Travel · Years Passed

SPAIN

Sep.29: Departing Belgium
We had a later flight this time around, which was a nice change. We did make a quick ER trip this particular morning, nothing serious, just needed a quick look at for a silly allergic rash that I had. J. & I did some cleaning before we left and double checked that we were all set to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather in beautiful Spain. Double-check, check. We were ready to jet! We flew out of a closer airport too, and we checked-in and boarded the plane with no problems! Yay! We are Spain bound & stoked!

We aren’t sure why it looks like Jeff has no hair here- weird lighting.

We arrived unscathed in Spain, happy- tired- but HAPPY! We had our passports out and ready for our newest stamp….. no stamp, nothing actually. Oh well. (We should be use to this already, we haven’t received a SINGLE stamp in passports since we arrived in Belgium- not even a Belgian stamp in our passport. Boo!) We hailed a taxi, with my little bit of Spanish and J.’s phones-GPS we made it to our hotel! OhmygoodnessweareinSpain! Really though. It was about 12:30am, so our hotel bed was calling our name, and we gladly obliged.

 

Sep.30: Lazy waves & sunshine day
Good morning Spain!

We were both pretty ecstatic about being in Spain (Torremolinos)! We were able to sleep in a little, but quickly got ready for the day! We enjoyed breakfast at the hotel, & then a nice long walk on the beach. It felt quite surreal, the sand was soft & chilly the water was perfectly clear and the wind was crisp.

 

Yes, I love this man! We needed to load up on bottled water, sun-screen, and postcards. We are officially on our trek to the city center of Malaga, to walk and enjoy the sites. The buses in the area are jam-packed to the brim… so we kept expecting a bus to stop at the bus-stop we were at to take us to the centrum, no, they did not stop. Well, alrighty then! A bus did finally stop, and we smooshed together. No joke, smooshed, friendly might be a nice way to explain how we all fit in that bus. The centrum was beautiful!

A small side-street that we saw along our walk. We stopped for drinks at a place called “Café Centra”, J. enjoyed a beer & I happily sipped a sangria.We people watched, listened to the mariachi band, and just enjoyed the atmosphere.

We took our time walking, investigating, and taking pictures of the area. The floors of the entire centrum were marble, people were milling around, shops were bustling, laughter was bouncing off the business doors, and we were soaking up the sunshine on our shoulders.

We stopped at “El Jardin” for a nice lunch- my Spanish is still rusty, but luckily the menu included detailed pictures of the food items! I had meatballs & J. enjoyed the beer and a pork chop. A nice spot to sit and relax- enjoy the food and chat about our next adventure for the day. J. mentioned that he wanted to see Alcazaba of Malaga:

 This particular alcazaba is the best preserved alcazaba in Spain- which was built in the 11th century. How crazy, right? To step on the stones from so long ago, to see the world from a different view if only for a moment. To feel a part of history beneath your fingertips. Directly across from the entrance we found a small shop that had the typical tourist knick-knacks, however, we managed to find a beautiful painting of the city streets & houses that we decided we had to have. It’s currently taking up space on our entertainment center in the living room, and I have to smile every time I take a look at it, remembering J.’s keen eye for good finds and this whole day comes to mind. Following our Malaga adventures, we wanted to spend some time on the beach in Torremolinos… soak up some rays and get some color! We hailed a taxi (we skipped the bus this time around) and went to the hotel to change, packed our beach gear, and headed downstairs- crossed the street- and arrived at our destination (yes, I was just bragging, J. found a steal of a deal hotel- just steps from the beach)!!! What we did NOT anticipate was the wind at the beach, and how cold the water [still] was… wow! We attempted to stay on the beach but the blowing sand was making it pretty uncomfortable. We spotted a restaurant “Copacobana”- and decided we had to sit, drink, and eat!

