29 March, 2015

After three solid riding days to get to me Costa del Sol base in Benalmádena, I wanted a few days off the Family Truckster – to give both of us a break.

My apartment was towards the top of the developed area of quite a steep hill which went pretty much from the coastline main road (N-340A) to the A-7 AutoVia.  As I’d sauntered around Benalmádena Pueblo when I arrived on Saturday afternoon, on Sunday morning I felt a walk down the hill to the coast was in order so I could see how the beach looked.  Maybe a swim would be nice if the hot weather persisted and the beaches were nice.

So after lunch I set off, on foot, headed downhill for the coastal road.  It sure was steep – and tight in areas too.  Whilst a pleasant walk downhill I’m not so sure the walk back – better come up with a strategy on that one.  Not sure how much I’d fancy taking the Family Truckster on these steep and tight roads – either down or up.

Anyway, enough complaining.  The weather was nice and luckily not too hot.  Pretty soon I saw what looked like a fairy-tale castle in the distance.  I wasn’t expecting to see that.

Castillo de Colomares

Soon I was walking right by the entrance and learned it was called Monumento Colomares.

Colomares Castle

Later I would learn, thanks to Google, this castle was known locally as Castillo de Colomares and was built between 1987 and 1994 by a medical practitioner from the US as an honour to the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus.

No time to visit now.  I’ve got a beach in my sights – maybe I’ll come back another day as its only €2 to have a look around and not that far from where I’m staying.  That was probably the highlight of my walk down to the coast.  The only other thing worthy of mention was the clear evidence of Spain’s economic woes and this areas over reliance on a boom/bust property development industry.  It was surprising just how many unfinished developments there were in a relatively small area.

I pressed on and was soon at the coastal road.  My 1.6 mile walk down the hill, descending some 213m on the way, was over.

After crossing the N-304A, or Carretera Cádiz as it is referred to in Google Maps, I could finally see the beach.  I’m sorry to say it was most underwhelming.  But hey, coming from Brisbane, Australia the standard by which I judge beaches is pretty high.  By European standards it was good and there were plenty of miles of it, with little bays and rocky coves and an absence of high-rise, likely due to the proximity of the coastal highway.

One of the many beaches at Benalmadena

Undeterred, I ventured west following the coastal highway in search of better beaches that must surely exist beyond what I could see.

Another beach west of Benalmadena

After a mile or so, with still nothing to write home about in the good beach department, I was getting hot and a little sweaty.  There was no way I was going to walk all the back – especially with that steep hill for the last 1.6 miles.

Luckily there was a resort nearby – there would surely be a taxi there I could get back to the apartment. And there was luckily for me.  But how would I explain where I wanted to go?  It’s not like my Spanish was anything beyond ordering wine, beer or Sangria and asking for the bill after a meal.  Again luck was on my side as one of the two taxi drivers waiting at the resort could speak a little English – enough for me anyway to get back up the hill and within cooee of my apartment in Benalmádena.

Feeling quite lucky with how everything worked out, I decided to prepare for the next time I needed a taxi home, just in case of an absence of English speaking taxi drivers.  My strategy was to take a couple of photos that I could easily access on my Smartphone of the main drag and a hopefully well known landmark nearby to the apartment.  Here are those photos:Street sign in Benalmadena Pueblo

Ascensor in Benalmadena Pueblo

Whether that would be sufficient was anybody’s guess but the best solution I could come up with – time will tell I guess.

Having successfully made it back and with plenty of daylight left (this being the first day of European summertime), I spent the rest of the afternoon taking in more of the sights closer to home, my laziness even extending to my choice of camera. I had brought my Compact DSLR Sony NEX-5 with me on this trip but hadn’t used it yet. Even though compact it’s still a bit of a hassle to carry around and nowhere near as convenient as my Samsung Galaxy Note II which has an ok camera (for a Smartphone) and automatically backs up all the photos taken on it to my DropBox when connected to wifi (I tend to turn data roaming off when abroad due to the high charges).

What is easiest isn’t always best in terms of quality and unfortunately the photos in this post, even though cropped, straightened and auto-enhanced later using Photoshop Elements, would certainly have been better had they been taken with my compact DSLR. Will have to make sure I use it when I venture to the special places I’m planning visit whilst travelling around Andalucia.

So please excuse my laziness and take a look at the sights nearby my Benalmadena apartment.

I finished my day exploring Benalmádena with a great meal at Restuarante La Fuente, on Plaza de España.

On the short walk back to my apartment through the Pueblo my thoughts were already turning to my first ride out. Definitely within the next few days, weather permitting.

Which part of Andulcia will I explore next? Stay tuned …