The off-season in Lanjarón
Toward the end of our drive to see what Alhama de Granada had to offer, we were once more passing over the mountain divide of the Sierra Nevada range as we headed for the Mediterranean coast on the A44/E902 highway - our main objective being to find ourselves a place to spend the night. It so happens that it is possible to take the very scenic Alpujarras region drive on a narrow and twisting highway in this area, so we decided to see what it was all about by turning off toward the little town of Lanjarón. It was not very far in off the A44, but this road was probably the one with the most turns that we expericenced in Spain. There were amazing views down into the valley and many spectacular wind-powered generators located alongside the highway but it was a bit difficult for me to take my eyes off the road as the traffic seemed to pick up in this area.
It was not long before we reached Lanjarón, thinking we might stay there for the night, so we pulled over to the side of its main street - the town seems to mostly consist of one long street on the side of a steep slope. A walk along its sidewalks revealed very little activity at mid-afternoon (of course it was New Year's Day!) - no hotels or hostals were open, restaurants were mostly closed up and even an automatic banking machine refused me cash! Although it was a sunny afternoon and Lanjarón is noted for its spa with medicinal waters and buildings dating from the Moorish period, we decided to turn back to the main highway and head for the coast - we still needed to find a place in which to spend the night! On our walk back to the car, we diverted off the main street onto a pedestrian alley that turned out to be quite scenic, as seen here. The bottom line is, we knew we were taking a chance with accoms over the New Year period - and decided to cut our losses in Lanjarón by trying a more 'on the beaten path' town!
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
The Rain doesn't stay on the plain in Spain!
Late January in Torremolinos, we experienced some rain, including some heavy bouts, where the roads were flooded, and man-hole covers were raised!
So come prepared!
We managed to rain-hop on most days....
Just check the local forecasts and the sky for rain clouds!
- Budget Travel
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Rusadir Travels - don't travel with this company!!
We booked an Alhambra tour with a travel agency in Torremolinos, which is located in the steps leading to Calle San Miguel. We got the Rusadir travel bus and guides. They turned out to be horrible, putting a damper on our tour. Nothing they promised turned out to be true. They promised new buses with the highest technology and what have you not. So we were surprised when an older bus picked us up at the hotel and weren't sure if that was our bus as it had no sign on the side facing us, only on the other side. Inside the bus the armrest, where my friend was sitting next to me, was broken and there were no seatbelts. The bus was full and she was having problems holding on to the seat in front of her.
The guide on the bus was unbelievable, he was supposed to be multilingual, but I could not even understand his English, he spoke broken English with a lot of grammar mistake and a heavy Spanish accent. I had to rely on his Spanish (the little I know of that language) and some German and I noticed that he explained a lot more in German than in English. An English lady sitting next to us said that his French was even worse than his English :(
When we arrived at Alhambra we were told that we had 5 minutes to go to the toilet, people on the bus were rushing to the toilets, where there were long queues, and fearing being left behind.
We got a guided tour of Alhambra and were hoping that the guide would turn out to be better than the bus-guide. Sadly this didn't prove to be the case. She spoke better English than the bus-guide, but with a very soft voice and only the people at the front could hear what she was saying. I decided on buying the Alhambra guide book when I got back to Torremolinos, as we couldn't hear anything. Apart from that she was dressed in brown and didn't stand out of the crowd and had no flag so that we could spot her. I spoke to her about this and then she started holding her water bottle up in the air from time to time but that didn't help a bit. There were many people in Alhambra and one woman on our tour was also wearing brown and we found ourselves often standing beside that woman thinking she was the tour-guide.
This tour was extremely stressful and we felt like cattle rushed through the palaces, and we often lost the guide and had to run after her, not knowing in which direction she was going. People were disappointed, out of breath, confused and getting angry as most of our tour we had to focus on "where is our guide" instead of enjoying Alhambra.
This was a totally disappointing amateur marathon tour - what a let down! Fortunately there were 4 of us travelling together so we could laugh at it later, but I advice you to never take a guided tour like this with Rusadir.
After the marathon visit to Alhambra the bus-guide picked us up and left us in Granada where we could have lunch and there was no time to visit the Cathedral or anything else. I can tell you that we didn't have the strength to do anything but sit there at the café after this marathon - plus that the temperature was 38 degrees C.
We went to the travel agency in Torremolinos the day after the tour and complained about this tour and I added that I would be writing about Rusadir here on VT. Altogether the 4 of us had paid 240 euros for the tour (which is a lot when you are Icelandic and your króna had just collapsed) so this was a big disappointment.
