Friday, January 18, 2013

I'll Take Manhattan ... in Andalucía

We are enamored, San Geraldo and I, with the public transportation system we've so far experienced here in Southern Spain. We took the train (called RENFE) from Sevilla to Málaga and then hopped on the commuter train (Cercanías) from there to Fuengirola. The commuter train let us off just a few minutes walk from our hotel on the beach.

BEAUTY ALONG THE LINE.

The trains and stations are modern, immaculately clean, easy to navigate, punctual (to the minute, in our experience — although we were two minutes late on our return to Sevilla), and well-traveled by locals and tourists. The scenery along the way is breathtaking.

ANOTHER RENFE TRAIN.

I saw a flock of wild flamingoes. I think it's called a "flamboyance." The train was moving too fast for me to get a photo, so you'll have to take my word for it. San Geraldo was in the bathroom at the time. Oddly, he was in the bathroom the first time I saw wild flamingos when we were vacationing here two years ago and took the train to Málaga. So, he has to take my word for it, too. But, really, I did see wild flamingos. And they were flamboyant.

OLIVES, OLIVES, EVERYWHERE.
UNTIL WE GOT CLOSER TO THE SEA. THEN IT WAS CITRUS, CITRUS, EVERYWHERE.

At times there are olive orchards for as far as the eye can see. Young trees. Gnarled, ancient trees. It's about 2-1/2 hours by train from Sevilla to Málaga. You pass through the Sierra Nevadas and then you begin to see citrus groves. For as far as the eye can see.

I HAVE NOTHING TO ADD.

There's a very famous rock climbing area near the village of El Chorro (which means the stream) about 50 km (31 miles) north of Málaga. The train cuts right through part of it. It's a massive limestone gorge. The views are magnificent. And the climbs are frightening. You can travel the paths with trained guides; it's only for skilled trekkers and climbers. There are old wooden "catwalks" and bridges running along the cliff faces. They were in disrepair but funding was set aside for their restoration. I don't know if any can be used at this time. Even so, you wouldn't catch me on one. From the train window, I spotted two climbers scaling a vertical wall. San Geraldo was again in the bathroom. We zipped into a tunnel, so you and San Geraldo will, again, just have to take my word for it. I also saw a Unicorn. Trust me.

CLICK TO TERROR-SIZE
AND SEE THE "CATWALK" RUNNING (CENTER) ALONG THE CLIFF FACE.

THE STATION AT ALORA.
WHERE TO GET OFF THE TRAIN IF YOU WANT TO RISK LIFE AND LIMB ON THE CLIFFS.

Oddly, along the way we passed the Hotel Manhattan. I think it's a possible place for climbers and hikers to stay. They don't have to scale anything, like the Statue of Liberty, to get there.

THE MANHATTAN SKYLINE?

So, now we're back home in Sevilla. I emailed "F" on Monday and told him, given his lack of attention to the problems in our apartment, we would begin looking for a new home. He didn't respond but, Tuesday, he sent his secretary up (his office is on the floor below) with an unidentified man to look at the problems. He said we needed a plumber. Doh! Or, as they say here, "¡No, ni, na!" I said they were just going to have to wait for us to return from our trip. Then, when we got off the train in Fuengirola, my phone rang. It was the plumber. He was at our door and wanted to fix the leak. A half hour later, "F" phoned. He began to berate me because I had been demanding repairs and now I wasn't here to have them done. I yelled back indignantly, repeating all that had transpired, until he backed off. He then said he would have the plumber come back when we returned. I said, "And what about the expert needed for the water heater?" He said, "Well that's working now, correct?" That's when I really lost it. He said he would have a technician here Monday as well. I doubt it.

MOLDY MOLDING.  TWO-DAYS WORTH. I MAY STOP SCRUBBING AND START MOWING.

We'll be leaving anyway. I won't dwell on this annoying little blip. Can't wait to tell you about our new apartment on the beach. Lots more good news to come.

FACING FUTURE.
CLICK TO SEE THE VIEW FROM FUENGIROLA.

16 comments:

  1. What a gorgeous train ride.
    Trains really ought to be the way to travel.

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    Replies
    1. Bob:
      I traveling by train in Europe. I expect we'll be doing a lot more of it once we move, given how easy it is to walk to the train station.

      Delete
  2. I really enjoy traveling vicariously with you. Thank you so much for sharing your photos, impressions and experiences! (BTW-Where are the two kitties while you're gone?)

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    Replies
    1. Ms. Sparrow:
      And I love having you along, even if it's only vicariously.

      A friend of ours, Paula, took care of the cats while we were gone. They didn't even give us any attitude when we got home.

      Delete
  3. I love train trips. Absolutely the best way to get around. I am looking forward to reading about your forthcoming adventures, Mitch!

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    Replies
    1. Judith:
      I agree with you about train travel. When well-managed, it's a pleasure.

      Delete
  4. San Geraldo uses the washroom a lot! Reminds me of somebody.....
    We love trains! I my books, if you have the time, it`s the only way to travel.
    Your trip looked great. Loved the olive orchards and orange groves...not to mention the limestone cliffs.
    How frustrating that `man`is! Good to get away from him....soon. Have a great weekend.

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    Replies
    1. Jim:
      The views are amazing along the way. Too bad the windows didn't open (well maybe not too bad), it would have improved the photos. We're looking forward to traveling by train once we moved. Lots of places to go easily from Fuengirola.

      Delete
  5. You make our upcoming trip even more enticing writing about train trips. That tree looks like it's in bloom? Is it spring there? It does sound like you are well on your way to a happy place to live again.

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    1. Odd Essay:
      You will love train travel here. With temps regularly in the 60s in winter, there's always something in bloom.

      Delete
  6. "Apartment on the beach", I like the sounds of that!!

    You live in such a beautiful country. I love that flowering tree. And I wish we had good train service here like they do in Europe!

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    1. Knatolee:
      After traveling around Europe by train when I was in my late teens and early 20s, I was disappointed that it wasn't the same in the States. So looking forward to doing a lot more of it here.

      Delete
  7. Hey, Mitchell! Lovely pictures of your trip! For two years, I took the AVE from Madrid to Sevilla at least twice a month and that could be super expensive...133 euros roundtrip! I don't know if you know, BUT Renfe now has a sweet deal called the "Spain Pass." The roundtrip tickets I used to buy have gone up to 144 euros, but with your American passports you guys can get TWO sets of roundtrip tickets for 166 euros! You buy the pass and have 6 months to use it. After you first use the pass (so from the date of your first "ida") you have a month to use it. So, you could see two lovely Spanish cities via the AVE in a month! Sorry for so much information if you were already aware of the Spain pass. It was such a huge surprise for me...it just came two years too late! I only got to use it twice... : /

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    Replies
    1. Brittany:
      Thanks so much for this info. We did know we needed to check into passes and will definitely do so. What a deal... especially since we're looking forward to that AVE trip from Málaga to Madrid... and Barcelona.

      Delete
  8. I have scrolled back to find clues as to what is happening and why you are moving to Malaga and when? I have not found why or when you are moving so would you please enlighten me? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the cuby poet:
      I posted a little update today, so you wouldn't have to read through the history. The telling of the story began with the December 23 post. The saga continued on the 25th, 28th, and here and there ever since!

      Delete

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