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.


Of Dogs, Cute Boys, and Gorgeous Scenery: Long Weekend in Malaga, Spain (Part One)

Hello, internet people! A slightly more tan Amanda sitting at the keyboard today is ready to tell you more glorious tales of her travels. But first, a quick side note–the blog hit 3,000 views at some point while I was lazing about Spain, so another massive thank you to each and every one of you! If I could, I’d send you all some postcards or something as a thank you.

Anyway, back to Malaga. Or at least, back to the SUBJECT of Malaga. Apparently a lot of people use it as an airport city, staying one night and jetting off someplace else since it’s so cheap to fly there. But after spending four days there I think that is absolutely insane of them. Malaga is GORGEOUS. And there’s plenty to see and plenty to do, and failing all of that there’s a freaking beach. What more could you possibly want?!

To explain in more detail, I’ll start you at the beginning of the journey. We got in late Wednesday night and had a hurried, shameful meal of Taco Bell as our first “cultural experience” in Spain. We ordered in Spanish, though, so that has to count for something. After that we found our hostel, Feel Malaga, which was at the very least safe and clean, although occasionally lacking in toilet paper and restroom availability. And hot water. But what can you do? It’s a hostel, after all. We then had the very exciting experience of going to sleep.

Thursday morning we investigated breakfast at the hostel, which turned out to comprise a rather miserable amount of cereal and odd, boxed milk. We downed that, went outside to check the weather, and happily LEFT OUR JACKETS IN THE HOSTEL. That’s right, folks–we went outside WITHOUT JACKETS. Those of you back in the states having exceptional weather might not understand the excitement, but although it’s glorious, England is freaking COLD. The sun was a happy sight for us indeed.

I made a quick pit stop in a Farmacia because I had a raging headache, and thus began my first awkward language experience where I had to figure out a way to ask for pain meds. I stepped boldly (ish) up to the counter and said very calmly, “Necessito algun para duele en mi cabeza,” which means “I need something for pain in my head.” I did this while pointing at my head, because awkward gestures are clearly a necessary part of communicating in your second language. Still, I got my Ibuprofren and it helped my headache and I felt incredibly empowered by my first successful communication with a real Spanish speaker in Spain. So, on we went.

The hostel had advertised for a free walking tour, so we figured we’d give that a go. And it was a brilliant idea! Our tour guide was phenomenal–young and fun and incredibly knowledgeable about the city. She was from Canada, so it was refreshing hearing English so early on in our trip, when we hadn’t really gotten into the Spanish yet. We learned all sorts of wonderful things about the city and the structures in it–for instance, a memorial to some martyrs who died trying to liberate Spain, the various plaques indicating the life of Picasso, who was born in Malaga, and a ton of other facts that just really added to our overall experience for the next several days. We stopped in at the market and Emily and I bought some fresas (strawberries) and ate them while continuing on the walking tour. We learned that Antonio Banderez (actor who played Zorro) was ALSO born in Malaga and that he usually comes back for Semana Santa (Holy Week), which is coming up soon. We got very excited, but alas we did NOT run into him. I continue to hold out vague hopes that I will see a celebrity whilst abroad, since a friend of mine did casually pass Emma Watson in the streets. (Come on, Rupert. Be in London on Friday. You know you want to. I promise I won’t even be that creepy!)

The “One Armed Lady”

Anyway, after our walking tour we ducked into a Tapas bar for a quick bite before heading off to see the ruins of the Roman theater and the later additions of the castle and palace. It was absolutely GORGEOUS up there, even if we did have to climb forever on exceptionally smooth pathways (can you say slipping hazard) to get to the castle. If nothing else, it was well worth the view. The city was gorgeous from above, and had a lot of what you call “character” too, with the Cathedral looming proudly over her city, displaying her one tower. The locals, apparently, called her the “one armed lady” because the second tower was never built. There’s just an awkward little nub there, but it’s still a truly beautiful and impressive structure.

After our brave climb up and back down the mountain to see the castle, we explored a little bit more and encountered a chocolate cafe advertising for churros and chocolate. Well, if you know me at all you know I NEVER turn down chocolate, so naturally we decided to duck in and experience the Spanish glory that is churros and chocolate. Basically, it’s delicious fried pasty that you dip in a cup of melted chocolate. And once you finish the churros? You DRINK the rest of the chocolate. Straight up chocolate. This is something I definitely plan to incorporate into my life upon returning to America and my kitchen. Happy and full, we retired to our hostel to have a dinner of pan (bread) that we bought at a local bakery. We spent a little bit of time using the internet in the lounge and then headed to bed early to prepare for our next day, which we planned as a leisurely day to recover from all the stress of our upcoming British Studies papers.

I’m going to leave it here because this post is already massively long, but I will continue the tale tomorrow, so long as I don’t drown in the sea of tissues and textbooks that I’m currently swimming in thanks to a head cold and a large amount of due dates creeping up on me.