Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Heading Home.

I should think everything about the horrors of the airport experience has been covered by now, in countless places on the bloggerama. But just in case this one's been missed - "RELAX AND SHOP". They put it on the departure screens until your flight details come up, as I expect you know. Not "or", note, it's "and" - as if it just naturally assumes we're all moronic shopping-type people for whom the two activities are synonymous. Christ, they might as well put a sign up saying, "Yes this is a hellhole and we got you here miles too early because we're crap at organising ourselves but we don't care so why not buy yourself a pair of shoes or a plasma screen TV to take your mind off things until the scrum starts at the gate". Anyway.... after all that and more, we landed at Malaga. And after that and more still, we'd driven far enough north and found ourselves clinking big balloon glasses of Soberano brandy in a hotel that's changed little since last time we were there. Well, except the view from the back is restricted by a spanking new biscuit factory. Manolo still gets the dinner ready when he's good and ready and there's still no choice except take it or leave it. Excellent. And I'll draw a veil over the rest, because it's all that everybody knows that it is who loves Spain and the rest won't be interested.

So then, traveling back south, we arrived back at the Costa del Sol at its western end, somewhere near Algeciras - pretty much the beginning of the unbroken ribbon of town that stretches all the way along the Mediterranean coast as far as Barcelona and beyond. If anyone ever tells you they've got a lovely place down there, don't believe them. It's a long, ugly, concrete antheap clambering up and over hills and mountains like some gigantic sprawling Alcatraz with block after block swallowing places and towns that once had an identity of their own but are now just roadsigns on this amorphous belt of over-development. Why anyone should want to live there is beyond rational belief, unless the lure of year-round sunshine propped up by cheap gin strikes deep into some recess of the human psyche, caused by the presence in other people of a gene that I'm short of.

Just a couple of points of interest (to me, at least). One... La Marina restaurant, right on the beach in La Linea (a town so hideous that even tourists won't visit) must be among the best in the world. It serves paella, or grilled sardines, or pretty much anything else freshly caught from the sea, on a shady terrace with a stunning view of the Rock of Gibraltar. Inside, waiters rush and shout, arguments spill out from the kitchen and bartenders slam glasses down on the bar and pour drinks into them from improbable heights, with a flourish of the wrist and without wasting a drop. Spanish to the core. Two... the last glimpse of the Costa. Just where the plane leaves the runway, to head over the Med before turning left and gaining altitude over Malaga, there's the only patch of undeveloped greenery with its own shoreline for a thousand miles. Sure enough, so precious is it, there's a golf-course on it. As jet engines roar upwards over them, with Boeing undercarriages scraping their sunhats, the tourists play. I bet the Spanish have a word for them.


Swearing Mother said...

Welcome back! You and your animated gif have been missed!

Apart from the less than lovely bits, was the rest OK?

Swearing Mother said...
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All Shook Up said...

Ah thanks, SM. Yep all was good, thanks. Rented a sports car.. got yours yet?

Swearing Mother said...

Oh yes indeed, and it's fab. Had some great drives with hood down. Lovely weather for it!

Glad you had a good time.