Goodbye Madrid....

Malaga Travel Blog

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5:00
My bus ride is almost over, I just saw a sign saying it's 93 miles to Malaga. So before I finish yesterday I should fill in the last hours of Friday into Saturday morning.
I woke up at 9 on Saturday. I was tired, but the night before the front desk had asked that I change rooms for my last night and i had to have my stuff ready by 11. I also had to meet Valerie at 11:30 at the Puerta del Sol, so I went and ate my breakfast. After my cafe con leche and croissant (original right?) I headed upstairs to move my things. I'd like to thank the front desk for only making me lug my heavy bag next door. It was also helpful to have all my things packed a day early as I did not have very much time yesterday at the hostel.
I headed to the Puerta del Sol early.
I thought I could sit and read my book, but there were no seats. And man what a difference a weekend makes in, especially in the off season. I had been to Sol on Wednesday and it was empty and a nice place to walk around. Yesterday it was a mass of people trying to fight against each other to reach the statues or the many side streets that come off the plaza area. The transformation was amazing. At least on Saturday I did not stick out when I pulled out my camera to take pictures of random things as I did all the other days.
Valerie came at 11:30 as planned. We caught up as we walked towards La Plaza Mayor. The plaza was cool (definitely more impressive than what I thought it was my first day there), but there wasn't much to see. We walked off down one of the streets leading out of the plaza.
We stopped to have some food and a coffee (I had fresh squeezed orange juice).
Neither of us really had a plan of what we wanted to do. I wanted to see the Palacio Real (The Royal Palace) and the Reina Sofia was free that night, so I was hoping to get there anytime after 2:30. After our little mid-morning snack we wandered off in search of adventure. We ended up in Plaza de Toledo and saw a band playing outside a mall. Then we meandered down toward a cathedral we saw. There was no way to get inside, and what looked like a pretty garden turned out to be a work in progress. We walked around the back of the church to try and find another way in, but found ourselves in a sad little dried up park with grafitti littering the walls that enclosed it.
There were a few people who appeared to be living in a little treed in area and some kids on a playground. We made our way out of the ghetto and walked back up to the main street.
Before I finish our day I would like to take a moment to share some of the observations I made about Madrid. As a city it is very old and beautiful, however graffiti is everywhere and people drop cigarette butts and dogs poop all over the sidewalks. The city hires street sweepers to help control this problem, but in the less touristic areas the sidewalks are littered with trash. I commend New York on the job they have done keeping graffiti out, since it really does ruin the beauty of the city.
Also, the Spanish don't eat vegetables...or drink water. Ok, I'm sure some do, but I haven't seen many.
Back to the story. After the disappointing Cathedral, there was another even more beautiful church which was open to the public. At about this time my camera battery died and I was glad that Valerie was there so there was someone to document the rest of the day. (And for you mom, we took some pictures of one another and both of us together so you will get to see my smiling face.) We looked at teh cathedral, which was huge and quite pretty and then moved on to El Palacio Real which was next door. It was 8 euro to get in, and not worth it for that price. I forgot to have my student card with me because it would have been 3. The palace was nice, but it wasn't anything too special.
I did enjoy the Pharmacy with old bottles that were labeled for different medicines, many of them still containing their namesake.
Now, at this time we were starving. It was about 2 or 3 in the afternoon and we decided to try and find food. We walked through La Plaza Espana and looked at cafeterias in the area. They were all pretty expensive, so we decided to walk back toward my hostel. Here's where we get lost. I can't even remember where we got to, but it was not where we wanted to be. We tried to find our way on a map and both agreed on a direction to walk. It was the wrong one, so finally we hopped on the metro and rode back up to sol to see if the vegetarian place (Valerie is a vegetarian) was open. No luck. I thought I knew how to get back to my hostel from there, but I was completely turned around and we ended up back very far away.
Finally we found a place to eat. We sat downstairs to avoid as much smoke as possible and ate a sicilian veggie pizza. YUM!
After luch we were recharged. We tried again to get to the hostel, but ended up getting more lost. We did end up near La Sofie Reina so we decided to go in. We looked at the paintings, which were a lot cooler than El Prado. The museum holds many Dali and Picasso paintings, including The Guernica. It was huge, and I could have stared at it for hours trying to decide what went on in Picasso's mind. It was coold because they also had a series of photographs documenting the progression of the painting. It was like playing "What's different in the pictures" with a real work of art.
We left the museum soon after viewing The Guenica.
We were both tired and needed to sit for a while. We went back to the hostel and I charged up my computer for the bus trip today. We shared a large sangria and got recommendations for tapas places from Renee, the woman who took me to the Flamenco show. We went to a place called La Lacon, which provided free tapas with every drink. We each had one drink and an order of mussels with a pico de gallo type topping. Valerie ordered a tortilla (something like a quishe made of potato and cheese) and we shared that. After we wandered around a little looking for another place, but none of them were as good a deal as La Lacon. I had to go to the bathrrom and we saw a hotel a little up the street so we walked toward it. On the way there was a casino so I decided to see if they had a bathroom.
The bathroom had a key and the man said that I would have to wait for it. I decided to put a nickel in the slot machine so I didn't just look like a bum off the street. I didn't win anything, but I did get the bathroom key and that was a good enough prize. After the bathroom we got lost again and decided to look for dessert. We found a chocolateria and each got an order of churros con chocolate. Churros are tasty fried sticks of dough (which are baked in a large spiral and cute up into long sticks. The chocolate was so rich. We thought it would be something like hot chocolate, but it was more like a melted candy bar. You dip the churro in the chocolate and it has a heavenly taste. When the table next to us got up to leave we stole their left over sticks because we both had chocolate left in our bowls. YUM!
After churros we walked back to the Sol metro station and parted ways. I went back to the hostel and went downstairs to use the computer to double check bus schedules and see who was around. It was very crowded and I didn't recognize anyone so I left. The vibe of the whoe hostel was very different last night. Less like a community and more like a club as people were leaving or went out, and outside patrons visited the bar.
I was sad to leave this morning, but it is a beautiful day and a nice bus ride through the country. The mountains are a little scary when the bus takes the turns ,but they make for a beautiful skyline and the quaint little houses and the large spread of trees and farms is beautiful. We stopped about an hour ago to get food and go to the bathroom and soon my ride will be over and it is on to the next adventure, finding my way from the station to the apartment.

6:30
So I'm in Malaga. This city is absolutely ugly. I thought it would only be in the more commercial area near the bus, but it seems to be just as ugly here. However, maybe I will find it charming in the end. The girl in my room, who's name escapes me now, has managed to last one and a half months here. She is from Japan and speaks very good Spanish. It is good because then I will be forced to stop speaking in English. It worries me that she has other friends here and I don't know if we will be able to become friends, but I will not let that deter me from trying.
There are very many beautiful buildings around here for such an ugly town. When I got in I tried to figure out the bus to my part of town, but it was too confusing and I gave in to a taxi. The taxi driver took a minute to find the right number, but the people there knew what I wanted so I didn't have to struggle through words I didn't know in Spanish. A man helped me with directions and they were very good so I was able to find the place no problem, however it took forever to get in. Finally, my roomate helped me out. She just went out with a friend, but I'm glad that I get a little time to myself. I thought I would have a lot in Madrid and I had barely any. Anyway I severely need a shower.
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415 km (258 miles) traveled
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Malaga
photo by: missmzungu