Another week of activity plus wonderful inactivity too! For someone’s who’s not great at relaxing, I’m certainly learning the ropes here – it’s part of the culture. We are truly immersing ourselves into Spanish life and have willingly adjusted to the ‘manana’ philosophy … there’s always tomorrow. We’re blending in with the local people and their pace of life, we’re improving our Spanish language skills by practising new words and phrases daily (and sometimes they even understand!), we’re certainly enjoying their foods, loving the price of their wines, getting around on local transport …. just settling in really. We’ve established little routines for daily chores, running and walking, shopping, eating in, eating out, beach time and generally exploring. We never stop feeling incredibly lucky that we have been able to retire (so young!) …. we plan to use the time wisely while we gently transition into old age!
So Thursday and Friday we just chilled on the beach after walks and runs. Steve has ventured back out and is building himself up despite some continuing discomfort. He has the small matter of a marathon in May and naturally will be doing everything in his power to be on those starting blocks. I’ll naturally be on the sidelines with the jelly babies!
On Saturday, Steve got up early to do a local run – well I say early, we’re becoming like teenagers, not surfacing till mid-morning some days … and we’re not even having wildly late nights. If we’re not careful we’ll soon be going to bed before we get up!! Chilled? We’re practically horizontal!
Later in the day though we ventured out by train to Malaga – there’s so much to see and do there and we’ve only just scratched the surface. It’s a stunning city and a perfect size for exploring on foot, the streets and magnificent buildings are tightly packed together and accessible – I believe the town planning was of Moorish origins. We wanted to retrace our steps from the amazing wine and tapas tour we had done with Alicia – we got a little sidetracked at times but we did find all the amazing bars she took us to (we’re practising for when Alice arrives – she’ll be SO impressed with our local knowledge)!
We walked through the famous Malaga market and saw the vibrant food stalls – and at each corner the popular tapas bars we’d been told about, great atmosphere.
We wandered around the city, soaking up all it had to offer. At one of the many squares we noticed a group of young adults, dressed up in colourful tutus and flamenco dresses – we guessed they were going to embark on a traditional performance so slowed in our pace – when the music started they broke into the ‘Macarena’ routine … it was all I could do to hold Steve back – he knows all the moves you know, thanks to Emma’s meticulous training during our kitchen dancing over the years!
Walked on further and found a perfect tapas restaurant in the cathedral square – we sat and enjoyed the scenery as well as a jug of sangria and a few tapas dishes – it’s all so affordable too – we’re living like students. From there we had an interesting walk – churches, art galleries, shops, sculptures and quirky sightings …. and then more tapas bars – a little vino blanco and some more tasty tapas in each one.
On our way back to the station we popped into our favourite quaint little sherry bar to finish off a great afternoon/evening – cheers!
Castillo Monumento Colomares
The next few days saw us back to general routines of running, walking and beaching – weather not so great, even some rain at times, and windy!!
On Wednesday we decided on a little walk uphill to a very ornate castle type thing we had seen from a distance, and wanted to explore further. Google maps indicated a 50 minute walking route but guess what …. Steve knew a shortcut – of course he did!! So before long we found ourselves on an off-road trail with a steep incline. Now I hate to be a wuss so I go along with these things … but then I am a wuss – I ended up on all fours going up, because my rucksack loaded with heavy camera was pulling me backwards, and I descended mostly on my bottom (through thistles – and I have the grazes to prove it) due to the steepness. Once back on normal paths we still faced an extremely uphill trek … and naturally the sun decided to beat down at this point. Made our way to the Castillo de Colomares though and it was well worth a visit. It is a monument in the form of a castle, dedicated to the life and adventures of Christopher Columbus. Not somewhere to spend hours but something to admire and the views over Benalmadena were stunning.
