Part of me was annoyed that my smallest marketplace demanded me to register in person and part of me relished the adventure ahead.
I’d printed off all paperwork yesterday and was just carrying my laptop and paperwork. I was breaking a golden rule by flying with Ryanair and only had carry on so had to be strict about what I took and for the first time in ages I travelled without a camera.
I left home at 5am, it was only a 25 minute drive to the car park at that time. As always the car park was efficient and less than half the cost of on airport parking… Why does anyone park in the airport these days?
I’d elected to use the app and a boarding pass on my phone for the first time, it was fast and efficient and by 6am I was in the airport, cleared security and sat at the gate.
I stocked up on Boots meal deals and chose a vegan all-day breakfast and fruit smoothie, after all I was really enjoying doing Veganuary.
The flight was full which suprised me at this time of year. I put my earphones in and listened to The Levellers classic 2nd album so I wasn’t disturbed by attendants selling food and lottery tickets.
Arrival into Malaga was 10 minutes early. I cautiously followed the signs to the car rental desks. I was worried the price would be noticed and sky rocket, how could anyone run a business charging €0,18 for 3 days car hire? Firefly are owned by Hertz so they are reputable but as someone pointed out to me they could always decline the offer and walk up rates at any counter would be high.
Staff were really friendly and helpful. However, they spotted the price and said there was an issue. €0,18 was wrong… It should have been €0,15! They insisted on refunding €0,03 to my Amex too!
One small point… The excess on the insurance was over £1,000, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to book a basic hire like this unless you have your own policy in place. My annual policy cost about £50 but had recently expired so I booked a daily policy to cover this trip for £7.50.
I’d engaged the services of an agency to help me apply for the identity card (Spanish authorities demand an ID card before you register a company to pay them VAT) but don’t translate anything or even allow foreigners to book the interviews! The agency had prefilled all forms in and sent a long list of instructions as well as my appointment time and location.
My first job in advance of tomorrow’s meeting was to pay for the identity card which at this stage I might or might not be accepted for!? The only way to pay was to present the form I’d been sent to a high street bank and I’d read that many banks declined to do it. I headed into Torre De Mar to find a bank. It must have been my lucky day, the second bank I went into took my money and stamped the forms ready for the meeting tomorrow.
When I exited the bank I noticed it was next door to a lock pickers and safe breakers. Very bizarre, I wonder which one came first?
From here I drove north into the Sierra mountains to find my hotel. I’d selected this on the back of bad reviews from Brits complaining the owner didn’t speak English! It was nestled away in a village of rabbit Warren cobbled streets. Its name roughly translated as the very quaint ‘House Of Bandits’.
The room had a (flushing) toilet built of bricks, wooden window shutters a large balcony and wooden beams. In broken English the owner explained it was about 400 years old and I was the only guest this week.
They offered me food immediately and I managed to order a local beer which I suspect is very strong as it was served in a wine glass.
In my broken English I tried to explain about Veganuary. Plenty of ‘si si’ and nodding heads so I thought I’d done well… Until a pork platter arrived with 2 chorizos on skewers and I was directed to an open fire to cook my own lunch! Bang goes Veganuary but they were the best chorizos I’ve ever tasted!
At the request of the barman, I’d booked a table for my evening meal at 8pm. I went down a couple of minutes early and as I was sat at my table I noticed the chef arrive on his bike. I ordered a salad which was prepared in minutes, the chef came to shake my hand and said ‘Adiós’ and off he went!
I asked the barman what time they were open until and he said in broken English ‘until you leave’. I told him I’d leave now and he thanked me so he could go home to his wife and gave me a drink on the house to take up to my room.
He locked the doors and waved me farewell, I was alone in a creepy old Inn, and in my element!