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davidx Colmenar - A travel report by David
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Colmenar,  Spain - flag Spain
10198 readers

davidx's travel reports

La Axarquía + compulsory hours in Málaga

  18 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
I thought I had an hour to wait in Málaga for my bus – but it was Andalucía day – so it was 7 hours without option! Hence Málaga joins Velez-Málaga and Colmenar in this report. However, no complaints – it was OK.

The Castillo - Velez-Málaga
The Castillo - Velez-Málaga
I have put the trip which took one day of my short break in Spain to Alhama de Granada in a separate report. That leaves this one a bit heterogeneous because I flew to Málaga, went from there to Velez for two nights with the trip to Alhama in between. After that I had the forced seven hours in Málaga, before the bus to Colmenar. After two nights there I returned to Málaga for the return flight. However it was more complicated still because between the two nights in Colmenar - - - but all in good time. La Axarquía is the area to the east of the main road from Málaga to practically everywhere in the world with the exception of the Costa del Sol and to the south of the road that turns right off that main road towards Granada. Until about ten years ago it was a fairly secretive and very non-touristy area and not too much farther back it had a reputation for banditry. Even now you can look on the Internet for a hotel at what is described as a beautiful village and spend a long time finding that the only one is for sale. However, wherever I went in the area, new houses seemed to have sprung up in profusion and the vast majority of estate agents’ adverts were in English as well as Spanish. It might sound as if I wish I had been there a few years ago. There’s a reason for that. I do so wish. In fact on my first day I rather wondered what I had let myself in for. For the first time in eight visits to Andalucía I used the bus from the airport instead of the train – and for the last time even if I go another eight times. It was like Bedlam in a horrible underground area with horns blaring. People were saying it’s not usually like that. Fine – but I got the train back a few days later. Then I found that Velez-Malaga is not separated from Torre del Mar as far as building is concerned – more like entering a big suburb than an interesting old town. Never mind – it could only get better - and it did!

Favourite spots:
Colmenar from the road to the Montes.
Colmenar from the road to the Montes.
Colmenar may be ‘just another white Axarquía village,’ as someone described it – but there’s not a lot wrong with that. However Colmenar has points which should make it special. If you want your first, or another early, holiday in Andalucía to be somewhere easily accessible to Málaga and without language difficulties, if you don’t fancy the idea of the Costa del Sol over-much, this could be just the place. It’s little more than 35 minutes in a car or 40 in the bus from Málaga. You can actually stay in an English owned B&B [see travel tip on Casa de Jasmina] However Colmenar’s main claim to fame is that it’s the first place you come to fromf Málaga on the road of the Natural Park of the Montes de Malaga. There’s no bus along this road but I was lucky enough to hitch a lift and, even with enough mist to spoil the very best, there were terrific views of the peaks, the delightful valleys and the coast. The Costa del Sol is NOT my scene but from here it looked great even to me!

What's really great:
East from the Gibralfaro
East from the Gibralfaro
The long wait at Málaga on the third day turned out well. I’d never been to the Gibralfaro, the fort/lighthouse from Moorish times that towers over the city. I knew that it was quite a bit higher than the other fortress of the Alcazaba and I’d only been there by the long lift entrance [see my Grazalema report for this and other suggestions in Málaga] but on this occasion I should have time. I walked up well above the Alcazaba and began to feel weary. I met a man coming down. Was I half way yet? No, less than a five part! [Netherlands] Clearly I was not being very sensible. Then this good kind man told me there was a bus and where to get it! No. 35 from El Parque opposite to the City Hall. It was quite a wait but what a lovely place to wait – wonderful trees full of bird song – and the views from the Gibralfaro were stupendous.