From there we walked further uphill to the beautiful Benalmadena Pueblo. Cheated the very last bit by getting into a pretty battered looking and very jumpy street lift – always such a relief when the doors open! And yes, you guessed it – we found ourselves in our favourite tapas joint in our favourite square in the Pueblo – wine/beer and tapas as our reward.
Had a relaxing couple of hours at our apartment pool in the afternoon – so sunny but still only the ducks making use of the pool. I keep trying the water but it’s not getting any warmer.
Took the train into Fuengirola in the evening. Alli had recommended a Spanish bar/restaurant that they had enjoyed on a recent Redway Runners’ trip – Tabanko El Callejon. We found it and loved the place – full of Spanish charm and bullfighting memorabilia. All the tables were reserved though so we just had drinks and moved into another pretty square for yet more tapas – can’t get enough of these tasty selections of food … and everywhere you go the choices are quite different.
Preparing for Alice!
And apart from all that – it’s soon to be all about Alice!! One more sleep – not that we’re excited or anything!! I’ve written up an itinerary for her 6 days, want to maximise every minute … I have left her some free choosing time though like any good tour guide would!! So time to get the room prepared and we’re off soon to buy in those essentials – nutella, croissants, pineapple, chocolate, humus, snacks …. oh and the odd bottle of two of vino blanco.
Safe flight Alice – see you for big hugs tomorrow!
Another glorious week in Southern Spain. Well, the last few days the weather has been a bit iffy – hoping it’s a blip. (How British am I starting off the blog with a weather report)! Still, it’s encouraged us to get a few other things done, rather than that relaxing on the beach temptation.
Thursday 14th March 2019
A beach day – our usual spot in Fuengirola – beach beds 3 euros each including a free drink (bargain), near to shops, cafes and toilets – sun, sea, sand …. everything we need. I started off with a 5 mile walk (ran for one mile of this too), then felt justified to blob for the rest of the afternoon. Big waves today so didn’t venture in for a swim – have still not been in the sea since my memory loss incident last Saturday – need to get myself back in though, it’s a bit like falling off a bike. Although there was a wind today it’s definitely getting hotter, you can tell by the burning of your feet on the sand.
Friday 15th March 2019
Decided to take a drive to Ronda today – we had been recommended it as a place to visit for its stunning scenery – even that’s an understatement – it literally took our breath away.
We managed to get our hire car GPS set (trying to reserve our phone data) and even though it was in Spanish, the pictures helped. The first part of the drive was plain sailing – the A7 is a marvellous stretch of motorway. In time however we found ourselves on the mountain roads that lead up to Ronda …. and when I say UP – they go up and up and up and up – they’re not excruciatingly steep but they twist and turn with blind corners and just get higher and higher …. and they seem to go on forever. I was doing my usual clutching on to everything as the drop at the side of the road got more mind-blowing (spectacular but mind-blowing)! We laughed at the ‘no overtaking’ signs thinking “how obvious.” Our ears popped continuously as we climbed and our eyes popped out at the oh so incredible views. And pretty houses perched on hillsides – some original old farmhouses, many in need of repair, but also state of the art majestic mansions. And villages with pretty pastel and white homes spectacularly lined up, all so very Spanish looking.
Believe it or not there were a fair few cyclists making the ascent – just why!!!? And they have to come down at some point – that’s even worse!! 😘
We eventually arrived in Ronda, parked up and started to mooch around the town. Of course our first stop was some tapas refreshment as it was lunchtime. From here we set off to find the El Tajo Gorge, walking through the pretty white housed cobbled streets till we found the gorge and its impressive arched bridge. From here it was just jaw dropping all the way round – an absolute must if you’re ever in this part of Spain. I could wax lyrical but the photos speak for themselves.
We left the old part of town to walk into the new part of Ronda, passing the its famous bullring – the oldest bullring in Spain.
