Beach, road and golden mile.
Marbella West to Cala de Mijas. We completed the "golden mile" in Marbella at dawn meeting joggers and dog walkers. There was one fairly unspoiled stretch with dunes and pine woods. Most of the walk was past beach cafés and holiday accommodation.
We hope to make it to Fuengirola today so that we can do this stretch all the way to Málaga in two days. I have learned how to operate the Differo but indeed he is different and it still takes a while to get to the record mode from the default music setting so I am again putting the worms (words) on paper.
We take the 7am bus to Marbella but this time stay on it until we get to where we got on yesterday (Mercadona).
I manage to get the phone number of the Parque Botanico so we can ring them and see if it is worth a day out.
We have a multi-tasking driver today. He is able to drink water from a bottle, read a magazine, answer his mobile, drive using his knee and all without generating more than a vague feeling of unease among his passengers. Certainly he does bounce his back end over the kerb as yesterday evening's driver did, doing my back in the process. I could hardly stand up in the night.
Today it is calm and very hot. There are lots of fishing boats out and they seem to use variations on the same tactic. Lone boats put up a net between themselves and a buoy, pairs of boats put up a net between the two boats and, occasionally two men in wet suits will stand in the water and hold a net between them.
Today we are dogged by a man with an Alpenstock. No matter how fast we go or slowly he stays in step but doesn't speak. Neither do we for that matter, as he is behaving unnaturally. In the end Neil sits down on a stone and lets him go ahead. We become level with him again later on the motorway but luckily he is on the other side. Perhaps he is part of the surveillance team but if so he is doing a bad job.
Sometimes we feel as if we are being watched as there is nearly always a parked car with someone in it or a police vehicle going along our route – pure fiction of course. The Alpenstock man seems to be the kind of man whom Nick Crane met when he walked to Turkey along the water sheds and who kept talking about his hard sausage. It may indeed be the same man a few years on. He was about the right age. We enter the district of Mijas where Mini and I had had a lovely holiday (in the village not on the beach) many years ago - so good was it that when some people asked what job I did I honestly couldn't remember. Hotel Mijas where we stayed had three stars then and wanted and deserved a fourth which it has now got, meaning it is out of our price bracket, but what a delight it was when we were there.
Bearing in mind that one of our criteria for choosing a route would be that there were no McDonalds along it we are having to pass close to a remarkably large number of them on this trip.
We are making far less headway this time as the beaches are no longer long and straight but curved with promontaries separating them. This means we need to walk much further to make progress. I calculate that Spain will take us another three years at this rate which is remarkably little and then we can go on into France which has only a short coast line before it will be necessary to brush up on Italian. Hey don't forget Catalan in the meantime.
So we pass the McDonald's in Calahonda and go on through Elviria to Cabo Pino which, as we had thought, is a lovely place. We did look for a house here but they were £1000 a week and as we go away three times a year this was far too much. David did offer us a house in Puerto Banus for our second week if we wanted it. Thank goodness we didn't take him up on it.
Cabo Pino is a Monumental Natural with pine woods as you would expect and heathland. We really enjoy this stretch bit but it is getting hotter by the minute and we realise we aren't going to make it to Fuengirola today. We head inland for the coastal motorway and the bus route. We are in Cala de Mijas. Yet another McDonald's becomes our landmark for identifying when to pulse the button (press the knob) in order to solicit the bus to stop. It is along here that we see our man again. We now need two buses to get home but are nevertheless not particularly late. Mini is having her tea when we arrive as we had said we would be very late. She had to have her supper immediately afterwards. We had salman (salmon), asparagus, avocadoes apple pie and ice cream.
We had nipped into the Aliprox near the bus station on our way home in order to top up on our supplies.