Be really careful walking around alone late at night.There is a real danger of getting mugged and threatened with a weapon.The steps to the centre are a bad place to be late at night.
There is only up or down.Nowhere else to go.You are an easy target if no other people are about.A friend of mine was threatened here with a samurai sword and robbed.Take a taxi to the centre or down to the beach in the later hours it will save you a lot of problems.There is a lift located near the Ship Inn that operates till about 23:30 in the summer and will cost you 50ct per person.This is a nice alternative if you dont want to tackle the hike to the centre in 35+C.The Bus Station area is also a dodgy night time area.Walking¨round the rock to Cariheula¨late at night/early morning is another place to be on your guard.I have lived here for years and am not exaggeratingBE WARNED.In the summer there is a police translater,any other time you are on your own however good or non existent your Spanish.Reporting an incident will cost you around 6hrs in the police station.Save yourself the trouble,BE CAREFUL.
BEWARE FLOWER SELLING GYPSIES,they will have ALL your money from your wallet without you knowing it.When confronted keep your hand on your wallet & walk quicklyaway.
- Budget Travel
- School Holidays
Utterly crowded Sundays on the beach.
This is by no means a danger tip, just a word of warning. On Sundays the beaches in Torremolinos get extremely crowded, to a degree that there is no way for a tourist to find a spot for the towel. The Spanish go to their beach on Sundays and every family brings with it a parasol and sometimes there are extended families which camp out on the beach with several parasols, even tents (see my photos).
And there are cultural differences here as well, I come from a northern country, so I am not used to people speaking very loudly, so I had to bring earplugs with me to the beach. The Spanish are a very, very lovely nation, these are just cultural differences.
In 2011 every summerday seemed to be a Sunday in Torremolinos, I guess it must be due to the crisis that the Spanish stayed in Spain and spent the summer on the beach. Every day in June, July ad August the beach was absolutely crowded with people. In September there were hardly any Spanish left. I spent 6 months here in 2009 and the beaches were never like this. I made an effort of only going to the beach during the siesta from 1:30-16:30, then there were only a handful of tourists on the beach.
I add this as a warning here, respectfully though, as I am a guest in Spain.
Off season there are times when strong winds blow for a protracted time across the Mediterranean from Southwest to Northeast (and others from the west eastward). The effect on seafronts may be significant and at times damaging, even though this is an annual fact. For the tourist with limited time, this requires replanning or schedule rearrangement. With tours you are at the mercy of the guides or sometimes the company. I have never heard of an agency who had a "book" on the behaviour of the tour companies they represent! In our case Mother Nature caused a one day delay in our trip to Tangier because the ferry was not running. What if we had been in Tangier and were to come back?. So if you plan two-day trips during storm season from Torremolinos, be sure to schedule them early in your stay. The walk along the Paseo as the wind subsided was enhanced by the sprightly weather, in fact it was quite sunny.
- Family Travel
Watch out for the graders on the beach.
After midnight, at ca 00:30 the lights go off at the beach and the graders show up to even the sand on the beach. It can be ever so romantic taking a stroll on the beach in the dark, but very dangerous when the graders show up. So stay off the beach after midnight or at least while the graders are working there ;)
Torremolinos like everywhere else has its share of beggars.Most of them are harmless.
Eastern block gangs use children to collect money by street collecting for charities???
The kids have a blurry old fax of a child reportedly dying of something or other back home.
This is just organized crime and has nothing to do with charity.
By giving you are supporting all sorts of ORGANIZED CRIME.
Anyone collecting donations in Torremolinos must have a badge signed and stamped by the police.Always ask for one if you want to make a donation.
- Budget Travel
- School Holidays
i am just back from Torremolinos and would never go again - I decide to walk down the steps to the beach at 9am in the morning - unfortunately for me, my timing was wrong - I met a very aggressive man who demanded money and eyed up my gold chain. I refused the man and he pushed me and yanked off the chain - could have been much worse - no one else around. This is a very dangerous place to be - please take very good care -at least that was all he took. Traumatic !! Police came to hotel with his picture so he is still loose and dangerous. i am writing this on 13th February 2010 - take a taxi to beach!!
- Women's Travel
Chequepoint - rip-off exchange rates!
British tourists and other nationalities who need to exchange their currency for Euros (or vice versa) should avoid the rip-off rates provided by Chequepoint. The company has at least one branch in Torremolinos at the following address:
C/ San Miguel 14, Torremolinos
If you want to avoid being ripped off, change money at a reputable bank or better still, use a Visa Electron card at a bank branch. Click on the logo so that you can steer well clear of it.
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