You Know You’re In Spain

26 May 2011

Rotterdam to Málaga, España

I’m cheering, though in my head, along with the Dutch stag party after hearing the announcement of it being 26 degrees at 6 in the evening in Málaga.

You really just know you’re in Spain when you see it, even if you’ve never really seen it before. I’m looking down at the large, red and yellow country with blue waters. We’re not at the coast yet, but I’m lucky enough to have a sneak peak at the sudden mountains that look like they’ve been pulled up by hand out of the ground. It’s like an ocean surface frozen in time.

It’s not the Europe I’ve come to know – not at all – so it feels like I’m overseas from… overseas. It’s all very exciting until I have to actually do something in the big wide world: get lost, mainly (and most probably). I get my first sighting of the infamous British invasion of Spain in the form of a hen party from Lancashire, all adorned with pink bobble headbands. They cackle, “What’s Spanish for goodbye?”

After some hopeless staring at bus timetables stuck loosely with sticky tape on the bus stop, I take a leap of faith and let the bus take me to Paseo los Tilos, of which I have no idea what I’m actually looking for. I’ve got directions written down in poor, rushed handwriting in the notebook, but I’m ignoring them for the moment as the bus rumbles through some very Spanish roads. The buildings painted in any colour to do with red and warmth still maintain their old facades, iron barring the windows.

There’s a sign which had a name that I recognised on it so I hop off with a bit of a spring because I’ve sighted something I recognise. The ground is also very Spanish, it’s decorated with white and black tiles and, just like any warm, tropical place, there’s a minimal gutter. It’s all very novel until the sun really starts to set, and I’ve still got no fucking clue where the landmarks I’ve written down are. Málaga, it seems, is going through its most dramatic roadworks/restoration project in its history, as every second road is just a big hole in the ground with crooked fencing – so, it takes me at least one and a half hours to find the first street. Finally I wind my way through some extremely Spanish streets; narrow and colourful and make it to a very white hostel that looks the coolest – and cheapest – yet. Very Spanish.

Despite the past few hours being an unexpected hell, I get yet another traveller’s instantaneous swing in emotion, and cheerfully swing my bag under the bed, giving advice to Canadians who are about to do the exact same thing as I’ve just done in Holland, but we’re all elated to be on the Costa del Sol at last.