A year ago today my husband and I set off on our first foreign holiday together to the Costa Del Sol. My sister recommended the destination as she had been herself and knew it was an easy trip for novice travellers.
My sister was right, it was an amazingly easy place to get to. We had cheap flights from Manchester to Malaga, the flight time was around 3 hours. From Malaga Airport it was a case of crossing the road to Malaga train station, and then it was a short journey to Torremolinos where we were staying. From the station in Torremolinos our hotel was just a 5 minute walk. For two people who had been nervous about foreign travel, it was ideal and totally stress-free. There was no difficulty with a language barrier either as all signs, ticket machines, etc were available to read in English.
The hotel was a pleasant surprise, our room was lovely with a balcony looking out over the sea. We had an all-inclusive deal and this meant that there was a lot of food and drink available all of the time. Neither of us are big drinkers but the on tap Sangria was a real treat. The buffet-style meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner time were…interesting. There were quite a few times that I had a spoonful of food hovering over my plate, then read the description and put it down again. Examples of this included tripe soup and baby eel salad – no thanks! The highlight was the paella but that was about the only Spanish option. As we had expected, the food was very much designed for Brits abroad who wanted a bit of sun without soaking up any of the culture. This seemed to be the theme of Torremolinos as a whole actually.
We were only there for 4 days so we wanted to make the most of our trip. We had looked at the average November temperatures and weather and were expecting 16 degrees and rain each day. What we actually got was 25 degrees and bright sunshine. It was gorgeous, although we did have to purchase some shorts and flip flops to be able to tolerate the heat!
The beach at Torremolinos was deserted while we were there because it was off season. This meant that we could spend time down there relaxing in total peace and quiet. Neither me or my husband are particularly body confident but we decided to throw caution to the wind and go swimming (we had brought costumes by the way!) This was when ‘the incident’ occurred. I call it that because it is still a sore point to this day. While swimming, my husband grabbed hold of my hand and accidentally pulled my engagement ring off. Of course we knew it was lost forever as soon as it left my finger but this didn’t stop us diving down trying to find it. My husband was distraught but my attitude was much more relaxed, “it’s only a ring, we’re both ok, it was just an accident”. I did feel quite bereft not having my ring anymore but I would never have let my husband know that. It did put a bit of a dampener on the holiday but we still enjoyed it.
A highlight of the holiday was when we visited Malaga. We were surprised by how beautiful the city is. We went on a sightseeing tour bus and one of the optional extras was a boat trip from Malaga Port which we decided to book onto. Malaga Port was glorious; beautiful palm trees, lovely shops and restaurants, orange trees, fancy yachts. We were amazed while on our boat trip around the Malaga coastline to see dolphins!
We then hopped back on the tour bus and travelled to the Castillo de Gibralfaro. The view from the castle walls was incredible.
We also found the city centre architecture stunning. Particularly impressive was Malaga Cathedral.
From Torremolinos it was also easy to travel to Benalmadena and Fuengirola but these were a bit too similar to Torremolinos with a multitude of fish and chip shops, and ‘English’ pubs serving roast dinners. Apart from the weather, we did at times find it hard to believe we were actually in Spain.
We loved our little adventure to the Costa Del Sol and have many happy memories. However, next time we travel to Spain we will go somewhere a little more authentic. We want tapas and flamenco dancing and to truly experience Spanish culture.
Looking out at this grey, windy and rainy November day I wish I could return. Oh and in case you’re wondering, luckily my engagement ring was insured so we were able to replace it. At least it’s a good story to be able to tell and I like the thought of it washing up on a beach somewhere in the future…