A Travellerspoint blog



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)


Day 1


What you don't want to hear at an airport. Even worse when the Monarch airlines automated message arrives with the loud ringing of the phone before 0800.

Checking the app for Gatwick Airport shows the flight delayed from 1625 to 1840! At least.

I called Monarch and was rewarded for my 10p a minute 0871 number with information to arrive as ticketed.

So we arrived at 1408!!! The security checks are still in place. Laptops out of their cases, shoes and belts off... Beep! Claire's hip sets off the alarms.

Beep! Something on me sets off the alarm. Maybe the rivets on my jeans? The waist button? Can't be my money or phone or watch as they are in the tray along with everything else?

We both endure the frisking. They even dig out a magic wand for Claire.

Then we are let loose into the shopping mall that Gatwick South. Like IKEA you follow the road through all the shops before being vomited (you want to after 60 different perfume counters) into the normal part of the terminal where you can sit and look miserable when it all goes tits up.

So lunch was in Costa Coffee, and then a walk around the shops. Good offers in JD Sports on Team GB gear... It's London Olympic year after all.

And now to find a seat to while away the next 3 hours.


In the end arrived on the dock at Malaga at 2220 instead of 2020. By the time we recovered the case we found out that we had missed the last Renfe C1 train to Torremolinos.

Apparently a plane in the morning was taken out of service so our plane had to go to Dalaman in Turkey first. I hope they all got on their holiday on time. As it was, the Airbus 300 to Malaga was full. All of us inconvenienced and out of pocket. Not even a free drink!!

The apartment complex is only about ten minutes from the airport. In the end we had to get a taxi. We asked the price up front and the driver quoted €20. A bit of a markup instead of the €3.70 on the train! Thanks Monarch.

In fact over the last 25 years or so I have driven past La Colina many times without even noticing it.

Manuel the night man showed us to the apartment on the top floor. Too late to see the sea view! Two bedroom apartment, two large balconies and plenty of room. The partial kitchen shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Club Playa Flores, La Colina

Club Playa Flores, La Colina

Club Playa Flores, La Colina

Club Playa Flores, La Colina

View from balcony

View from balcony

Club Playa Flores, La Colina

Club Playa Flores, La Colina

We were sitting on the balcony off the lounge drinking coffee and eating toast from the welcome pack. It's midnight and still over 20C.

And on top of that the TV has BBC1 and I got to see Arsenal win at West Ham.

Day 2

After breakfast we had a long walk down to the sea front and round and about looking for a supermarket open on a Sunday. Had a coffee and then lunch before we found a supermarket for essentials and for dinners in the apartment. It was actually close by and the opposite direction to the one we had walked initially. Not that far to walk down up La Colina slope!

Sadly the Sony compact decided it had a problem with the memory stick and so all the photos seem to have been lost. Using a genuine Sony card in a genuine Sony adapter in a genuine Sony camera is not working? Thanks. Glad it was day one! Will revert to the 512mb stick again.


Nice and hot and so after siesta time it was a beer and snacks Kindle reading session.

The sun began to go down. Time to get ready and stroll down to the city centre and find a restaurant for our anniversary dinner.

We've eaten quite a lot more than we usually do on a Sunday so maybe some tapa and a beer?

The complex has wifi that only works in reception and a shaded area outside, although if the notebook was setup in the hall near the front door it could pick up a signal.

Anniversary Evening

Walk down to the beach again. Ended up in an heladeria and pizzeria.

The "El Classico" game was on tv and it wouldn't be right to watch, would it? In the end the the decision was taken for us as every bar with the game on the screens was packed and seats out of view were plentiful.

In the end pasta and a pizza with a beer was our 12th anniversary dinner.


Monday. Yep. Usually the worst day of the week. Not this week.

Bit of lie in and then late breakfast in the scorching sun on the balcony. Big news is that the resort wifi now works in the loo and hallway. Yeehah.

Out for lunch and another fish place on the beach front at Casa Paco.

No chips!! Nice salad and boquerones. Claire opting for Mar y Tierra.... In typical Paul style I managed to get a sharp bread crust to slice my inner lip and it bled for half an hour. Even an helado didn't have any effect.

After that another walk to find the Super Sol supermarket open. We have dinner in tonight and a beer or two ..



Another late get up. Relaxation. We're here on holiday to get off the treadmill for a week. It will pass all too quickly and before we know it we'll be back at work. Shit how I will have the Monday morning blues!

We read for a while. The Kindles getting a fair old bashing.

