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University Trip to Malaga

Published by Anonymous . — 6 years ago

3 Tags: Erasmus experiences Malaga, Malaga, Spain


Malaga

The only reason that I joined Spanish Society last year was for the trip to Spain, the previous year had been to Barcelona, but I was hoping for somewhere further south. Luckily for me the destination chosen by the committee was Malaga! I was really pleased as it wasn’t somewhere that I had been before, so in March reading week a group of us (mostly who studied Spanish) headed out to Malaga for a short break.

Getting There:

As we all study at Birmingham University flights were found from Birmingham airport, only a short taxi ride away. The society committee organised for Taxi’s to meet us in Selly Oak in the car park of Aldi at around two o clock in the morning to shuttle us all to the airport, ensuring that we all arrived there on time to check in together. To Kill the time before the taxi’s Lucy and I headed to Robbie’s house, which was just up the road from the meeting point, we chatted and tried to all stay awake, which was difficult when we had no particular plans for what to do. After double and triple checking our passports were with us we headed down to meet the rest of the group just before two. When we arrived we had a little wait for the taxi’s who were late, but eventually they arrived and we all piled inside with our luggage. We were only taking hand luggage with us to save on costs, and we would only be there for a few days so wouldn’t really need all that much stuff with us. It was just annoying with the liquids rule, I didn’t have any sun tan lotion that would meet the requirements for hand luggage, but I was certainly going to need it in Malaga!

Once we arrived at the airport we headed to check in as one large group, the society president oversaw the check in and we all made it through security checks, with only a slight hiccough or two over the liquids, someone had forgotten to put all of theirs in a separate clear plastic bag, naughty. After we were through security we split up to get some breakfast and things before we had to meet up again to board the flight. Although everyone had their own boarding passes so it was not essential that we all boarded together. We were early at the airport so had a bit of free time  to browse the shops before heading to the plane to board. Once we were on the way (and after being chastised for talking throughout the safety demonstration) most of us caught up on some sleep during the flight, as we had been awake most of the night and didn’t want to miss too much of Malaga when we arrived.

After arriving at Malaga airport we headed outside to the bus stops, the airport appeared to have great transport links to the centre of Malaga as it is located slightly outside the main part of the city. We all squeezed onto the bus when it arrived, it was only a couple of Euros, and the bus drivers provided change, which was great for those of us who had none after just arriving in the country. Our hostel was located on the other side of the city to the airport, just a short walk away from a bus stop, so we all hopped off and followed Natalie, the society president to the hostel.

The Hostel

We stayed at ‘Downtown Malaga Hostel’ which was located down a side street, yet still in easy walking distance to many of the interesting sights in Malaga. Despite its handy location, I can say that I would not recommend this hostel to anyone. We arrived and after a fair deal of searching we found the man who seemed to be running the place, he scrambled downstairs and checked us all in handing out 2 room keys per room, there were 5 of us sharing our room so we headed up to settle in. There were 2 bunk beds and a put up bed as well as a small bathroom and some lockers. When we enquired about locker keys we were told that there weren’t any and so the lockers were useless, but later that evening when we returned someone had been in the room and put a key in one of the locker doors for us, being suspicious we decided not to use the locker now anyway as it seemed anyone had access to it. One of the girls sharing our room with us spend a few hours hanging out with some other occupants of the hostel, who had apparently been staying there for quite a while, just smoking weed, they reported that a couple of people have keys to all the rooms and wander in and out as they please which didn’t overly set us at ease. There was a kitchen in the hostel, which was meant to be opened for breakfast every morning, however in reality it was only opened once the guy who was running the place was able to tear himself away from whoever he had picked up the night before and go upstairs to open the door. We had to knock on his door to remind him to do it once and he rushed out in just some shorts before darting back into bed.

There was a very nice terrace space, without a view, which we made use of, but it closed at midnight as the neighbours complained and called the police because of the noise. But during the day it was a real sun trap, with some sun loungers as well as tables and benches (although you had to watch out for the broken one that likes to collapse). There was also a lounge area which had some sofas and a table, it wasn’t very large, so if the hostel had been full it could be quite full.

