Friday, 18 July 2008

Marbella Bus Station

I took my son-in-law Chris looking fit and tanned up to the Marbella bus station this morning to catch the special Marbella to Malaga airport bus service. He was flying back to London. We got his ticket and as we put his bag onto the bus I was delighted to bump into Raquel, seen in the middle of the picture. She was also bussing to Malaga airport and then flying on to Barcelona. Raquel is an former travel agent student of mine.

Quite a lot is written in the local press about the Marbella bus station and the CTSE Portillo bus company that operates it. One recent article mentioned that at night the lights above the taxi rank in front of the building weren't working. Another mentioned the state of the toilets. My impression was that first thing in the morning the bus station looked clean. There was however no paper in the gent's toilets and I am sure there would have been none in the ladies' so if you think you might need a pit stop at the Marbella bus station before your onward journey best to bring your own loo paper.

Another article in the La Tribuna newspaper 4 July 2008 mentioned that the CTSE Portillo company was trying to introduce online booking but something had "blocked the systems" That meant that even travellers who had plane tickets booked would have to queue in the morning to make sure of their seats on the bus up to Malaga airport. (I have never seen the bus full although it must happen one day)

Twenty nine ago when I travelled by bus up to Málaga periodically to renew my registration with the British Consulate to get a certificate which was essential in those days, I would have to wait until the bus I was going to catch had left Estepona. The Estepona bus station would then phone Marbella to say how many empty seats there were on the bus. The travellers in Marbella could then buy their tickets to Fuengirola or beyond. Once the bus had left Marbella, the number of empty seats would be phoned through to Fuengirola and so on all the way to Málaga. Any moment now this will be a thing of history....

I have had a good week replying to visitors to the Costa del Sol. Rulette from Holland wrote in to the "Spain Now and Then" blog to ask about the Santa Marta bus stop near Bena Vista, so I popped down there to check it out and put up a page for her. Then you will see my correspondence in the comments section with Vivian, who is coming to visit her sister in Torrenueva and who asked about the nearest bus stop and through helping her I found out that the Unicasa bus stop is actually called Torrenueva on the ground.

Sarah is somewhere in Europe right now backpacking her way down to the Grangefield Oasis Club 2 km inland from Riviera del Sol and asked if she would need a hire car or if she could get to Oasis Club from the Riviera del Sol bus stop on foot. (Yes and no.) Last summer Mike Dusswaldt wrote in from the USA to say his daughter Melissa would be staying at Riviera del Sol and I have been meaning to put up this information ever since about the Riviera del Sol bus stop. Check out my impressions of how things are at the Miraflores bus stop!

I never thought there would be such interest in the list of bus stops between Estepona and Marbella, followed by the list of bus stops between Marbella and Fuengirola and then finally the list of bus stops between Fuengirola and Torremolinos.

The bus page to watch which is climbing in Google's rankings is my Bus and Train Questions section. It is starting to overtake the Costa del Sol bus schedules page little by little.

Shortly I will be bringing my bus travellers recommendations for car hire. Quite a few visitors to the Costa del Sol, take the bus from the airport to their destinations and then hire a car for a few days in a row. I'll be adding my recommendations for day excursions too!

Please contact me for any information through the ¨Spain Now and Then¨comments box at the bottom of the page. The system works very well. I don't get to see your email address and neither do the spammers. Other readers can share our interchanges. My reply to you will be emailed automatically through the system. I like to have a name to write to if possible even if you make it up!

PS: You can now do online bus ticket reservations through the gomarbella reservation system.

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Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Two hours to Cordoba

It was hot in Cordoba, pushing 40º but I was there on business. I have driven the stretch of road from Marbella, around and up behind Malaga, past Antequera and then inland to Cordoba many times and there was no real need to have the TomTom switched on but it was good to see we would have time to have a quick meal by the Guadalquivier river in sight of the famous Cordoba cathedral and right next to our destination, the private business administration university in Cordoba.

Three hours of oral examining with students doing the Cambridge Business English Certificate examinations (BEC) were to follow. It's always a pleasure to assess well prepared and highly motivated candidates and the time raced by.

Another of life's many other pleasures is to drive through the rolling landscapes of Andalucia in the evening. On the way home the earth changed colour from shades of white through to greys, the olives trees gave way to vast yellow tracts of sunflower fields with the heads turning to face the setting sun. Now and again the smell of the olives from the co-operative processing plants washed through the car windows, open in the cool of the evening.

We stopped for old time's sake at the venta nearest the spring between Antequera and Malaga. Twenty nine years ago we would top up the car radiator here or bathe our faces and drink from the pure mountain water which runs all year round under the willow trees.

The setas con ajo and perejil were excellent. That's mushrooms in garlic and served with parsley. Two immaculately dressed Guardia Civil policemen came in for a snack. I turned the blue label of my cerveza sin alcol so that it would be more easily visible.

You will know by now how much I like travelling through Spain by car, bus, train or by plane. If I can give you any travel help please write to me using the tiny comments link below the blog. If you tick the box you will get a reply from me emailed to you directly and you don't have to revisit the blog. Nobody sees your email address either.

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