Costa del Sol

When you imagine the Spanish coast, perhaps you picture beautiful beaches or delicious seafood tapas. Not Myles. Myles pictures giant resorts and drunk British tourists. This may not seem like an attractive proposition for a holiday, but to Myles it means cheap accommodation with nice pools. That, combined with the possibility of some exciting day trips, convinced the the five of us (well the four adults, toddlers don’t need so much convincing) to make the Spanish coast our next stop.

We actually start the Spanish section of our trip in Madrid, managing to get a very cheap flight on Norwegian airlines from Malta. It’s an inauspicious start, as we are forced to wait ages for our luggage due to “go slow” industrial action by the baggage handlers. It doesn’t seem particularly sensible, given Spain’s 20% unemployment rate and the fact that baggage handling is hardly a highly skilled occupation.

It’s nearly midnight by the time we get out with our bags. Despite the late hour, Madrid is hot. It was 40 that day and it is still well above 30. Tired, hot and hungry, we wait for our hotel shuttle, of which there is no sign.

We ask back inside, and the airport information woman tells us that the shuttles to airport hotels stop running at 11.30. Since we can clearly see some shuttles still running, and catching a taxi with a toddler is difficult given the need for a car seat, we keep waiting. Thankfully she didn’t know what she was talking about as a shuttle finally comes along to take us to the Ibis. As you’d expect from an ibis it is basic and with small rooms, but it uses the space really well and is both very comfortable and immaculately clean. The options for eating at this time of night in the local area are pretty much nil, so we go to bed hungry.

Breakfast the next morning wasn’t included, but we eat at the hotel anyway. It was generally pretty standard fare, but somehow it managed to have the best donuts any of us have ever tasted. This may very well be related to us still craving carbs from the night before, but if you’re ever there give one a try and let us know what you think. After breakfast we pick up our hire car, eventually getting on the road by mid morning.

We had hoped to stop off at Granada on the way, to see the Alhambra, but we discovered the previous night that if we wanted to do that we should have booked in advance. Especially during high season. Instead, we head straight for our next accommodation just outside Estepona which is west of Malaga.

It’s a holiday apartment type complex, and we expect it to be full of loutish Brits. However, it is actually a pretty cosmopolitan mix. The apartment allows us to self cater, which is lucky, as the night we headed into town we discovered that all the best tapas restaurants had closed for the summer. What’s even better is that we are travelling with a chef, so we get to be mere kitchen hands and still eat amazingly.

On going up to our room we see the housekeeping staff have left a tray of dirty tea and coffee mugs on the window sill just outside the room. We decide to not say anything and take bets on how long it will be before they notice. Myles had bet they wouldn’t notice at all, but unfortunately they cleaned it up on day 3.

We have a pleasant stay, with a great mix of day trips (one to a different country, and one to a different continent – stay tuned for updates) and lounging by the pool. The complex was on the beach, but the beach wasn’t the greatest and the ocean was both too cold and too rough. To make matters worse next door was a nudist resort, so there were portly German gentlemen parading their wares up and down the beach. Needless to say, we stick with the pool, which had reasonably priced Mojitos and considerably lower risk of accidentally seeing a stranger’s genitalia.

The arid landscape
Beachfront villas
Rocky, cold beach (not pictured: naked, old guys – you’re welcome)
A rather disappointing attempt at eating tapas

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