It had been a long, long journey but I’d finally made it to Europe for the first time in almost a decade. With summer in full swing, I was ready to embark on some shenanigans in Sunny Spain!
I’d landed in Madrid and decided to join a free walking tour of the city. It was guided by a South African named Max. During the tour, I started talking to a Portugese guy named Pedro, who also happened to have the same name as a Brazilian guy on the tour. We spotted Mario, or at least an old Spanish man dressed up in a Mario costume. Within the blink of an eye, Spanish Mario was right next to us making poses and asking for photos and selfies together. It turns out that those poses come with an expected donation, but whatever, itsa Mario!
Walking Around the City
As we walked around Spain’s capital city, Max took us to many sites of interest and gave us a bit of background of events in the city over time. He even told us how the Bank Of Spain building was once home to over 500 tonnes of Moscow Gold. When we reached The Puerta de Alcalá in the Plaza de la Independencia, he informed us that it was ‘older and better’ than both the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
After the walk was done, Pedro and I decided to get some lunch. While walking around searching for the perfect place, we stumbled upon a Tim Hortons. That’s a beloved Canadian coffee chain, just in case you weren’t aware. Pedro was so enamoured by the idea of a coffee shop that doesn’t exist in Portugal, that he wanted to go in and try what they had on offer. I think he’s in love with Timbits now. We crushed our hunger with a well-earnt buffet lunch. Then we joked with our Spanish server about the number of English words that become Spanish when adding an ‘O’ to the end. After that, Pedro and I parted ways.
Shenanigans in Sunny Spain – Festivities in the City
It might be worth mentioning at this point that Madrid was celebrating its annual Pride Festival and the streets were positively buzzing. While walking along, I saw a Spanish string quartet rocking out their version of ‘Eye of the Tiger’. I was invited to a make-up party, but eventually settled for some dancing in the streets with locals wearing pride flags as superhero capes. Good times.
Back at the hostel, I booked my bus ticket to Malaga in southern Spain then grabbed my gear and headed to a local bar for an international meet. I had a great time talking to strangers from all over the world and wowing them with my awesome travel stories, but unfortunately, it had to end. I then headed to the bus station for my overnight bus to Malaga. Sounds fun, right?
Shenanigans in Sunny Spain – Modest Malaga
I arrived in Malaga bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after a wonderful sleep. Nah, not really! I was semi-awake and probably resembled something like a lost zombie. Of course, the best thing to do at that point was to head to a cafe to binge on sugar and internet, right? Apparently the bus ride had taken away my ability to speak Spanish with any proficiency. Luckily the Spanish seem to be a lot better at speaking English than I am at speaking Spanish!
Feeling a bit more alive after some food, I was ready to venture out into the hot city and see the sights. I found myself walking along a dry riverbed that led me to a cute area of the city centre. It was only accessible by pedestrians and the occasional delivery van. Strips of canvas had been hung from the roofs of the buildings all along the cobbled roads to shade people from the harsh sun. What a great idea!
Green Space in the City
Not far from that area, was a large inner city park between two busy roads, across from the port, complete with monuments and sculptured gardens. I sat on a shaded park bench for a while to take it all in. It’s surprising how easy it was to ignore the traffic buzzing on either side when surrounded by nature. Especially the birds in the nearby trees that seemed to be squawking loudly in an attempt to be heard over the throng of the traffic.
I ended up getting back to the station an hour early as I’d overestimated the time it would take me to walk back. I went to a ‘cafeteria’ across the road from the station, Los Villares. The first thing I saw as I walked in was the video for Smells Like Teen Spirit playing. I sat down to eat my egg and bacon special while the 90s video hits continued to play. It was a pretty good way to waste that extra hour! I mean, who doesn’t love 80s music videos? Right?!
There was one thing left to do. Get myself on a bus headed for the Talifa port at the southern tip of Spain. From there, I’d hop on a ferry for a short ride to start my next adventure.. in Morocco, Africa!
In a few words – Sunny and colourful
Language – Spanish and English
Currency – Euro (EUR)
WiFi availability – 📶📶📶📶📶
Good WiFi is easy to find
I didn’t try any inner city transport in Spain as I prefer to walk. Intercity transport is lovely and airconditioned, but probably more expensive than it should be. A 5 hour trip could cost from €20-35
Roads – 🛣🛣🛣🛣🛣
All roads in Spain are smooth and well maintained
Scenery – 🌳⛰🌳🏞🌳
Spanish cities have a lot of green spaces and the countryside is full of rolling green hills.
Prices – 💰💰💰
Most things seem to be reasonably priced in Spain, but transport, although comfortable, is a bit overpriced
Border efficiency – 🛃🛃🛃🛃🛃
Entering and exiting Spain was quick and easy
Overall – 👍👍👍👍👍