On the penultimate night of our stay some friends who had been hitchhiking down to us finally arrived, however unfortunately for them they arrived quite late, so our drunken hostel manager had gone to bed and was not roused by the bell or phone calls so our friends slept in the entrance to the hostel, which was left open all night. The next morning they were lying in the foyer when the manager came downstairs again only in his shorts, they asked if he was in charge to which he replied ‘of course, can’t you tell?’, the two then headed upstairs and made themselves at home in the spare spaces in our rooms, which despite asking about they were never charged for.

There were redeeming points to the hostel, the free WiFi was very useful, and the hostel seemed to have some links to a bar just around the corner which allowed us to have drinks offers, although these changed nightly. The first night we were offered sangria which we accepted gratefully and then moved on, which apparently didn’t impress the bar owners so free sangria was off the menu the next day unless we bought drinks first, but these were at a reduced price, so it was quite a good deal still.

What did we get up to:

Day 1 – The first day we got right into the Spanish spirit with a siesta, as most of us had been up all night waiting for the taxis to the airport, we then all headed out for a group meal which was easier said than done with over 20 of us. We settled on a restaurant nearby and made ourselves a long table that stretched the entire length of the restaurant, it was a nice, cheap meal, but being such a large group we were obviously a bit much for the kitchen to handle, as half of us had finished our meals before the rest of the food arrived, then paying the bill was difficult as we weren’t allowed to pay individually. After the meal we went back to the hostel to get changed and then headed out for a few drinks, some chose to carry on the night after that and head to some clubs, but I was ready for bed so headed to sleep.

Day 2 – Claire, Lucy, Dom and I decided that one of the best ways to see the most of Malaga whilst we were there was to take a trip on the CitySightseeing bus that we had seen going around. We knew they were at least going to be OK as they are a large company who we had all used before. After stopping off to purchase some sun tan lotion we headed to the bus and purchased tickets. The tour was great and awe managed to spend most of the day on it, we got to see lots more of Malaga than we would have done on our own, we got off at a couple of stops and had an explore around the castle and the plaza de torros. It was definitely worth the money, there was commentary offered in several different languages, we did our best to listen to the Spanish most of the way round. Instead of catching the bus back down from the Alcazaba we wandered down the steps, taking in the wonderful views offered from the fortress. One thing you should be aware of when visiting Malaga is the opening times of lots of the attractions, for some reason they seemed to close on random days, it was a good thing that we weren’t overly fussed about going into the Alcazaba as it was closed on the day we were up there.

We headed back to the hostel via an ice cream shop and played some cards on the rooftop, some people then headed to the supermarket to buy food to cook for dinner in order to keep the costs down, Lucy and I decided that as we were on holiday we would treat ourselves so headed to a noodle bar called Noodles & Go, nothing overly fancy but massive portions for the price and they tasted delicious. We then headed back to the hostel to meet up with the others to head to some bars and then clubs, on the way we stopped off at tourist information to ask if there was a bar that offered Karaoke anywhere around, because Karaoke is amazing, unfortunately the man just laughed at us and told us that Karaoke was out of fashion and we had no chance such a shame. I must admit I was very drunk, so have not much memory of what we did that night, but the photos look like we had fun! The part I do remember is going to the club ‘Sala Gold’ which was amazing, us boozy brits ambushed the stage whenever the DJ played an amazing cheesy tune, like Y.M.C.A, some of us ended up with free T-shirts or invitations to the V.I.P area where they enjoyed champagne.

Day 3 – It was a late hangover breakfast for us before heading down to the beach for a day of relaxation and sunbathing. We went to the Malagueta beach which was easy walking distance from the hostel, we stopped off at a SuperSol to pick up some snack food for lunch and enjoyed a quiet afternoon. That evening we went out for more drinks and unbeknown to us our hitchhiking friends arrived at our hostel.

