December 23-24, 2020
Around 12:30 on Wednesday, December 23, I headed to Estación de Autobuses de Pontevedra to take a bus to Santiago de Compostela. This is where I would hop on a flight to Málaga as the first stop in our trip to Andalucía. Gabrielle lives in Andalucía, so she would take a bus to Málaga and meet me there.
Taking multiple buses and getting through the airport was a lot of steps especially in another language, and I had quite a bit of anxiety. Restrictions around Galicia’s borders were also unclear, and I wasn’t sure if I would be running into any issues. My flight was at 7 PM, but I took a bus at 1 PM and got the process started early so there was plenty of room for any hiccups.
I successfully packed 17 days in a backpack, which was quite the challenge. It took me a few attempts, but I did it! Aside from my relocation to Spain, I have not checked any baggage since late 2017. I find a lot of freedom not being bogged down with things. This was definitely the hardest one, yet. I grabbed my things, and then I was on the way to the bus station.
I got my bus ticket at the counter and waited about 15 minutes for the bs. This would take me to Santiago de Compostela where the SCQ airport is. Santiago is the capital of Galicia, and also the end of El Camino de Santiago. It was about an hour drive to the main bus station in Santiago, then I transfered to an airport shuttle.
When I arrived at the airport, it was so empty. It was like a ghost town. The check-in counters were closed and only opening up two hours before flights started. I arrived at 3 PM, so 4 hours before my flight.
I’m thankful I had no major hiccups, but this certainly left a lot of time to kill. I waited in the main lobby and watched some Netlix, made a couple phone calls, and then it was time to check-in and go through security.
I boarded the plane a few minutes before 7 PM, and then had approximately a 1.5 hour flight. Stepping off the plane felt surreal. I was officially in a new place to explore and on a break from school.
Arriving in Málaga
Málaga is the capital of the province that shares the same name. Its population is a bit over half a million, and with a history of 2800+ years, it is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Pablo Picassion and Solomon Ibn Gabirol were both born in Málaga. It is a popular spot for tourists and visitors both for its history and beautiful beaches that stretch along its coastline on the southernmost part of Spain.
After landing, I got a taxi to take me to the hostal where Gabrielle and I would be staying. Immediately I could tell the city was much more populated and busy than Pontevedra, and it was exciting to feel that sense of adventure again.
She met me there, and after dropping off my things, we hit the ground running and met up with her local friend, Gio, at a nearby bar. After a couple drinks there, he showed us to another one where we spent the next few hours. Random drunk guys kept coming by, all slobbery and lispy, and you bet your ass I told them to wear a mask or back off. I can’t say I won over many hearts with that behavior, but safety is a priority here.
After thoroughly enjoying ourselves at the bars, we left at 10 PM as that was the latest they could stay open with current COVID restrictions. The curfew in the city is 11 PM, so we walked around and looked at the lights and decorations in a few areas of the city. Then, it was time to head back and get some rest to prep for our first full day.