Spain: Axarquía

When I last visited the mainland of Spain, it was only a few days in Valencia but that was enough to make me want to see more. The climate is always great, the people are friendly, the food is fantastic (and also very good at making you rotund) as well as being pretty reasonably priced for Europe. What’s not to like?

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I flew into Malaga, which is right down the bottom of Spain, east from Gibraltar and across the Alboran Sea from Morocco. I had booked a very reasonably priced AirBnB apartment up the coast from Malaga in a beach-front town called Torre Del Mar. The reason for this was mainly the price;  I planned on hiring a car for a couple of days so where I slept each night didn’t bother me. Although, Torre Del Mar turned out to be very nice.

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The roads linking all the towns and villages along the coast line are never congested, which makes visiting the surrounding area by car a breeze. It’s possible to do by public transport, but to be honest it doesn’t outweigh the very reasonable cost of hiring a car. The busses are infrequent, slow  and not very handy; at 20 Euros a day for a car it’s the much better option. In the photo above is a shot taken from a coastal town called Nerja, which is popular with British tourists during the peak season but had calmed down a lot by October, which is when I went.

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I was actually taking this week to take some time and sort my life out for the next couple of years but it would be rude to not explore the surrounding area too. The thing about ‘exploring’ this part of the world is that if you wan to mingle with the locals, you need to alter the structure of your typical day.

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We’ve all heard of the Siesta. Until I visited Southern Spain I didn’t really appreciate how seriously the Spanish take it. I had assumed a Siesta to be a mid afternoon nap of a couple of hours or so, but I soon realised that I essentially had the morning and the late evening to get anything done that involved dealing with a Spanish person.

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Above you’ll see a photo of a typical Spanish village. What I wanted to do is take a drive inland from the coast and visit several of them, as each are locally renowned for a different type of food. As I did not anticipate that a Siesta actually meant that nobody did anything from about 1pm till well after dark, I didn’t manage to try out everything that I wanted. I did do a lot of spirited mountain driving in my Citroen, however 😀

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One thing I did manage to find, however, was the famous raisins from Cómpeta. Best. Raisins. Ever.

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If you’re looking for a place that is warm all year round, chilled out, fair-priced and doesn’t take anything too seriously, consider Spain. It is dry, keep in mind, so if masses of vegetation and flowers are your thing, maybe look somewhere else. If you’re like me and you need to be have something going on all the time then it probably isn’t ideal either, but it’s definitely a lifestyle I can get on board with temporarily.

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It would be rude to leave Spain without eating Paella. Around this area it’s best to buy anything with seafood right on the beach, from a ‘Chiringuito.’ I turned up at 8pm to order a Paella (for two people, the minimum, fuck it, I’ll eat it all), and got asked what time I’d like to order it for. They don’t eat dinner early here…

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This is also one of the times in my travels where I resented being alone. Eating tapas is not something one does by oneself. It doesn’t mean that it didn’t taste good, though.. I can recommend the sardines and the cuttlefish in this area!

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All in all, this a great area to come on holiday and for my purposes it served well. It isn’t a backpackers spot by any means but if you’re with a group or need a chilled out place where you can work during the day without distraction, then definitely consider it. 

Thanks for reading!

– Damo

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