Local legend tells that God, fed up with the constant squabbling of the people of Ronda, sent a huge bolt of lightening down to earth and split the cityin two, with the women in one half and the men in the other. Now there’s a thought!! Apparently the bridge was built across the gorge though to reunite the community. A good point for discussion methinks!? 🤔🤣
Before leaving this most characterful of places, we decided to refresh ourselves with some liquid refreshment, ordering what we thought to be hot chocolate as we know it. It was like drinking a bar of chocolate, you could literally stand your spoon up in it. I only had a few sips and I felt a migraine coming on …. and I don’t suffer from migraines! Steve naturally came to my aid and polished it off.
And then we began the long descent down the hill …. well, what can I say. We started off with a slow driver in front of us and that suited me just fine – slow is my favourite speed. However, other motorists behind us were not quite as patient as Steve and so the overtaking began – we just couldn’t believe it, having thought the ‘no overtaking’ signs were stating the bleeping obvious, we were wrong! My heart was racing harder than ever. And then, two motor cyclists came around the corner making their ascent at Grand Prix speed, practically horizontal and knee scraping. Unfortunately my anxiety was going into overload – lucky I wasn’t driving I guess.
I love travelling and all it involves, sightseeing, trying new foods, attempting the languages, new activities and adventures – I even don’t mind the flights and train travel …. but, I absolutely hate travelling on roads, especially where speed is involved. And I would love to overcome this. No-one would believe that I’ve driven a van to Romania and back, twice. Why does age commonly plague you with anxieties? In particular, my ‘nervous passenger’ fear is getting way out of proportion – any recommendations for specific therapy/cures for this would be so gratefully received.
Despite this, it was the best of days … think a relaxing day on the beach tomorrow however!
Saturday 16th March 2019
Yes, we had a quiet relaxing beach day. I walked from Fuengirola back into Benalmadena … found a pretty little beach called Playa de Carvajal. Also came away from promenade walking for a while and more onto coastal path walking (ah, felt like home)! Walked back to Fuengirola and had two swims during the afternoon – and I still remembered who I was and where I was – no memory loss today!
Playa de Carjaval
Sunday 17th March 2019
Took ourselves down to Playa de Carvajal this morning for a couple of hours – pretty beach, quieter than Fuengirola – but still not the bargain prices … and still no loos! We did swim though, even Steve took his first swim – well, a couple of quick dips under the water and then back to the sunbed.
Late afternoon we headed off by train to Torremolinos. We’d heard there’d be some interesting St. Patrick’s Day celebrations going on there … and we fancied a night out seeing somewhere different. On arrival there was a marquee in the square with Irish celebrations in full swing – live Irish music and dancing, revellers swathed in all things green and oversized squidgy top hats with Guinness branding … and evidence of drinking sessions from the early morn!
We thought we’d have a look around the town first and so wandered down to the beach area, descending several flights of slippy marble steps to get there. I know it’s out of season but it didn’t seem that bad – Torremolinos often gets a bad press but the beach area with its bars and restaurants was perfectly OK. We stopped at one to take our first drink of the evening.
Not sure we’d have recognised them without the sign!
Then we started to wend our way back up to the top of town, through busy winding streets full of retail opportunities. Settled on a tapas bar halfway up that looked to have a sea view – it was only once shown to a table that we noticed there was no-one else in there … and the views weren’t all that either. And as for my ‘vino blanco’ – it was undrinkable – luckily there was a plant just behind Steve that came in handy for disposing of said liquid. We moved on.
Once back in the square, St.Patrick’s Day celebrations seemed to have burnt themselves out …. so we just found ourselves a restaurant for tapas and vino and then headed off home for a reasonably early night. So, no Guinness hangover for us!
Monday 18th March 2019
Our first real windy and cloudy day. And so we did something unusual for a holiday activity – we planned our next travelling adventure! We actually spent the whole day planning flights, accommodation and itinerary for six weeks travelling around Cuba later in the year – and we are very excited.
We did get out of the apartment late afternoon for a walk from the Marina to Castillo de Bil Bil – one of Benalmadena’s attractions – it looks like a medieval Moorish fortress but in fact was built in the 20th century.
