The Travel Chronicles, week 2

La Línea de La Concepción

I cycled to the village, and left the bike at the mechanic.

Then I realised I’d wanted to do a bunch of things, but left all at the camping. Even my book.

So I walked to Gibraltar, and climbed the rock. I even paid the entry fee (18 effing GBP!) to the nature park, mostly for the sake of the monkeys, as military installations and the like have never really interested me.

I’m glad I did.

La Línea de la Concepción – Estepona, 46,7km, 448 m.

I seemed to have underestimated the distance, or the difficulty, again.

Or the time it takes to navigate left and right around a highway that’s both a highway and isn’t and that I wanted to avoid as much as possible, even as I later learnt that the Eurovelo8, the international cycle road, officially goes on it. At least, the speed limit is 80 km/h most of the way, not 130.

On the hilltop, there was a burning sun, but you could see the clouds rolling underneath; down the coast, I cycled by endless housing blocks, probably turistical, some fancy-looking, some less so, all half-obscured by the fog; and long beaches without sea, the waters swallowed by the clouds.

The proper cycle road starts in Estepona.

And then, that dreaded sound.

A spoke.


At least it happened before I got out of the city.


I stayed two nights in Estepona, as none of the local bike shops could take on the work to repair my bike, and my first try to to get transport to Málaga fell through.

The hostel there was excellent though, and I wouldn’t have minded staying there for another while: just the right mix of privacy: built bunk beds, thick curtains, strict silence and lights-off policy after 11pm; and community, with a arge kitchen and dining area, living room / library / workspace on the first floor and a beautiful rooftop with a bar ad a pool. I wish I could say the same of the other hostels I’ve stayed in.

By the time I got to Málaga, I was ready to accept whatever life threw at me, even staying in Estepona for the 10-12 days one of the mechanics told me it would take him to do the work.

Honestly, I probably could have used the rest.

But I got here, booked myself a weekend in Granada – with tickets to the Alhambra that you usually need to book some two weeks in advance! – and by the time I’m back, my bike will probably be ready.


Within an hour of ariving to the hostel, I was out with a roommate for a flamenco show – because you can never get enough of flamenco. The harmonies just a slight bit darker than, and the rhythms, of course, different from those I most often heard in Cádiz, it was one of the best shows I’ve seen so far.

I blocked out the whole day of Saturday for the Alhambra, and did well to do so. Though the official website says the averagevisit lasts about three hours, I spent almost as much just in the Nasrid palaces, then proceeded to walk every path and look at every building, ruin or garden where I was allowed.

And this after I told myself that I was saturated of old stones.

Granada has an undeniable magic for the outsider, and if there’s one thing I regret, if slightly, it’s not being able to go out and experience Saturday night in the city – alone and after over nine hour of walking, all I wanted was to sleep.

I did some more tourism on Sunday, visiting the Cathedral and the Capilla Real, but my feet didn’t want to walk, nor my eyes to see any more.

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