DAY 1 - Madrid to Torremolinos, Malaga
Trip Start Apr 27, 2008
7Trip End May 03, 2008
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The night of Saturday, April 26, I found myself in a random Madrid hostel - the Bull's hostel, appropriately named for Spain - on the second floor of a bank building. I'd booked it online the day before, not wanting to pay more than 25 Euros for a night's sleep. There, in the twelve-bed dormlike room with only two other girls and with a random guy snoring loudly in the top bunk five feet above me, I was getting what I'd paid for.
But by 6:30 am Sunday, I was up - out of there - and beneath Madrid, speeding through the Metro on my way to the airport. Justin's flight was scheduled to get in at 7:45 ... and I was praying it wasn't early. Thirty minutes after I arrived, he finally got through security and through the arrival gates. I hadn't seen him since Christmas. I tried not to knock him over from excited hugs.
Our plan was to head directly to Malaga from Madrid, but the train didn't leave until 11:30, which gave us at least an hour to kill. Back in the Metro, luggage in tow, we started toward the Atocha Renfe Train Station. But first, we stopped at the Parque del Retiro, Madrid's largest city park. Pausing for a minute on some steps surrounded by statues near a large, man-made lake, we watched kayakers get in their morning work out.
I tried to feed some ducks but settled on feeding some giant goldfish. We circled around to other side of the lake, where I decided we needed a picture together. Spaniards wearing Madrid Marathon T-shirts, which was being held that weekend, walked by. They looked like they were on a mission, so I asked a slower walking elderly man to take our picture. I quickly remembered why I try to avoid asking people over 65 to use my camera. Five minutes, and at least that many "how-to" explanations later, we had a picture. Surprisingly, we were in it and it was centered.
Within an hour, we were on the Talgo 200 train to Malaga. I'd vote this high speed train as the best way to travel in Spain. The leg room, movies, and the fact that it's speed cut a normally 7 hour trip from Madrid to Malaga into 3 hours, in my opinion, placed it above flights and normal trains, and blew bus trips out of the water. We arrived in Malaga by 2:30. Needless to say, we were moving.
Torremolinos was another 25 minutes from Malaga by train. We ran to catch that one, but did, and were checking into the Melia Costa del Sol hotel before we knew it. The Carihuela Boardwalk along the Mediterranean was full of little restaurants and shops. We spent the rest of the afternoon walking and eating.
I did a little extra walking, having to search for an ATM after the seaside restaurant where we had tapas didn't take credit cards. This is typical of Spain, apparently even in touristy areas like Torremolinos. I made sure to take out enough money for ice cream and pizza later that night.
Where I stayed