The setting at Copacobana was right out of a movie; we sat in a large canopy covered bed, with pillows all over and small table that sat wherever we placed it on the “bed”. We still got to enjoy the warm sun, but also had the cover of shade if we wanted it, and there was no more blowing sand- whew. I have to admit, the mojitos were fantastical!! (I’ve always thought the song says “cocacobana”, I guess not.) We were loving the sun but it took it’s toll on our energy level and headed to bed.

Oct. 1: The Rock of Gibraltar
We took yet another walk on the beach after breakfast, we couldn’t resist- the sun rise and view was just too perfect to skip.

Before we landed in Spain we knew we wanted to see The Rock of Gibraltar, so we decided- ultimately- to rent a car. The driving view to Gibraltar was fantastic, all shore views and colorful houses and it was only about an hour and fifteen minutes! Thankfully J. drove.

The car was small, which was perfectly suited for Spain driving, but it was also stick-shift.. certainly better that J. drove! Yay for yet another fun & interesting adventure.

As we continued to drive, the weather was getting cloudy & a little rain started to fall- which really made a drastic change to the temperature, but we managed alright. We parked outside of the “entrance” gates, purchased our bus tickets to the cable car, which took us to the top of The

Rock of Gibraltar. I have to admit, I was pretty scared in the cable car- I can do heights, but this was above an entire city in a small car on what felt like a flimsy cable. So my fingernail marks in J.’s skin were an example of how freaked out I was, but we made it up to the top (& back down again)!

Looks who greeted us upon our Gibraltar arrival…

At first, I thought for sure something was amiss, I’m pretty sure something escaped my lips along the lines of “what the heck, is he real?”- even J. wasn’t sure what was happening. Apparently these little guys/gals are called Barbary macaques, they live here! What!?!?!! They are also very sneaky… they will take your purse/bag/diaper bag and root through it for food. Happened twice while we were there. They do say that these lil’ dudes bite as well, so getting your bag back poses an interesting feat.

 

Ya’ll, what a view!

         


What a moment, something I know we will treasure for the rest of our lives. To have been here, to have touched, felt, and experienced The Rock of Gibraltar. I didn’t know much about it before we went, and .’s historian mind came into play and informed me of the extensive history.

This guy gave us a “send-off” in true Gibraltar fashion.

We managed to find the proper bus to get us back to the entrance gates of Gibraltar- which is a very bustling city (I had no idea that it would be a city, I’m thinking it’s just a tourist attraction, but it’s a CITY), after walking for a bit we found the bus station and were headed in the right direction! We were delighted with our experience, ready to get back to the beach, and generally doing great- until we got into our rental car. The car was still there, thankfully. There were no broken windows or a break-in, whew. HOWEVER, the car will not go into reverse. The gear-shift will not go into reverse. J. is talking “you’ve got to be kidding me, right now”, I’m thinking- he’s going to break the shifter- he’s going to break the shifter and we won’t be able to get back to the hotel! There’s a fleeting moment of acceptance from the gear-shift and we’re able to get it into reverse, I agree to push the car, because I know that if I’m in the driver’s seat trying to use the dang’d gear-shift I’ll end up making the whole situation worse. I’m pushing, J. is trying to gently “gun” the car so it will move, I’m pushing, I’m sliding, he

You may not be able to see it well, the license plate is a WISCONSIN plate, in Spain. J. said it was meant to be.

‘s trying to get it to go, I’m tired, he’s trying, I’m pushing, people are staring, I’m pushing, he yells- “GET IN THE CAR SAM”. Sure thing darling husband. He pops the car into first gear, tells me to hold on, guns it, we are driving on THE SIDEWALK, we turn, we are on the road and headed home. My husband, the problem solver! WHEW! On a very bright side-our drive home, was clear skies and sunshine! I forgot to mention- Jeffrey was very excited when he saw the following vehicle driving in Malaga Spain:

 

 

 

We knew we wanted to wait to eat until we got back to Torremolinos, I’m so glad we did! We originally wanted to eat a steak-house by the hotel, but they were not open for business. We also looked at an Italian place, but once again, they were not open for business. Then we saw a British pub, which had some futbol showing & free Wi-Fi, DONE! We were in for a treat, honestly! J. enjoyed fish & chips, I had a steak and onion pie- some delicious food. Some of the best British food we’ve eaten since we arrived overseas. Following our pub experience, we enjoyed a nice bottle of red wine at a different restaurant. We walked the beach before calling it a night.

