By the Sea, By the Mediterranean Sea, You and Me*

Our timing was perfect. Our check out time for the apartment was 11 am; the bus to Spain - Estepona 001Spain - Estepona 003Estepona was scheduled for 11:40 am. Prior to being contacted for this home exchange, I none of us had a clue that Estepona existed. We had no inkling as to what we should expect. Our only clues were the photos posted online by our exchange partners. Being we were traveling for 4 ½ months prior, there was no pressing need to investigate future travel plans while trying to be in the moment with current ones.

The bus had us delivered in the outer part of the city after one hour and 40 minutes. From the bus station we took a taxi to the apartment. After being in Colombia and Ecuador, it was a shock seeing the taximeters start at €3.40 and race through the triple digits from there. A two-mile ride cost us €7 and as it turned out, it is a straight shot.

We had to arrange for our friend Kat to stay at our place to turn over our keys. It was Spain - Estepona 011a hassle since their flight did not arrive until after midnight, the same time as our flight home. Kat readily offered to assist, so we were grateful.

Our exchange partner arranged for a friend to meet us at the apartment. She gave us a tour of the full apartment including the three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. The balcony starts outside the living room and wraps around the Spain - Estepona 012master bedroom. Wide enough to have a large plastic dining table, there are six lounge chairs surrounding it. Standing on the balcony, directly across the street is the Mediterranean Sea. Estepona has a magnificent esplanade filled with palm trees, cactus, and gardens of flowers as well as works of art.

Once we had emptied the suitcases, we walked across the street to the beach. Thinking Spain is going to be warm, we were in for a surprise in Málaga that jackets were needed in the evening. Here in Estepona, we needed jackets during the day as well. It was in the high 50s to low 60s, sunny but not warm enough to spend the day at the beach.

Kim and I collected shells as we walked. Within three quarters of an hour of beachcombing, I had a bulging pocketful. The sea creates little waves, like waves in training. They are so cute the way they wash up on shore. As small as they are, they are quite productive in supplying both shells and rocks. The beach is loaded with rocks close to the shoreline. If my luggage allowance permitted, I would have a bountiful geology collection. So many of the rocks were incredible colors and designs, it would be fascinating to know their travel history.

Spain - Estepona 006After Kim had given up the beach walk for the promenade, we discovered a homeless man who creates a seashell sculpture. Needless to say, this being Spain and still considered a Catholic country, his masterpiece had a religious flare in addition to a flame. Spain - Estepona 007

As I was walking around taking photos, these three cuties drove up on their rented go-carts and asked in Spanish for me to take their picture. I am not certain what they had in mind for the photo to remain in my possession, but I accommodated their wish. They were quite cute.

Knowing we had no Internet at the apartment, Ron and I went in search of either an Internet café or WiFi places. Ron must have questioned close to a dozen cafés with full tables occupied across the spectrum of ages. Not a single one had WiFi. This was becoming unimaginable and frustrating, but verging on becoming an anger issue.

Spain - Estepona 021With dinner plans unsettled, we walked the seafront path to the lighthouse, where beyond we had the promise of seafood restaurants. Not being much of a fish eater, Kim and Ron had their appetites already for fruits of the sea. However, our timing was off. It seems many places close mid-day including the restaurants. After being rejected a few times, we gave in to depravity by having a beer at the Irish pub.

With another attempt at dining, the restaurateur informed us they would reopen at 7 pm. It was less than five minutes away, so he relented and let us enter.  I had steak while my dear companions dined on fish.

Listening to the Spanish used here, it became quickly apparent that they drop the ends of the words. As people greeted us, we heard “Buen di” instead of “Buenos días”. At first we thought individually, we were mishearing it, but conferring we realized we all were hearing the same thing. Later we had this verified by a Brit who has lived here for years and is fluent in Spanish.

The walk home was incredibly lovely walking the seafront. Back at the apartment, we sat on the balcony talking until bedtime.

*This post has been back dated due to lack of Internet.

After completing my Ed.D., the frustration of finding a teaching position where I was willing to live, led to Ron and I leaving the country. We intended to travel for a year before settling somewhere in MA or RI. We left the US without any credit card debt, no car payments and our house mortgage paid by renters. We had $10,000 in the bank to make our way through a year.