Every interlingual trip that I’ve ever been on, my mom was the key translator. It’s not that she knows any more of the language than anyone else in the rest of our family. She was just in charge. Now that I’m travelling with friends instead of family, that all changed. Key in a trip to Malaga with 2 friends.
We flew to Spain with the most important words already under our belts: cerveza and sangria. Of course, manners are always good to have, so we also knew gracias (thank you), de nada (you’re welcome), and lo siento (sorry).
Anyways… enough about language. The flight from Glasgow to Malaga was about three and a half hours. Not too bad, and definitely worth it for the weather change! When we left Glasgow, it was the usual weather: rainy, overcast, and around 5°C. Landing in the south of Spain was a breath of fresh air – literally. The tropical smell of the palm trees and nearby Mediterranean Sea paired with the temperature in the high teens told me that this weekend would be a good one. I’ll have to admit that we were all pretty unprepared for the torrential downpour that we would be stuck in at 4:00am, but we’ll get to that later.
Once we made it from the airport to the train station (we definitely struggled more than we should have to do this), and took the train from the airport to central Malaga (almost took the train in the opposite direction), we were ready for our hostel. You probably won’t hear many people say this, but this hostel was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. Named ‘Lights Out Hostel’, this was the nicest one I’ve ever stayed in. Offering things like a rooftop terrace, free sangria at 9pm every night, free breakfast and optional €5 dinners, this place is the tits. If you ever end up in Malaga for a night, this is your place hands down. The price was around €13 per night.
Originally the three of us had planned to visit Gibraltar, Ronda, and explore Malaga, but after a bit of a late start (we missed the train to Ronda by about 10 minutes), we were forced to improvise. We decided to take Gibraltar off of our list, and go to Ronda tomorrow.
What were we going to do today though?
Since we were already standing in the train station which conveniently happened to have wifi, we started googling all of the destinations scheduled to depart in the next 20 minutes. The winner: Torremolinos. This is a small beach town just west of Malaga, with fresh seafood, sandy beaches, and – as it turns out – mini golf.
And that’s exactly what we did! As we sat down for lunch the waitress told us that the fishing boat had just come back in with a fresh catch of squid. Full disclosure: as fresh as it sounded, we are still students on a budget, and this happened to be one of the more expensive items on the menu. Mary and I got some fish and chips (which were still amazing), and Emily got octopus. After this feast, we all considered our latest food comas and decided to have a siesta on the beach… you know, to get the whole Spanish experience.
That night we enjoyed that hospitality of the hostel, using the rooftop terrace to drink sangria and have dinner. We called in an early night so that we wouldn’t make the same mistake we made that morning.
12 hours later we were on a train headed to Ronda! After the 2 hour train ride, we were ready for some food. Our sweet tooths (teeth?) led us to churros con chocolate at a local cafe. If you’ve ever had churros with chocolate, nothing more needs to be said. If you haven’t, well, you better get on that.
This city is literally built on a massive gorge that divides it. To compensate for this, there is the “New Bridge” (New being a relative term, it was constructed in 1793), which is a highlight of the town. We had our lunch on the edge of the gorge, with the bridge right beside us. This town is also filled with lots of markets, friendly locals, and their children playing football in the streets.
After getting back to the hostel and discussing our plans over another delicious hostel dinner, we decided that a pub crawl was on agenda for the night. It started at 11:30pm! In hindsight, we probably should’ve figure that it would be a very late night. As we mingled at the first bar, we were given sangria and got to know some of the people from our hostel. The second bar was an Irish pub, and because of my new found love for Guinness, got one for myself. We left this bar around 2am, and the next stop was a club. I’m really not too much of a club person, so after an hour here I decided to make my way back to the hostel.
As I stepped out of the door, I immediately regretted my decision. The rain was absolutely pouring. I’m talking reminiscent of my experiences of flash floods in the Amazon rainforest. I don’t think that we were too far away from the hostel, but, as you could probably guess, I was very disoriented. I tried using the preloaded google map on my phone, but later realized that the only thing displayed was the path from the last bar to this one. After aimlessly sprinting from dry spots in the streets, I came to an underground parkade. I’m not exactly sure why I thought that this was a good idea, but I ended up running in, and evaluating my wetness. It was absolute.
After I exited a different place that I went in, it was game over for me and my sense of direction. I ended up finding a taxi. Thank goodness. Also thankful that the girls made it back, an hour and a half after I did. They told me that some locals said that this was the worst rain they’ve had in 12 years. 12 years?! Turns out that was pretty believable, when assessing the city the next morning. Street lights were completely off, fountains were flooded and parkades were being pumped.
We spent our final day enjoying a variety of different tapas (as this was my mom’s only suggestion for my weekend), more churros con chocolate, and exploring Malaga. Our highlights included the Noria de Malaga (A giant ferris wheel), Alcazaba (a cool castle overlooking the harbour), and bumper cars. Yeah, turns out that there was a festival in Malaga starting this weekend, and for three euros, the bumper cars were definitely a highlight.
Glasgow has been great to me so far, but Malaga was the warmth I’ve been missing! An amazing and memorable weekend, and I would recommend this city to anyone looking to see the south of Spain.