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Trip Report - Arroyo/Benalmadena/Malaga - 6-11 September '12

London, United...
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Trip Report - Arroyo/Benalmadena/Malaga - 6-11 September '12

Just back!

Trip report to follow, hopefully tonight, possibly in the next few days.

I am generally against trip reports and have never written one - don't tell the California community, their heads will explode! - but have decided to here as my trip was so short, not packed with stuff and, most importantly, a lot of the information sought and gained here on TripAdvisor stood me in very good stead.

As this is my first trip report (maybe my last) and you know by now I have my own style, often misunderstood and usually controversial, please do go easy if it's not how you expect and like it.

Thank you.

Erith, Kent
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1. Re: Trip Report - Arroyo/Benalmadena/Malaga - 6-11 September '12

LDN - I'm sure it will be an interesting report, especially after all the research you did! Hope you had a good time.

Dublin, Ireland
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2. Re: Trip Report - Arroyo/Benalmadena/Malaga - 6-11 September '12

Waiting with genuine interest, I'll be there soon! Did you get the best Pata Negra, and if so, where? Your map would be helpful also.

Thanks

Arroyo de la Miel...
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3. Re: Trip Report - Arroyo/Benalmadena/Malaga - 6-11 September '12

On principle I`m not going to read it LOL.

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4. Re: Trip Report - Arroyo/Benalmadena/Malaga - 6-11 September '12

Day One - Thursday

We flew with Monarch for the first time and were very happy with their service. Pretty similar to Easyjet but without the seat war at the start.

We left Gatwick at 0800, a time which we've decided we much prefer to the less civilised 0500-0600 options that we've always used in the past.

That flight got us into Malaga at around 1130 and, hand luggage only, we were in Arroyo, via the train (from the impressive, well, not really, new airport station), by a little after noon.

We did the usual nonsense at the apartment and got out and down the beach quickly.

This afternoon, while we waited to be joined by friends later that evening, was primarily to be used as information gathering and map/to do list correcting.

So after the standard walk along the beach and look round the marina (why?) we grabbed a menu del dia lunch at Paso Doble on Las Gaviotas. It was pretty ropey but for the 8.50€ price we couldn't expect much.

I should confirm to mantalk that we didn't go there because of his ham suggestion (which I skirted while there, don't know why) but because we liked the look of the menu and have always enjoyed al fresco Las Gaviotas dining.

After this my girlfriend went and did the supplies shopping at Mercadona and I embarked on a three hour walk taking in all areas of Arroyo and Benal and 40+ (yup!) dining, entertainment and quiz venues. Most were closed but had sufficient information on blackboards for me to build a picture of a plan. A picture which you'll see as we continue didn't take in many of the places I visited!

(Is this really boring yet?)

Bit of late-afternoon pool time.

Shower.

And then we had to come up with someone for dinner. Originally I had a cheap three-courser in mind as we knew once our friends arrived we'd have to pretend we only ate in traditional or posh places.

But following the disappointing lunch at Paso Doble and luke-warm (at best) research visits to Begona, Paraiso, La Taberna and others we had to re-think a menu del dia.

We love the Wok. The Constitution one. Always have. We planned to take our friend there and thought we could go on Thursday and just not tell them. And get it twice.

Well, standards have dropped. Plummeted. Which is such a shame.

The quality of the fresh food is down. The standard of the hot buffet is, well, standard. And they are trying far too hard to bulk up the offering - a carve-your-own serrano ham leg, the latest addition - rather than concentrate on doing what they've always done well, well.

From the Wok, to cleanse our pallets, we went to Bonanza Bar and took in the start of Terri Fox's horrendously racist, generally lazy but often hilarious variety show.

Around midnight we got the call that our friends had arrived early so we ducked out carefully, to avoid abuse, but made a mental note to go back for part two of 'her' show on Sunday night.

Scotland
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5. Re: Trip Report - Arroyo/Benalmadena/Malaga - 6-11 September '12

Well I for one am enjoying this so far........especially your down to earth honesty. Lol. Hope the next instalment isn't too far away.

A M
Benalmadena, Spain
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6. Re: Trip Report - Arroyo/Benalmadena/Malaga - 6-11 September '12

Wise move MT.

There haven't been any fanfares or processions going along Av Gamonal this week so 'His Lordship' must have used another route ........

:-))

Edited: 11 September 2012, 20:30
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7. Re: Trip Report - Arroyo/Benalmadena/Malaga - 6-11 September '12

Day Two - Friday

Well, I got up early. But no-one else did!

At Mercadona for 0845 which, of course, now I realise is half an hour before opening. So, I did a loop, found nothing else open and was back as the shutters opened.

Glad I was as I've never been in a bakery when ALL the bread is hot and touchable. Which was nice. Small things...

Fresh bread and croissants on board I returned expecting the others up, found silence and still-closed bedroom doors and waited another two hours on my tod.

By eleven-thirty everyone was up and showered and we headed to the marina via park and beach, for a little orientation.

This was followed by a six-plus hour period that I've conditioned myself to forget: beach time.

I like walking along the edge of the sea getting lapped by the waves and seeing the odd mix of people that frequent the beach. But I HATE sunbathing. And that's what they all wanted.

I came out of my self-induced zone-out for twenty minutes to grab a sandwich from one of the beachside bars. It was the last one before Bil-Bil. But it was so what.

