13 Jul 08
Day 0 (Sunday, July 13)
I woke up early and I was up and running in a short while. Albrecht was still sleeping on the floor. He did not see the message I wrote him about the soup and tortillas in the fridge.
He made his luggage and was stressing Rachel on the phone to hurry up washing the clothes. We had soup and tortillas for lunch and packed some tortillas for the road.
We left around 12:00 to the train station, but when we arrived we found out that Rachel made it there before us because she got a ride.
The train did not go, but there was a bus instead, which was full already with a team of Danish girls. So we had to wait for another bus to come.
From Torp we took the plane to Liverpool. There we played Munchkin Fu and other card games waiting for the next plane, which we took to Malaga.
We arrived at Malaga airport after midnight. We waited quite some time for a car from the car rental company to come. Then with the rented car we drove to Marbella, where we arrived around 02:30. We were looking for the school and my hostel, even asking policemen. In the end we found the school and I went to my hostel. I had a private room with bathroom and shower included, which was quite nice. I set my alarm for 07:00 in order to be at school at 9.
Day 1 (Monday, July 14)
I woke up at 07:00 and walked to school which was 20 minutes away. On the way I met Albrecht and then we met with Rachel at the school. There were quite many people there already.
After a brief Spanish test in which they assesed our knowledge, we went to have a breakfast at a kafe, and walked on the beach a little. It was cloudy so it was not yet hot.
At 11:30 we came back to the school and found out in which groups we are. Apparently me and Albrecht are level A2 (intermediate) and Rachel was A1 (beginner). The course was starting at 14:30 so we went to our rooms to have a siesta, and decided to meet for lunch.
Walking back to the hostel I bought some designer shades (sun glasses) from a second hand designer shop called Utopia, and a postcard.
At the hostel I was speaking a bit with the receptionist who was a nice girl, and who recommended me good places to visit and cheap places to eat. I was resting in my room a bit to the sound of jazz coming from somewhere in the hostel. It was quite nice, but short. I took a shower again and a new T-shirt and went to meet the others for lunch. We had lunch at a restaurant by the beach.
Then we went to the school where we bought books and entered our classrooms a bit late.
The first teacher was Maria, then the last 2 hours David.
After the first 2 hours Albrecht decided to switch to my class together with a Czech girl, Jana, because they thought the level was too high in their class.
After the course (4 hourse) there was a tour of Marbella organized by Alessandro, an Italian guy. We just walked on the beach, then Avenida del Mar, the Alameda park and then in the old town.
After the tour I went back to the hostel to take yet another shower. It was very nice to walk through the old town, and I went without looking at the map, almost getting lost in the labirinth of narrow streets. Then I met with the others and we went on the beach. Rachel said I behave like a model changing my T-shirt so many times.
The water was very nice but only Albrecht swam. I thought he looked like a caveman when he emerged from the water.
After this we went to eat at a restaurant recommended by my receptionist, a fish restaurant. Then we went to have a walk on the beach by the moon-light.
Then we wanted to go to the pub Ocean’s Eleven where everyone from the school was supposed to meet, and we found out it was just there near the beach. Not being used with the Spanish system, we were waiting at the bar for more than half hour while the bartenders were serving people at the tables. There were 5 bartenders and they were doing only one order at a time. Eventually we sat down with the other students and ordered our drinks which came quite fast. Albrecht ordered a mojito but he was out of luck because they finished the mint, so he did not have anything to drink that night.
After the pub we returned to our rooms around 01:00. Walking through the narrow streets of the old town at night was a great experience. There were almost no people around, but I could hear people speaking in their homes.
Day 2 (Tuesday, July 15)
We woke up quite late because we were tired. First I had a very good breakfast at my hostel, with toast and jam and muffin and croissant and tea and orange juice, for only 3.50 euros (which I got back later because the breakfast was included in the room price). The receptionist girl was speaking with me in Spanish as she knew I was there to study Spanish. The other hostel guests were mostly Germans, as the hostel is called Hostal Berlin.
I left from the hostel around 10:00. When I arrived at Albrecht and Rachel’s student residence they were still getting ready. We went to have a breakfast around 11:40. I did not have anything substantial as I already had one breakfast at the hostel.
Then we enjoyed the sun and did our homework on the beach until around 13:00, when I went back to the hostel to take a shower. Rachel was commenting again about me taking showers and changing T-shirts 3 times per day.
I arrived late as usual to the course. The people in my class were: Albrecht, Cristian, Steffan from Germany, Jana, Barbora from Czech Republic, Nicole from Austria, Matej from Slovakia, Pawel from Poland, Chris from USA, and me from Romania/Norway.
After the course we went to Utopia so that Albrecht could buy some sunglasses, and I bought the same model which I bought the previous day, because I already scratched the first pair. And I also bought a nice summer shirt.
We went to have a drink in a pub while we were doing our homework for tomorrow, by the street.
