28 Feb, 2023 @ 12:17
2 mins read

Road to Mandalay: My nightmare on the Costa del Sol’s buses

Nightmare journey on Costa del Sol buses
Nightmare journey on Costa del Sol buses

I HAD been set the challenge of getting from Duquesa to La Cala de Mijas via public transport. Two coastal resorts on the Costa del Sol, just 60-odd kilometres apart, it should be a cakewalk I thought.

Armed with my trusted mobile maps and a good level of Spanish (it’s my university degree, after all), what could possibly go wrong? Little did I realise, the answer was everything.

The News Editor set me a generous arrival time of 3pm and at 11am I began to plan my route. 

After an hour of scouring Google maps and the main bus company Avanza’s website, I began to realise how wrong I was. 

Not only was there no apparent feasible route, I also couldn’t find the waiting times of changeovers, or accurate timetables.

I changed tack and decided to ask the tourist office, where a friendly lady told me I needed to go to Sabinillas, and with no bus in sight and my foot hurting I ended up getting a taxi – a cheat I know.

To add insult to injury, the bemused taxi driver told me my assignment was nigh on impossible and that I should just cough up €140 to get there and back… or realistically expect not to make my appointment.

As it was by now approaching 13.00, frustration was building up, much like the clouds overhead. 

However, not one to quit, and refusing to walk into my office, which happens to be in Sabinillas, to report that I had aborted the mission, I eventually found a bus stop. 

I didn’t know if this was even the correct bus stop, but two locals suggested I start by taking the bus from there to Estepona, which at least gave me some hope!

That hope very quickly turned to dismay as the bus timetable at the stop reported a wait of an hour and a half for the next bus. 

Another youngster at the stop (who looked as though he too was losing the will to live) said he had already been waiting for 40 minutes for the previous bus which had still not shown. 

At this point I instinctively reached for my phone to get a live update of the buses in the area, which proved to be a fantastical idea.   

After I waited for 30 minutes and it started to rain, I figured there was no way I was going to be on time. I would definitely have been late. I didn’t even know how or where I could change in Estepona? 

With no sign of a bus and a phone battery down to 20%, a level broadly reflecting my own waning patience, I decided I needed to be better prepared.  

The next time I try it I’ll buy a portable charger, a good book and headphones for my own sanity, as well as some spending money in case I end up stranded. 

All in all it was a logistical nightmare and definitely a challenge for another day.


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