"I used to sword-fight with my little brother on the terrace of our house in Malaga, with plastic swords." - Antonio Banderas.
07.07.2011 32 °C
Malaga is located along the southern coast of Spain, which is also known as the Costa del Sol (Sun Coast). It is a beautiful city with a distinctly old European feeling. Together with this you can see the traces of the Moorish Empire who ruled this area from their invasion in 711 until their defeat in 1212. According to the Port Explorer, you should leave your watch at home and settle into the slow and unhurried charm of Malaga. I wish I could do that, but I didn’t want a repeat of the La Spezia incident where I almost missed the ship.
1. Malaga waterfront
The shuttle bus drops you at the waterfront which is right across from the cathedral. You can see if from the waterfront as the bell tower rises out over the buildings in front of it. The first thing that I love about Malaga is the animated traffic light men. The traffic light signal for pedestrians has a green man who casually walks in his box. Over his head he has a countdown. When the countdown nears the end the little man starts to run faster indicating to the pedestrians that they have to hurry up or be crushed by cars.
2. Horse-drawn carriages
The Cathedral of Malaga is one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture and was constructed between the 16th and 17th century. The cathedral dominates the tiny space in which it stands and looks a bit squished in here. This probably suggests that the city just expanded towards the cathedral, boxing it in. For this reason I couldn't get a great picture, because you cannot stand back far enough. The cathedral is magnificent on the outside and the inside. In Malaga I experience a real strictness with photography for the first time. In the cathedral I am peacefully taking pictures when I get yelled at for using a flash. Well, it wasn’t a yell; this is a cathedral after all. It was more like a loud whisper. I continued to admire the cathedral in a flashless darkness.
3. Square in front of the cathedral
4. Outside of the Cathedral
5. Inside the Cathedral
6. The cathedral rising out over the buildings
Malaga is clean and beautiful. There are street musicians on the corners and men playing Spanish guitar make me smile. A Chinese man on the one corner, playing a Erhu (also known as the Chinese violin), does look a little out of place.
A few famous people are from Malaga. Most notably, Pablo Picasso and Antonio Banderas. The Picasso museum is located in a lovely 16th century building down the street from the Cathedral. Here are many Picasso originals that were donated to the museum by his daughter-in-law. The house is in a square shape, but you walk around in a circle. Here they are even stricter about taking photographs than in the cathedral. They are not allowed at all. In every room a security guard watches your every move which means that you cannot even sneak a quick photo. Everything in the museum is very white and calm and a welcome escape from the hot Malaga sun.
One of the places to see in Malaga is Picasso’s birthplace. This is located in an older part of town and when you arrive there you can clearly see that this is a different part of town. When I arrive at the house, two women are fighting on the street corner and a man leers at me from behind a lamp post. Picasso was born here and lived here until he was 14, at which time the Picasso family moved to Barcelona. The thin, tall Picasso house has a few flights, but only two are open to the public. Here there is only one security guard and I quickly take some sneaky pictures. I think she was onto my secret photo-taking as she was following me around a lot. She of course had other people to watch as well and this is where my sneakiness came into play.
Upon exiting the museum, one of the fighting women from earlier, is getting sick on the sidewalk. Not a pretty sight.
7. Outside Picasso's childhood home
8. Picasso as a child
9. Inside the house
Two blocks away is the Alcazabilla, a long street solely for shops and restaurants. The Alcazaba, a Muslim palace, is located on the left of the Alcazabilla and dominates the city as you can almost see it from anywhere. It is situated on a hill which looks out over the ocean. The Arab Empire of Malaga ruled from this fortress and it has amazing views of the city. I walk to the top to get a good view and from here I can exactly see how to walk to get to my next destination, the bull ring. It is much closer than I thought.
10. Optical illusion sheet to avoid buildings under construction becoming an eye-sore
12. The view of the city from Alcazaba
13. Malaga bullring as seen from Alcazaba
14. The ship as seen from Alcazaba
The bullring is closed today, but open over the weekends when traditional bullfights are still held. Though I am completely opposed to the torture of animals, it would have been nice to see the inside of the building. The Malaga bullring was built in 1874 and is one of the largest in Spain.
15. The bullring up close
At this point the heat is getting to me and I decide to head back to the shuttle bus. I walk through the Paseo del Parque which are beautiful gardens next to the waterfront. This takes me back to the shuttle bus and I cannot believe that my day in Malaga is over. It has truly been magnificent. Malaga had the least tourists of all the cities on this trip which makes everything so much more accessible as I didn’t have to stand in any queues. Malaga is so beautiful with an amazing atmosphere.
16. Paseo del Parque
Next stop: Gibraltar