Book your hire car with Gomarbella & Spain now and Then

Friday, 31 July 2009

Excursion to Gibraltar

Chris was staying this summer at the Cortijo Blanco Hotel and asked for suggestions about a day´s excursion to Gibraltar with her children. They were going by bus. I wrote back to her:

"Hi Chris, a day out in Gibraltar makes a fantastic excursion. Take bottles of water for the children as you go because it will be a long day and they´ll need to keep drinking. When you get to the La Linea bus station in the morning, book your seats to come back in the afternoon. Try and get the earliest bus down to Gibraltar to give you more time in the cool of the morning.

Go on a week day rather, many of the shops shut on a Saturday afternoon. You can pay in pounds or euros. Try to keep some pounds just for your excursion to Gibraltar because if you change your pounds into euros in Spain and then back into pounds in Gibraltar at today´s exchange rate, it will be a painful experience. Keep an eye out for any electronic goods that you might be after, they are normally well priced compared to Spain and you can sometimes bargain the price down.

Just on the other side of the border after the Gibraltar passport control you can pick up a taxi or a bus. The Route 9 bus which runs every 10 minutes Monday to Friday from Gibraltar airport at the frontier and it takes you to the Market Place at the bottom of Main Street. The Route 3 bus which runs every 20 minutes Monday to Friday takes you from Gibraltar airport at the frontier right the way across Gibraltar to Europa Point on the other side of the Rock.

It's not difficult to get around Gibraltar without a car. Basically you start at the bottom from Market Garden and walk up Main Street to the top where you will find the cable car ticket office. On the way up there are all sorts of shops. Not long after leaving the bottom of Main Street Sacarello's Coffee House is a good place to stop and have a coffee. It´s an institution in Gibraltar and you can ask any local Gibraltarian to direct your there. It's one street down to the right from Main Street.

At the top of Main Street take the cable car ride from its start at the Gibraltar Botanical Gardens. The Rock of Gibraltar cable car takes you to the top of the Rock which the children will enjoy. The views are great and on a clear day you can see the little flat topped houses across the straits in Morocco, the Mediterranean sea on one side and the Atlantic ocean on the other.

Next to the cable car is the Wildlife Park which is stocked with exotic animals that have been imported into Gibraltar and siezed by Customs. I haven't seen it myself but am told by animal lovers it worth visiting. A Rock Tour by taxi or mini bus isn't expensive and is a quick and easy way of seeing nearly all there is. The tour will take you around Gibraltar and the includes St Michael's Cave which is an enormous natura grotto and the Ape's Den amongst other sights. The guides are licensed and give a great commentary on the way around. You will find more taxis and Rock Tour guides as you walk up Main Street.

The Gibraltar museum is worth visiting and has a great audio visual show about the origins of Gibraltar from 200 million years ago. It´ll also give you a good chance to rest your legs along the way. The Tourist Information office is about half way up Main Street in Gibraltarand you can pick up maps and brochures there.
Out to sea there are boat cruises and dolphin watching trips around the Bay and you can get their contact details from the tourist information office also although maybe the cruise will have to wait for your next trip!

I hope this gives you a taste of Gibraltar Chris and that you have a fun day out! Keep an eye on the time and your possessions and leave time to get back to the bus.

Best wishes from Marbella and thanks again for your contacts Chris,
Mike Drury"

PS: Important Update: 6/03/2012 Rowland Warren has just written in to say there are NO left luggage lockers at the La Linea bus station. I went down to La Linea to take another photo, which you see above, of the interior of the bus station and the left luggage lockers have gone,
replaced by closed ticket office windows which will probably never be used. Rowland said however that there are Left Luggage facilities across the border at the arrivals building of Gibraltar airport. The Left Luggage office was unmanned, but is adjacent to a manned information desk where, having explained situation, they were quite happy to accept his bag  after scanning and examining his passports. Please read the full description in the Comments section below.  

Thursday, 30 July 2009

A beach in Marbella

Come on down to the beach in Marbella today. Everybody's taking it easy. The sun's hot and the sea's refreshingly cool.

Bring your watermelon and cool drink and picnic on the beach or feast on sizzling fried prawns in garlic washed down with cold white wine or sangria in a chiringuito nearby.

Out at sea the windsurfers are gliding up and down the coast. In the distance you'll hear the buzzing of jet skis rented from Funny Beach past the fishing port.

White T shirted beach security personnel patrol the beaches or cycle up and down the Paseo Marítimo while the lookie lookie men sidle cautiously along with their trays of Rolex watches, latest CDs and designer sunglasses.

Just another perfect day on the beach, or is it?

