Last Sunday I did something I never do… I went on a group trip! I’m a little stubborn, and I prefer to go places by myself and do as I please. But I will admit that being social every once in awhile isn’t going to hurt anyone. 😉 I’m taking an awesome Spanish class at Instituto eCenter, and they have a sister company called Malaga South Experiences that organizes trips around Spain and neighboring countries for students and residents alike. This deal was too good to pass up!
Here are a few quick reasons I suggest traveling with MSE:
- It’s so easy to make friends. Everyone on the trip was friendly and talkative! They’re also likely to be either foreigners or Spaniards looking to make some new friends!
- It’s soooo cheap.
- If planning trips stresses you out, this is perfect for you. It’s a nice ratio of organized time to free time.
- The company travels with a photographer. While a narcissistic reason on my part, it was really cool to come away from the trip with professional photographs of yourself taken in a stunning environment. It’s part of the package, and in my humble opinion, an excellent marketing tactic! (See below!) I stole one for you to see, but the rest are my own. 🙂
- They travel to places that are otherwise not easily accessible for residents and students without cars.
About El Torcal
El Torcal de Antequera is a nature reserve in the north of the province of Malaga, approximately an hour drive from the coast. In fact, you can see the sea from the top. It was stunning! El Torcal is known for its unique, surreal, and even bizarre, rock formations. Taken from my favorite place, Wikipedia, “The Jurassic age limestone is about 150 million years old and was laid down in a marine corridor that extended from the Gulf of Cádiz to Alicante between the present Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. These seabeds were uplifted to an elevation of over 1300 meters during the Tertiary era, resulting in a modest mountain range of flat-lying limestone, which is rare in Andalucia. Later, a series of fractures, cracks and faults at right-angles (generally NW-SE and NE-SW) were exploited by erosion and produced the alleys between large blocks of limestone visible today.”
When we arrived, things were looking grim. The fog was so thick that we could not even see a meter in front of us. But within ten minutes, the clouds and fog disappeared, and a beautiful, sunny day was ahead of us.
If you get the itch to see El Torcal:
- TAKE A DANG COAT. TAKE FIVE COATS. I saw the weather report beforehand (high of 15 and low of 7 Celsius) and thought to myself, Pshhh this is Malaga! I don’t need a coat! Boy was I wrong. I was an icicle the entire time because it was 7 degrees Celsius. Which is essentially arctic temps for Malaguenians. The altitude in El Torcal is much, much higher than it is in Malaga, making the temps feel even worse.
- Take food and especially water. There’s a cafeteria in the welcome center, so food and water is available if you need it. But if you’re the reusable water bottle type, the water there is not safe to drink.
- Take a camera. Phone photos are great, but this is an incredible land formation that deserves to be documented on a professional level!
- Plan for a sunny day. This may seem obvious, but some travelers continue with their plans rain or shine. El Torcal is very rocky. It was muddy when we went without rain. Had it been raining, I think it would be very dangerous! Plus, without the sunshine I think I would have perished!
- It’s less intimidating than it looks. I’m terrified of heights and I willingly climbed up for this view.
Enjoy the photos!