Tuesday 19th March 2019
We were up early this morning – alarm set for 6.30am (unheard of – felt like the middle of the night)! Another colder weather day had been forecast, and so with Steve’s foot on the mend we had made the magnanimous decision to get those walking boots back on and head for the hills. We had read an article in a local paper this week about Malaga’s own mini Camino de Santiago – a 15km path from Villanueva de la Concepcion, through El Torcal natural park and finishing in Antequera. The article made it sound quite magical – a spiritual experience … and described it as a “fairly undemanding hike.”
GPS set (and now speaking to us in English!) we had a smooth hour’s drive to Villanueva de la Concepcion, a sweet looking village set up in the hills. We parked up outside a school and a nearby shop, having identified the start of the Camino Mozarabe. Popped into the shop for some provisions – interesting stocks – lots of stationery, party decorations and dressing up clothes, random selections of food items and then the largest selection of school bags you have ever seen. Picked up water and biscuits, essential for the trek – then stumbled across freshly baked chocolate covered custard doughnuts – 3 for a euro – well, how could you resist? It was only later that we had the thought that we might have deprived a school child of their daily treat – there was only so many to go round!
So we were off to a good start but very quickly took a wrong turning and found ourselves scrabbling up rocky hillsides and then, more importantly, sliding down them again. Identified our mistake (the sign had a cross on it – seems obvious in hindsight) … from then on we got the gist of how to find and correctly read signs and all was well.
We walked on through dramatic countryside with the most breathtaking of mountain backdrops and its renowned limestone rock formations. All so peaceful, we passed 3 other walkers and two farmers in the whole day. The greatest noise of the day were the canine sentries barking ferociously as we walked past isolated country houses – an occasional dog ran out to have a look but left us alone once we walked a safe distance past. Wouldn’t have wanted to have messed with the ones that were chained up however!
Our first spot of civilisation was a lonely goat farmer – we were sat on a rock scoffing chocolate covered custard doughnuts at the time – not sure which of us had the most unusual spectacle!
We also walked past a farm with bulls – luckily the farmer closed the gate just before we walked past – they didn’t seem so friendly – certainly wouldn’t have wanted to walk through a field of them – no way!
The first half of the walk was fairly uphill but decent paths and nothing too stupendously steep, not a patch on our UK coastal path walking (or so we thought)! The terrain varied along the way but cut through the most scenic of farmland and we enjoyed lots of chatter side by side, or sometimes Steve was a pace or 20 ahead of me – for three reasons:
1) I like to take in the scenery
2) I like to take photos
3) Have you seen the difference in the length of our legs!!?
The newspaper article had mentioned a ‘slightly tricky descent’ – this was probably the major understatement and this part of the trek was what compared it to our Cornish coastal walking. We had met a friendly German couple at the top who had just climbed it … and mentioned it was steep. Going down was no picnic – small parts of it had been cemented but largely it was loose stones … and very long and steep. We just took a step (or slide) at a time and made our way to the bottom.
From the bottom we had a fairly straightforward 4 km to our destination of Antequera – so pretty once we had our first glimpse of the town. Found our way to the nearest bar and rewarded ourselves with beer and tapas.
It was only on leaving Antequera in a taxi that we realised how big the town was – not sure our weary legs would have been up to much more wandering however. The taxi drove us pretty crazily back to Villanueva de la Concepcion – and again this village looked way bigger than the one we had set off from, and with our limited Spanish we couldn’t convince the driver to drive around until we found our car. So, we basically got dumped and then had to search nervously, not recognising a thing and at times doubting we were in the same village – finally using google maps to locate schools and so traced the whereabouts of our trusty Citroen Cactus.
And so two weary ramblers returned home – it was great to have had a new adventure though – we loved it.
Wednesday 20th March 2019
It’s Wednesday, it’s cloudy – this could only mean one thing …. household chores, supermarket shopping and blog!
