A Travellerspoint blog

October 2013



Day 1

Here we are again in Spain. Almost a year after our last visit and this year we are staying in Torrenueva near Mijas Costa.


We stayed in this resort a few times before and have always enjoyed the quiet and calm.

The resort has very little in the way of amenities and that is pretty much okay with us. How it actually scores 3* on the RCI site I have no idea.

This year we have apartment 510 overlooking the pool area. We have stayed more often in the 700 block a little further around.

Our flight over with Norwegian was pretty good, arriving Malaga about 15 minutes ahead of schedule.


Once we had retrieved the big case we were off in search of the car hire rep.

A couple of laps of the exit area and we eventually found her. A short walk to a minibus and a very short drive off-airport and we picked up a Toyota Aygo.

A little tin box with four doors and a boot area that would be a tight fit for a chihuahua. The big case went on the back seat.

As it was barely 2pm, I set the TomTom for Torrenueva but we diverted into Fuengirola for lunch.

Boquerones and calamari and a salad went down the right holes. And this will be the first of many seafood lunches I imagine!

It was here that we found the lock/unlock buttons on the car's single key didn't work. Locking the car requires ye anciente method pressing down of the door button and shutting it with the outer handle lifted. I emailed Malagacar straight away. No reply.

I suppose we can live with it?

The car is quite new with only 6k on the clock. But you would have to be desperate or a Toyota fan to buy one. Tinny and not that nice to drive. Still, with full insurance (that ironically doesn't cover the key - hence the immediate email) for about £15 a day.

Once lunched we headed to Hipercor in the El Corte Inglès mall to stock up on essentials

Apartment 510 is well situated. Parking outside at the back.

It was very hot all day and the balcony was in full sun until about 7pm. It has air conditioning, but no remote to turn it on. I later found that if you want it you have to pay extra for the loan of the control and the use of the electricity.... The panel on the unit was masked so you couldn't reach up and do it! This I feel is a bit of a rip-off.

In fact, the usual "how it works" folder that RCI resorts usually have is missing as well.

Sadly, reception is closed on Sunday! So I am hoping for cooler weather tomorrow!!

For dinner we ate in. Pasta and albondigas washed down with a couple of tiny bottles of San Miguel.


Then an early night. We were up about 4am to drive to the airport and so the long day, heat and beer have taken their toll....


Day 2

Today started off lazy. A short lie-in and then leisurely breakfast.

Another bright sunny morning.


The balcony gets the sun all day. I bet when they planned to have them slightly SSW rather than S facing everyone scoffed. The result is about 9 hours of sun! The white walls make it a blinding experience as well as like sitting in an oven

We got the car out for a drive, ending up in Marbella old town. We parked underground, cool, and then walked down to the seafront and all along the promenade.

Lunch of salad and garlic potatoes was superb. Then more walking to burn off the salad... ;)

We had a slow drive back. The Aygo doesn't do fast in any case. The speed limit on the coast road, formerly the N340, is now 80kph. The Aygo can just about manage that although one time we hit 85! I overtook a bus but it re-took us on a hill!!!

After our traditional kindle session, and siesta, we were up and out for a dip in the pool. It is right in front of us after all.

Dinner was at the restaurant on El Bombe beach, but only after a longish walk and the bridge over the N340.

We were restrained. A mixed salad and a single portion of calamari.

The appetiser was bread with garlic mayo.


All washed down with a glass of local Tinto.

The uphill walk from the tunnel under the main road brought us to reception, closed, but the wifi was still available on the front steps!!

We weren't in any hurry but Downton was on the TV at 10pm locally and so we watched that before bed.

Until tomorrow. Where to go? La Colina? West towards Gib? Who knows where the Aygo will take us?

Day 3

Monday already. Day 3 of 8!! Time seems to go much more quickly when you are on holiday!!

It's our 13th wedding anniversary today.

Today we had another leisurely morning. Breakfast and reading over coffee and Bimbo toast!

It was gone noon before we stirred ourselves to get washed and changed to go out.

I set the TomTom for Playamar (Torremolinos ) and we Aygo'd there.

Once again the TomTom route is a little different to the way we normally go. Yesterday we missed the Marbella arch over the road, twice. Today we avoided the coast road that we usually grind along.

Our first stop was a Mercadona supermarket where we wanted some lunch stuff, maybe bocadillos? Thwarted we bought some beer snacks and set off. Exiting the car proved a Challenge. Capital C challenge.

