On Wednesday, we boarded the bus en route to our hotel, Castilla Guerrero in downtown Málaga. It is centrally located and we are spread out amongst its four stories. The air conditioning gave me a run for my money, but with assistance from Pablo, we were cooled off in no time.
Our first taste of Spain came with plates served family style at Restaurante Piyayo in downtown Málaga. The steak was by far the favorite choice of the platos. Students ordered their first Fantas of the trip and had to choose between limón and naranja. They also learned of agua sin gas and con gas which is something we do not deal with in the United States when asking for water. We were served so much food we had to cancel the last course, but had to keep dessert obviously! The plate was full of tasty cakes and delectable chocolate and vanilla ice creams. Those plates were cleaned completely!
At this point we had been up for 33 hours straight (most of us), had full bellies and were about to embark on a three-hour bike tour. We changed into tennis shoes and biking gear and headed to meet our guides from Málaga Bikes! There were two University men taping a promo video with us involved which was fun! They were both from the Netherlands and were studying international business in Spain. They were shocked to find we were staying the most authentic way, within the city. This made me proud of the experience we were giving the kids.
We divided into four groups and then into teams within the groups to play Malagology. I was designated the team photographer (I know that surprises no one) and we biked around Málaga answering trivia and taking pictures at various sites while collecting Scrabble tiles for an unknown challenge at the end. We biked through streets filled with people and at times had to stop to even try to make it through. I enjoyed the challenge and being amongst all of the malagueños. We biked through the palm trees and had the breeze of the Mediterranean blowing through our hair. Talk about a time where you just closed your eyes and enjoyed the moment for a second. Despite my thighs burning from the workout, I could not stop smiling as kids got to experience their first Spanish city in such a unique way.
Upon completion of the bike tour, we had about 30 minutes to get changed (shower if you were fast) and be ready for our dinner reservation at 9pm. LiveNLearn lets us live the Spanish way, dine on the Spanish schedule and eat at restaurants that the directors have experienced firsthand. Most tour companies tend to accommodate Americans timing for meals, but we are fortunate to receive the most authentic experience possible. The weather had been perfect the whole day and the walk to the restaurant was no different.
We arrived at the restaurant, La Reserva del Olivo, and were in awe of its beauty. Private balconies for couples to dine, multiple stories and a gorgeous interior. The kids were shocked at what a classy place we were dining at as a group. Again we were delivered various plates family style with the exception of the tortilla española in which we were all given a huge slice. It was delicious! This restaurant was mostly potato in the tortilla which is what I prefer. Spaniards argue which way of making the tortilla is the “right way” (runny yoke, onions, more egg than potato) but this one was just right for me. Stuffed to the gills and some beginning to fall asleep at the table due to exhaustion, we headed back to the hotel, but not without a stop at the Heladería for some ice cream! I chose the Snickers, others had Oreo, frambuesa, chocolate, limon and maracuya. It was a nice way to end the day.
We all were excited to get some sleep after 40 hours awake traveling and having fun. The next day we would head to Nerja to enjoy the beach!