Along the coast to Málaga
Towards Málaga is the coast getting more and more crowded: first seemingly unending satellite settlements for the rich, with one way only or even private and closed streets, so the only way to go is the busy highway. Later, around Fuengirola and all the way to Málaga, kilometres and kilometres of hotels for the proper mass beach turism.
So it was refreshing to turn from the coast into the inland countryside, aiming for Granada. The countryside here has an interesting profile: from the shore the way goes up 1000 m and everything around makes an impression of being in the mountains. This continues to the top of the Zafarraya pass, which from one side offers truly mountainous feel: rocks, peaks, bending hairpin road, views all the way to the sea. But when one turns back, suddenly there is a village and the road continues flat between fields and fruit and olive plantations. The whole countryside is here on an elevated plateau.
Granada just confirmed that the city centre and especially the Alhambra palace are really a must see. In addition, both Alhambra and the old city quarters offer an interesting comparison: thanks to narrow streets with shadow, fountains and trees it is pleasant to stay here even in the hot days. A significant contrast to the hot tarmac and concrete jungles recently built down at the shore. This is also the first place on my route so far where I saw a river with sweet water (rather than salty water from sea tides). From this river was in the middle ages built a long supply channel from the mountains, which made possible all the garden irrigations, garden lakes and fountains that make the Alhambra so pleasant to stay.
Sadly because of the hot days I had to leave out another interesting trip: to climb up to Sierra Nevada.