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12-28 September 1997


On 12th September at 6.20 a.m. (!) I took the plane to Málaga in the South of Spain. We arrived three hours later, picked up our rental car, a little Citroen, and hit the road for Granada. We intended to visit all the major places in the region of Andalusia in one week. We got to Granada in the early afternoon and looked out for a cheap hotel. This first one cost us only 2500 Pesetas (about 16 US $) for two but it also wasn't very good. The best one we had, a two-star hotel, cost 6000 Pesetas (about 38 US $) for a double room. We left the car in a car park and took the bus to the famous Alhambra, a Moorish castle on a hill above the city. For dinner we went to a Spanish restaurant like all the other evenings. In Spain people don't start eating their main meal before 8 p.m., usually after 10 p.m.! Food is quite cheap (at least compared to Germany). You can get a full meal, often including drinks, for about 1000 Pesetas (about 6 US $)!

The next morning we travelled on to
Córdoba where we found a hotel right next to the Mezquita, a former mosque transformed into a cathedral. It's huge prayers hall is full of columns. It looks very impressive. Our next stop the following day was Sevilla, the jewel of Spanish cities. There we stayed two days. The Sangria (Spanish wine) in Sevilla tasted very good. A bit irritating was that because of all the tourists there were a lot of beggars, shoe-shine boys and street musicians who asked for money.

On 16th September we went on to Cádiz. The town is situated on a spit of land reaching out into the sea. In the afternoon we went to the beach. Afterwards we intended to go on a harbour tour but suddenly we landed at another town further up the coast (El Puerto de Santa Maria) and as this was the last boat running that day we had to go back by train! We mistook the trip Cádiz-Puerto for a tour of the port of Cádiz!

The following day lead us out of Spain and onto the British peninsula Gibraltar. At the border somebody wanted 2000 Pesetas from us to be allowed to enter the town by car as non-residentials but it was a trick! We parked the car for 1000 Pesetas and walked into the city. Then we went on a tour of the place by taxi/cab in the company of two Spanish ladies. The driver/guide was a young guy from Gibraltar with a Scottish mother. He took us up to the Rock of Gibraltar with its famous apes which were so cute! Back in the town centre we had British Fish & Chips and Cider. It seemed like Britain in Spain! Another funny thing about Gibraltar was that the runway from the airport was crossed by the main road into the town! When a plane landed or took off barriers came down to stop the cars.

We didn't stop in Gibraltar but went inland again to Ronda where we arrived at about 7.30 p.m. The next morning we visited this small town with the oldest bull-ring in Spain. Finally we returned to Málaga. We got rid of the car at the airport and took the train back into the city. We walked a bit around the centre and the following day we went up to it's castle and then to the beach.

On 20th September at 9 a.m. I continued on my own and took the coach along the Costa del Sol to Almería. Three and a half hours later I arrived and got picked up by my hostess from the Rancho Rayo de Sol. We went inland for about 35 km and at 5 p.m. I was already sitting on horse-back. We went riding for three hours and then it got dark. For the moment I was the only guest at the ranch, four being the maximum. This remained the same until the evening of 23rd September when two other young women my age arrived. Our hosts were a young German couple who had left Germany for a new life in Spain three years ago. On 21th September, like every morning, we started riding at about 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. with a break of about 30 minutes. There were three Andalusian and one German horse (a black Friesian) for the guests to choose from, two for our hostess, one being an Andalusian stallion. Only shortly after we got back on that second day we had a real thunderstrom with heavy rain, lightning and thunder. It didn't last very long but all the paths and paddocks got flooded! One evening we also had a barbecue and our hostess played the guitar. On my last riding day, 26th September, we went to a western film village where movies like "Once upon a time in the west", "The magnificent seven", "The good, the bad and the ugly", "Indiana Jones and the last crusade", "Conan the Barbarian", "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Mad Max" were filmed. The landscape in that area looks like Arizona! There was also a western show.

The following morning I walked around the town of Almería and visited its castle. At 3.30 p.m. I took the bus back to Málaga and suddenly the sky got very dark and there was lightning and thunder and heavy rain again! The streets were flooded. This was my third heavy rain (besides there were also a couple or so lighter ones) in the area with the least rainfall in all of Europe and that in September which is usually still quite a hot month! Well, I spent another night in Málaga and then caught my flight back home at 10.55 a.m on 28th September.



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