Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Spain comes to an end

On our last night in Cordoba we are determined to make the most of it so return to the family-run Bodega-Taberna Rafaé for tapas. A bowl of garlic prawns boils for a full five minutes when brought to the table and we have to restrain our instinct to tuck in. The tinto con hielo keeps me occupied. We tell our Spanish waiter how much we have enjoyed our three visits to the restaurant and he says: "Lovely Jubbly!" A late stroll and we pass a street sign with the word "Blobject" which intrigues me - turns out this is an electric car rental scheme, for a buggy-like neighbourhood car. We stop for an evening ice cream near the Caliph's water garden.
We are up early next morning and take a taxi to the station where I get a cooked English breakfast, 4.50 euros, and the Sunday Times at an eye-watering 5 euros. A man is servicing the rental bikes out front. There are security staff at the stations in Spain and they check your luggage through a scanner prior to boarding. We take the 10.15 train to Malaga, 20 euros each, stopping at Puente Genil-Herrera and Antequera-Santa Ana. The train departs in an unexpected direction and I have an awful feeling that we have caught the wrong train, fortunately unfounded.
On arrival we walk about half a mile to the Hotel Astoria, sweating in the heat but grateful for the breeze off the Med. Annette heads for the Picasso house while I chill out with the Grand Prix from Hungría and the Tour de France on TV. An early evening stroll on a sunday night reveals an interesting old town, much in need of a makeover, and no chic restaurants that we could find so we take a snack and a tinto in a dive, before retreating to a bar in the old wholesale market, near our hotel, and an early night.

Next morning we take the renfe train to Malaga airport. We are glad to be airside having avoided being robbed, losing any items of value or bashing the rental car. The Iberian tour has been a pleasure - a mixture of planning and spontaneity - taking in the Costa del Sol, Gibraltar, the Algarve and Alentejo, and the historic towns of southern Spain. Adios!

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