To get out you need a bar code to show you have shopped. We didn't have a bar code... Reversing back down the slope and re-parking we were able to get the ticket checked and a bar code receipt issued! Phew.

We then had a run along the beach road until we left Torremolinos and entered the scrubby world under the flight path into the airport.

Turning 180° we stopped outside Casa Paco, where we have eaten a few times before.

Lunch was seafood plata made up of small calamari, calamari rings, Boquerones and some strange deep fried wormy things. We didn't ask, just ate them.

It was still very hot as we walked up the beachfront so we had an ice-cream? Diet? What diet?

Another stop on the way back at Lidl at Cala de Mijas to stock up something for dinner and replenish the beer stocks. Another 12-pack of San Miguel.

Then for me it was siesta time. Kindle reading can tire you out sometimes. Especially when accompanied by a San Miguel or two.

About 5.30 we saw the pool was empty do we went to round for a dip. I'm not a good swimmer. I did have lessons at Chadderton baths when I was about seven but fifty years have passed and although I can get by, it's not a skill I can claim to have mastered. Claire is a good swimmer though!!

Once swimmed out we returned to our balcony to air dry as it was still hot. The temp in the Aygo was a comfortable 29C earlier.

Dinner was at the apartment as we ate out at lunch time.

It was my time to cook and I did pasta and albondigas, followed by cheesecake.

The evening drink to wash it down is Don Simon Tinto Verdano. A mixture of tinto wine and lemonade at 4% ABV.

Then tune the TV into ITV1 and watch Corrie and maybe Doc Martin.

Tomorrow we'll probably drive up to Fuengirola Los Boliches and park the car and get the train into Malaga.

Day 4 - Paul

The mozzie bite I got on my ankle on Sunday, unremarkable at the time, has continued to irritate and get worse. The red area around the original wound has grown to about 2" by 1" and is very red and painful.

Day 4 (Claire)

Had a late night last night and so struggled to get up when the alarm went off at 08.30 for us to get into Malaga at a reasonable hour. Oh well, leisurely breakfast and more kindle!

The maid arrived just as we were getting ready. Really nice girl and we had a chat about the Fiera which is this week in Fuengirola. Me in pidgeon Spanish helped on by her fluent Spanish of course! Still it was fun.

Once Paul was ready we aygo'd off in the direction of Fuengirola and ended up in the hills at Mijas.


It was not too busy and we found a parking space fairly easily. Had a coffee in the cafe close by and while Paul was paying I strolled over to the leather shop next door; 15 minutes or so later after trying on several jackets, aided by a very willing salesman, and encouraged by Paul, I left with a lovely brown leather jacket. I was offered the choice of a "free" leather purse on my way out!!

We did the tour of Mijas admiring the view, stroking the donkeys and avoiding any more souvenir shops if which there are many.

Back in the Aygo we came down the hill to the coast road and decided to lunch in the apartment.

Today it was tortilla, melon and yoghurt with a beer for Paul and a Pepsi for me.

After siesta more kindle and then to get ready for dinner at the Bombe beach.

Day 5

Time still flies.

Today we went out to Fuengirola, parking in the underground car-park at Las Rampas. Our mission today was to find a shoe repairers. One of Claire's sandals had a problem with a flap broken.

Could we find one? Could we heck.

In the end I bought a silver bull to go on pannier for the extortionate amount of €2.

We had a coffee and decided to go to Coin. A white village some 25 kms to the north. TomTom was programmed and we set off through previously unseen Fuengirola until we recognised a bit of the route. Now a beautifully EU funded stretch of paved road to Alhaurin.

In 2010, the last time we had a car, we had several off road and gravel tracks to negotiate around the road building programme.

The journey to Coin took much longer than 19 miles ought!! We parked outside the town near Antonio's motorcycle shop, and walked back into the square. Jesus at one end and a fountain at the other, with a bandstand in between.

Images from Spain

Images from Spain

We had a coffee and then set the TomTom for home. A short diversion to Hipercor in Fuengirola elicited some small Velcro buttons to fix the sandal. Job done.

After our normal kindle session I left Claire at her siesta and I walked to reception to use the wifi on the Acer notepad.

I wanted to upload some pics to Flickr. Halfway through it stopped. I sat in the sun watching the paused upload. Time passed. I checked Flickr's website and they had a dumb ass message saying there was a problem and they were fixing it. Were they?

