It was late summer of 2011, when I went to Spain. A country which had always attracted me towards itself and was on top of my list.
Two of my close friends Chirag and Parikshit were with me on that trip. We decided to do the trip close to the famous “La Tomatina” festival in Buñol, which happens on every last Wednesday of August.
We decided that we would do a road trip, just three boys looking for fun, adventure and to cross off one of the things on our bucket list. Instead of driving from London, we decided to fly to Spain, do the road trip in a rental and fly back.
After some careful planning and bookings (and some not so careful planning) we started our journey from Stansted Airport, London. Our first stop was Murcia, a small town near the south-east coast of Spain.
We landed in Murcia at night around 9 and it was still very hot. Especially, coming from London and being used to cold, it was quite a surprise. We wanted to reach our hotel and turn on the air condition but we had to clear our first obstacle, communicating with the cab drivers in Spanish. Although, I took few online classes to learn Spanish before our trip, but initially it was difficult to communicate. Somehow, I managed to tell the driver about our hotel and we actually shared the taxi with a stranger to split the cost. Cheaper taxi rides are always good.
Next day, we had to get our car from the rental company but before that, we walked the city for a bit. We woke up little early before the Sun and went to see the cathedral in the middle of the city. The old cathedral of Murcia was huge with detailed stonework and sculpting. Since it was too early for the cathedral to be open, we spent some time outside and admired the beauty.
As the Sun rose, we walked around the city to find some authentic Spanish breakfast and to get that Spanish feeling and energy for our journey ahead. The streets were rather empty at that early hour of the day. Then we realised, markets tend to open a little late and I guess that was the Spanish way. Anyhow, we could not find the local breakfast and settled for whatever we could find.
It was time to get the car and head on for our next stop, La Manga.
My friend Chirag chatted up someone on the flight to find about this place. Supposedly it was a very nice area with many beaches and places to relax. Although, It was a little de-tour from our plan, but we decided to do it anyways. I generally do not like to change the plan on a whim, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as La Manga was really a gem of a place.
With serene sandy beaches, Sun shining and sea inviting us with warm blue water, this was the best start of our trip. The spirit was high (no pun intended) and we soon reached to parking spot in a very busy area where everyone was looking for a good spot.
We spent early afternoon in warm water, ate some good Spanish food and headed to our original destination, Granada.
Spanish countryside was hilly in this area and a little dry at that time of the year. And then we reached Granada.
A historical city with famous Alhambra Palace, a seat of power in the Moorish era. We headed straight to Alhambra Palace to see its beauty. The palace had Moorish influence in its architecture and we soaked in it for some time.
It was getting dark and we wanted to eat a very authentic local dish, paella. What better place to eat paella than in Granada, supposed place of birth of paella. We had some very nice seafood paella along with some beers to finish our eventful day. But before we could call it a day, we had to drive to Malaga, which was our next stop on the south coast.