Malaga to Tolox – 58 km

I am posting my journals backdated to the day I wrote them, so read from bottom up if you have just arrived. Keep checking back, I have two weeks of journals to upload.

After too many beer and a couple bottles of wine to send Jen and Rich off, we decided to make a lazy start to today. We still woke up at just after seven, but took our time before meeting Dave & Mari at nine to search out breakfast.

As we were having dinner on the beach in Almuñécar last week, a homeless man wheeled his bike out onto the beach and started making camp. He had built a wooden carrier on the back of his bike in which he carried his dog. As he set up camp, he laid out a bed for the dog before his own and fed the dog before himself.

When we arrived back in Malaga yesterday, we saw him again. He has obviously been working his way West along the coast as we circled around to the North. This morning, he is sitting in the café having a coffee with his dog at his feet. He is well dressed and always smiling. He has a sign on the back of his bike with both their names. It ways that they are wanderers and that he sells one joke for a Euro or three for two.

Leaving Malaga, we made the mistake of following the GPS South of the airport which led us for a few kilometres down a six lane divided highway with trucks and cars flying by. Even when we got off the highway, the traffic was heavy and oppressive until we got through Alhaurín de la Torre. From here, the road rolled up the valley with a cooling headwind.IMG_0662

As we passed through Alhaurín el Grande, they were setting up for a parade. Explosions were going off in the air above us, church bells were ringing, chairs and people lined the streets and hundreds of kids in khaki green military uniforms with black patent leather sashes and belts milled about. Green cloth banners with silver and gold crosses hung from the balconies above the street.IMG_0668IMG_0671

Just past here, we stopped for a long, leisurely lunch in Coín at a sidewalk café. We watched the world come and go, before finally getting on our bikes to finish the day’s ride. It was a surprisingly quick ride to Tolox with the usual steep climb into town. Tolox is a pretty town nestled in a valley below the Sierra de las Nieves. IMG_0672IMG_0673

We are staying at a lovely bed and breakfast that I found on the Internet called La Posada Azul. Kristien Nelen, The Belgian female mountain bike champion spends her winters training here. The owner, Marie-France, is a lovely French woman who settled here many years ago. We have two large rooms and access to a large rooftop patio where we spend the afternoon sitting, reading and planning the days ahead.

We are trying to work in a day off in Tarifa, but are having trouble with the route back East to Malaga. The only roads are major highways through the tourist infested beach resorts. The alternative is riding back North through Ronda, but that will take an extra day. We are considering taking a bus back to Malaga, or maybe even a ferry from Africa, but we don’t know what is possible.IMG_0676IMG_0678

We headed out in the late afternoon to find dinner and climbed higher up into Tolox. We found a large patio restaurant overlooking the town and sat down. The place was filled with entire families drinking beer and watching soccer on the TV. The kitchen was closed for siesta, but the bar-tender managed to pull us together a dinner of cheese, ham, calamari and fries.IMG_0680

That is the only problem with riding in Spain, we often finish the day starving during siesta and too tired by eight or nine when the kitchens open again. Everyone is super friendly though and always willing to do what they can for us.

After dinner, we returned to the guest house to try to figure out the remainder of our trip. Marie-France lent us her computer so that I could email hotels in Tarifa and we checked the possibility of renting a van and driving ourselves. It doesn’t look like there is a convenient ferry back to Malaga, but other than that, it looks like our options are improving. We should have a better idea when we receive the replies to my emails tomorrow evening.

We also discussed going over the mountains to Ronda on the dirt roads, or taking the main road around. We are all up for an adventure even though Marie-France as a bit incredulous that anyone would want to do such a thing. She assured us that the road does go through and the route is very pretty, so we are decided. She even offered to make us sandwiches for our trip.

It sounds perfect to me. I will take any chance to get off the hot, busy roads.

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Malaga to Tolox

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