All along my travels through Spain, people had raved about the city of Ronda – everyone told me that I HAD TO VISIT! So for the first time, I decided to sign up for a tour. I’m not typically a “tour” person – I like to wander alone or in a close-knit group of people I know. I don’t like to be on a schedule or guided this way or that – it’s just not for me. My tour pickup point was just south of Malaga, along the coast, in Torremelinos. I booked a last second hostel online and I hopped off my bus from Granada to find a sprawling, over-developed cesspool. The coast stretching from Malaga south is built up with hotels, resorts and bar districts – usually, I like bar districts, but only when they’re full of local flavor. I don’t travel to find faux culture and overdeveloped areas that remind me of childhood family trips to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. So, I was instantly let down and I wanted to escape back to the wondrous hills of Granada.
When she returned she still tried to overcharge me, and I ended up paying the 2 extra euros and thinking that ‘I can’t be bothered by it.’ Instead of handing me a key and explaining where my room was, she turned and walked up the hallway. I didn’t follow her, so at the end of the hall, she turned and waved at me in a sort of exasperated manner. I followed up the winding stairs and a ridiculously strong stench of cat piss and feces met my nose. She unlocked the door to what was apparently my room, and I could see past her, that the room hadn’t been cleaned. She began straightening up the room while I stood there. She made the bed, and I asked her to change the bedding, as I was not about to sleep on previously used sheets – I mean, come on. Instead of accommodating, she began to say “is clean, is clean!” I told her that I saw her try to clean up and that all I need is a clean sheet at least. She shook her head and began yelling in an almost unbearable high pitch, “deez is clean, clean!” All I could do was wave my hands, saying “No.” and stand there solemn with my arms crossed. I wasn’t even mad at her, but I was completely blown away by the obvious disgusting conditions of a hotel that stood right in the middle of the high priced vacation areas. She finally returned with a ‘clean’ sheet – she thrusted it into my arms and walked away muttering. To make matters worse, the shower head sat on the ground, and had no holster, and the water from it came out in spurts – every few moments it would change from blistering hot with low pressure and then ice cold with such a strong pressure that the shower head would squirt all over the bathroom. In the end... I laughed my ass off at the absurdity of the situation and downed a few beers.
Instead of returning to Torremelinos, I hopped off the tour bus in Malaga, where I wandered for a couple of hours through the pedestrian streets and markets. While I had previously judged Malaga as part of the issues I had with Costa del Sol, I was quickly proven wrong. Malaga definitely had life – it was full of charm and had its own remnants of an interesting past. I quite enjoyed roaming aimlessly through the small stone alleyways, where I found quaint homes and the usual boutique bakery, but I also found various old Roman ruins as well. I found my hostel with some help from the local shop keepers. The Picasso’s Corner hostel was just a cheap result that I found online the day before – the reviews were pretty decent, and the hostel offered wifi, so I was all set. The hostel didn’t really have much to offer as far as amenities and most of the kitchen appliances didn’t work, but it had a small bar downstairs where a group of hostelers hung around making it a comfortable and friendly place.
As I do most of the time – I wandered and ended up finding my way through the old city of Sevilla. After a couple hours of being lost, I finally asked for the directions to my hostel and then realized that I had circled the area nearby, multiple times. But it was okay, as I got a real feel for the antique city.