As I have said to myself many a time, to get away from the madness of a city sometimes you don´t have to go too far. It isn’t far away the Montes of Málaga – the Málaga hills, only 15 or 20 minutes away.
Leaving home at 8.30 am ish , grab the car and start heading to Carretera Colmenar on the outskirts of Málaga is the beginning of the journey.
Its cooler now in October as well. The car hasn’t got air conditioning but with the windows wound down its a pleasant drive.
You start to leave behind the city streets and progress upwards, the high windy roads.
Here you begin to see the Ventas – restaurants that get very busy from autumn through winter. They normally have large rooms to hold wedding and other special parties.
The view is breathtaking already and i have only left the city of Málaga 5 minutes ago.
I pass a sign thats says Málaga with a cross through it meaning that i have left the edge of the city.
As a keen photographer i am keeping my eye open for places to stop the car and take photos of the amazing panorama.
It wasn’t the best of places to park a car but there was a slight siding where a car WOULD fit so i parked.
Next thing was to cross the road. With it being early morning the traffic was still fairly quiet, but being on a bend i had to be careful.
The next thing was to climb up a slightly awkward slope of stones and plants, getting a grip with my trainers – not the best of footwear for a morning in the country – steadily climbing on foot to the top of a small hill to get my first photo of the morning, a view of most of Málaga from above. The sky isn’t like it is in July or August, its a little hazy but then there isn’t the intense heat which i am glad of. You could see that there was a track from another point that walkers had made, no doubt from a much better place where i had started to climb. But what the hell!! The worst thing was going back and going back down the hill. Now i´m not talking Everest here but when youre going downwards and there are rocks with trainers you have to be very careful!
Getting back in the car i proceed further away from Málaga. Up and up, passing bikers.
Most doing what they should do, in single file. Some biking beside on another a danger when you are trying to drive past them, especially when you have cars coming down from above.
Anyway, its time for a coffee and something to nibble on. As i park up once again to take some more snaps the Venta where i park up is opening.
Good timing. I order a large mitad, a large coffee thats half coffee, half milk. In Málaga there are various ways of having coffee depending how much coffee you want. A bit of toast to go with it as well, pan cateto, a bread thats very tasty, harder on the crust and served toasted the way i like it , just with butter. One euro for the coffee and 1.50€ for the toast but it was well worth it. The quietness of the place with its views of the treetops, that is priceless.
Onwards and upwards. Now more and more bikers.
Maybe Sundays is the best day for them as there seems to be less traffic. There are not many vans carrying tools and whatnot today.
I glimpse out of the corner of my eye that the view is getting more awesome, i mean that, without sounding American , it is a view with awe. Next stop is on the edge of a national park. Cars are parked here, joggers exercising their legs. I had spotted a dirt track with a no entry sign but it was a difficult place to stop. So walking back 50 metres i reached the destination i was looking for, a great place to take pics.
When i got there i just stood there and took in the view. A type of valley, tall slopes filled with mediterrean pine trees, little white houses in the middle of nowhere. This was the place to be, total tranquillity. It’s hard to describe a place like this in words without either being there and witnessing it or seeing it in photos. That is the reason this blog is accompanied by pics.
There was no entry here by vehicle but and a barrier.
Sometimes you just have to step ahead and go past the barriers and i´m glad i did.
I am still pretty fast on my feet in case there was sometimes carrying a gun, joke! But no it was a place you could go on foot.
I could see why cars couldn’t go past the sign because the road went precariously downwards.
The pine trees looked strange as they jotted our from the sides of the slopes. This is probably where i took most of the photos.
Moving onwards, going back up the dirt track i drove up 3 more bends towards a Venta i had been to various times in the past. El Mirador.
To my surprise it was closed, it looked like they were doing work on it, extending.
This is where i had eaten a delicious plate that they do in the area, the plato de los montes – the plate of the hills.
This consists of a wonderous plate with many flavours especially created in this area, in the Málaga hills pork loin, chorizo, morcilla, potatoes, fried and peppers. Bliss. The food, the beer (or wine) and the view makes a great mix. I would recommend it any day.
Right now there were guard dogs patrolling, i presume while they do the work on it, at least i hope so.
This Venta every time i came was always busy and the staff very friendly.
After taking a few more photos of the coast from where i stood it was time to get back in the car and drive downwards back to the city,
carefully driving by the bikers and keeping your eye open for drivers wanting to pass you.
Some Spanish seem to be in a rush even on a Sunday where as i wasn’t in a rush at all, i could stay there all day.
I imagined what it would be like living in one of the houses there on the top of the Málaga hills, looking down.
I think it would bother we a little at night-time though or in the winter maybe.
But besides that the life here seemed to be so relaxing, so quiet and only 15 or 20 minutes from the city.
Blog and photos : Copyright Alistair Watts