I didn't go out at all yesterday, but spent much of the day packing my case and checking I had just the right things I need for spending time in Spain. It rained anyway, so I had no motivation to take exercise. I got to bed by eleven, however, and was up and breakfasting by five after a fitful night's sleep, then on my way to Cowbridge Road for a bus to town to catch the airport shuttle by quarter to six. I was so grateful to see that normality had been restored to the city centre after the weekend's lock-down, so the T9 collected me at 06.20, as usual. Fifty people were already queuing to check in at 06.45 when I arrived. Not late home-bound hung-over footie fans, but families with pre-school children, and frail elderlies heading for a place in the sun, all suffused with holiday good cheer.
By 07.15 I was through security and doing my Duo Lingo daily drill in the departure area, quite badly, under the effect of a poor night's sleep. The flight left a little late but arrived on time. For a change, I had an aisle seat, so couldn't gaze out of the window at the landscape from 35,000 feet as a usually do in between bouts of dozing. This time I read 'Ling' the airline magazine, produced in English and Spanish, but this time I read only in Spanish, only occasionally checking expression and words that were new to me. It's a lot easier since I last tried to do that, six months ago. Maybe it's a sign of improvement, despite memory lapses on bad days.
Rosella was there to meet me, and drive me into Malaga to the chaplaincy apartment, where I'll be staying, in La Malagueta barrio, 300m from St George's Church. It's on the second floor opposite the Plaza de Toros, overlooking a busy thoroughfare. It's a 1960's building in good condition, with high ceilinged rooms in a spacious apartment. It took me a while to find the kitchen, as I had quite forgotten that the layout of some older apartments puts the kitchen by the front door - from where a maid or housekeeper might run the place.
I decided not wait for the starter food supply ran out to stock up, so walked to a Mercdona 500m away. In fact, I did the trip twice as I couldn't carry everything I knew I'd need first time around. I certainly needed the exercise after travelling early in the day. On one trip I popped into the church to chat with Rosella, who was hunting through old legal documents to do with the church. Given the chaplaincy's unusual history, I imagine there's a fascinating collection of material relating to it in the archives of the Diocese of London, of which European chaplaincies were part, under the former suffragan see of Fulham and Gibraltar, before the formation of the Diocese in Europe.
After supper I walked around the barrio and along the promenade of Playa la Malagueta, busier with joggers than with strollers, it seemed. I found the modern Parish Church and was surprised not to find an external notice board telling anything about it. Google Maps informs me that it's the Parish Church of San Gabriel. I wonder when it's open?
After Skyping Clare, I was ready for bed, surprised by how quiet the street below had become after the evening rush hour, and quieter still in the bedroom furthest away from the street.