Our trip today was to Torremolinos. Okay, La Colina is part of Torremolinos but up in the north east corner.


It was only one stop on the train but saved Claire's hip and foot a lot of pain. Maybe the choice of an apartment with public transport and no car was a little misguided.

In the end we had a walk round, lunch consisted of a Serrano ham bocadillo then some more walking looking in food shops for stuff to make a tuna salad. It took three shops to get what we needed for a few "at home" dinners. I much prefer eating lunch out to dinner!

Tomorrow it's back to the train for a day in Malaga.


Fog or mist?


We woke up and the sea mist was back. The view from the apartment balcony is a bit of a stretch to the sea but everything is hidden by the blanket of cold looking mist.

The plan today is to go into Malaga for a wander. It's not far on the train, maybe five stops, plus gives us an idea on the trip to the airport on Saturday.

The cooler weather seems to have calmed down the parakeets. They have taken to the area very well and fly about in often large groups. The squawk they make does sound pretty horrible. Even rooks and crows make a more pleasant sound.

Hopefully it will warm up and the sun will burn through.

The train ride into Màlaga was pretty painless. The train was full until the airport stop. A mere ten minutes from La Colina.

We had a walk into the old market to look at the different produce; fish, meat and vegetables. Most recognisable but not in the small sizes that UK supermarkets seem to be making us believe we want. Uniform and unblemished? Not here. Natural and all shapes and sizes.

Then round to a cafe we have visited before, Casa Aranda, for churros and chocolate. Superb.

Then it was a long walk around the old part of the city and along the Alameda gardens, sitting to take some shade. No sign of the early morning mist here.

Once again, the parakeets kept up their constant squabbling. The seem very social birds. One will arrive and the squabbling starts.

Lunch at Taperia Anate near the port was pretty good. Calamares Combinado; squid rings with fries and salad.

Taperia Anate

Taperia Anate

Calamares Combinado

Calamares Combinado

The train back is quite simple. At least the train only goes one way!

Thursday? It must be Fuengirola!

Another late morning. Hey! We are on holiday!!!

The reason was the mozzie hunt that we were both on about 3am. I awoke with a pain in my foot that felt like I had been scalded with hot water. The pain climbed up my legs almost to my knees. On inspection we could see the red bite marks. Witch hazel to the wounds and it got better.

Then we went on the hunt and located the bastard. Missed it the first time but then it was caught. Whop! It's amazing how much blood they can hold. Down the bog now.

So after breakfast we had another Kindle session and then went to the station and today we went to Fuengirola.

C1 train to Fuengirola

C1 train to Fuengirola

We know the town quite well as we have been many times but even so we found a fountain we had never seen before.

The station at Fuengirola is more to the western end of the town. Easy to find and not far from the beach.

We had lunch, calamares for Claire and calamaritos for me.

A walk along the seafront where we saw the statue of the topless girl. Have no idea why she is there as I couldn't find the plate to tell me!


Another shopping spree followed, food not luxury! Then back to the station for the train home.

After dinner it's TV. The one night I didn't apply copious amounts of this stuff and I was rewarded with a 3am mosquito hunt.


It seems to work but I got complacent and paid the price. The little bastard that bit my foot and both ankles left me feeling I had stepped in boiling water.

It's been dead and flushed for 20 hours. Time to roll-on. If anyone out there that reads this post knows anything about Johnson's "Off!" please let me know. This stuff is good, but "Off!" is simply the king of the jungle.


Got the train to Fuengirola again. Very hot. Had a walk about half of the 7kms seafront and opted for the shade of Jabega for lunch. Sausage egg and chips!

Next stop? Shade for a kindle session.

Jabega was so good we stayed a whole two hours sitting in the sun. A cortado and a discussion about how we order coffee in England later and we were off back to the station.

Another kindle session followed! It's nice to be able to sit and read. In normal life there are many other things to do.

Dinner was in the restaurant under the apartment by the pool. A bit slow but the food was good. The sangria even better. Should sleep well tonight.

What better way to end the night than England thrashing San Marino in the football?

Saturday - Last view of La Colina

The last view as we sat waiting for the train to the airport.

La Colina Station

La Colina Station

Last view of La Colina

Last view of La Colina

Although the ticket said T2 it was actually T3.

Queues long as expected as it seems Monarch have one set of check in desks that take all flights....

Turned out okay in the end, although it was very cramped on the plane. Monarch cram nine seats across the body of the plane making for narrow aisles and even narrower seats with little or no leg room.

Posted by InvictaMoto 06:37 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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