Farewell Alora, Spain

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Alora Perota Soup Day

A cosmic coincidence today – our last day in Alora!

In the bus from the train station up to town, we got chatting with some visitors (Irish and English) who had jumped on the train out of Malaga for a day trip. Unfortunately, as some road work is being done in ‘Alora Centro’ the bus only came partway, so we offered to accompany them up town.

For an hour or so we played tourist guide – handing out snippets of local info learned from Paco! One of the ladies had been looking for some sewing bobbins – her machine has stopped auto-winding (something like that) – and she has been on the lookout for full bobbins and we know where the sewing shop is! Mundane, but helpful to her 🙂

They were looking for lunch, so we took them to our favourite bar/cafe and had a coffee with them and a little chat – pointed them in the direction of the famous stairs (posted in an earlier post with a link to youtube video) and said that if Veracruz Church was open when they went by that it was worth a look in!

We didn’t stay with them for lunch, because we’d already planned to have our last lunch in Alora at Casa de Correos (old Post Office) – nachos, curried chicken and rice, prawns in creme fraiche and Greek salad (all entree sizes) for a mini banquet, so we left them there! Not before one of the Newcastle ladies shared her Morocco horror story (from her 2012 holiday) – thanks for the scare lady! As we were leaving I said to her “I’m a born worrier; so, I’m going to try to ignore everything you’ve just told us!” We all had a laugh!

They travelled independently and disliked the things that most people on travel reviews seem to complain about – mainly the hard sell culture (snakes in their faces!!). Also, one of them got very sick for two weeks. They said “we were staying at hotels, so we shouldn’t have had to worry about the food.” Maybe they didn’t take enough care with hygiene? Nowhere else on our travels have we worried about antibacterial hand wash or wipes, but based on our reading we decided to get some for Morocco. It is our responsibility, so with some care and luck we’ll get through our 14 weeks travel without catching anything 🙂

We had a good Samaritan moment today. Not sure if it’s clumsy to share, or not! In Los Fuentes (our coffee shop) the cook is a young Bulgarian lady and Eric has chatted with her a lot over the weeks. She’s here with her husband and child mainly because there’s no work in Bulgaria. There’s no work in Spain either and her husband still doesn’t have a job! She’s not sure what they’re going to do. So, we asked her would she be offended if we gave her some money. It was only something small for us, but hopefully a small windfall for her family.

So, today we played tour guides, collected out printing, dropped some clothes, books and one of our suitcases into the charity shop, had a coffee with strangers, said goodbye to favourite hangouts, had a lovely farewell lunch – bought our favourite lollies from the lovely old husband and wife team near Veracruz Church – we explained by sign language and pidgin Spanish that we were leaving and he shook hands with us both 🙂 – and walked home to Finca Fenix for the last time!

As we walked under the ‘nun’s bridge’ we heard an Irish voice call out – looked up to see one of the day tourists. They were lost and looking for the bus! So, we had a last change to help out!!!

It feels lovely today! We aren’t sad – we are ready to move on now. Alora has been a perfect place to base ourselves for two months in Spain – even though the hills were a struggle; they are very much a part of the charm of the place!

So, on the train to Aeropuerto tomorrow and flying out to Casablanca, Morocco on the 2.30pm flight – woo hoo!!!

Goodbye and thank you Spain and HELLO, North Africa! 😀

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View from Castle Alora

BEST LAID PLANS – 14th September

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Well, I’ve had our eight weeks in Alora booked and paid for – for months!

I emailed Mark at Finca Finex today to confirm we’re arriving tomorrow night – and got an email back saying “Yikes! You’re here tomorrow? We have you coming on the 22nd” – a week away! So, suddenly as we are just about to catch our flight from Athens to Madrid – all we have booked for a week is a night in Madrid!!

That’s okay! Although it hits our budget, we looked for accommodation in Seville and book three days from 15th Sept to 18th Sept, still leaves three days until we can check into Alora, but we don’t want to commit for a week until we see a) what the hotel is like and b) what there is to do in Seville.

Then we go to book the train from Madrid to Seville on 15th September – no train available until 17th September!! That puts a spanner in the works!

At 2pm this afternoon, I was a little stressed because we will get into Madrid airport at 10.45 pm and Eric insists we get the metro to the hotel – about an hour – then we will wander around for a while finding our hotel (google maps says 6 minutes; but it is the middle of the night in a strange city – I’m allowed to be dramatic! 🙂 )

When we wake the next day, we have to work out how to get to Seville OR how to change our ‘super cheap’ Sevilla accommodation to a couple of days later and stay in Madrid.

BUT THEN – not only are there no train tickets, but they are between $107 and $167 EACH! Cheaper to hire a car it seems; we’ve seen prices suggesting $35 AUD for 3 days! BUT, we’ll be driving out of Madrid on the wrong side of the road, with no practise! Bummer!

So, I was a little stressed at 2 pm. Then more stressed at 3.30 – when we realised we’d booked the wrong date for Alora. Then we found Seville accommodation, so less stressed by 4 pm, THEN mega-stressed at 4.50 (just as taxi driver arrived) because we don’t know how to get to Seville!

About to board our flight and Eric has been googling on the super-slow free airport WIFI – no solution yet!

I need a Hungry Jacks Whopper – chocolate won’t do it!!!

Airfare Madrid to Seville will be approx $450 AUD (blows the budget) – checking car hire prices again.

So, our Greek sojourn was excellent and our new Spain experience has begun with some challenges. Here’s to some satisfactory solutions (aka we don’t have to sleep at the side of the road, hitch-hike, get mugged and/or murdered!!)

I’ll let you know how we go! (OBVIOUSLY we survived, because I’m writing this – but more detail to come!)

YAMAS! 🙂