In the end I gave up and have no idea if it worked.

Tonight's dinner was in Cala de Mijas. A short drive away. We found there is more there than we had expected! We have been coming here since about 2002 and never guessed.

Dinner was in a restaurant that seemed to be part town "pensionista" hang out and part restaurant. Excellent food at low prices!

And then home to work through the 12-pack and then bed.

Malaga tomorrow?

Day 6 - Estepona killer whale!

Down by the beach. Turn your back and the killer whale starts attacking you with water....


Day 6

Still no Malaga day. Instead we went the other way and went first of all to La Cañada shopping as Claire wanted to have a look around.

She bought some face cream and we had a look in the Apple store. I'd like a pad but wanted to see if you can connect a camera to look at the photos, none seem to have that capability.

Oh. We had a coffee and unsuccessfully tried to connect to the California coffee shop's wifi!

Outside is a curiosity, a fully relocated German Wurzel stand....


I suppose the English have "tea like at home" bars...

We then set off for Estepona along the coast. TomTom said that it was a toll route but didn't give any options for not going that way and that is very unusual.

Down here there two versions of the autovia, A7 free and AP7 toll. Why TomTom opts for the toll route is anyone's guess.

If I knew how to send map updates I would as the speed limit on the A7 is 80kph along the entire length from Fuengirola to Marbella but TomTom thinks it is still 100.

Estepona is a nice resort. A long beach and an old town that is walkable.

We had lunch here at Vitin and used their wifi.


Dinner at the Mayores centre again and then to bed!

Day 7 - Part 1

The last full day of the holiday.

I was awake all night with a gut ache to match even the best curry night afterburn.

A couple of codeine-phosphate had it under control in a few hours.

We didn't want to waste the day so we set off for Torremolinos. In the end I felt a bit duff so we turned around.

Stopping for a coffee at the Cafestore at Arroyo de la Miel grew into lunch. Plus they have free wifi so we could catch up with news and Facebook etc.


Day 7 - Part 2

So once we rejoined the A7 we thought maybe one last visit to La Cala. This time we parked in the Main Street and walked through to the ice-cream parlour.

First job was to top the car up. The Aygo needs to be returned as empty as possible. And we were down to the last flashing bar (of six) on the gauge. Not knowing what this will give us, I put in €5 worth. The car must be doing 40mpg if not more, so 3.5 litres put in should give plenty of miles to get back to the hire office at lunchtime tomorrow.

In the centre is the Arab Tower. Built like many along the coast as watch towers.


Our last dinner is back at El Bombo.


Calamari and chips and a salad. An appetiser of bread and garlic mayonnaise.



Too full to walk!

Once we have finished we have the walk back to the apartment to pack and maybe get a few minutes of the England game on TV.

Up early tomorrow.

Day 8 - The Final Countdown

The countdown started with the alarm going off at 8am. By 9am we were up, breakfasted (a noun into a verb) and tidying the apartment and sorting the rubbish.

Transferring some stuff (the dirty bag) to my little case to pack around the Arsenal boot bag (electrical stuff like chargers etc) and the Acer notebook meant that the big case would weigh a mere 19.5kgs.

Once checked out and email/facebook/blogger checked on the wifi we made slow progress to Playamar to have a coffee and read the kindles.


Time usually drags but with the current two-hour before flights stipulation, we needed to be getting a move on.

TomTom took us to Malagacar and we dropped the Aygo off. I mentioned the key buttons didn't work and they just said the battery had gone.... In 7000kms? Not good enough Toyota!!

Once on the shuttle bus it was a matter of minutes before we joined the queue for the check-in. Pretty painless it was too.

Security was a doddle, Claire's hip failed to set off any alarms and I managed to walk through the Portal, or whatever it's called, without the alarm going off.

We had a panini whilst watching the boards and then sauntered down to the gate in time to almost walk straight on. Unusually I chose to sit by the window to avoid a nice lady in the aisle seat. I let Claire have that pleasure.

Once back on terra firma UK side we had a bit of a wait for the luggage, then a monorail ride to the South Terminal and to the car.

All very simple. The valet system was the same price, on offer, as the park and shuttle system, and it was worth it.

We were home catching up with Corrie and Strictly by about 6.30pm.

Holiday. Over.

I turned on my work BlackBerry and was greeted with over 100 emails. Monday, I think!!!!

Posted by InvictaMoto 14:05 Archived in Spain Comments (0)