Trip to Malaga Wednesday August 28
For the first few days in Spain we settled the important business of getting our computers and phones to work. We met with the internet man right away. We wanted to be sure that we would be able to communicate with the world so we asked David, our landlord, to arrange this. It seemed really important to us to have WiFi (pronounced “wee fee” here). I remember being in Spain in 1988. An experience across the ocean was really different then. I studied abroad for the fall semester of my junior year at the Universidad de Sevilla. I wrote letters to my family and friends. I sealed them in special, very light envelopes that were stamped “air mail” and walked to the post office to mail them. Friends sent me letters and cassette tapes of mixes that they had made, what a different world it was in 1988. I spoke to my family by phone only a few times during my time in Sevilla and that was usually in the middle of the night. I wasn’t allowed to use the phone to call the US, so my mom would call in the night to be sure to find me at home. Now after just 2 days in Spain we have internet access and mobile phones. There are several carriers in Spain. We discovered that there is one called Orange, no surprise we picked that one! The girls thought that Orange was funny. They said, “We have Apple at home and they have Orange in Spain!”
Our phones came in handy on our first trip back down the mountain to Malaga. On Wednesday we had to return our second rental car. We initially needed 2 cars to carry our 8 suitcases, 4 backpacks and 2 carry-ons when we arrived in Spain. With separate cars it was good to have map quest and text messaging. It was a trick to get around the busy Malaga airport but eventually we found a gas station, dropped off the car and escaped.
We knew that there was an IKEA in Malaga and we needed supplies so the nice lady on map quest helped us find our way. Right next to IKEA was a McDonald’s! It is our tradition to stop at McDonald’s whenever we are in a foreign country so that Mike can see if it is the same. Of course, anyone who knows my dear husband knows that he will find any excuse for a Quarter Pounder with Cheese and a Coca Cola Light. Savvy and her Daddy enjoyed their cheeseburgers while the 2 vegetarians sipped water.
We had lots of fun at IKEA buying pillow cases, comforters for Sky and Savvy, hanging shelves for the closets and other essentials such as nicer wine glasses and an orange and green mean mother scraper, ( spatula ).
Sky and I ate after shopping at the IKEA store. My lunch was delicious, here it is:
Our next stop in Malaga was the Carrefore store. Just like most small towns in the US, the selection of food in Alhama de Granada is pretty woeful. Carolina warned us that this would be the case. She was amazed at the selection of everything at Raley’s supermarket in the US. One day she just stood in front of the juice section admiring the many versions of carrot juice that we have. Carrefore is a Spanish version of one of our supermarkets but they are only located in big cities. The one we found was actually the anchor for an indoor mall. We walked past Claires, numerous clothing stores, and the Foot Locker before we could collect our grocery cart. We stopped to buy Sky some flip flops. When we entered the Carrefore store there was a stern guard at the door who insisted on sealing her bag shut with a dangerous looking plastic melter (not that any 11 year old couldn’t poke a hole in the bag). I love going to foreign grocery stores because it is always an adventure in itself. We have already learned that ham is in just about everything. At the Carrefore store we learned just how important Jamon is to the Spanish. There was an impressive section devoted to it. Check this out!
At restaurants it is very important for Sky and me to mention that we are vegetarians. We love gazpacho and order it often. One time Sky ordered it, took one bite and almost spit it out. “This tastes foul! ” she said. I tried a small sip and thought it was pretty good. I dug my spoon deeper into the bowl and expected some nice chunks of cucumber but it was chunks of cured jamon. YUCK! Says the vegetarian. We have even found that jamon is a favorite ingredient in green salads. When we say we don’t want any meat on something we get confused looks from the waiter as he says, “y jamon?”.
Every morning we walk to the panaderia (bread store) and buy wonderful freshly baked bread for our breakfast. Even though there is great fresh bread here there is a large section of processed crustless bread at the Carrefore store! Sky even had to take pictures of this to send to her friends back home.
We were very happy to see some comfort foods from home. We bought maple syrup from Canada, bottles of pasta sauce, tortellini, ketchup, Lay’s potato chips and Coke zero for Mike!
With our purchases in hand, we made it safely back to Alhama just before dark. It was a good thing that we got back when we did because in a few hours we were awoken by a huge thunderstorm. We raced upstairs to clear the laundry off the lines and close all the doors on the roof. Mike decided then that we needed a dryer!
The next morning we could hear children playing at the school from our balcony. We hiked down to see if we could register the girls for school. The playground was full of mostly naked small children playing in the water. It was a summer camp program. We were informed that Javier, the director, would be there next week so we should return then.
The trail into the gorge leading away from the school was calling us, so Team Kezmoh agreed it was time for an explore! The trail through the gorge leads to a hotel with a pool so we hit the trail to check it out.
We explored the trail and arrived at a Grotto to the Virgin Mary. There are nice signs in English and Spanish describing the landmarks all around Alhama de Granada. The sign at the Grotto explained the legend. Around the year 1500 a knight was traveling along the edge of the gorge. A snake scared his horse and it jumped off the cliff into the gorge. The man prayed to the Virgin to spare his life as he flew through the air. The horse landed on his feet but died immediately. There are hoof marks still visible in the rocks. The man was thrown from the horse. When he awoke he had a very bad head wound but he was alive. He had a vision of the Virgin Mary who told him that she would grant him 3 more days of life if he would build a shrine to her on that very spot. Legend has it that he was quite rich so he did as he was asked and lived 3 more days. The shrine still stands. It is kept up by a local family and candles still burn around the clock.
We arrived at the hotel a few kilometers later (we have to start thinking in kilometers here!). The pool was closed, likely due to the threat of lightening earlier in the day. The hotel did have an inviting restaurant and we were really hungry. We sat, ordered some vino tinto and relaxed with a plate of the best aceitunas (olives) in Granada. Savvy had pollo con ajo (chicken with garlic), her new favorite whenever we eat out.
Mike was feeling adventurous and ordered a “typical andalusian stew”. There was one item listed as an ingredient in the stew, morcilla. We were unsure about the translation but he guessed that it was some kind of pork. Nope! Blood sausage, ewww Looks like something else. Here he is pretending to eat it!
Don’t worry, He didn’t really eat it! And yes, that is Savvy’s finger 🙂
After lunch we heard thunder. The previously blue skies had opened and it was pouring rain. We were anxious to get back to Casa Azul so Team Kezmoh ran all the way home in the rain. We were so proud of our strong trail-running daughters! It was my favorite moment of the trip so far!