Day 19: Nerja to Malaga - Grampies Go Valencia to Paris: Spring 2024 - CycleBlaze

February 25, 2024

Day 19: Nerja to Malaga

Heart 0 Comment 0

Even though we started the day at 13 degrees, which is not bad, we were chilly because of the wind and put on a lot of our gear. Even as the day warmed up, we stayed chilly. The reason is the wind, which we hope we are done with now.

We headed pretty much straight out of Nerja, and so have only one more shot from in town - a street with nice balconies.

Heart 1 Comment 0

As usual, there was a choice of following the Eurovelo route - and probably ending up in the sand and/or up the mountain, or just taking the highway. For the most part, we took the highway. This was not such an extreme position because in truth Eurovelo often did the same.

As has been the case for a few days, the main attractions of the route are the views of artistically stacked white houses, usually climbing hillsides by the sea. They are fascinating.

Little Boxes on the Hillside, but these are not made of ticky tacky and are really quite nice.
Heart 3 Comment 0
The developments have a pleasing geometry.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Dodie points out that putting houses up hills like this helps conserve flat land for farming.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Fancy roofs are still not common, but there are a few.
Heart 2 Comment 1
Karen PoretMaybe it is channeling the Hotel Del…? ( Coronado) nope..wrong color..
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Heart 0 Comment 0
Another fancy roof, and quite a large house.
Heart 1 Comment 0

Along the beach we found an outcropping that had been named the Virgen del Mar. People had left stones here, I think mainly with their names rather than messages.  Still, it was reminiscent of the Cruz de Ferro, along the Camino, where people dropped stones they had been carrying as symbolic  burdens.

The Virgen del Mar
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 1
Karen PoretInteresting! Same letter amounts of “Hollywood”..;
Reply to this comment
1 month ago

By this same beach there was also a little castle, put up in memory of someone. It is nicely done, with little doors, windows, and steps.

Heart 2 Comment 0

We passed through several sections along the road - some with four story apartments with businesses below, some with many large apartments, some with hotels, etc.  Here below is just some kind of building that looked attractive.

Heart 1 Comment 0
Flash: You can't hide from Google Lens: It's the Iberostar Malaga Playa hotel. Not even so expensive, at under 100 euros.
Heart 0 Comment 0

When we were in Valencia we were really tickled to find the parakeets standing around, which are from  family of birds that were too fast to shoot in Mexico. Now we see that they favour a certain kind of palm tree, and in those trees we have seen them all down this coast. Today was really the best, too good almost, as the parakeets moved from being easily spotted birds up in palm trees to almost green pigeons - swarming over the lawns.

They are so cute and colourful!
Heart 5 Comment 0
Heart 5 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Checking out a seed
Heart 2 Comment 0
Hanging out with the pigeons is a bit of a comedown.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Let's talk about it.
Heart 5 Comment 0
This fellow was throwing seeds to the birds.
Heart 0 Comment 1
Karen PoretBoo. Reminds me of a former neighbor who would feed the crows..;(
Reply to this comment
1 month ago

We are about as south as we are going to get on this trip. Things are looking quite tropical, such as with the plant below:

Heart 0 Comment 4
Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like candelabra aloe.

https://uk.inaturalist.org/taxa/81518-Aloe-arborescens/browse_photos?place_id=6774
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Bill ShaneyfeltGreat appropriate name for this plant. Really striking to look at.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Karen PoretTo Bill ShaneyfeltIs that the same as the torch aloe, Bill?
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Bill ShaneyfeltTo Karen PoretApparently
https://horticultureunlimited.com/plant-guide/candelabra-aloe-torch-aloe/
Reply to this comment
1 month ago

A lot of the route today was flat, and even had bike path, like this:

Heart 4 Comment 0
and with a lighthouse.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Here is an example of multistory buildings, with commerce beneath, that we saw a lot of today.
Heart 0 Comment 2
Karen PoretThis is the look of the future! Get used to it..no more single family homes.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Karen PoretTypical for most European cities.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
We managed to stay out of the sand for the most part, by choosing one or two streets up from the beach. Here, the sand almost got us, but we avoided it.
Heart 0 Comment 0
This black bull on a hill is a common sight. Scott also photographed this exact one, while coming from the opposite direction. It's at Torre del Mar.
Heart 1 Comment 2
Karen PoretAnd a raptor (?) approaching on the right :)
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Karen PoretToo far away to see, unfortunately.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago

Donkey carts seems to be popular in this section. None of the donkeys today were spooked by the bikes.

