Granada to Malaga with gelato detour; Running for food; Heat exhaustion and a punishing walk; An actual kitchen; Evening on a magnificent beach

We’d planned to make it to Malaga today, and we did… eventually. Schlepping our packs to the bus stop, we got distracted by the thought of gelato, and so we waited an hour for the gelateria to open, but it was worth it because I got my dark chocolate. By the time we got to the bus station, though, it was 1:30 - with an hour to wait until the next bus. I decided to try and make it to the supermarket in that time - we’d been on short rations for almost a week, since because of the Spanish truckers’ strike the supermarkets had been empty. The strike was reportedly over now, though, and so I thought some food might be on the shelves.

I’d seen a sign giving directions to a Lidl supermarket (a German chain, with very cheap prices) somewhere near the bus station, and wasted half a fruitless hour trying to find it, until I realized it was 2:00 and I was out of time. I ran hell-bent for leather for ten minutes in 39-degree Celcius heat to get back to the main road, found a supermarket and tore through it, then ran back to the bus station. A couple of kilometers all told, but in that heat it felt more like ten, and I was sweating like a nervous pig by the time I got back to the station. Sheryl was kind enough to characterize it as a ‘healthy glow’, because she’s a kindly soul. In the end my heroism was wasted, though, because the bus was half an hour late, which is even more than I’ve come to expect from Alsina Graells, the main Andalusian bus service.

But eventually we got to Malaga, which is much larger than I expected. Huge, in fact, with lots of apartment blocks and a large downtown area. It reminds me of Texas or New Mexico - lots of heat and dust and fat bastards in big hats smoking. We got off the bus and found a tourist map, and tried to reconcile it with the directions I’d written down to the hostel. I’d written them down, you see, because I’ve failed to do that three times now and it’s been a disaster each time, and I do eventually learn from my mistakes. In this case though, it was only somewhat useful as the hostel was off the map to the bottom left. But we did find the road we wanted, and walked, and walked, and walked. About 2km in the punishing late-afternoon heat (40 degrees Celcius) with huge packs on our backs, along a road being torn to pieces by huge construction equipment (they’re digging a new metro tunnel). In fact we missed our landmark and walked a few blocks too far. On a normal day this wouldn’t be a big deal, but today, with the heat and the packs and the general frustration, it just seemed to add insult to injury.

But I must say that the hostel is very nice. A full kitchen, the first we’ve seen in Spain - we nearly wept with joy at the thought of cooking a proper meal. Breakfast, cheap beer in the hostel, and free dry pasta. That last might seem like a small thing, but that’s exactly it - it’s such a small thing I can’t believe other hostels don’t do it. The goodwill that little gesture won them from me is incalculable.

Any of Malaga’s shortcomings were more than made up for by the magnificent, wonderful beach. It’s a couple of kilometers long - made of sand, not rocks, and it’s going to be utterly amazing to lie on it for a few days. It stretches from the port all the way to the edge of town at the mountains. It’s strange to lie on a beach and be staring at an industrial port complex, but they have it lit up with sparkly lights and I think it really adds to the view. We walked along it all evening after dinner, watching the sky darken through orange to violet in bands as the sun set in the sky opposite, and a nearly full moon rose over the water. There was some sort of festival going on, and there was a huge bonfire and a thousand sardines being roasted and given out to everyone. I think I’m going to like it here.


One Comment on this Dispatch:

June 17th, 2008

Cat sitting on my shoulder while I was reading your dispatch to Janice and he immediately perked up when he heard the word sardines.Janice said to me ” Can we do something like that ” Can you imagine me running in 40 degree heat. Enjoy your sites. Stay safe and take big bites.

¬ John sometimes known as Dad
Chris Liberty - Dispatches from a Gentleman Adventurer
Being the internal dialog of a vagabond who chased his own tail across five continents for 4 years and 2 days from May 2008 to May 2012, in search of something that never really became clear.
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