Posted by: Ciaran | November 20, 2009

Changing places – Malaga

There are a number of cosy cities along the Costa Del Sol which are big enough to explore during an extended holiday (if you can drag yourself away from the beach) but also small enough to enjoy in a weekend. 

View over Malaga from Castle Gibalfaro

The atmosphere around Malaga is relaxed and the city is a perfect size to wander around on foot, even on a hot day.  The squares in the inner city have lovely bars and coffee shops around the perimeter – like so much of continental Europe – and the newer part of the city is chock-a-block with designer boutiques and department stores.

Plaque marking Picasso's birthplace...

One of the squares has a plaque marking the birthplace of Pablo Picasso at his former home; with great bathos, it is now next to an Irish bar.  I didn’t have time to visit the Picasso museum in the city but it is centrally-located and very popular.

...and what has become of that birthplace

The old part of the city is filled with gorgeous baroque architecture, and as with much of Catholic Spain a great deal of money has been spent on elaborate churches and cathedrals.

There are often levies to enter these buildings but, being both Catholic and a student, I rather objected to this so I affected to enter the Cathedral shortly before a service, had a wander about, then made a loud comment (in English, even though I speak some Spanish) about having left the cat out and the gas on and walked out.

Malaga Cathedral

The walk up to the Castle of Gibalfaro is testing, particularly in the heat of summer, but is worth it for the views over the harbour and the prominent Plaza del Toros (bullring).

The Plaza del Toros

The castle itself is disappointing and the moorish fortress of the Alcazaba is more worthy of the entrance fee.   The last time I was there they were in the process of excavating a newly-discovered amphitheatre, which looked impressive.

Amphitheatre

Whatever you do, though, don’t be tempted by the rapscallions offering tours on a horse and trap – they took my parents and grandparents around after agreeing a price, then one of them punched my Dad when he wouldn’t part with an extra 10 Euros at the end.  You have been warned.
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