Amongst this though we did fit in a walk from Benalmadena to Torremolinos … and Steve tried out a bit of running. Bit grim on that front however, the left knee was painful, but it took his mind off the foot pain! We covered 5 miles all in all and so tucked into sardines, prawns, avocado and vino blanco at a local chiringuito, as way of recovery.
And so … we’re already half way through this Andalucian adventure – we’re certainly missing everyone back home but loving the experience of living in Spain. And we do see it is as that rather than a holiday, just doing every days things and having the luxury of time to both relax and to explore.
We’re hoping the sun returns tomorrow though – enough’s enough. We’re ready to get back on that beach. We’ll keep you posted. 😎
During our second week in Andalucia we’ve managed to venture a little further – a road trip inland, some more city sightseeing and discovering Benalmadena Pueblo. Steve’s getting steadier on his ‘foot’ now, although it’s still not up to running or long treks. Oh well, mustn’t grumble – loving the chilled way of life!!
On Thursday we took a wander around Benalmadena Marina and then to the nearby beach. Loved the marina and discovered it to be the pretty end of town with interesting beachside shops and cafes too. The sunbeds are more expensive than Fuengirola though and toilets not so accessible (very important factors when you’re pensioners!), so our other beach days this week have seen us return to a favourite spot along Fuengirola beach. Steve’s happy resting up while I fit in my 5 mile promenade walk most days – wherever you are along this coast the promenade just seems to stretch for miles. There’s also plenty of exercise equipment dotted around for stretching it out too. It’s not that I’m a fitness fanatic (I wish I was) – I just have to compensate for that ‘essential’ holiday eating and drinking!
However, on Saturday’s beach trip I had a bit of a ‘funny turn!’ After my walk I went in for a swim – it was pretty cold as usual, I seemed to be the only person in the sea that day. I came out and must have very quickly dozed off in the sun …. and when I came too I had lost part of my memory … I knew who Steve was but I just couldn’t remember where we were, how we had got there, where we were staying etc. It was really scary and I think I freaked Steve out. It was a good hour or so before things starting to return to normal. We’re guessing it was sunstroke or my body reacting to the extremes of temperature. Of course Steve’s had plenty of mileage out of it since … trying to convince me that I don’t like G&T … and apparently I hate shopping … oh and I’m married to George Clooney (still waiting for evidence of that one)! 😆
Steve …. or is it George Clooney!!
My morning walk views – Fuengirola
More morning walk views – Fuengirola
I love it when they smooth out all the sand – I can’t resist walking on it and leaving my footprints!
So on Friday we decided to embark on the 180 miles return road trip to Granada to visit Alhambra, a palace and fortress complex steeped in Moorish and Spanish history. The drive was pretty spectacular in itself – the vast stretches of farmland and hills and the snow capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada. The road systems were amazing too, we were often one of a few vehicles on vast 4 lane motorway stretches. The GPS went a little astray towards the end, due to new roads we think, (plus navigating never was my strong point), however we eventually found our way into the car park and eagerly set off to join the queue. Only to be informed that as I had no ID we could not enter the palaces. I was devastated … I tried the “we’ve driven 2 hours to get here” “I’m English and we don’t carry ID” …. I even considered trying to raise a few tears … but it seemed that nothing was going to make them budge. Some compensation however in that we managed to save ourselves some euros and there were parts of the grounds we could visit without an entrance ticket – and it was all stunning – so all was not lost.