12/04/2011 Yes, come on down but be careful with your possessions. On Sunday, our good friend Rosemary, a long time streetwise Marbella resident was taking things easy on Yellow Beach next to the Restaurant La Pesquera just along from the beach in the photo above and had her bag stolen from right next to her feet while she was reading the newspaper. It happened incredibly quickly and as she said, she wasn't even asleep! She lost the usual things of course, car keys, driving licence, apartment keys, mobile phone and identity card.

At the Marbella Comisaria she had to wait for three hours until 10pm
whilst the police on duty seemingly just chatted, to make a statement necessary for insurance and to get it signed. Others waiting to make similar reports were furious at the delay. The report took only 10 minutes to do once she got in and she was asked why she had put her bag down on the sand.

Rosemary is now going through the routine of replacing everything and changing locks. The thieves had made calls to Africa on her mobile which she is going to have to pay for. She found out later that a colleague had had a bag stolen on the same day from the same beach.

So if you're on holiday, be warned, n
ever leave your bags unattended on the beach whilst you swim and make sure someone in your group is keeping a very close eye on everything. Don't take your valuables to the beach, the theft will take place in seconds right under your nose and you won't get any sympathy from the policeman on duty when you make your statement.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Lux Sevilla Burmujos self catering apartments in Seville

The Luxsevilla Bormujos tourist apartments are a great place to stay in Seville if you have a car. Situated just off the motorway to Huelva and Portugal, take the Gines, Bormujos exit Nº 6. If you need to fit in a bit of shopping in Ikea in Seville, the Luxsevilla apartment complex is only five minutes away on the other side of the A1 E49 motor way.

If you are picking up your hire car from the Santa Justa train station the complex is exactly 7kms from the Sevilla station. Pick up your car, drive to Luxsevilla Burmujos, park right outside, unpack in the air conditioned apartment, do your shopping next door, shower and change and you are ready to do the city.

In the pic you see the entrance to the building. The reception is on the first floor reached by a glass sided lift or stairs. I took a much better photo of the first floor area where the swimming pool and restaurant are but lost it! Next time I go I'll retake it.

We´ve stayed there twice now. The first time two years ago we needed quick access to Sevilla's old town for an early morning seminar and last night we stayed overnight after the Bruce Springsteen concert in the Sevilla Olympic Stadium rather than drive back to Marbella at 2am in the morning.

It's fantastic value, 55 euros all in including breakfast and a comfortable airconditioned apartment complete with a fully equipped kitchen. As a base to explore Sevilla or stop over on the way to Portugal, you won't do a lot better. The Luxsevilla Bormujos apartments have unlimited street parking outside. If you´ve ever tried to find overnight parking in the old town in Seville near your hotel, you'll appreciate how valuable this is.

There is a Dia supermarket right next door for any self catering grocery needs and the Luxsevilla apartments back onto the big Megaocio leisure centre. If you prefer to eat onsite the Piazza San Mateo restaurant is on the same first floor level as the apartments. The telephone number is the same as the Luxsevilla Burmujo complex Tel: + 34 901 380 000

Back on the gomarbella webcam terrace this afternoon I pointed my GPS at Avenida Secoya in Bormujos in Sevilla to check distances and saw that the complex is exactly 246kms from Marbella, that's 2hrs 31mins driving time routed through Malaga although we took the route through Los Barrios on the way back.

Here's the address Luxsevilla Bormujos,Avda del Barrillo, s/n, Bormujos, 41930 Sevilla Tel: + 34 901 380 000 or Tel: + 34 954 48 67 40 For good value for money, easy parking and access to Sevilla I really recommend it.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Fly Blue boat cruise from Marbella Puerto Deportivo to Puerto Banus

On their way home to Brisbane Sharon and Daniela Knight had an action packed two day stay with us in Marbella managing to fit in the Fly Blue Catamaran boat cruise from Marbella Puerto Deportivo to Puerto Banus on their last afternoon.

Here's the timetable of sailings

From Marbella Puerto Deportivo the Sky Blue catamaran leaves at 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.30, 16.00, 17.30 and 18.30.

From Puerto Banus the Sky Blue catamaran leaves at 11.30, 12.30, 14.00, 15.30, 17.00, 18.00 and 19.00.

During July and August there are two extra sailings, from Marbella Puerto Deportivo to Puerto Banus at 22.30 and 18.30 and from Puerto Banus to the Puerto Deportivo in Marbella, at 22.00 and 23.00.

Of course the sailings depend on good weather and a number of other conditions so my advice is to phone + 34 663 827 986 for information before you sail. You can use this number to make reservations or simply email Fly Blue on

After you have had a good look around the Old Town in Marbella, rather than take a taxi or a bus to Puerto Banus, why not do it in style on the Sky Blue catamaran?

A return boat cruise ticket will cost you 15 euros and 8 euros one way which is cheaper than a taxi and a return boat cruise ticket for children is 8 euros and only 5 euros one way.

