04.04.2016 - 06.04.2016 24 °C
Monday morning presented us with breakfast, which I was more excited about than usual, on account of the minimal dinner that had occurred the night before. The trip to Leeds should have been a 2 hour trip on the A1, but in true Buccheri style we made it take all day with a sneaky little detour to Newark. Newark has the remains of a castle - one wall only. I have decided that for optimum enjoyment of a ruin, I like there to be no roof, some walls, and archways that I can walk through. This castle had archways that I could only look through, but excellent battle sound effects. Oh wait, that was just the sound of shrieking children running around the gardens. Close enough.
We wandered around Newark, and enjoyed two baked beans and cheese toasties for £2.50 - money well spent. And the next £2.50 spent was the most exciting purchase of the trip so far - Simon finally found his Dan Brown book in a charity bookshop! Hardcover and everything, great excitement. We did part of the Civil War trail, complete with Augmented Reality video thingies. Newark was a strongly royalist town and was sieged three times. There were no current sieges occurring though, so we left when we were ready and headed to Otley to pick up Annie from her first day of work. Over dinner we caught up on all the happenings since we'd left Leeds - Rosie mastering crawling, Steve and Lesley going to a jazz festival in Hungary, and Andy & Annie getting jobs and a house. And of course we had a few tales of housesitting and exploration to share too!
The next morning we were up early to ensure that we had time to sort our luggage and choose 20 of the most appropriate kilos to take with us to Spain, with the other half of our possessions having an extended stay in Armley. After returning Kenny the Corsa to his rightful abode, we had a sneak peek of the Otley Chevin and planned a full peak on our return to England. Then it was off to the airport, which featured a fairly manic security clearance process. Pretty much every second person had to remove their shoes and go through the body scanner - there were unshod people and trays of shoes desperately attempting to be reunited all over the place. The security area was quite small too, which added to the experience. Anyway - onto the plane we went, and had a smooth run into Malaga. The girl in front of me must have brushed her hair four times in the course of a three hour flight. When she went to the toilet, she came back dismayed at the size of the cubicle. I'm not entirely sure what she was expecting, but obviously there wasn't quite enough room for the beautification process she had in mind, with makeup bag in hand.
Upon landing, a triumphant fanfare was played through the cabin, which made it seem as if Ryanair themselves were pleasantly surprised by the success of the journey.
Getting through customs in Malaga involved no stress whatsoever, and our passports are now another stamp richer. A twenty minute taxi ride later and we were on the edge of the historic centre of Malaga being welcomed to our small but wonderfully red flat by Frederic. We could not have asked for a better welcome to Spain, and armed with a map and two weeks of Spanish-learned-from-Duolingo we headed out for tapas. We had to do a few laps of the plaza but eventually found Cortijo de Pepe, and ordered things we recognised from the menu - patatas, queso manchego and beer. Win. Simon then detected an Australian accent sitting next to us at the bar. She turned out to have family in Warrnambool and previously worked as Alex Malley's executive assistant at CPA Australia. A couple of hours (and some surprising travel recommendations) later we finished up and went for a much-needed sleep.
This morning we had a sleep in (embracing the relaxed lifestyle already) and found a cafe Frederic had recommended for desayuno. I pulled out all my Spanish skills (Hablas ingles?) which got us an English menu. We then managed to order in Spanish-ish and had fresh fruit, yoghurt and muesli which sounds kinda dull but was incredibly refreshing and delicious and just what I wanted. There was also sugar, with a side dish of coffee or tea. I have never seen sugar sachets so big! Each sachet would have had about six teaspoons in it. Azucar - and then some.
Fuelled for the day, we strolled around Malaga and ran into our Australian friend from the night before. Of course. We became unnecessarily excited by the pedestrian crossings where the green man symbol actually walks! Simple things... Our simple minds somehow got us to the estacion de autobuses and onto a bus to Granada. The lady who sold us our tickets obviously thought we needed a break from each other, as she gave us seats 6 and 14. Nevermind.
On arrival in Granada, we could have caught a taxi to our hotel. Or we could have caught a bus. Or, with no map, we could have walked, following the SN1 bus as it passed us every 20 minutes or so. What do you think we did? I'm calling it the Free and Unguided Walking Tour of Granada. We stopped along the way for late lunch - Menu del Dia from a cafe where the owner spoke no English but was happy to play charades with us. The starter was listed as 'Iberian sausage' but turned out to be a platter of meats (ham, salami, and prosciutto with Russian salad - fancy coleslaw). Simon couldn't believe his luck! Anyway, we managed to find our hotel eventually and had a brief exploratory walk around the neighborhood. We collected our Alhambra tickets for next week, ate/drank €5 worth of cerveza and tapas and generally congratulated ourselves on deciding to go to Spain. Team Buccas strikes again!