Our friends one input to the plan for the weekend was wanting to eat lots of tapas.

Well, from the Thursday research trip I settled (courtesy of TripAdvisor forum member suggestions) on Bar Torreon, Taberna San Juan and Taberna Tita Yoli as options.

The first, in Plaza Espana, was in the nicest setting, the middle the most traditional-looking and feeling and the last a pleasant mix of both as well as a menu that appealed a little more to my girlfriend and I's fussy tastes.

We decided we'd go first to Bar Torreon and grab a drink and a couple of small tapas. I think our friends liked the way this worked. No menu, couple of options in a little fridge and you say that, that and that... por favor. A success, especially the cook-yourself chorizo. (Note: Please look out for related thread in coming days.)

We moved on to Tita Yoli and, well, it was the high point of the trip. Lovely atmosphere, delicious tapas, cheap prices. A triumph. So, whoever said it, thank you.

The missus and I then had to do a bit of politicking to get the friends to Bonanza Bar as this is not there thing.

Turned out to be.

The act - and by the way, right now let me say the entertainment starts at 11pm, not the advertised 10.30pm - that night was Divalicious, a pretty, bubbly, young English duo. They were decent singers and excellent, cheeky performers.

After a stony-faced beginning from our friends and the girlfriend and I looking for an exit strategy the Divas (if this is how they liked to be referred) did us a good turn. Them and San Miguel.

They had both our friends up on stage getting involved with performances. And from then we couldn't drag them away before closing.

Which would probably mean another lie in!

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8. Re: Trip Report - Arroyo/Benalmadena/Malaga - 6-11 September '12

Day Three - Saturday

Yep.

Midday start.

But this time I wasn't worried. Because I knew what was on the agenda.

Shopping.

We headed for Malaga and, would you believe it, a bank holiday (as described by a waiter) which meant all the shops were closed.

What a shame. hehe

Well, in one sense it actually was because the Atarazanas market was also closed. And my chances of finding the best of the best of the best jamon iberico de bellota were dashed. This disappointed would stay with me.

We did our best to make the most of a few hours in Malaga - no-one wanted to do any cultural stuff - and are thankful to whomever suggested the walking route, which was a pleasure, and a visit to the park and new dockside complex, which was relaxing.

We lunched at a nice, but touristy (not my choice, which would have been the recommended, but touristy, El Pimpi) Spanish restaurant called Lo Gueno where the highlight was the sleek blue glass bottles the mineral water came in. Which are now on our mantelpiece. (She might not have been able to buy any tat but she wasn't going to be denied in bringing some home!)

So we found ourselves with a chunk of afternoon free and partook in my third least favourite activity after sunbathing at the beach and shopping: sunbathing at the pool.

It's definitely better than being at the beach because there's no sand and seaweed (although this is mitigated by the lack of topless sun worshippers) but the main positive is I do get to pretend to me Michael (Phelps), Rebecca (Adlington) and Ellie (Simmonds) for a few lengths until I get tired.

With four of us sharing a shower I did the chivalrous thing and offered to go up early so the bathroom would be clear. I really am a special guy.

Wok scrapped, tapas covered the night before and that afternoon, menu del dia too down market for our guests we found ourselves a bit stumped for a dining destination.

We like Giorgio but with plans to go to the Tivoli afterwards this was going to be a bit of a schlep back and forth. (We're based just west of the feria ground.) But with Italian in mind we decided to give the Victoria Pizzeria on Plaza Espana a go.

I'd received good reports on here and, sitting next door at El Torreon the night before, we'd been able to spy some of the food, which looked excellent. The prices looked even better.

It was disappointing. Bit tasteless. Apart from oregano. And a bit rubbery.

But that was my view, shared by her indoors. Our friends enjoyed their meals and so job done.

I need to have a moan about Tivoli.

It's their 40th anniversary this year and there's a programme of special entertainment. This weekend their was a premium flamenco show on. The posters were everywhere. They even sent up the plane. (Wondering how those banners stay upright is how I past most of the time at the beach.)

Splashed all over these posters is the 6.95€ park entry price but nowhere, not even in small print, does it tell you you have to buy another ticket for between 15-35€ to see the flamenco.

So, suddenly, we found ourselves in an amusement park surrounded by kids and worried our evening was heading towards another Bonanza Bar lock in.

Luckily we noticed the regular Tivoli flamenco shows were still on. And, well, who needs Sarah Baras? Two thirty minute shows performed by five excellent (to my untrained eye) dancers with enough time between for candy floss and a stroll. Perfect.

Even I needed a lie in Sunday!

Scotland
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9. Re: Trip Report - Arroyo/Benalmadena/Malaga - 6-11 September '12

Well, for someone who doesn't write trip reports you're doing a marathon! Maybe just as well it wasn't a long trip........

Erith, Kent
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10. Re: Trip Report - Arroyo/Benalmadena/Malaga - 6-11 September '12

Really enjoying your report LDN, even though its a bit long but then again you had a lot to fit in during your stay. I think you've probably realised that making plans for other people is a bit of a minefield in that they didn't want necessarily want to do what you had planned - I'm not a beach person either apart from walking through the waves!

Perhaps if you'd been a bit more spontaneous you might not have been disappointed with some of the things you did and saved yourself a bit of leg work.

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