From Cordoba to Algeciras
Part of: Southern Spain and Morocco
After our wonderful stop in Cordoba (see previous post), the rest of the day was pretty uneventful, but I do have a few pictures and stories to share.
In Cordoba we didn't feel we had time to stop and have tapas or a proper meal and we had a surprisingly difficult time finding any quick street food. We made do with a scoop of ice cream from a shop near the Mezquita and hoped we would find something on the road.
Well, we did - a McDonalds! Oh well, we just needed to be fed. It was in the suburbs south of Cordoba and even had a drive-thru, which was called a McAuto. Due to the language barrier we decided against it, though, and went inside. It was actually fun to see some regular Spanish city life - where the kids go to hang out. We ordered our dos hamburgeusas from a friendly young woman and were soon on our way with full tummies.
We spent the rest of the evening on the road to Algeciras, which took maybe 2 1/2 hours. But it took us a while to remember that the distance signs were in kilometers and not miles, and it was a nice surprise to discover we were twice as close as we thought! It was an enjoyable trip and we continued to have very nice roads the entire way.
There was some very nice scenery, too, including olive groves, rocky hills, white villages on hilltops, and those famous black bulls appearing now and then.
And we passed Malaga (below), a very popular tourist destination and resort city. It was much bigger than we expected and just went on and on. As you can see from the map, Malaga is where we hit the coast and could see the Mediterranean.
The traffic started to get a little heavier and crazier around Malaga. According to my Rough Guide to Spain, the highway between Malaga and other resorts east of it is the most dangerous in the country, and most accidents are caused by vacationing Brits who are 1) unfamiliar with driving on the right side and/or 2) drunk.
But the nice thing is that there are toll roads available along the coast, and we took advantage of two of them. Each one was 3 euros and it was well worth it - even smoother roads and almost no traffic.
And around sunset we had our first sighting of the Rock of Gibraltar!
Shortly after, we arrived at Algeciras, our base for the next two nights. It was just as attractive as advertised!
Which is not very attractive. It's a big industrial port city and we only chose it as a base because it is handy to go to Morocco. When our hotel people in Seville asked us where we were headed next and we said Algeciras, they held their noses and said "Why?!"
But actually, it worked out perfectly for us. We never saw anything more than our modern hotel on the outskirts of the city, and it was handy not only for Morocco but Gibraltar and some other nearby coastal towns. This is the view from our hotel room, and that's Gibraltar in the background!
And it's actually rather pretty at night:
The most important thing is that our hotel was fantastic. It was very modern, stylish and clean, the people were friendly and helpful, and it had a good restaurant. There was a small gym and sauna on the top floor, and sun beds on the roof terrace. And yet it was one of the cheapest places we stayed, probably because no one likes Algeciras.
We had a late dinner in the hotel restaurant, which was very handy since we didn't feel like going anywhere. It was quite good, too.