Get your tickets at the entrance to the Puerto Deportivo in Marbella from the little stand on the pavement and the boat leaves from the outer wall of the port. In Puerto Banus you get your ticket on the boat right outside the Red Pepper restaurant. In the picture above you will see the new Sky Blue catamaran waiting to leave Marbella port. The dramatic back drop to Marbella is provided by the La Concha moutain. On the left of the picture you'll see the very popular Skol apartments.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Hertz car rental email address and telephone number at Malaga airport

Back in January this year I had this exchange with Daniel from Canada:

Daniel: "I'm looking for the email address of the Hertz car rental office at Málaga airport but I can't find it anywhere. Do you know where I can find this information? Thank you."

Mike: "Hello Daniel, I picked up your email yesterday while visiting my grandchildren in London yesterday and so on my way back through the airport last night I walked down the long ramp from arrivals to the Hertz division in the Malaga airport car hire section.

I stood in line to get the information and at the Hertz desk itself I was given the web address of the Hertz car rental department at
Málaga airport as I haven't checked it yet but you should be able to find the email address on the site. Best wishes from Marbella, Mike"

Daniel: "Hello Mike, I tried the web address for the Hertz car hire at Málaga airport you sent me but unfortunately it doesn't work. Thank you for your help anyway, I appreciate it."

Mike: "Hello Daniel, I should have tried it myself before I sent it to you. I asked the fellow to repeat it three times. I have just tried it too and it didn't work. Anyway I looked up the central Hertz number in the Spanish Yellow Pages and after getting the run around with recorded voices and extensions I managed to found a live voice and a live operator.

The agent gave me the telephone number of the Hertz desk at Málaga airport as 95 223 30 86 and so I phoned them and the girl there gave me the email address as Obviously the guy behind the desk last night had no idea about email addresses.

Try that and see if you get through to them. Best wishes Mike"

Footnote: I didn't hear back from Daniel but I imagine he managed to make contact with the Hertz desk at the airport. At least I hope so.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Malaga Airport to Estepona Bus Station

Aarti wrote in to ask. "Please could you tell me what buses go from Malaga Airport to Estepona? I will be arriving at Malaga airport in mid June, also what are the ticket rates?"

I wrote back to say: "Hi Aarti, the easiest way to get to Estepona from Malaga airport is to take the dedicated Malaga airport to Marbella bus. Remember to look in the timetable at the column showing the winter departures column from the airport. This one way ticket on the bus costs just under €4.50 per person for the 45 minute journey.

To catch the Malaga airport bus to Marbella you come out of arrivals, turn right and about 50 metres along the pavement you will see the bus stop. You buy your tickets as you get on the bus.

When you get to the Marbella bus station, take the bus to Estepona, check through here on the Costa del Sol bus page for the Marbella Bus Schedules. Look for the MARBELLA - ESTEPONA route.

The ticket will be less than five euros so y
ou can get from Malaga airport to Estepona by bus and have a cup of coffee in the Marbella bus station all for less than 10 euros!

I hope this helps you with your planning Aarti, have a good trip." Mike

PS: You can now do online bus ticket reservations through the gomarbella reservation system.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Hospital Costa del Sol

Back in March 2009 the Hospital Costa del Sol was one of the most visited pages on Gomarbella. Most visitors were medical staff from the middle and far east and were writing to Gomarbella to check on the local Costa del Sol hospital in response to a scam involving false job offers. The hospital had received so many enquiries that the personnel department stopped responding to emails.

A so called Doctor Luis Xavier was offering would be employees fantastic contracts to relocate to Spain to the Costa del Sol hospital and for the sum of 800 euros paid in advance would process all the necessary paperwork.

I responded personally to about 50 medical staff who had written to me from outside Spain to assure them that the whole thing was a complete scam. Quite a few near victims wrote back to thank me and to say that they had been on the point of giving up their present jobs and moving to Spain!

Update: 15/08/2010 There's a big new wing being built right now coming out from the left of the building above.

I kept in touch with the personnel department at the hospital about the fraudulent job offers and even contacted the editor of the English edition of the Sur in English newspaper to spread the story more widely but there wasn't much interest in the story.

Curiously enough I get most enquiries about genuine job opportunities on the Costa del Sol from nursing staff in the UK so I was interested to read today in the Health and Beauty section of the Sur in English newspaper that Spain has only 536 nurses per 100 000 of the population. This does not compare well with the EU average of 808 nurses per 100 000 of the population. In Andalucia there are only 430 per 100 000 and in the province of Malaga this figure drops to 355 nurses per 100 000 of the population.

The big regional Costa del Sol hospital just down the road from the Gomarbella offices where I go now and again to be tuned up is spotless and appears to be very well staffed and maintained. There is a big building extension programme underway right now just where the car park in the picture is.

