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Day 2 ....... Manilva Green to Fuengirola 74km (Total 162 km)

Not so “Costa del Sol” when I set off this morning.

The benefit of the steep climb up to the accomodation last night was the glide down the hill first thing this morning.

Where I stayed last night was here. Manilva Green Apartments. Now these types of “resorts “ exist in the thousands along the coast here. Most built in the boom times of the 1980’s and 1990’s on land purchased from farmers who couldn’t believe their luck. Since the global financial crisis almost 10 years ago they haven’t had a lot of money spent on them. OK I accept that I am visiting in the shoulder season but I just don’t get it. Probably close to 200 self service type rooms with cooking facilities and a single pool that would struggle to fit 20 people this accomodation is not just located at the top of a steep hill but you are 2 km from the beach and the same distance to a decent food store. So in a car you go everywhere.

Whoever in the Andalucía Road Authority came up with the idea of putting these ripple strips every 200 metres down the length of the N-340 should be made to get on a bike and cycle its length. They’re either there to remind drivers to stay awake or for cyclists to be made aware that they possess a spinal cord. Fun they were not.

Stopped for a coffee at this delightful cafe and enjoyed one of the better chocolate brownies I’ve had of recent times. If you’re ever in the area of Paraiso Barronal you could do yourself a favour and stop here for the same.

“Hey kids we are going to the Costa del Sol for our holidays “

“Yay !”

“Yea found a great deal at a resort overlooking the N-340 and a good 20 min walk from the nearest supermarket or restaurant “

It defies logic. Why would you? Yet along the entire length (all 74km of it ) of the

N-340 today these type of hotels were a dime a dozen.

That’s not to say there were some hotels on the “right side of the tracks” .

After all it s not called

For nothing.

Not the worst place to stop for lunch. Las Chapas (10 km north of Marbella) .

You’re probably wonder why I have included a photo of a non descript slip road. Well. The N-340 is not the most user friendly piece of tarmac for cyclists. You have about 2 feet of hard shoulder and only a ripple strip on your left separating you from a dual lane highway where cars are doing 80-100kph (still as considerate as yesterday) and a guard rail on your right. So when one of these many slip roads fronted up to give motorists access to roadside shops and outlets they were very welcomed indeed. Off the N-340 we’d go, travel 200-300 metres in relative comfort and then back out on to the casino of the highway.

A reminder in Estepona that despite the crass wealth that surrounds them, local fishermen continue to do every day what they and their forefathers have been doing for hundreds of years along this coast. Fish.

A reminder too of a bygone era of architecture that was designed to last .

Ditto. Fuengirola Castillo.

Thought of the day - I want to meet Mr Ripple Strip at The Andalucía Road Authority .

T-shirt quote of the day - “Don’t grow up its a trap” . Worn by a 6-7 year old in Marbella. It did make me smile.

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