Day 3 (Wednesday, July 16)
I woke up around 06:00 in order to be ready to go to Gibraltar. Around 07:20 I was outside the hostel looking for the others while the others were looking for me. We had a small breakfast at a kafe, drove to Gibraltar for one hour.
Going in Gibraltar we had to cross the airport runway.
We took the cable car up the mountain ("The Rock"). There the apes (tailless monkeys) were running freely. We were advised not to have any plastic bags, as the monkeys can mistake them for food bags and they will snatch it on the spot (as we saw later some tourists having their bags grabbed and almost snatched).
Next we went to St. Michael’s Cave which has an auditorium inside and I guess it is used as a concert place.
After this we passed through the ape reserve. From that spot Africa could be seen in the distance over the strait.
Going down to Gibraltar downtown we took fish & chips take away, to which Rachel was happy because it was wrapped in a newspaper. We were eating in the car with the fingers while waiting 90 minutes for the border queue. So we arrived one hour later at school.
From today the elePHPant was learning Spanish. Nobody asked about it though, and the teacher was using it as a prop explaining different things.
The lesson was about CV and job interviews, and we were all laughing when I asked for 1 million euro as salary during a mock-up interview.
There was a celebration in the evening: many boats and ships were coming from the sea and we could hear music in the distance.
It was Dia del Carmen, the protector saint of fishermen. They carried a statue of Carmen and there were quite many people attending.
After this we went to eat at a restaurant in the middle of the sidewalk. Then I walked back to the hostel on the promenade, and I saw a break-dance show put up by teenagers with their own music.
Day 4 (Thursday, July 17)
In the morning we went to Puerto Banus, a place near Marbella where all the rich folks and sheiks spend their holidays and with lots of luxurious yachts per capita.
We ate an English breakfast, then went to the beach where we stayed until we were cooked. It was so hot that we could barely walk on the sand.
We drove back to Marbella and I was paying Albrecht a few cents for his driver services as he drove me to my hostel.
I arrived at school 30 minutes late, and I entered the class and said "Hola!". The teacher didn’t seem too annoyed by this.
In the evening I put on the nice shirt I bought earlier and went with many people from the class to a restaurant on the beach where we had paella and sangria. During the dinner I could hear Romanian tourists all around me. Rachel was playing the host and was putting food in everyone’s plates.
After the dinner we wanted to see the statue of Carmen, but we noticed the door to the pier was closed. As Rachel was sleeping while walking they decided to go back to their apartment and I went back to my hostel.
Day 5 (Friday, July 18)
Rachel was still sleeping when Albrecht and me went to the beach. After an English breakfast, we decided to take places under the beach umbrellas where we stayed until lunch time.
I went back to the hostel, and I managed to get back to the school in time (for the first time) as I skipped lunch. At school we got our diplomas for doing the Spanish course. The elePHPant had more attention this time and everybody was asking about him. He even had siesta during a break.
Then we went to have a small dinner, together with Claudia. I ordered a rabbit (conejo) which was quite good. I ordered tea and the waiter did not really understand me and thought it was a joke. The cook did not really understand the order either (Que? Te! Que? Te! Como "tepa"! or something like that). And when he got me the tea said "Un te por segnorito" which was a bit strange, but I did not get upset. The dinner was quite funny and in a good mood.
After dinner I went with Claudia to a bookstore which opened in the Alameda park, where Albrecht and Rachel joined us later. We bought some Spanish books to read with our newly aquired Spanish skillz.
Then we wanted to go to see a flamenco show, but did not find the pub in which it was supposed to take place. So instead we went to have another dinner in a restaurant in the old town, on the terrace above the streets. I had only a dessert as I already had a rabbit earlier.
After the dinner we went on the beach. I could hear AIESEC dances being sang and danced by some people on the beach, but I did not join in.
We went to Buddha del Sol to have the mojitos Albrecht was dreaming about since our first day in Marbella.
This pub was quite cool, sitting on pillows like in a Turkish pub. You could even order a water-pipe, but we were not brave enough.
Then we went back to our rooms. I went to sleep at 02:00 after packing my bags, and I was supposed to wake up at 06:00.
Day 6 (Saturday, July 14)
Albrecht and Rachel picked me up from the hostel with the car and we drove to Malaga airport. After returning the car we boarded the plane to Birmingham.
Rachel was leaving with the train to Edinburgh, and me and Albrecht left our baggages at the airport (they had to go through security first) and went in the city to check it out. We were walking a lot trying to find a place to eat, and in the end we went to Pret-a-Manger. There we had some good food (I had the Ultimate Burger which I could not finish) and I almost started a bar fight as I was stepping on everybody’s toes, and everybody was already drunk at midday.
Then we went back to the airport, got our bags back and took the plane to Torp. Many Spanish arrived there also. We took the train to Skien. When we arrived at my place we were hungry and cooked some pasta with tuna fish and watched the Marbella pictures, then went to sleep at 02:00.