Slept like a log. Packed up and noticed, as we were leaving, two English hippies drinking coffees outside the hostal. We got talking. They’d been here for four years and lived up in a house in the mountains. One of them was a wood carver and was living off that – just. They were friendly and asked where we were heading to and gave us advice about local matters. (e.g. don’t eat the eggs around here. Don’t swim in the Med at the moment). They told us where we could find a supermarket as we parted and gave us ‘Victory V’ signs.
After buying breakfast and lunch, we ate breakfast in a small park next to a school which was bustling with small children and parents. We made tea and had cereal, bread and jam. A few stares came our way and we soon left in the direction of Lanjarron where they bottle mineral water, which turned out to be full of tourists.
A long downhill followed on the main road through an impressive gorge after which we stopped at a garage for lunch. And then, onto the coast road. We have noticed that we are beginning to become weary so we decided to get onto the busier but faster coast road to speed our way to Algeciras where we can rest.
The coast road was hot and hilly at first with the odd tunnel, lots of German bikers and a few Guardia Civil carrying out car searches. Stopping for a drink at a café, we commented on how we had not seen any British bikers. Just as we were leaving, a couple on a British bike pulled in. We went up to them for a chat. They were off to just beyond Malaga (Torremolinos, perhaps!). It had taken them four or five days to get this far. It has taken us a month. They caught us up a few kilometres down the road, waving as they passed.
After a few more kilometres, we entered Nerja (to which I returned in 2010 with my family for a holiday), a well organised holiday town with an old centre. We went into Hostal Florida and got a room for the night. We bought supper at a supermarket, after a shower, which was packed with English foods. We decided on curry that night with tinned Ambrosia rice pudding for a treat, which we cooked in our room. It was delicious, the rice pudding was wonderful and I felt full for the first time in a month and I was sweating from the heat of the curry.
Soon, we walked further into the town to find a telephone. A few coins and telephones later, we found a modern telephone that worked and called Dad. While walking down the streets, some girls laughed at us for some reason, which we soon realised was down to the fact that we were wearing our Teva sandals on bare feet. After several weeks with no sun on our feet but plenty of sun on our legs we had what looked like white socks on! No wonder they were laughing at us.
The town was stuffed with holiday makers and tourist shops (and it has not changed today). We found it to be an eye opening experience after having been in the mountains for a few weeks. We reckoned that 90% of the tourists never set foot out of the town to see what Spain was really like.
Back at the hostal, we crashed out, feeling very hot. I was asleep quite quickly, but I kept being woken up by the noise of the mopeds and drunken tourists outside in the street.
I was keen to get along to Algeciras now where we planned to see the parents of a friend (Jo) or Dan’s pal, Brian Brophy. I wanted to get hold of some post from home too from the ‘poste restante’. (Looking back at how we picked up our post seems antiquated now. It was 1991 and the internet was not widely used like it is now. These days most of the adventure travellers I follow update their blogs on most days with news and photographs, even those who are rowing across the Indian Ocean (e.g. Roz Savage). We used to get air mail letters from our friends and family and send them letters back. We had to give people enough warning to send letters to the ‘poste restante’ in a town on our route so that we did not overtake the letters. None of that has to happen with letters these days. You just send an email).
Distance 84.1 kms Average speed 12. Kmh Time 6hrs 38 mins
Will Hawkins lives in Lincolnshire with his family, works in a technology company in London and does as many micro-adventures as he can.
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