Commentary: Visitor takes in the topless at the Med and learns about other ways of life on the Costa del Sol

Spanish coastline another paradise

A sign makes it clear that this is part of the Costa del Sol. Photo contributed by Harriet Cuthbeert

Everybody goes topless at the Med — males, females, young, old, children and dogs. It is de rigueur, and absolutely nobody looks or cares.

I am talking about shoreline of the magnificent Mediterranean Sea, a vast area that covers more than 2,500 miles of countries in Europe, Asia and Africa.

I went on a wonderful 10-day trip that began in Portugal and ended at the Costa del Sol, at a hotel in Torremolinos, across from the beach. This is literally the Sun Coast of Europe. The 80-degree daily temperatures and perfect blue sky reminded me of Siesta Beach, except for the topless part. But, not to sound repetitive, that aspect of the Costa del Sol is irrelevant.

The spectacular view of the Med from the balcony of my hotel room let me know exactly what I would be doing during the day. After breakfast, I grabbed my gear and crossed the Paseo Maritimo to a mat next to a cafe; toes on the sand and then toes in the Med! No words.

The sea is spotless, calm and azure — waiting to welcome me —a little cold but perfect nonetheless.

I eventually “recovered” and planted myself about 10 feet from the water’s edge, mesmerized, meditating and memorizing this moment.

Then came the visitors, the dogs, the umbrellas. The variety of languages told me immediately how popular the Costa del Sol is to people worldwide.

An upper level hotel room affords a good view of the beach. Photo contributed by Harriet Cuthbert

I still had not moved — watching planes landing at Malaga Airport is a wondrous pastime.

The sand is kind of golden brown, a little hot to the touch; grainy and silky at the same time. I did not see anyone (dogs or people) complaining.

Did I mention that just about EVERYONE ignores the “No dogs allowed” sign and happily brings their canines to frolic in the sand? Sounds more French than Spanish to me.

I must have spent at least an hour in my transfixed state, but I finally decided to continue exploring the beach — after just a quick sprinkle in the water again for good luck and to pick up a few rocks for my collection.

As I strolled west, I noticed that all the restaurants located directly on the beach have their own “welcome” mats that lead toward the water. Many also rent chairs and umbrellas, which are vital in the summer heat. Occasionally, cabanas are available; they are pricier but larger to accommodate more people. I noticed many children’s areas, each featuring a different kind of fun activity for the little ones.

What really caught my eye was a boat that had its own slide, making it so much easier to get back in the water but also maybe harder for the kids who have to leave.

I finally and regretfully left the sandy beach and continued walking along the paseo— fabulous for people watching yet with its own incredible view of the beach. The myriad souvenir shops and cafes made it almost impossible to leave.

In fact, I just could not leave at that point, so I turned and walked east along the 1-mile stretch of cement wall that separates the beach from the walkers. There was nobodywho was not smiling on this most perfect day. Even the cats I occasionally spied were stretched out on the rocks, enjoying their siesta.

If I did not already live in paradise, I would have been positive that I had just discovered it in Torremolinos.

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