The Journey Homeward

Thursday, June 8, 2017

This was our last day of traveling about since we where flying back to the U.S. tomorrow. After touring the Mezquita, the Cathedral, and the Jewish Quarter we were really starting our journey homeward.

So as we rode the bus southward on the A-45, we were getting our final view of the olive groves and hayfields of Andalucia.
After the busy, crowded city of Cordoba, the farmland was very relaxing.
One of the Pueblos Blancos (white villages) seen over a large field of sunflower. There are also the patterns of the olive groves.
Another Pueblo Blanco on a hill surrounded by olive groves. This is the character of mid-Andalucia.
Ancient Spanish ruins surrounded by olive trees.
Guess what! Olive trees!

I believe this fine bridge was part of the crossing of the A-92. The Autovias were very fine highways.

The journey homeward
A fine Spanish house with a swimming pool and ... olive trees! This shows an example of a young olive grove.
Olive groves to the horizon.
Spanish ranchhouses on the huge olive ranch.
As we move further south the mountains start rising. More hay growing is evident.
Hay on the mountainside.
Another pueblo blanco in the mountains.
I like hay fields. Partly it is pleasant memories of working in the hay fields as a teenager in Arkansas.
Finally the mountains were too steep even for hay as we crossed the mountain ridge north of Malaga. There were a number of impressive tunnels and bridges as this excellent highway cut through the mountains. This was now about the eighth time we had traveled this route since Malaga was on the way to our housing on the Costa del Sol.
South of the mountains we dropped down into Malaga where the bus dropped off passengers. We then again traveled along the beach along the Mediterranean in this area which might be likened to a 50 mile long Panama City.
We traveled along the beach road until we reached Calahonda and were dropped off at Club Marbella about 7:30pm for our last night in Spain. We had reached there in time to have our last nice buffet dinner at the Club.

All week there was a good-natured banter between Chris and one of the crew of the Club Marbella, joking with him about how much he ate. Actually, although most of them spoke English, all this joking was in Spanish. Even the British guy, with whom Chris got to be good friends, had lived there since he was four so spoke both languages with ease.
After dinner we thought it a good idea to record a bit about where we has spent this week, the Club Marbella. We went down to the garden level and Chris shot this picture for us. Our suite was up on the 3rd out of four levels, and just about where you see the two sets of walkways coming together.

Looking in the opposite direction at the garden gives some perspective of the size of this large resort.

The view from our room level gave us views of the very nice attached houses that crawled up the mountainside.

Probably the largest contingent of guests was from the UK. A large number of British people vacation here for the sun and the beach - certainly nothing like this in the British Isles. There were a sizable number of Scandinavians for the same kind of attractions. There were a number of Germans as well.

Friday, June 9, 2017

My final drive in Spain was the drive to the Malaga Airport to drop off the rental car. By this time we were very familiar with the AP-7 toll expressway and took it into Malaga where we had to find the M-340 to the airport. When I bought gas at the airport and was in line to pay, a U.S. lady was in front of me and the cashier spoke only Spanish. I and another English-speaking guy behind me were able to direct her to the rental car return. Many of the people in stores on the south coast spoke at least some English. The big car return building at the airport was complicated and the signage inadequate, but we finally found the Avis location and returned the car. Even at the return place, there were two locations, one for returns and one for checkout, but frustratingly, they were not labeled at all so I waited in the wrong line until someone in the line helped me to understand.

In the big airport, Chris was able to ask enough questions to get us to the Delta checkin. Then we had help and a guide for Brenda, so we got through customs and the checkin smoothly. Everyone was very helpful so we were soon at the gate. Very soon after takeoff we got a view of the south coast of Spain south of Malaga.

The most exciting photo I took in the takeoff process from Malaga was this photo that includes the Rock of Gibraltar! Having made the drive there for our Gibraltar exploration and having looked at several maps, it was instantly recognizable. You can see the coast of North Africa and beside Gibraltar you can see the peninsula where Algeciras lies.

We crossed the western Portuguese coast near Lisbon about 40 minutes after takeoff from Malaga.

It was a relaxing flight and a kind of reverie for me to watch the changing moods of the Atlantic Ocean as we crossed.

New York's JFK airport was anything but relaxing. We had a very nice guide from British Guiana who led us through the customs process since we were changing to a domestic flight. Since the various terminals at JFK are not connected like Atlanta's are by the train service, we had to board a bus for transport from customs to the terminal where our flight left.

Our takeoff time from New York's JFK airport was sort of unique. It was sunset on a full moon night, so we saw the sunset as we were taxiing out and the full moon rising as we were airborne over some of the outer islands off New York.

Angel and Rosa Suarez met us when we came up the escalators to Baggage Claim and we all had an enjoyable visit as they transported us home.


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