The snow capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada
Views from Alhambra
On Saturday, after my mysterious ‘memory loss’ incident, we were booked on an evening Airbnb experience – a wine and tapas tour in Malaga. I was still feeling a little bit dizzy but we set off with the thought that we could return if I didn’t feel well at any time. It turned out to be a fantastic evening. We met up with our host Alicia (https://ohmygoodguide.com/) and 4 others in the group, all youngsters in their twenties – all so friendly. We learnt so much about Andalucian tapas and the local sweet wines. During the evening we wandered through the beautiful city of Malaga and sampled tapas and wines in a few different bars. There was a fair bit of standing up although a few times they found me a stool (age does have its compensations)! The local sweet wines are what we would call sherry – delicious – reminded me of the odd schooner at Christmastime. And later we had Vermouth – now that reminded me of 70s nightclub drinking! We ate little bits of food in different bars – tortilla, gazpacho, olives, broad beans, goats cheese, Serrano ham, tuna and breads. For old’uns we kept up well with our party until it was time for us to leave to get the last train back to Benalmadena. Sat amongst the late night revellers in their tipsy states on the journey back – we felt like teenagers!
Our host Alicia at the front, Oliver, Christina and the two other chaps whose names we didn’t get!
Deliciously fresh tuna in olive oil
Tortilla, olives, gazpacho … and lashings of sherry!
We’ve been back a couple of times this week too to explore the delights of Benalmádena Pueblo, and we’ve absolutely fallen in love with it. We spent the whole morning up there on Sunday, enjoying the pretty streets and houses, visiting the church with its open doors as the mass was being said, beautiful hymns ringing out and we soaked up the amazing views over Benalmádena. We sat and had coffee in the square – such a great atmosphere, the sun shining down.
We returned late Tuesday afternoon to do a little wine and tapas tour, sampling in three bars …. and loving the life. We’ve been looking longingly in the Estate Agents’ windows – could absolutely live here – as well as its quaintness, mass is at the reasonable time of 12.30pm …. and they sell ‘Yorkshire Tea’ in the local shop! What’s not to love!
The pretty streets of Benalmadena Pueblo
Views from the top
One of our tapas dishes – duck foie, apple and caramelised goats cheese – yum!
On Tuesday we took ourselves off to the very large market in Fuengirola – even if you don’t buy it’s an experience. We managed to restrain ourselves from overspending but I did come away with a sun hat and Steve splashed out on some walking socks and some very snazzy red shorts. Afterwards we wandered into the old town of Fuengirola, mostly searching for reading material as stocks running low. Found one bookshop with extortionate prices for English books and limited choice, but needs must. I’m alright Jack – I have my kindle!
At the entrance to Fuengirola market
Great idea – could catch on!
The old town of Fuengirola
We spend occasional time too at our apartment pool although the water is definitely on the chilly side. Another couple of residents were there on Sunday – and ‘Macho Mike’ jumped into the pool to impress his stunningly attractive young girlfriend but almost stopped breathing with shock in the process … and made a quick exit out!! So I’ve decided not to venture in quite yet.
Our apartment pool – check out that blue sky!
Hope you can feel our pain – such a beautiful pool but too cold to use!!!
Adios for now. The sun is shining … wish you were here 😎🍷
Well we’re 7 days into this trip and have been making small steps into our exploration of the area. This first week has involved a lot of chilling, getting to know Benalmadena, Fuengirola and Malaga … all at a slow pace – largely due to a foot injury Steve sustained on the explorer run before leaving MK … and sadly recovery has been slow (and ongoing)!! So no big walks as yet and even sightseeing has been limited – the physio has declared that rest is the order of the day. Not that the chilled days on the beach and the gentle sightseeing strolls haven’t been appreciated – to be honest I don’t think I’ve EVER felt so rested … AND … I can finally keep pace with my limp-along hubbie!
Friday 1st March 2019
Very much enjoyed our first visit to the local supermarket – stocking up with Serrano ham, manchego, olives, pimentos, Spanish tomatoes, the tastiest of fruit, crusty bread … and then the wine. Steve’s eyes were popping out of his head at the crazily cheap prices …. just how do you choose? – he spent more time on this aisle than the rest of the week’s shop altogether.
Returned home and had our first lunch feast on the balcony – a bit of everything …. and everything is SO tasty – we’re becoming such foodies – Spanish foodies. The haze of the morning had lifted and our view of the sea was now becoming clearer.
