Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Early journey

I woke up at twenty past five, breakfasted, and then headed to out to find a bus to get me into town for the six twenty T9 to the airport. This bus arrived several minutes late, but arrived at the airport dead on time. There we no queues, and by five past seven I was settling down for the half hour or so wait until my flight to Malaga was called. This left on time and arrived five minutes early. Cardiff was mild and sunny, Malaga decidedly humid at twenty eight degrees. After an exchange of phone calls, I met up with churchwarden Rosella, who then took me by car to the apartment in Rincon de la Victoria where I'll be staying for the next four weeks.

It's a well appointed second floor apartment in a block, surrounded by other apartment blocks, three hundred metres from the sea shore. After unpacking, I first walked down to the sea, and then back through the streets to find a supermarket to shop for food. I hadn't eaten since breakfast, and by then it was siesta time, rather than lunch time, so I made an effort to start my stay by cooking a proper meal, and then go out for a proper walk, which I did early evening.

The beach is of fine sand and runs right along this coast, one of the first areas of the Costal del Sol to be colonised by holidaymakers.  Nowadays, Rosella told me, it's also a dormitory town for commuters to Malaga, whose town centre is just half an hour away by bus. It's a densely packed urban environment, with a great variety of small stylish modern shops. Logistically this is a good place to be, as it's half way between St George's in Malaga, and Velez Malaga, where the other Sunday service is held.
In the first half of the twentieth century there was a railway line between Malaga and Velez Malaga, serving towns along the route where the sugar cane industry powered the local economy. In the sixties, as the industry declined, the line was closed, and eventually re-purposed as a coastal path.
To the west of Rincon is a rocky promontory with its coastal watch tower, and beneath it runs the first of a series of railway tunnels running through deep rocky cuttings. The path is well lit and is used by joggers and cyclists, as well as pedestrians out for their evening paseo. There are also fenced walking paths with lots of steps along the ridges on the sea side above the cuttings, right on the edge of the cliff, with the sea 15-20m below. The coastal views are just superb. 
The chaplaincy has a non-stipendiary priest who lives half way to Granada from Velez. She lives near Salinas, and looks after a third congregation there, as well as taking services in the other two. There are also two retired clerics who help out with Sunday services as well , on rotation. As it happens, all three are female, and the good news is that the Archbishop of Malaga is a man of ecumenical sympathies, unlike his conservative colleague in Tortosa.  He is well disposed towards clergy of different tradition and genders, who share in Christian ministry across a region of Spain with a large population of ex-patriates from all over Europe, not just Brits. A fifth of Spain's UK citizens live in Andalucia, over 60,000.

Malaga, I am already acquainted with, so having an opportunity to discover Rincon, means discovering another slice of life here in coastal Andalucia. I am most fortunate.

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