it!" You could drive from Seville to Marbella and back again in less time than it took us to walk from Istan to Marbella along a new track last week.
A new track for my walking friend Philip and myself because we worked out that we have now climbed La Concha, the mountain behind Marbella along 7 different routes.
Do you remember in my October blog last year I told of how low clouds and rain blowing in sideways forced us off the mountain? We waited as patiently as we could for the first opening in the weather this year before setting off again.
We left from just behind the hotel perched above Istan, the little pueblo blanco about 17 kms inland from the coast. A sign marks the departure point and indicates a walk of 3 hours to get to Marbella. It's a great route, very scenic and not at all direct, following the ridges, valleys and contours of the mountain above the La Concepción lake.
The picture shows the summit of the ridge seen from the other side above Marbella. We nearly didn't make it again, you can see the clouds curling from either side of the faint track.
Ten hours after starting out we dropped down onto the coast, just behind the big La Cañada shopping centre. Don't believe all the timings on the signs on the walking tracks you come across on the Costa del Sol!