Took our first drive down the hill to the nearest beach- Playa de Bil Bil and spent a couple of hours relaxing in the sun. Steve had a bit of a snooze (resting his foot … and eyelids!) and I took a walk along the beach, paddling in the near on icy water – nobody seems to be swimming!
Afterwards we took a short drive up into the hills – our apartment is fairly high up into the hills, away from the hustle and bustle of the coastal accommodations. To be honest, I hadn’t realised that Benalmadena was the metropolis it is – I had imagined white sun-drenched hillside villas, sloping down to quiet beaches – but it’s massive – high-rise hotels and hundreds and thousands of apartment blocks …. but with the most stunning backdrop of mountains and blue blue sky.
Back home and of course it was beer/G&T o’clock … whilst looking longingly at the apartment’s pool which is apparently too cold for swimming. Well at least the ducks are making use of it!
Whilst sipping, Steve started to research Benalmadena and discovered its history of earthquakes and tsunamis – oh well, I guess there had to be something!
Saturday 2nd March
It had been a fairly stormy night and this morning the wind was still giving the palm trees a good old blasting. Determined to get back to his running soon, Steve wanted to continue resting his foot, giving it every chance of recovery, so I set off solo for a walk of the local area. Took in a fair few hills, up and down – stunning views down to the sea and up into the mountains. Walked for a couple of miles at a fair pace so felt that at last I was getting some exercise … even got the lycra out.
Later in the day we took an Uber up to Benalmadena Pueblo, the original part of this area, with its whitewashed houses and cobbled streets – this was the Benalmadena of my imagination. We had heard that there was to be a carnival parade so got excited about a colourful fiesta fest – however, it turned out to be a few children dressed as pirates, princesses and fairies and a few Dads in Spanish dresses … I’m sure there’ll be others! Stopped for pizza and vino and soaked up the atmosphere of this old Spanish town. Didn’t wander far on the cobbles though – not conducive to foot recovery! Will defintely be back to explore more.
Sunday and Monday 3rd & 4th March 2019
Both of these days were particularly hot so, of course, it had to be beach and we took a drive to Fuengirola both days where we knew we could secure sun loungers and shade (it’s important business foot resting you know)! 6 euros equipped us with all we needed and included a free drink each. I snuck in a 5 mile speed walk along the promenade the first day – joining a whole army of Lycra clad ladies doing similar struts, all of us weaving in and out of the more leisurely beach goers! And the rest of the day we lounged and read (both getting through so many books) and lo and behold … I actually swam in the sea. I can’t lie, it was freezing – but as always once you’re under it’s gorgeous – it’s just the getting under that hurts!
On the Monday I didn’t fit my walk in – I’d had a little too much wine the night before so just rested … and swam (nothing like freezing water to clear the head).
Steve’s comment of the day: “Day 4, still no friends!”
Tuesday 5th March 2019
Decided to venture out to Malaga today, by train. We wanted to check out the journey as we’re booked on a tapas tour there on Saturday evening. Drove to the station – stopping off to navigate the recycling and waste disposal systems on the way – parked up near Tivoli World for 1 euro for the whole day (bargain). Phrase book in hand, I delivered my best Spanish request for ‘two return tickets to Malaga please’ … and he actually understood me … “muchas gracias.” (No Caroline and Jim, I didn’t ask for a table for eight fish 🤣). Lovely clean and air-conditioned trains – passengers could do with a few more manners when embarking and disembarking however – Steve managed to stand on a lady’s foot who stepped up as he was stepping off — his bad foot too!!
Loved our first glimpse of Malaga – didn’t get far as gentle strolling only – but certainly got a feel for later visits, things to do, places to go. Walked around the moneyed Marina area – some rather delicious yachts moored and a selection of upmarket bars and cafes – with KFC and McDs thrown in of course …. plus Hard Rock Cafe opening soon.
