Stage 1.16: Torre del Mar – Nerja, Spain

In which I leave my beshadowed self behind, and am permeated by the beauty of the coastal road and the blue, blue sea.

Keen to get on, I pack up the next morning and continue up the coast. It’s a cloudy day, but the beach and bay look nice. Nevertheless, I’m pleased to be going. Part of the reason for my lack of enjoyment at this stop turns out to be that I’ve somehow injured my back and neck. Obviously, running with a backpack has its risks, but I’ve so far been mostly alright. Last night, however, I lay down for hours, and could barely turn my back without feeling a muscle pull. I must have twisted it, perhaps by turning my head at an injurious moment. Running a new stage the very next day isn’t ideal, but staying here much longer isn’t very practical either. I resolve to take it carefully.

All along the coast since may tens or more of kilometres ago, beach huts are decorated with style. I like the variety of the nautical scenes portrayed.
I run past a couple of people mending nets. Although this must be a common enough sight all over the world, I’ve barely ever seen it. Ropes attached to the ground run along, and the nets are attached to these to keep them in place.
Simply considering this bridge, it could be anywhere up the coast for maybe the past 100 km or so. I like the gentle arch; it lends something to the scene.
Like so many places, the river is completely dry. Not even a small stream makes its way along here. On the horizon, the mountains of the north loom above. These are an almost constant sight, for village after village.
The clouds clear a bit, revealing more blue sky over blue sea. The road snakes around, hugging the sea tightly.
I run past a couple of large apartment buildings with no windows. I can’t work out if they’re being built, or have already seen better days. Empty shells to overlook a blue sea.
I run through Torrox, which is a charming town. Everything around here is tri-lingual: Spanish, English, and German. I find it interesting how some areas I’ve seen are just Spanish, some Spanish and English, some also with German, and others with Swedish or Dutch. Russian is seen very rarely—just the occasional shop or so.
Continuing past Torrox, the coast becomes truly delightful. This is an area of wondrous beauty, and I could happily spend more time around here.
I take the beach for a while, the waves breaking white and frothy, most cappuccino-like.
Having rejoined the road, I pass some cars pulled up in a lay-by. I stop to see what’s causing the interest, and find a shine made out of rock. Lots of white stones are placed on it all around.
Again, the views around this part really are stunning. It must make for a lovely drive, as well. For the first time in around 40 km, including the past stage, I start to feel good. The soul-clouds begin to lift.
The road bends around and descends, offering an easy run with an excellent view of the mountains. Remarkably, my back and neck have been okay, although I can feel that they’re not right.
I look out towards the sea, with scene after scene which could be from a postcard. I’m already beginning to really like this place—a feeling which will grow and grow over the coming days.
I enter Nerja, with no idea about what to expect. I know nothing about the place, having chosen it purely because it worked out well with distances, me also being eager to leave the place before. And although there’s little to be said in the way of running, I discover what quickly moves right up into my list of all-time favourite towns. A remarkable and exquisite jewel.
I stop on the old bridge, again looking along a dry river-bed up to the mountains. Time to rest, and to heal. Checkpoint. 21.1 km (stage) / 403.0 km (total)