The Cervantes House in Velez
The Cervantes House in Velez
Velez-Málaga turned out considerably better than the impression I had formed on arrival [see introduction.] The hotel was at the foot of the really steep part, which is always equal to old and interesting in Spain. I suppose that I am a bit sorry I never got to the Castillo and I felt pretty stupid the second time I saw it well to my left across a sort of gorge! [It was a different one from my first try. If you ever want to do it, make sure you walk what seems about twenty miles to your right from the hotel before starting upwards. However I think I had a better photographic view of it from the greater distance. I got into the sort of gorge and walked past a couple of picturesque churches on the way down. Then there’s an elegant house with Cervantes connections.
I don’t know that I’d go to Velez again for its own sake but it’s an excellent place to make for first night if you are making for Alhama de Málaga by bus your second day. Hence I hope I do go back.

Hotel Dila, Velez
Hotel Dila, Velez
At Velez-Málaga I stayed at the Hotel Dila on the Avda. Vivar Téllez, the main road running below the older part of the town.
It had everything necessary, en suite room with TV and telephone. It only cost 27 euros a night and I should stay there again if I go back.
At Colmenar I stayed at the Casa de Jasmina, owned by an English family with a choice of full English or continental breakfast and an evening meal of three courses + wine and coffee [lots!] for 10 euros. The room was excellent and there’s a large choice of videos to watch.

On the Alcazaba wall
On the Alcazaba wall
Turning right outside the hotel I ate at the first non-Chinese place I reached on the right – nothing against Chinese food but why go to Spain for it? I had to wait until about 20.00 for food to be served but I had a very good ración of rosada [catfish] with a lage dish of salad. The various vegetables included a fair bit of avocado so it had a head start with me and the whole thing was cheap and very good.

Other recommendations:
Málaga's vast cathedral from the Gibralfaro
Málaga's vast cathedral from the Gibralfaro
So – messy? Possibly. As I said in the introduction it was even stranger than it seemed there, since in the day after I was stuck in Málaga for seven hours, I spent a further two there! So it goes Málaga – Velez – Alhama - Velez – Málaga [7 hours] – Colmenar – Málaga [2 hours] – Colmenar – Málaga.

But try looking at it another way. I had just four nights break from some abysmal weather in northern England, in which I saw the wonderful countryside of the Alquarcía, the splendid town of Alhama de Granada; I walked and hitched from the delectable village of Colmenar to the unbussed Montes and had the most marvellous views. To cap it all I found the Gibralfaro was open on a holiday and made my first [hopefully not my last] visit. A mess? Long live the mess!

Published on Tuesday March 7th, 2006

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Tue, Mar 14 2006 - 02:30 PM rating by frenchfrog

It s was a pleasure to read this report! Fine work again!

Sat, Mar 11 2006 - 12:48 AM rating by downundergal

Hi David,
Another well written report! How can I fit all these new discoveries into my next trip? No chance, I think. Anyway it was an interesting and humerous read.

Fri, Mar 10 2006 - 10:29 AM rating by gloriajames

Hiya David!
Great report! Where are u off to next??

Thu, Mar 09 2006 - 01:28 PM rating by jesusferro

Este report es chevere, pibe! A masterpiece! Sos barbaro, che, David. Vos podriais dedicaros a la literatura profesional, como Jorge Luis Borges. Si pasais por Madrid os invitare a un mate.

Thu, Mar 09 2006 - 06:54 AM rating by marianne

Very entertaining.

Wed, Mar 08 2006 - 11:07 AM rating by bear495

It sounds like a wonderful divertisement, David. It is always pleasant to get away from the poor weather. As always, I enjoyed the well-written report and the humorous insights.

Wed, Mar 08 2006 - 12:06 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

excellent report

Tue, Mar 07 2006 - 07:06 PM rating by magsalex

Totally comprehensive report.

Tue, Mar 07 2006 - 06:35 PM rating by mistybleu

The thing that always sticks in my mind about my trips to spain, is waiting for dinner, normally around 9 or 10.

Nice report with great personal stories.

Tue, Mar 07 2006 - 04:53 PM rating by rangutan

Absolutely great 5* stuff! I wish much more people would organise and travel trusting themselves not just follow tour-leaders and guides around. [Similar to Terge's way at Orihuela]

Tue, Mar 07 2006 - 03:21 PM rating by isaacmolina

You, Kerrie and Gloria James should have another category (higher) to rate your reports, because they are the very best in Globo!

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