We managed to get ourselves lost on the way back to the station and Steve (being a man) not being one to ask for directions left it to me to practice my Spanish a little further. I asked a lovely lady “Donde esta l’estacion?” (I learnt ‘donde esta’ … (where is) when I very first came to Spain when I was 18, and I’ve never forgotten it – so today it came in handy. This very sweet young lady caringly guided us up the road like two lost grandparents and set us off in the appropriate direction. We chatted and found out she was Russian and came to Malaga to visit her children – so we sort of made a new friend – no Facebook contact however!!
Once back in Benalmadena, we stopped off at a couple of local bars for sundowners …. as you do.
Noticed we were the only consumers wearing ‘summer gear’ – everyone else was swaddled in jumpers, hoodies and coats … and not another exposed leg in sight – just us then! Haven’t come across that many Brits yet – seems to be largely a Spanish area. Have to admit I was slightly worried after watching recent episodes of ‘Bargain Brits abroad.’
Wednesday 6th March 2019
As had been forecast, today is mega windy and overcast. So it’s been a day of housework (yes, we’re in an airbnb apartment and we actually have to do our own cleaning, washing etc. – it’s not a holiday you know!! 🤣) supermarket stock up and blogging. A big rest day today for Steve – foot up and showing some slow signs of recovery. Those of you that know my marathon man husband will know how much he is missing his running and generally active life – please heal soon!
We’re back on the rambling road … this adventure is taking us to the Andalucía region of Spain. We’ve packed running and gym gear, walking gear and yoga mat – so intending to be pretty active … well, let’s just see about that!! 😘
We’re excited about ‘leaving’ again. I know some of you can’t fathom us out, constantly packing and moving around, sleeping in other people’s beds – but we love it …. and there’s so much to explore and so many experiences to encounter in our retirement. 21 months in and we’ve certainly been around – but we’re nowhere near finished! Have been home for quite a spell this time as had a few things to fit in – my 60th Birthday celebrations, Christmas with the family, Emma and John’s outstanding wedding day (following months of preparation), the old medical checks of varying types + £1,000 worth of unexpected dental treatment following Steve’s bridge collapse!
But now we’re sitting in Heathrow’s Terminal 5, awaiting our flight to Malaga. Bags checked in (after some late rearranging due to weight – the case that is!), the trauma of security navigated, a delicious late breakfast of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs in Giraffe, some duty free shopping naturally … and relax!
We’re staying in an Airbnb apartment for 6 weeks, near Benalmadena, so we will have one base (no rucksack on back!) – looking forward to making it our home for the duration. Hoping to do plenty of sightseeing and walking in this culturally rich area of southern Spain. One website describes Andalucía as “the Spain of the imagination, a dreamy sun-kissed land where passion, poetry and drama collide.” That’ll do for us.
Arrived in Malaga in good time. Packed flight as aircraft small – a few arguments about hand luggage space (not us I might add). A little bumpy at times, made worse by a group of schoolgirls near us who screamed like we were on some mega rollercoaster. Pleasant evening temperature on arrival and all went swimmingly with car hire process – has to be a first!!
Our ‘wheels’ for the next 6 weeks – they upgraded us from a Seat to a Citroen Cactus
Only a 15 minute drive to our apartment so no big trauma. We were met by Sue and Anne who showed us around – still no hiccups. It’s always strange arriving in the dark though – can’t wait to see our surroundings in the morning. Too tired to go out so toast and cheese, peanuts and a bottle of red wine it was (left by the Airbnb as a welcome pack).
And woke up this morning after a comfortable night’s sleep, had breakfast on the balcony from which we surveyed the locality. Beautiful pool (but clearly too cold to use), gardens, tennis courts and the sea not too far away – oh yes! 😎
Now off to explore what the local area has to offer + the inevitable first day Supermarket stock up. Here’s to some exciting Andalucía discoveries 😊💃🏽