Heart 1 Comment 0
Double donkeys.
Heart 0 Comment 0
For what it's worth, here is where we are at at this point.
Heart 1 Comment 0
The sea is just covered in gulls.
Heart 0 Comment 0
And the sky as well.
Heart 0 Comment 2
Scott AndersonEven better than a visit to the dump!
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonNo eagles or ravens though.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago

As we drew closer to Malaga, i.e. 12 kms out, the seafront became continual "malecon", or seafront walking territory.

12 kms from Malaga
Heart 0 Comment 0

We chose a bench to eat our sandwiches, which in this case were ones we had picked up yesterday at Carrefour, plus flan from the same store. Along came a cyclist, who turned out to be Antonio. He was intrigued to see us, because he too is planning a long distance cycle trip, to France. Antonio spoke less English than we do Spanish, but he was unphased by this, going on to describe his plans for how long to go for, what equipment, and the fact that he planned to take his little dog. In this conversation,  Dodie showed an uncanny ability to communicate, despite knowing so few words. Antonio mostly gave up on me, though I did have Google Translate in my hand,  because Dodie was doing so much better. I am not jealous of her, because we are one team, eh!

Dodie and Antonio - the Communicators
Heart 6 Comment 0

The malecon petered out, and so did our prospect of riding the highway - which had become shoulderless and high speed. So we ended up battling the pedestrians for this bumpy path:

Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0

The bumpy path became beach and the beach became malecon, but lined with restaurants and packed with people.

Heart 0 Comment 3
Karen PoretCan we pretend to unscramble the letters to read “Dodie”? :)
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Karen PoretSure, why not. She deserves her own name sign.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Karen PoretTo Steve Miller/GrampiesIn total agreement with you!
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Heart 0 Comment 0
The restaurants often had emplacements for grilling seafood - in the form of boat like containers with vigorous wood fires.... - producing charcoal.
Heart 0 Comment 0
This was all really popular, and we had to barge our way through.
Heart 0 Comment 0
We eventually found that there was a little street or alley behind all the restaurant action, and where we had a chance to cycle.
Heart 3 Comment 0
The street dead ended, but not before we spotted this azuleho fronted house - like we know we will find all over Portugal.
Heart 0 Comment 0

We popped out of the alleyways and onto main city streets of Malaga. This turned out to be great, though they were three lanes in each direction, because the rightmost lane was reserved for us! I kept watching the rear view for drivers wanting to push us out of the lane, but no, they all just shifted one lane over. This allowed us to get deep into Malaga really fast. At one point the special lane was replaced by bike path, and I was thinking OK, Malaga is doing bike path, which is good too. But soon we were back to th special lane. The overall result was that Malaga gets a good grade for bike friendliness.

Heart 2 Comment 2
Jacquie GaudetWe thought these were great!
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Jacquie GaudetSo do we, and the fact that the drivers totally respect them is the icing on the cake.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Roadside flowers!
Heart 4 Comment 2
Karen PoretGotta be bougainvillea :)
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Karen PoretIndeed, they are growing everywhere.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
We soon reached a large park, that adjoins the Cathedral, and walking streets of the city. This was lush, and as we read from Scott, containing not only parakeets, but other types of parrots.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Maybe we'll return to look for parrots!
Heart 2 Comment 1
Karen PoretNo parrots, Steve, but be content with the BIRD of paradise ;)
Reply to this comment
1 month ago

Now we entered the amazing, extensive, walking streets of Malaga, including the area by the Alcazaba (fortress - from 11th century, Moorish), and the Cathedral.

