Of Dogs, Cute Boys, and Gorgeous Scenery: My Adventure in Malaga (Part Two)

Hello internet people! I’m over 1,000 words into my 3,000 word research and figured that probably meant I was allowed to take a break and blog for a minute (it also means chocolate. but that comes later).

So where were we in the tale of my Spanish adventure? Right–day two, otherwise known as the wonderful day where nothing productive was done and there was a beach.

We woke up whenever we felt like it, not bothering to set alarms because we had nowhere we needed to be at any set time. It was fantastic. After dressing leisurely (in my SWIMSUIT and my WRAP DRESS), we headed off in search of the beach. Yes. The BEACH. With a quick pit stop for some sunscreen so our skin didn’t totally fry in its shock that the actual sun was actually touching, we found our way to the beach with little incident. And let me tell you something about the beach in Malaga–it is absolutely GORGEOUS. I mean, it’s a port city, so if you look off to one side you will see some cranes and other such port-like things, but the ocean is exceptionally blue and the sand stretches on in this lovely way that I can’t even begin to describe.

And since it’s off season for tourism, the beach was mostly just us and the locals. It was the quietest, most relaxing day at the beach I’ve ever had. We walked along the ocean for a while, letting the water dance on our bare feet. This walk, incidentally, is where the “cute boys” part of the trip really comes in. This beach was basically a stronghold for all of the attractive men in Malaga. All of the attractive men in Malaga WITHOUT SHIRTS.Let’s just say Emily and I rather enjoyed the scenery in more ways than one. Anyway, after we’d been sitting enjoying said scenery for a while, we figured we should probably eat something, so we walked down to one of the little shacks and ordered the healthy meal of mojitos and chocolate covered waffles. Yup. We sat on the beach eating chocolate covered waffles and drinking mojitos. It was glorious.

After our healthy meal, we decided it was time to get our siesta on–we headed back down the beach towards the more scenic spot (this time I really do mean the sand and waves and things) and decided to be brave and lie directly in the sand, rather than leave the beach in search of towels that we’d have to get rid of upon flying home. So we laid in the sand for nearly two hours, soaking up the sun and the silence, with only the sound of the waves in the background to interrupt our thoughts. It was the most relaxed I had felt in a long time and it was absolutely perfect.

When the siesta was over, we went off in search of tourist shops and food, figuring we ought to eat something with a little more substance that waffles and mojitos. Eventually we decided on a place with moderately priced paella and had a nice early dinner before heading back to the hostel to chill in the lounge area for a bit. This is where we encountered irate drunk guy, who apparently had punched one of the hostel employees at some point, from what I gathered by what the owner was yelling at him. That was definitely a tense situation, but we eventually escaped up to the safety of our rooms and decided to hit the hay early, considering we were going to have to get up before 6am to walk to the bus stop for our upcoming trip to Ronda, a gorgeous little city in the mountains.

That brings us to day three: The Ronda Trip, or the time we got on the bus with a LOT of old people. Don’t get me wrong. The trip was amazing. But apparently, old people really like bus trips with included tours. We got up, walked through a slightly sketch part of town to find our bus stop, and then spent a great deal of time sitting on that bus while it slowly filled up with the most tourist-y tourists I’ve ever seen–I’m talking confused old people in awkward shorts with tennis shoes and cameras slung around their necks here. Our tour guide spoke an impressive four languages–his native Spanish, English, German, and French. While this also meant that explaining things took three times as long, since he explained them in the languages of each group of tourists, it was very impressive.

Eventually we got up into the mountains and decided to ditch the tour group and tackle Ronda on our own time, since by now we had gotten our traveling groove on and didn’t want a tour guide telling us what we should spend time doing. Therefore, we went and looked at the beautiful bridge over the gorge and then sought out a nice place for lunch, having incredible success in a cute little cafe that served sandwiches on bagels and had Coke Zero–a definite win win. After that we just generally explored the city, checking out all the different shops and enjoying the beautiful mountain scenery. All in all, a definitely wonderful way to spend the day.

Upon returning to Malaga, we decided to check out this restaurant called Noodles that we had walked by a few times, since it had always seemed pretty busy. I ordered pollo with egg noodles (basically, chicken chow mein). I was a little confused when the waitress asked me if I wanted it “picante,” as one doesn’t generally associate spicy and chicken chow mein, but since I’d also been craving Mexican I said “Si!” The plate of food was definitely a “man-sized portion,” as I remarked before digging in, and it was one of the most delicious things I’ve eaten on this trip, hands down. While definitely not what I’ve learned to expect from Chinese food in America, it was a delicious dish all its own and I definitely remarked more than once about how much I wanted to marry it. But, as I just realized this entire paragraph was about my food and I’m risking sounding a little bit creepy, I think I’d better stop there.

After dinner we headed back to our hostel yet again for our last night in the little six bed room with its dim lightning and awkward restroom situation. The next day we would spend saying goodbye to the city and then flying home, which unbeknownst to me at the time would result in Amanda’s Catastrophic Airport Meltdown, but that sounds like a topic for another blog post.

Girls in Ireland, Part II: Night Out on the Town

First things first, internet people–Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope it’s dripping with hearts, love, chocolate, flowers and all that jazz. And if it isn’t, don’t despair–count yourself one of many who like spending the day eating too much chocolate and trying NOT to think about what those “happy couples” are doing with their day. Now, enough of that “holiday” nonsense and on to what you really want–the next installment of my trip to Dublin!

Woke up bright and early on the top bunk in a room with 16 beds, total. Had a quick breakfast of toast and tea, rented a towel for 5 euro (3 of which I’d get back so long as I didn’t decide to run off with the world’s thinnest towel) and went to investigate the shower situation. One thing I don’t recommend when staying in a hostel is forgetting to pack your shower shoes. Didn’t wear my contacts in the shower to avoid looking at whatever I may or may not have been standing barefoot in. Thankfully, Mount Eccles Court was quite clean, and I probably didn’t contract anything awful. I pressed the single button and learned what that meant at last–lukewarm water that only lasted about 30 seconds after you let go of said button. After an awkward shower with one hand pressed on the button while the other hand tried to get my hair some sort of clean, I got dressed and prepared for a day out on the town with my lovely ladies Gina and Shannon (Lesley and Cassie, the rest of our intrepid crew, had a bus tour scheduled for the day).

We trekked off to the National Gallery to look at some gorgeous art, popped in to several shops, including a few of your typical tourist stops, and had lunch in a cute little cafe. Gina and I had delicious vegetable soup and homemade brown bread, and I had the joy of savoring a Diet Coke right out of the can.

 From there, we moved on to the National Library to check out an exhibit on W.B. Yeats, where we had the joy of seeing some of his original manuscripts and a case of his various high school awards. I got stars in my eyes and imagined my Power of the Pen trophies sitting behind glass one day. It’s not exactly likely I’ll be as well known as Yeats, but it’s good to have dreams, right?

After that, we did some more wandering and just generally trying to get used to the layout of the city, stopped in for a snack of tea and scones (naturally) and headed back to our hostel to relax and wait for Cassie and Lesley to return so we could all hit the food hall for dinner.

Chinese buffet at the food hall for dinner–tolerable and cheap, words I’m using more and more as I continue my travels. From there, we split up–Gina and Cassie headed back to the hostel for a night in and Lesley Shannon and I embarked on what would become a great pub adventure. Did a lot of searching for a place that fit our requirements–not too crowded, not too empty, preferably live music, and not too touristy. We were on this trek for a while, but finally ducked in to a little place called The Celt, where we found a table and I found out I like Smirnoff Ice. Asked a local to take our picture, which resulted in Shannon’s getting chatted up by him for a while while Lesley and I cracked up laughing because he was easily a good ten years our senior.

We moved on from there to check out a place we’d seen earlier, Madigan’s, because they’d had a sign out about live music. Sat at the bar, where Shannon treated us to a round of Bailey’s and I discovered there were TWO alcoholic drinks I liked (things are getting a little dangerous, aren’t they?). The bartender was about the nicest person I’d ever met (though, this is a hard thing to bestow in Dublin, where EVERYONE seems to be nice) and treated us to some free waters (not so easy to come by in Europe) with black currant juice added. The live music began, the singer called a great deal of attention to us, referring to us collectively as “Indiana” and asking us how “Mr.Jones” was doing–a joke that took us a minute to understand. This, naturally, drew the attention of some locals and we got “interviewed” by and Irish boy–we were a little skeptical because, though he DID have notebook and pen, he asked us what our ideal first date was and about our favorite “chattel lines,” which after some explanation we learned was the Irish equivalent of a “pick up line.” About an hour later as we got up to leave, said group of local boys invited us to have a drink with them, and naturally we accepted. Thus ensued a long night of us getting to know some real Irish boys and enjoying the singing and general atmosphere of the pub. We headed back to the hostel while celebrating our night of successful travel experiences, ready to catch entirely too few hours of sleep before our last full day in Dublin would begin.