It’s been a cold, wet, miserable weekend in Málaga. I’m actually rather grateful for it because I desperately need to get gradually more accustomed to cold, wet, miserable weather as that’ll be normal for Amsterdam and Yorkshire. I got two rather large orders, so I had an excuse to stay in both Saturday and Sunday and work. But I did manage to go exploring a tad to start getting a sense for Málaga!
So Saturday, I headed out in the mid afternoon, during a brief lull in the rain, with the main intention being to do some focused shoe shopping. It was at the El Corte Inglés department store that I realised what I need to buy is a good hiking-type boot, something that’s been on my shopping list for a few years (my last pair was the one I bought for the Chilkoot in 2010 and I’ve worn them through), but which I’ve been putting off because they’re a $400 to $500 investment in Canada. That is the only footwear that will take me from the moors of Yorkshire in England to a humid Mexican jungle by way of the rainy streets of Amsterdam, all with just a change of sock type and so a much better purchase than something that’s tailored to the English experience only. I found exactly what I want, but did not buy them because even at much less than I would pay in Canada, they were expensive and I wanted to check reviews of the brand, sleep on the idea, look for other brands, and also find a coat before committing to such an expense.
I then walked around the neighbourhood for a bit.
Here’s a church right by my flat:
I headed towards Centro and found some decent falafel for a very late lunch across from this scene:
It’s always a good sign when the falafel seller barely speaks the local language and asks you if you know English! I had falafel in the Balkans, but it was pretty disappointing, so this was my first truly satisfying version of the sandwich since that fabulous one I had on Baker Street in London almost six months ago!
I do not tire of European building façades!
There wasn’t much open and I was cold, so it was time to head in. I did find on the way one of those Chinese bazaar shops that had a lot of clothing and a coat that looked promising for about 40 euros. But I found a charity shop that I can scope out Monday morning before I commit to such an expenditure. I’ll be happier about the boot purchase if I don’t spend a ton on a coat that I won’t need when I move to the tropics six months from now!
Today, Sunday, I worked until about 1:30 since an attraction I wanted to visit was free from two onwards. I headed into Centro and was surprised by how much was open on a Sunday. Oh, right. Sunday before Christmas.
A lively square. I liked the moon and star decorations. I might check out that Far West (Lejano Oeste) exhibit…
Another impressive church.
But not as impressive as this hospital!
I wandered through a warren of alleys filled with treasures.
Until I found Alcazaba of Málaga, the best preserved alcazaba (citadel or fortress) of Spain and which was built by the Hammudid dynasty in the early 11th century. Entry was free after two and I was early, so I decided to look for a quick and cheap lunch, something that is very difficult to do in Spain.
In front of the fortress is an ancient Roman amphitheatre.
Like in Sofia, there are underground ruins covered by glass at the surface.
Found a street named after my truck. 😉
Got in some unexpected Cyrillic practice. Red book says All of Andalusia and the bottom one Malaga: Costa del Sol. Hey, don’t want to lose those skills! 😉
There was a proper tourist info kiosk across from this stand, so I stood in line for ages to get a city map. Soon as the person ahead of me left, the clerk yelled in English, “We’re closed! Go away!” before slamming down her window. It was 1:55 and the sign said she should be open till two so I wasn’t having it. As soon as she stepped out the door, I chastised her in Spanish about closing early and told her I just wanted a map. She apologised profusely and got me one. All that for nothing, though, since the map was surprisingly crappy!
I finally found a bakery with reasonably priced sandwiches compared to what everyone else was charging for the same thing and got serrano ham on a whole grain bun. What I really wanted was a slice of real pizza, but I’ve accepted that such things do not come to pass in Spain. I think it says a lot about the state of fast food in this country that the restaurant with the longest queue was Burger King! There were a few places I could have had a menú del día, though, at a very reasonable price, but I’m trying to keep the food budget thin this week since I suspect I’ll be eating out quite a bit in Amsterdam.
At any rate, it was almost 2:30 by the time I got back to the alcazaba.
I immediately knew I was in for a treat. Just look at that gorgeous stone and brick work!
Málaga feels very lush.
So many orange trees!
I started to climb above the city.
Looking down to the port.
The Ferris wheel I passed on the bus.
Loved the marble “bath tub”!
Notice that this roof is cross-shaped.
These marble columns were unexpected.
Everywhere I looked, some exquisite detail.
Found an interior room with heavy wooden shutters.
And heavy wooden doors.
I must have stared at this ceiling for a whole minute.
A recessed bench.
There were several of these pools. Watch your step!
Another impressive ceiling.
I couldn’t figure out what they cooked in this giant oven (el horno)…
Until I found an informational panel that made me realise it’s a kiln.
Love this floor!
I liked these blue roof tiles. Nice contrast to the terracotta I normally see.
I was surprised when I eventually circled back to the entrance. Alcazaba de Málaga was like a labyrinth!
I went out and was told I could go into the amphitheatre…
…and that the Castillo de Gibralfaro (Gibralfaro castle), which towers over the alcazaba and dates back to the 14th century, was open and also free on Sunday afternoons. My research told me that if you can only do one, do the alcazaba as there is a lot more to see and it is a very long hike up to the castle if you don’t have a car. Up I went because I have this weird OCD type thing where I can’t not climb up to a fortress if I have the option to do so.
The climb was steep and tiring after all the exploring I’d done in the alcazaba.
But the views were worth the effort!
These didn’t photograph well at all. They were red and orange.
There was a small museum at the top, but nothing really photographed well. It gave the history of the area and the castle’s role in city defences. One of the more interesting facts I read was about how the Germans blocked access to Málaga’s port during WWI, demonstrating how vulnerable the city is.
There wasn’t much to see outside and both my knees were killing me by this point thanks to the dampness. I have no idea how I did this sort of day when I was heavier, to be honest.
Here’s that Ferris wheel again.
It was raining by this point and sections like these were slick!
Little did I know, I was heading into a dead end!
This marble threshold was unexpected.
Looking back up.
Here’s another super steep and slick section.
I was able to navigate myself home through a different route without a map, to my immense surprise.
Here’s the back of that church by the hospital.
I think I will investigate the Ferris wheel since I’m apparently obsessed by it!
Look who I found! Do you recognise him? He visited Spain in 1862 and had many kind things to say about Málaga.
I think I just found the Málagan equivalent of Mexican Tositilocos: baked potatoes with everything on them…
I’d earned a gelato by this point and found a shop with several dozen flavours. The clerk asked where I’m from and when I said Canada, she recommended the peanut butter. LOL! But she was right! I haven’t had peanut butter since the Balkans so, dang, this really hit the spot! (By the way, look at my hand — it’s been five whole years this week that I quit biting my nails!)
Yet another lovely church…
Interesting artwork on the side of it.
Finally, some pretty blue tiles against a yellow wall.
I definitely managed to get a taste of Málaga this weekend and I look forward to doing some proper exploring tomorrow, especially if the promised sunny weather materialises!