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Published: December 13th 2006
I caught the 10:00 bus to Málaga, where I hung out for a couple hours before catching the 1:00 to Almería. The bus ride was one of the most scenic I've been on so far. We were only on the freeway for the first hour or so. After that, we followed the coast, and at times were on a road a few hundred feet above the water complete with hairpin turns.
As we moved away from Málaga, the landscape became significantly drier. It also began to be filled with greenhouses, sometimes as far as the eye could see. They were a pretty big eyesore unfortunately, since they were all just white plastic. The bus took an astounding 5 hours to go 255km (a whopping 32 miles per hour overall). When we finally pulled in to Almería around 6, I was happy to get off the bus and get moving towards the hostel.
Luckily, there was a map just outside the station, and I took a picture of it with my camera and set off (I don't know why I didn't think of this a lot earlier because it works really well). It wasn't too hard to find the (government)
hostel and it took me about 20 minutes to get there. I had to wait around for a bit before the receptionist showed up. After he dealt with the guy in front of me, I said hello and asked if he spoke english. He immediately replied no. I was actually a bit shocked. This is the first hostel (even govt run) that I've been to where they spoke no english.
It wasn't that hard to deal with getting a room in spanish. The only holdup was something he was being very insistent on me understanding, but I just wasn't getting. I finally figured out that he was trying to tell me that I was the only one in my room, but that someone else might show up later. OK, dude, I know how hostels work, sheesh!
The room was a double, and after picking the better bed I showered and set off to find some grub and check out my surroundings. Now, I enquired at the ever-so-helpful reception about where the supermarket was. He basically told me to go outside, and find someone on the street to ask. What an ass. I ended up wandering around for a
bit before reaching the shore, which I walked along towards the center. Almería's promenade is quite pretty, and it was a nice walk in the warm weather.
I got to the center and headed back towards the hostel along a different route in the hope of stumbling across a supermarket. I found a small one, eventually, and I picked up milk and yogurt (the only appealing stuff in the store). I took it back to the hostel and had my dinner (liter of milk, 4 yogurts = yum). I went to bed soon thereafter because the hostel was packed with 16 year old spanish kids and no one else as far as I could tell.
I kind of regret my choice of dinner, in retrospect. I woke up with a stomach ache and I had a pretty rough night, between that and the kids coming back wasted at 5 am. When I finally got up at 8 for the really early breakfast I got to see the tail end of the sunrise, which was pretty nice. The weather was mixed, though, and it looked like it could go either way. So, after breakfast I headed to the tourist
office to get a map, and then towards the only real attraction in town -- the Alcazaba.
The Alcazaba was a fortress originally constructed by the muslims when they ruled the area, and it was later added on to by the christians after they retook this part of spain. It was beautful inside and I enjoyed the sweeping views of the city, desert, and ocean. The weather also cleared up nicely while I was there, which was just icing on the cake.
I was hungry by the time I left, and so I set off to find some real food (McDonalds). It wasn't hard to find, and after a short wait (it didn't open until 12 since it was sunday), I had the best quarter pounder of the entire trip. Getting to McDonalds immediately after it opens really improves the taste of the food, because it's piping hot.
After lunch I wandered back to the hostel and changed into shorts and then headed to the beach. I wasn't in the mood to go swimming after Marbella, though. I ended up walking for a mile or two along the shore, at times wading, and stopping to collect cool
stones. Eventually, I got to a point on the beach where I got a really bad vibe. There were abandoned houses 100 yards from the shore, and no one was in sight. So, even though I could see an old bunker that looked cool up ahead, I decided to turn around. I really didn't want to get mugged in broad daylight.
I went back to the hostel and hung out until 5 or so when I went to use the internet for a while. Around 7 I went and finally tracked down a kebab place. It was packed inside, which is a great sign and I got a kebab and took it back to the hostel. It was decent, but I still cant seem to find kebabs that are as good as the ones in Germany. I spent the evening planning out the last few weeks I have left in Europe before heading to bed pretty early.
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