Looks like I’m travel blogging again. This evening I leave for Geneva for a work trip but before I go, I thought I’d clear some space on my phone and catch up on this overdue post.
At the end of September mom and I grabbed a direct flight from Montreal to Malaga, Spain. Despite all of the terrible stories right now about airports, our flights was pretty much on time and without incident. We landed in Malaga just after 7AM and spent almost an hour trying to track down our Uber (there was a taxi strike going on that day). After finally finding our car, and mom having a literal run-in with a traffic gate, we made our way to the old city in Malaga. We dropped off our bags at the hotel and went to find breakfast and coffee.
After a bite to eat and taking in the city a little we went and grabbed the hop-on, hop-off bus. It took us a while to find the stop and after one full loop we decided to get off for some fresh air since the jet lag was starting to kick in. We grabbed some empanadas at a small shop and made our way back to the hotel. After settling in for a bit, and having a bite to eat, we went for a short walk to find the bus station so we knew where to go in the morning. After that I basically did my best to keep mom awake until at least the sun went down (I lost). I watched the beautiful sunset then eventually crashed too.
The next morning we were on the bus to Granada.
We grabbed a taxi at the bus station to take us to our Airbnb. He made it about 90% of the way and eventually has to succumb to the narrow streets and dropped us off in some un-marked location to find our way. After turning in circles mom thankfully accosted some nice man taking out his recycling who let us use the map on his phone to point us in the right direction.
So off we went with all of our bags, down the lovely streets of Granada. It wasn’t the easiest walk but it was certainly foreshadowing what the next 2 days were going to have in store for us.
Once we found the Airbnb and dropped off our bags we set out to find lunch and explore the city. Luckily we had a church at the end of our street (what are the odds) that we could use as a landmark to find our way back.
And here is mom accosting some nice workers doing beautiful stone work. It was pretty impressive to watch if I’m being honest.
The rest of the day was grocery shopping, getting settled in our Airbnb, and trying to ice and elevate my ankle. Because the next day we were off to the Alhambra!
Which was amazing and honestly could have been its own blog post. But I’ll try and keep it succinct. We purchased our tickets ahead of time (which everyone will tell you to do, with good reason). This place was very busy and even cramped at times when passing through buildings. But the architecture and gardens were absolutely gorgeous.
We wandered through every section of the grounds and stopped to enjoy a short snack with an amazing view.
And finished our visit with a walk through the gardens. As you can tell from the photos, we also had amazing weather.
That evening we went for a nice dinner near our Airbnb and mom and I shared some paella. We were very happy.
That evening we made our way through the narrow streets to find a flamenco show I had tickets for. It was only supposed to be a 9 minute walk according to Google maps, but that presumes you know where you’re going. Eventually we came across another English speaking couple walking confidently into an alleyway and we decided to follow them. Our instincts were right and they led us right to the venue.
The setting was fantastic, the dancing amazing, the wine mediocre, and the music was so loud I spent almost the entire show with my fingers in my ears. But overall, it was a memorable night.
And the next morning we were back on the bus to Malaga.
We had some time to kill before we could check into our Airbnb so we grabbed lunch at a little cantina on the main street near the apartment. This is where I had the most delicious meal of the entire trip. It doesn’t look like much but this tomato and fish salad was amazing.
Then we check into the Airbnb and were pleased with just how perfect this place was.
I was mostly grateful there was ice in the freezer and a couch I could elevate my ankle on comfortably.
You see, two weeks before leaving on this trip I was heading home from a day in the office and decided to run for a bus (because I’m so athletic). That’s when I stepped on the edge of a curb and rolled my ankle really bad. So I spent the entire trip with a tensor bandage and tried to ice and elevate it as much as possible. We did our best to not let it slow us down.
The next day we were on a bus tour to Ronda, a smaller town about 1.5 hours away. Here we saw the oldest bull ring in Spain.
As well as this incredible bridge (referred to as the new bridge, that was built in 1793). It was pretty incredible.
But the real story from Ronda is how I lost my wallet and cell phone. At the end of our time in Ronda we went back to the bus station to meet up with the rest of the tour. Mom and I used the washroom and sat on the benches by the bus parking area before eventually boarding the bus. As the bus was pulling out of the parking lot I saw this mural on the side of the building that I had wanted to take a picture of earlier.
So I reached into my bag to find my travel wallet where I keep my cellphone only to realize that my wallet isn’t in my bag. I start to panic a little and tell mom to go ask the driver to stop, that I think I left my wallet in the bus station. So mom tells the driver and the tour guide meanwhile I frantically ask if someone can give me 50 cents to get back into the bathroom (thinking that must have been where I left it). People on the bus start to realize what’s happened and the tour guide comes and gets me and we run out of the back door of the bus as fast as we can. As we approach the benches I see someone standing there with my wallet in his hands. I run right up to him and grab it out of his hands and almost burst into tears. I was so relieved. I should be clear, I’m pretty sure my wallet had fallen out of my bag or I had put it down somewhere and the person holding it was just trying to figure out what to do. All of that to say, I owe that mural big time.
That night we were pretty pooped so we crashed and saved our energy for our last day of vacation.
On our last day we set off to see a few different parts of the city. We started by visiting some of the local markets.
And then we walked to the beach.
It was also smoking hot that day so I ended up having to buy an umbrella because my sunscreen couldn’t keep up. So while mom was dipping her feet in the Mediterranean, I was hiding under an umbrella. My poor Irish skin. At least my umbrella matched my shoes.
We also wandered through a small outdoor market outside of the Pompidou centre that is a branch of the Paris museum.
After that we were off on our final adventure, to visit the Castillo de Gibralfaro. The castle is actually ruins of a Moorish castle that, as with all good castles, sits on top of a very high hill overlooking the port and old city.
Did I mention it was hot?
It was really hot. And quite steep in places. My ankle was about ready to mutiny at this point.
But the ruins were beautiful.
It felt like a really nice way to cap off our visit.
Mom and I had a great time and we only really fought when we got hungry. Imagine that.
I’m so glad we have another European adventure under our belts, now we cans start planning the next one!