If you are planning to move to Spain to work in the state medical system, remember that you will need to speak Spanish!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Plaza Mayor train stop

This is the Plaza Mayor train stop. If you haven't been to the enormous Plaza Mayor recreational centre just below the Malaga airport flight path, it's definitely worth a visit. Plaza Mayor is right next to the train stop, just over the pedestrian crossing in the picture.

Combine it with an outing to Ikea in Malaga and you will have have a very good day out. In the background you will just see Ikea's blue roof. This gives you an idea of how close Ikea is to the train stop.

The trains travelling from the main María Zambrano train station in Malaga city and passing through Malaga airport train station travelling towards Fuengirola train station arrive at Plaza Mayor and leave from Plaza Mayor three times every hour.

From Plaza Mayor to Malaga airport the train journey time is 4 minutes. You will find a complete train timetable for the journey between Malaga airport and Fuengirola here and you can check timings for the first and last trains along the route.

I've never visited Ikea by train, normally I call in on my way back from the airport by car but I recommend avoiding going to Ikea on a Saturday evening. It's a favourite destination for lots and lots of local dwellers and will really be packed!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Car Hire at Malaga Airport

With Malaga airport in the background the cars approaching on my right are leaving the airport and heading for Malaga city. They will cross the road bridge behind me and then swing back under the bridge to head east to Malaga and destinations beyond such as Antequera, Nerja and Granada.

You can see car rental companies and long term airport parking buildings to the right of the picture. Malaga airport control tower is just visible in the background.

The cars on the lower road leaving the airport to my left are tucked in just below the big San Miguel beer factory and will turn off to the west along the coast to Torremolinos, Fuengirola, Marbella, Estepona and Algeciras.

UK papers are reporting car hire clients facing last minute cancellation of their pre-booked car rental reservations so that the car hire company can then re-rent the car at a higher price.

My own guess is that in most cases any cancellation of car hire reservations by the car rental companies is due to a genuine shortage of cars. Car hire companies in Spain are facing a 10% drop in tourism overall and just haven't renewed their car hire fleets this year.

It is more likely to be the small independent car rental company who runs out of cars and finds it easier to cancel a reservation at the last moment than to make the effort to honour it even if it means losing money.

The good news is that all of the bookings made through the Gomarbella Cartrawler car rental booking engine this summer have been honoured. The car rental companies who work with Cartrawler simply cannot afford to be out of line.

My advice to travellers for a trouble free start to your holiday on the Costa del Sol is to book early and do it through the Gomarbella Malaga airport car hire booking engine. It works worldwide too!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Wi Fi access in San Pedro de Alcantará

Cynthia stayed at the Hotel Cortijo Blanco next to San Pedro de Alcántara and asked me for help getting to the hotel from Malaga airport and especially which was the Hotel Cortijo bus stop.

Once we had sorted that out, she asked about internet access in the area. I phoned the Hotel Cortijo Blanco Tel: + 34 952 780 900 and the duty receptionist said that they didn't have wi fi access for guests in the hotel but added that
there was free wi fi public access in the Plaza de la Iglesia which is the church square in the centre of San Pedro de Alcántara.

I went down to San Pedro to check it out. Sure enough on the far side of the square about 30 metres from the church is the Bar Bistro El Vecino. It looked like a good place to hang out and eat even if you weren't carrying your laptop. I spoke to Audrey who was behind the bar and she told me that El Vecino is open 7 days a week. They have an Italian cook serving good food cooked on the premises with a great wine selection.

Getting back to the wireless internet access, Audrey will give you the internet access code and you can connect for free. I asked the client in the picture for permission to take his photo. What a great way to keep in touch with your empire back home with a glass of good wine sitting next to your laptop and a pizza on its way!

Here are the details:

Bar Bistro El Vecino
Plaza de la Iglesia Nº 2 Bajo
San Pedro de Alcántara

Tel: + 34 637 506 496
Tel: + 34 661 328 782

Friday, 10 July 2009

Third World are playing on the Coast

This weekend Thirdworld are coming to the coast - Sunday 12 July to be precise - they are famous for their hit "Now that we've found Love". They will be playing at Puro Beach located in Laguna Village next to the Kempinski in Estepona - it should be a beautiful setting for a bit of reggae!

Jonathon, my nephew is going with Jax his wife and they will be reporting back to us how their first show went - so watch this space.

Here are dates and details of how to get tickets:

July 12 - Puro Beach
Tickets @ Puro Beach

July 14 - Sala Vivero, Malaga
Tickets @ Sala Vivero

July 15 - Plaza de Torros, San Roque
Tickets @ Discos Grammy, Algerciras

Ticket hotline. 633 327 722

Tickets from €20