Sunday, October 2, 2011

Malaga- me gusta de espeto des sardines por favor!*


*no idea if this is correct Spanish

We arrived in Malaga on Sept 21st at 10am. We had been up since 4am so we were tired and I was cranky, in desperate need of coffee. We had tried to look up how to get from the airport to our hotel which was just outside the town and basically the info we found online was "take the train from the airport into the center of the city and there's a bus". To make a long story very short: getting lost, one argument and two hours later we were checking into the hotel Domus which was 15 minutes down the road from the town. If your ever in Malaga, stay there. It was gorgeous and clean and the staff was very nice. Complete 180 from Vienna.

Thus began four wonderfully lazy but happy days. We wanted to recharge our batteries for the upcoming trip to Tangier and India and that's exactly what we did. The beaches in Malaga certainly are not the most picturesque in the world, but they did have something that made bill salivate from the first second he saw it- sardines on a stick. There were a string of restaurants that serve lunch along the stretch of beach we were staying on, and outside each one was a little shack with a row boat filled with sand. On top of the sand was a fire, and stuck in the sand over the fire were sticks with sardines on them. All bill wanted to do in Ibiza was catch a sardine and grill it over a fire in the sand. He was awestruck. And while we were eating our supermarket lunch of bread and cheese next to one of these shacks, a very salty sea captain looking man in a sailors cap came up and starting grilling and entire huge fish on one of the sticks. We decided we had to have these "espeto des sardines" and that's exactly what we did the very next day for lunch.

The town of Malaga is very boastful about being the birthplace of Picasso. You can take a walking tour of Picasso landmarks and visit the Picasso museum, neither of which bill and I did. We have visited so many museums, seen so much art, roman ruins, statues, churches, etc that we needed a break. Besides, we went to the Picasso museum in Barcelona a couple of years ago and I'm sure it was more of the same. I know, we are terrible former art students.
Malaga is a town that truly feels old world. I would not have been surprised if a Spanish conquistador came strolling out from one of the many tiny alleyways that zig zag through the town. The architecture beautiful and grand, a mix of roman (of course) remains and large stone and marble buildings dating back to the middle ages.

The foliage is lush and decadent. Enormous palm trees line every street, along with banana, lime and orange trees growing wild in every space not covered in stone. Bright green parrots live in the trees and peck at the fruit, causing the fruit to fall on the sidewalk below. I almost got knocked out eating my breakfast one morning. We caught the very tail end of the summer season so people were pleasantly scarce during our stay. As we were strolling along the beach one day, looking out over the sea and across to the port, I commented that I felt like we were in a strange paradise on the very edge of the earth. We were preparing for a trip to Tangier, which I'm not going to lie was scaring the bejeezuz out of me, and every time I looked at the horizon I felt like I was looking out at the unknown beyond. Maybe this is how sailors felt before they knew the earth was round? People in ancient times believed the rock of Gibraltar, and it's sister on the African side which formed the pillars of Hercules, were the gates to the end of the known world. We did end up visiting Gibraltar on our way to Tangier but that's a post of it's own....
We visited the castle in Malaga, ate some wild limes from the trees in the cathedral garden ( pretty sure that was def against cathedral rules) The last day we were there we rented bikes and rode around the entire town, stopping along the way to by bus tickets to La Linea de la Conception, took a picture of the Malageta sign, and strolled through the local market admiring the fresh fish, meat and vegetables. We settled on plates of chorizo and manchengo which we ate in the central garden.

If your looking for a very slow, relaxing vaca in Europe the Costa Del Sol is absolutely the way to go.


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