By the Alcazaba
Heart 0 Comment 0
The cathedral
Heart 3 Comment 0
Small walking street
Heart 1 Comment 0
Huge walking street.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Huge walking street, full of people
Heart 0 Comment 0

This is where our tale turns a bit sour. How could it be, given the relatively easy ride, bike lanes of town, and the fact that we had made it to a long held goal, and one stuffed with fun things to go see?  It started with our four star hotel, literally in the shadow of the cathedral, and perhaps better, sharing a block with a burger restaurant. The four star hotel, clearly not having earned a star for service, refused to put our bikes in a garage (which, ok, they don't have because this an all walking zone), refused to let us put the bikes in our room (they might be dirty), refused to put them in the luggage room (in use by real clients), and most annoying, refused to let then stay by the rental bikes that the hotel was already stashing in the lobby. Instead, they wanted the bikes in a commercial parking garage, 1/2 km away. When I was presented with all this, I went back outside and brought in our heavy artillery - Dodie. Dodie went at it with the hotel manager, but that lady held firm. This had us unloading the bikes and then following the GPS through the streets, to find the distant parking garage. I was steamed over this, and Dodie too, but she suggested we reset our attitude, to prevent having our visit spoiled. At least until tomorrow, maybe, when I could have a shot at reaming out that manager, or at least composing an elegant flame to publish in Booking or Trip Advisor, or both!

Their bike can park here, but not ours!
Heart 0 Comment 0

It turned out that circumstances arose to take our minds off bike parking. After putting our bikes in the commercial garage (which will cost 6 euros per day) we set out to walk to the train station. Our plan from Malaga was to take the train to Cordoba, and then to continue cycling to Seville, and beyond. I am not sure why we put this train bit in, but I think we thought the way to Cordoba was too mountainous. We planned one extra day for looking around Malaga (or maybe bussing to Gibraltar) and then we continued our Booking, at Cordoba. We were sure there would be a train for us and the bikes to Cordoba.

The reason we felt we could train to Cordoba was that we had learned (thought we had learned) that "Media Distancia" in Spain will carry roll on bikes. But at the station we got the confusing message that while yes, only Media Distancia trains will do this, the only available such option was to Seville.  Say what? The Media Distancia route map clearly and boldly goes Cordoba, Seville. But then one website we found said that not all Media Distancia is the same, and that the Avante variety, which is all Malaga has, does not take bikes. If so, how could we supposedly get to Seville, which they said we could?

Not knowing the language, it is impossible to sort out twists and turns of corporate policy. But supposing we could get to Seville as they said, we would arrive days earlier than planned, and that would also involve abandoning bookings at Cordoba and on the way to Seville, and finding additional (costly) bookings in Malaga and Seville. Perhaps the lady at the station was mistaken, should we walk all the way back and double check? 

In the end, a back of the envelope calculation revealed that it would be cheaper to take a taxi to Cordoba than to abandon our various bookings and to set about making new ones.  So that is our answer - if the train won't take us, then a mini van will. We are spared having to rethink and readjust our plans, and can go ahead and enjoy our day in Malaga tomorrow as we had hoped. 

Only one thing - we had planned on re-reaming out that hotel manager about the bike storage. But now, her front desk had been super helpful, trying to phone the train company (they won't pick up on a Sunday) and ultimately booking the mini van for us. Does that let the bike storage nonsense off the hook? Can we readjust all our attitudes and just have fun here? Stay tuned to find out!

The walk to the train station passes this "river". It looks nice and blue on our map! The station is in the non old centre part of town.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Fruitless 5 km hike across the "blue" river to the train station.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 57 km (35 miles)
Total: 889 km (552 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 8
Comment on this entry Comment 2
Scott AndersonI’m really sorry about that hotel. We’ve only had something like this come up a few times in all our travels, and they all anger me again thinking an about them.

About the train to Cordoba though. If it’s not too late to change your mind, you could check in with Alsa first, the bus company that runs this route. They’ll almost certainly take bikes, but require you to bag them - and they sell the bags for a reasonable fee at the terminal. It runs four or five times per day. It’s how we got from Cordoba to Malaga ourselves in 2019, because we couldn’t take the train either.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Scott AndersonWell, forget that. I checked the Alsa website and confirmed it’s still just as I described. Unfortunately for you though, they introduced a ban on e-bikes about a month ago. Good luck with the van, and please post some details. We may need to do that ourselves getting from Seville to Zafra.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago