A little trip to Spain…and Africa.

Back a few months ago I got a great deal on airfare from DC to Spain ($127 round trip including all taxes).  So on the eve of the Philadelphia Marathon, the girl and I booked tickets over for a 5 days trip to Spain.  We decided on hanging out on the southern coast, along the Mediterranean.   While it’d be too cold for beaches and bikinis, it would be ideal for doing the tourist.

We left Friday evening and just arrived back last night.  We stayed in the town of Marbella and then did day trips all over the place – Ronda, Mijas, Gibraltar (UK-esque territory), Malaga, and a short 35 minute high speed ferry trip over to Tangier, Morocco (Africa).

Here’s a bunch of photos from the weekend…
(tomorrow or some other time I’ll return you to tri/running-related stuffs)


(Above) We took the high speed train down from Madrid to Malaga,  it topped out at 290kmh (it had a little speedometer on it) – yet the ride is silky smooth.  From there we drove about 30 minutes (or 60 if you happen to have directional challenges) to the town of Marbella and the beachside resort we were staying at.


The next day we headed up to a small town a few thousand feet up along the side of the mountains above the ocean – Mijas.





The town was pretty cool and we had a lot of fun wandering around and checking out all the little nooks and cranny’s.

The next day it as run time.  While I was originally supposed to get my long run in on Sunday, we were both too exhausted for our respective long runs.  So we made a game-time decision to move them to Monday.  We ended up running along the Avenida Duque de Ahumada, which starts in Marbella and heads a few towns down.  My pace was a bit slowed for a variety of reasons – including some sand, pebble, dirt and grass running, and then a few river and stream crossings that had to be knocked out.  I don’t think the path was really designed for 18+ milers.  Thankfully a little more than 2 hours later I was all set.  The run was really pretty though with a spectacular sunrise (we started out in the dark), plus it’s all along the water.



After that we headed up to the town of Ronda, famous for a large 100 meter deep ravine that separates the town – and it’s also the home of modern bullfighting.

IMG_6603 IMG_6626


Following Ronda we wandered the 100 or so kilometers though the countryside down to the city of Gibraltar.  The drive was amazing though.  Very quiet back roads twisting down out of the mountains.


Eventually we crossed into Gibraltar – which is a UK territory of sorts.  They have their own money though despite being only 7km sq.  It’s main feature is a big rock.  Like…a.big.ass.rock.


Perhaps a mountain is more accurate.


The views were incredible.  It’s also where the Atlantic and Mediterranean meet.  And there were monkey’s!  They liked our car quite a bit.  Enough to ‘wash’ the front windshield a bit.



Oh, note the following boat below the lighthouse – officially…a failboat.


On Tuesday we drove the hour or so to Terife, which is one of the closest points in Europe to Africa.  From there we zipped across on a 35 minute ferry ride to the city of Tangier, Morocco.



Given the Girl hadn’t ever been outside North America – let alone Europe, Africa was icing on the cake.  We decided to skip on the prepackaged tour like every other person coming from Europe does and instead just wandered around ourselves.  We had a blast and had no issues.  Plus we got to see everything they saw – plus a ton more.




Oh yeah…and we did some camel riding along the beach before boarding the boat back to Europe. :)   Yes…despite my previous camel encounters.



After the ferry, the drive back to the hotel was just as impressive, just incredible greenery.


Then yesterday morning it was a quick 2.5 hour high speed train back to Madrid before catching an evening flight to DC.



So that’s it – an awesome trip! Now I’m home and back to a semi-normal training schedule.  Just a little over a week till the National Half Marathon!

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  1. Looks like a great trip! My wife and I went to that part of Spain about 3 years ago. We stayed a week in Ronda, but spent a day or two in Malaga, day trip to Gibraltar and day trip to the Alhambra. Can’t wait to go back!

  2. WOW>>..where did you find tickets for that price? That looks like a great time!

  3. I’ve always wanted to see the Rock of Gibraltar! Cool pics. Glad y’all had fun.

  4. wow. amazing – looks perfect. pictures of girl??!? :)

  5. Great trip. Those monkeys, however, look scary.

    What kind of camera do you use?

  6. Incredible trip! Where did you find that price?

  7. Wow looks really pretty. And no wonder it took you 60 minutes in that tiny little car!!!

  8. Wow, looks like an amazing trip! I’d love to go to Morocco some day. What a steal of a deal on tickets too!

  9. For that price, I figured they’d make you swim back across the Atlantic. Wouldn’t be too bad of a workout…but it would probably take you out of commission for the National Half. Never seen a price that low for a domestic flight, let alone international! Did you use points in combination with it?

  10. Fabulous pics, as always I enjoyed looking at them! Seems like it was great weather the entire time as well. :)

  11. great pic see you at the 1/2 you probably are in coral 1 I am in the 3 should be around the 1 45 mark 20 minutes after you

  12. can we talk about what a ridiculous deal on an international flight that is. i was wondering where you went, didnt guess it was a short hop across the pond!! good luck in the next week

  13. Cool trip! My husband has asked me many times whether I’d be interested in going with him on his business trips abroad but he doesn’t enjoy looking around much and I”m not one to go around by myself in a foreign country. So I’ll just have to enjoy the sights vicariously through your posts. Thanks for sharing all the photos!!

  14. really fabulous trip! I’ve only been to spain (barcelona and sevilla) and I ADORED it!

    thanks for sharing all those pix. this blog is like national geographic!

    (ha ha tiny little car. i heart kelly)

  15. A little trip to Spain. Sweet! Glad you still got your 18-miler in, the National is coming up fast.

  16. Now that looks like a great trip!!! Your passport is really getting punched.

  17. Have passport and girl and will travel, very nice!

  18. Those were some AWESOME ticket prices!

    What an incredible trip and fantastic photos. That gorge in Rhonda looks amazing. I love the picture of you squeezed into that little car. Does it count that I went to the World Showcase at Epcot?

    Hmm, didn’t think so.

  19. SOOOOOOOOOOOOO AWESOME!! What gorgeous photos and it sounds like a great little whirlwind trip. Good for you!! If you’ve got an album of more of the pics from Spain and Morocco I’d love to see them – I just couldn’t get over how gorgeous it all was and it brought back a lot of great memories from when I was there!