Nerja - Vuelta a Iberia - CycleBlaze

November 23, 2019

Nerja

The morning begins with a shatter, and a few choice words from Rachael.  While preparing her first cup of coffee (we are both dangerous before coffee, apparently), she bumps a glass plate off the counter onto the floor.  It shatters into a billion shards across a blast zone that extends across the entire kitchen floor.  Fortunately it’s a smooth, seamless surface and easy to clean up.  Still though, I’m on my knees for the next ten minutes painstakingly clearing the area.   

The rain was a little slow in passing on, with the final showers occurring early in the morning while we were getting ready for breakfast.  By the time we’re ready to leave though it’s quite beautiful out.  Prospects look amazing, really - there’s hardly a cloud in the forecast for the next two weeks, and the promise of a persistent tailwind.  Not a bad way to end up three months on the road, thinks Team Anderson with a pair of broad smiles.

A last look out the window from our apartment, Málaga Dreams. If we come back to Málaga some year, this is the first place we’d look for. The rains have passed by, but the river channel is still filled.
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Especially after a three day break from the saddles, we feel like we’re at the beginning of a new three week tour.  Different terrain, different climate, different culture even.  Today’s ride is along the Costa del Sol, one of Europe’s more famous, glitzy tourist destinations.  Think mile after mile of beautiful beaches and headlands, crashing waves, palm trees, whitewashed villages up in the hills, one modern waterfront resort after another, waterfront promenades clogged with walkers, loiterers, scooters.

And flat.  We hugged the coastline all day and hardly saw a ripple all the way to Nerja.

Radically different from our solitudinous rides in the interior, and probably not everyone’s cup of tea exactly.  We thought it was great though.  You can’t really get tired of biking along scenic, rugged seashores, in my opinion.  With a strong tailwind we’re not only pushed along but so are the waves, which crash dramatically against the shore all day long.  It does slow us down to weave in between all of the other sea-gawkers, but that’s fine with us - it’s a short and easy day anyway.  Why wouldn’t we want to slow down?

Video sound track: you guess this one for a change.

Leaving Málaga. Rachael and I still have jackets on for extra warmth in the strong wind, but the layers will come off soon.
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The palapas look more inviting this morning.
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Looking back toward Málaga.
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There’s a street market on in one of the villages east of Málaga. Rachael browses the booths and comes out with a new sweater to replace the one that was left behind somewhere along the way.
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Staying close to the water avoids the traffic and hills, but comes at a cost here and there.
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Lyle McLeodOooh, looks pretty soft. Hope this didn't last for long!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Lyle McLeodCorrect. And puddly in spots. It didn’t last long though - just enough to add texture to the day.
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2 weeks ago
Ron SuchanekThe soundtrack has me puzzled... It'll come me.
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2 weeks ago
Rounding the headland at Rincón de la Victoria.
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The headland at Rincón de la Victoria was the most challenging and interesting part of the ride.
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Somewhere we missed a turn, apparently.
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Surf fishers, sheltering from the wind.
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This formation near Velez-Málaga reminds me of the Carmona Wall.
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The Great Bull of Velez-Málaga.
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Rounding the bay at Velez-Málaga, we get a dramatic view of the rest of today’s ride. Our destination, Nerja, is at the end of the point.
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We’ve been hearing and seeing these birds (Monks parakeets) ever since arriving at the coast, straining our vision trying to see them high up In the palm trees. It’s easier when they just waddle around on the ground in large gangs like this.
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Jen GrumbyFrom murders of crows to gangs of parakeets, you've seen some impressive gatherings of birds!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen Grumby I think gang is the appropriate name for this particular grouping, but I confess I didn’t do the research.
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2 weeks ago
The ruins of fortified towers line the coast here, spaced about five miles apart.
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The lighthouse at Torrox Point.
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The long view East from Torrox Point. Málaga is still visible in the distance, at the deepest part of the bend.
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Another ruined tower, as we round the final bend before Nerja.
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Looking up at Torre Vigia Macaca.
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The outskirts of Nerja come into view.
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Nerja occupies a dramatic setting, surrounded by the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada range tumbling down to the sea.  We’ll be here for two nights, and take a day ride up into those mountains tomorrow.

For dinner we walk over to Dal Toscano, an Italian restaurant with great reviews and a terrific menu.  Unfortunately, when we arrive we find a sign on the door stating they are closed until next week.  Having Italian on our minds we go instead to Little Italy, a casual pizza/pasta joint.  Sitting outdoors directly under the heating lamp, we enjoy a decent and dirt cheap meal (17 euros for two large pizzas, a large salad, two glasses of wine, water and cover charge) while we puzzle over the group of eight diners at the neighboring table - an older couple, apparently the chaperones or parents; and six young adults of mixed ethnicity, gender and language.  
At the end of the meal, the only young woman in the group turns to us to chat while they wait for the bill.  The ice broken, we inquire about their identity.  The adults and their son and the other three young men are from Brisbane.  The son is a soccer player, here for a tournament.   the other men are also soccer players, here for a tryout or something.  The woman is the son’s girlfriend, and is from Tucson.  We exchange emails and agree to get in touch, because the adult couple run an AirBnB in Brisbane and encourage us to visit.  Great, just what we need - another dream destination to add to our long wish list.

The eastern edge of Nerja.
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Is this some different variety of agave that I haven’t seen before? It grows on a large, single stalk perhaps 20 feet tall.
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Another view of Nerja.
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Smugly and snugly modeling the newest street market acquisition.
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Jen GrumbyNice sweater, Rachael!
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2 weeks ago
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Ride stats today: 36 miles, 900’; for the tour: 1,850 miles, 59,400’

Today's ride: 36 miles (58 km)
Total: 1,850 miles (2,977 km)

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Lyle McLeodBeautiful costal ride!
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2 weeks ago