Another weekend in Spain, another trip away. This time to Málaga in the South of Andalucía. As someone who grew up in Scotland, being away from the sea and the hills for more than a month has been quite a strange experience for me, so I’m so glad I made the time to travel here.
This past weekend in Spain (in Andalucía at least) was a puente, or long weekend, which meant that I had Monday and Tuesday off work. Ideal for me as it gave me more time to travel. My friend and I caught the 11am train from Santa Justa in Sevilla on Saturday morning and arrived in Málaga around 20 minutes late at ~2pm (we stopped in a random field just outside Sevilla for around 10 minutes for seemingly no reason other than waiting for another train to pass). After navigating our way to the hostel, Lights Out, we spent most of Saturday wandering around and relaxing (read: finding the beach and having to pay for a map for the first time since arriving in Spain – hello commercialisation!). Despite hardly anyone wanting to speak Spanish with us while we were there, we did manage to order some delicious pizza for dinner on Saturday night. I won’t offend your eyes with how awful my photo is, but trust me, this pizza was good.
This past weekend also happened to be the day the clocks changed in Spain, so we got an extra hour in bed on Sunday morning (hiya). Unfortunately, this did mean that while we were walking up the hill to the Castillo de Gibralfaro it was a lot hotter than we were used to for 10am. Definitely worth it for the views though (and the super cheap entrance fee – only €0,60 for students)! We spent maybe an hour to an hour and a half exploring the castle which was built in 929AD on the site of a former Phoenician lighthouse. Fun fact: that’s where the name Gibralfaro comes from…I think it’s Greek and Arabic for ‘rock of the lighthouse’ but feel free to correct me, any Greek/Arabic speakers out there.
After the Castillo, we made our way back down the hill ( a lot faster than the way up!) and stopped for the now obligatory churros con chocolate. Very much needed after walking around in the heat for about two hours. Post-churros, we felt our energy return and decided to visit our second Moorish fortress of the day: the Alcazaba (stopped by the Roman Theatre en route where we heard a choir singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow – unexpected and nice surprise!). Apparently the best-preserved Moorish fortress in Spain, the Alcazaba was built around 770AD as a defense mechanism against pirate raids. With its location looking over the city and out towards the sea, you can definitely see why they chose to build it where they did. What remained of the architecture inside (not sure how much, if any, has been restored over the years) was stunning in the fashion I’ve come to expect from Andalucían buildings with Moorish origins.
Post-Alcazaba we rested for a bit, grabbed some lunch and then paid a visit to the CAC (contemporary art museum). Lots of interesting pieces and the entry was free so can’t complain at that. Think I’ll need to visit some of the art galleries and museums in Sevilla soon. I’ve been told on more than one occasion that the Fine Arts museum is beautiful. On Sunday night we also walked along the other side of the river to visit the Picasso gardens, which were a little disappointing for me to be honest. Not sure how much of this is down to my ignorance, but to me it was just an ordinary park with one vaguely interesting sculpture.
With Monday morning came the thing we’d most been looking forward to: the sea. Although not the nicest beach in the world (no offence intended, those from Málaga), I can’t describe how nice it was to take a dip in refreshing salt water after weeks of being away from the coast. We also made the sensible decision to go at 9:30 in the morning so it was pretty much deserted, besides one family (think they were British too). After drying ourselves off, we treated ourselves to a delicious brunch in the hipster part of town. Thanks to my friend Audrey for the recommendation! I had the New York breakfast of avocado and tomato toast with eggs benedict. Yum! The coffee was also great. Would definitely recommend Brunchit Organic to anyone looking to visit Málaga!
We couldn’t go all the way to Málaga without visiting the Picasso museum, so that was next on the agenda for Monday. Our student tickets were only €5 for entry to both the collection and the temporary exhibit – bargain! I enjoyed both parts and it was nice to see some different art after seeing some contemporary art the day before. Unfortunately photography is forbidden inside the main collection, so I can’t show you any pictures of what I saw, but again would definitely recommend a visit if you ever find yourself in Málaga. Our visit ended on Monday night with a trip to the shopping centre for Burger King and Primark – seemed wrong to go all the way there and not take advantage of it!
After arriving back on Tuesday afternoon I had to pack up my things because I moved out to my pueblo on Wednesday after work (which is why this blog is late!). My new place also doesn’t have internet so I’ve had to wait until after work on Friday to use the free public wifi in the library here, so apologies again. Hopefully next week’s blog will be on time (read: will be online within a few days).