Stage 1.13: Sitio de Calahonda – Torremolinos, Spain

In which I meet a Jehovah’s Witness on the mount, almost become meat for two dogs, and indulge in a little Dutch food and directions.

As I leave Sitio de Calahonda, it’s one of the cloudiest days yet. I’m pretty happy about this, as it means it’ll be cooler whilst running. Time to journey Málaga-wards; I have about 30 km to cover, today. One of Father Christmas’s reindeer could make this much quicker, but I’m feeling rested and content enough.

Briefly, another wooden road. There really are so many lovely views along this stretch of coast.
As I’m crossing a road in a small village, a car almost drives straight across the crossing. The driver slams on the brakes, and come to a stop around half-way into the crossing. I’ve spotted them just before they’ve spotted me, despite being half-way across the road, and everything is alright. They clearly see it’s their fault. I wonder what they were thinking of, or whether the person next to them had just said something. Easy to do, but could have cut my trip rather short. After some smaller roads, I join a path and head up into the hills.
The path stretches out before me, rolling up and down the slopes much like a rolling-pin might. Perched on a far hill, a sign which reminds me of Hollywoo(d).
I rest at the top, after walking up some of the steepest slopes. I experiment with zig-zagging up some of the others. There’s far enough to go; there’s really no point tiring myself out, and I can feel it a little in my legs. Whilst resting, a Danish person comes over to chat. They’re here with friends, taking a coffee-break after calling on people as Jehovah’s Witnesses. They show me some photos of their own trips around the world, complete with a military-style off-roader, which apparently has everything, including a generator. I realise travelling with such a vehicle might’ve been quicker—and more convenient when being a power-vulture…
A quiet road leads me down the hill. Much faster than I came up. (Obviously.)
Taking a hairpin bend which does look remarkably like a hairpin, I follow a small path which runs alongside a dried-up river. The riverbed is wide and dusty, and it doesn’t look like water has flowed there for some time.
Finally, some water! It’s mostly just sitting there, and not flowing very much. Which I guess makes sense, considering the riverbed higher up is so dry. It seems a shame; it could be such a pretty river. I wonder why it’s dry.
Today’s dogs are not friendly, not small, not restrained, and not with any visible owner. As I round the back of a less-than-clean housing-block, I see the two dogs. Initially, they’re just playing with each other. I slow to a walk past, and they take interest in me. They bark and bark, and one moves after me. There are a few seconds when I genuinely wonder if they’re going to attack me. No one comes. I keep walking slowly, and after some very tense seconds they stop moving after me. I reflect to myself that given all the dangers of the trip, the most likely is still that I’ll be attacked by a dog or hit by a car.
At Fuengirola, I rejoin the sea. The path is easy, and the journey pleasant.
Running along the promenade through town, I continually experience very strong déjà vu. Checking later, it turns out I’ve been here before—around two decades ago! I keep looking around, filled with that strong-but-not-quite am-I-sure-or-have-I-never-seen-this-before feeling.
The road climbs, and I’m having to take more rests; the clouds have flurried themselves along, and it’s actually now pretty sunny. Thankfully, I brought enough water today. :) Hurrah!
The path wraps around the edge of the coast, behind lots of apartments. It’s a nice stretch, but I’m feeling pretty tired. For a nice change, I’m not dehydrated, today—but I haven’t eaten or brought anything, and I’m simply getting too tired. I’ve been a little over 25 km, so don’t actually have all that long left to go, but I take three or so rests in quick succession, and am definitely losing my rhythm.
Just around the brow of the hill, I discover that Amsterdam might not be as far away as I’d thought. The local store sells a variety of Dutch products, to my surprise including Oude Kaas! Like all imports, it’s pretty expensive, but not all that much more expensive in comparison to the less-exciting cheese they’re selling. I buy some, and have breakfast in the sun on a small roundabout. 48-day Dutch, washed down by Spanish beer. And within a few minutes, my energy returns. Really must get the hang of this eating thing.
I start walking as I finish the last of my sandwiches, and am stopped by a couple. Speaking English, they very politely ask me if it’s possible to get to the beach by some particularly route. I say I think so, and check on my map. Where are you from?, I ask. Belgium—do you know it? I give them their directions in Dutch, which they seem happy about, and with a cheery Geen Dank, set off on my way. Not bad for an unexpected breakfast: a little Dutch conversation to go with my Oude Kaas. :)
Grateful for the food, I set off on the final few kilometres. Along the way, somebody is making townscapes out of sand, and they’re pretty darn awesome.
Entering Torremolinos, it gets a lot more busy. This seafront has a very different feel about it compared to Fuengirola, and I much prefer it. I join the scooter-traffic. ;)
The stage ends with a sudden ascent, and I simply walk it. I’m pretty pleased overall, and the run’s gone pretty well, especially considering it’s one of the longer stages. Checkpoint. 32.5 km (stage) / 331.2 km (total)