I’m obsessed with this cider- not kidding.

 

YUMMY!

 

Oct.2: Adios Spain & Sunshine
Our last day in Spain, and we wanted to get more sun and beach time. Our flight was later in the day, so we were able to do just that. We did a longer walk on the beach that morning and gathered some shells and rocks. I was able to find a few pieces of sea glass, that I intend to make into a necklace. I should disclose as well, the beach by our hotel is a topless beach. I did not know that- until I was faced with the truth. Shyness does not seem to be an issue in Spain! Good for them!!! After our walk, we laid out at the beach for a little bit. The wind was barely present, which made laying on the sand so much better. There was still a slight breeze, but enough to make laying in the sun bearable. We had to pack up and check out of the hotel, so we packed our bags- and kept our suits on! To avoid sand in every crevasse we opted to swim in the hotel pool, laugh if you will, but it was nice. For lunch we dined at a small place across from our hotel, with a great view and a very limited amount of English understanding. J. enjoyed some of the best chicken kabobs I’ve ever had, I ordered a pepper salad and got roasted red peppers on a plate- not exactly what I was expecting. Oh well. We enjoyed lunch and right next to the restaurant there were a few palm trees, and people kept taking pictures of the trees and the ground. We couldn’t figure out why…

Aren’t these little guys too cute!? They are what everyone was taking pictures of…


By the time we ate, gathered our belongings and changed we were headed to the airport. Before we said our good-byes to Spain we encountered a few difficulties, given our track record with Winter vacations- it just wouldn’t be complete without said difficulties.

We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare, but had a hard time figuring out where we needed to go to get checked in and get the “stamp” on our itineraries to go through security. Well, the FIRST line we waited in for 45 minutes was apparently NOT the correct line, as the individual at the counter informed us. OK. The next line, we were SECOND, yay! However, the individual in front of us was attempting to purchase tickets…. at that very moment, which literally took over 30 minutes. Mind you, three different people walked into the office area spoke with the agent and walked out, after looking at those of us in line. A young girl ran up to the desk and asked for the stamp to get through security, the agent quickly stamped her itinerary. J. and I were on the verge of losing our patience, he calmly asked if she could stamp ours, given that our flight would board soon. Following some rather ridiculously rude remarks, we did not get a stamp at that time. The individual buying tickets was talking rather loudly about the two of us, from what I could pick up in Spanish. FINALLY, another agent comes in and asks who needs stamps-we ran up there!  Security was fine, we breezed through, thankfully and did some speed-walking to our gate. I had to stop and get caffeine before I hurt a person, truth. I showed up at our gate with caffeine in hand and we’re waiting in the priority boarding line (because we paid the extra to board first), and we were told that my purse had to fit in my carry on. Ok. Done. We are in line to board, we are both picked to put our carry-on in the ridiculously small, nothing like the plane-metal-bag size regulator jobey-do by the entrance door. Ok. My bag does ok… J.’s bag gets caught, and while he’s attempting to get it out and no one is helping, they are letting other people board, those people watching and laughing. I’m about to lose my cool here folks. Finally one of the agents helps J.- and we are in line to get on the freakin plane. UGH!   I might sound snooty here, but I have such a hard time when people show no attempt to help others, honestly. I will go out of my way to help and I guess it’s frustrating when people can clearly see you need it, but instead they laugh at your expense. I didn’t feel like any of the situation was funny. I usually say, “we’ll laugh about this later”, I still can’t laugh- really because none of it was funny. Even to us. Goodness sakes!

 ADIOS SPAIN!

 .SJW.

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