Day 4 – Some of us decided that we would do a tour of some of the other attractions in Malaga that we had missed on the bus tour, such as the Picasso museum and some of the Cathedrals. The security at the Picasso museum was like an airport, and unfortunately our student ID’s weren’t accepted so no student discount for us, it was still not too pricey at only around €6. Art isn’t really my thing, and so although the museum was quite interesting, it all got a bit much towards the end, especially the additional exhibition of some other random bloke’s art work. Having said this I would definitely recommend a visit here to any avid art lover, as I am sure they would appreciate it far more than I ever could. Some of the cathedrals required a donation for entry which we were simply not willing to pay, so we wandered around the outside of them, and also went for a look at the Roman Amphitheatre, which was really well displayed to the public. We then joined some others at the beach for a last few hours of sun as our flight home was early the next morning.

Getting home in a Strike:

That evening we were talking to the manager of the hostel about getting home the following day, as there was a strike planned. We asked him if the strike would affect us trying to get home, and he told us there would be no busses, and only taxi’s if the taxi drivers decided to actually work. So we asked him to book us a taxi, which he eventually did, but then told us that the taxi still probably wouldn’t turn up. By this point it was 11pm, our flight was 10am the next day and we were starting to worry a little bit, as it wasn’t just one taxi that we had to find, but enough for 20 of us. We worried more once midnight came, we were sitting in a bar, then all of a sudden it all went rather awry, the bars packed up their outside tables and chairs as people came out onto the streets with banners, chanting and throwing fireworks, once the police showed up and cleared the way for a few minutes most of us headed back to the hostel. Around half an hour later we got a message from one of the people who had stayed in the bar telling us that the rioters were back and the owner of the bar had locked them in. Natalie, who was in charge of the trip asked around the group and the general consensus was that we should all pack up and be ready to leave, start calling taxis and just get to the airport whenever we could. It took a further 2 hours but we eventually managed to find a taxi company that was willing to take us. We let those who were in the bar know but they were staying put so the rest of us headed to the airport, where we tried to sleep but there were protesters wandering around the airport with  air horns and chants that seemed to take pleasure in keeping us awake. We kept a close eye on the departures board and grew more and more nervous as more and more flights were cancelled, in the morning a woman took pity on us looking all pathetic trying to sleep on the airport floor and went back to her hotel to raid the breakfast buffet and offer us food as none of the airport shops were open. We must have looked a state! The others who had decided to stay in the bar eventually showed up at the airport, and teased us for being worried about not making it there, but we all agreed it was better safe than sorry.

Eventually check in for our flight began late and with only one check in desk, so our flight was delayed, but we were all glad to be on a plane headed home after an eventful night. However it was not all plain sailing from there, it seemed that karma was against us as when we arrived at Birmingham airport instead of breezing through border control as would usually happen the computer system had crashed and so we were forced to wait. After an hour staff appeared to give out water and the thousand or so people who were now waiting began to grow more and more agitated, only to be aggravated more by a tannoy announcement thanking us for our patience. People really started to lose it at this point and one man approached the border and after an argument with an official pushed his way across and headed out to arrivals, that was the opening of the flood gates, people began heading across the border with no regard for the officials, and we followed. The cherry on the top was running through arrivals when we bumped Lucy bumped into her boyfriend, who was headed in the other direction, he is a police officer who had been called to deal with the disturbance. They said a hurried hello before he had to dash off to deal with the rest of the border jumpers. We didn’t hang around, instead just ran out to the road where my dad was waiting to pick me and Lucy up, and we were home free.

Overview:

-          Malaga is a wonderful city with some lovely attractions suiting everyone, history, art and the beach to name a few, which made it perfect for a group trip as there was something for everyone.

-          I’m sure there is a lot more to discover, so if you can get any tips off anyone then do so!

-          DON’T stay at the Downtown Malaga Hostel!

-          DON’T fly on a strike day! More hassle than it is worth.

 


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Comments (3 comments)

  • Claire Wenman 6 years ago

    This was one eventful trip but the highlight must have been SALA GOLDDDDDD!

  • Kath Ovens 6 years ago

    Wish id gone!

  • Kim Bullock 6 years ago

    We were hoping you would get stuck there!


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