From Almeria to Marbella, yesterday turned out to be one of the best days so far. Not necessarily in terms of distance travelled but our mood and the drivers we had were all amazing.
We had quite a walk to get out of Almeria and it took a while but we eventually got a short lift from a man who distributes vegetables. He was telling us how he'd picked up some hitchers recently, who were also going to Morocco. He was only going 30km down the road but dropped us off at a busy roundabout so we could carry on with our journey. Another half an hour later, we got a second lift, this man was only going two junctions further but we figured it was all in the right direction so we might as well get in. At the next junction where we got dropped, we had a lift almost instantly, going a further 30km or so.
This new junction looked quite busy but turned out to be ridiculously hard to get a lift from. We tried standing on the main road where there was a 60km/h (40ish miles) limit, although noone was travelling that slow and consequently couldn't stop for us. We then waited at a junction where cars turned into the road, these we're often stuck in front of us, so we could try and make them feel bad about not offering a lift. After 2 hours of no luck, we began to panic that we maynot get out. Zoe was on the phone to her dad, trying to find alternate places we could aim for (our sign currently read 'Malaga') but it seemed like we had to just get on this main road. Luckily a woman who had initially ignored us had second thoughts, reversed back and took us to Motil,which is about halfway.
Once again, we found ourselves at a roundabout. A 30 minute wait produced a lift to the next beach town, only 6km further, but further nonetheless. Apart from getting stuck in the middle of nowhere, we were getting lifts relatively quickly and from this latest roundabout it was only 45 minutes until we got a decent lift. This one, the sixth, took us to a town on the outskirts of Malaga- I checked our updates on the thumbprint tracker, and they've put the marker in the wrong place, making the route look ugly. Cristiano couldn't speak.much English and his driving left something to be desired. However, once we (Zoe) got talking to him, he turned out to be a really nice guy. He was overtired, having been working from.3am (possibly explaining the driving) and now on his wah to a party. He stopped off at a service station and bought us some drinks and crisps, one of the nicest gestures we've experienced. I heard stories about people.having drivers who took them home and fed them. We had none of that but have just met lovely people.
We were now at another roundabout. It was getting fairly late but we were so close to our end goal of Algeciras, the port town, that we decided to go for it rather than settle for going into Malaga. However, that plan didn't last long and after 30 minutes of head shakes and no lifts, we put Malaga back on the board, along with Marbella. Over an hour had past when we finally got someone to pull up. He told us that he had to go 'see a client' but would be back.in 2 hours to go to Marbella if we were still here then. Our aspirations returned to Algeciras, but we didn't get anywhere with that. Fran, our saviour (as he called himself) returned and we piled in.
Fran turned out to be a lovely guy, Zoe is in love, who was really chatty and drove past his turning to take us straight to the youth hostel. He even said that he would take us to his place but that it was tiny. He explained how it was quite unusual to see hitch hikers in Spain and spoke to us about all the beast beaches in the south- apparently Cadiz is the place to go.
We got dropped off at the hostel and it was the same chain as where we had stayed last night so we knew what to expect. However, Marbella is a rich tourist town and so the hostel reflected this (luckily not in price) by being decorated really nicely and having its own swimming pool! We got really excited about this until realising that it was shut as they don't appear to see this as warm weather! There was still a bit of daylight left so we made a move over to the beach. It was so nice to actually enjoy a place that we we're passing through.
After a bit of time sitting on the beach, we decided to get some proper dinner and enjoyed a last Spanish meal of paella. This whole standing on the side of the road lark is quite tiring, so it was then off back to the hostel, ready to start our last day of hitching.
There have been some points where I thought that we would never get this far and being well fed, having sat on a beach and sleeping in a real bed has led to the 'euphoric' feeling Hitch told us about. They said that if you wait a long time for a lift, you will get this feeling but I hadn't had it at all until now, with the knowledge that we are pretty much there!
This morning we have had another disappointing breakfast and are now ready to head off and go to Algeciras! The next blog post will be from Morocco :)