15 hours down the road from the colorful and architecturally-unique city of Barcelona lies the loveliest and quaintest of cities in the heart of southern Spain. Malaga is a popular destination and though it boasts a large community (tripling in population during summer!) you won’t find a typical large city feel here.
The first girl I met in my dorm at the Feel hostel described the place as “charming.” The main streets greet you with welcoming banners of shade and decorations that are festively changed each month. The main streets and plazas transition between smooth, beautiful selections of granite. The granite stones here would make a costly and coveted addition as counter tops in a home yet these are things to be walked and rained on here. You can stand in these corners and imagine the scene being the same 100 years ago- except for different clothing.
True for much of Europe and true as well for Malaga, you can do your shopping and walking at the same time as the streets are lined with bountiful shops and restaurants proclaiming “comida todo el día.” After reading scary articles about the long Spanish siestas that supposedly close off all links to food from 1-5pm, the reality of a bustling, food-flowing atmosphere calmed my mind and stomach.
We entered the sleeping city at around 10pm after our Alsa bus ride from Barcelona. Thankfully the local bus station that would bring us to the city center was just around the corner and still running. While waiting for bus #4, we watched a woman and her down syndrome son walk past us. The son was around the same age as Grace. We saw four more down syndrome youths in the six or so subsequent days we spent there.
All the main attractions sit within easy walking distance of each other. Malaga’s only cathedral was the first impressive sight to greet us. Malaga sports a massive, stunning Baroque cathedral from 1528. My mom immediately noticed the unfinished state of the right, top side of the cathedral where pillars stand supporting only century-old air. Remembering to research it later, we learned that the Cathedral was indeed unfinished and is referred to as “La Manquita”, or “The One-Armed Lady.”
There is a Roman theater, but after Israel and Turkey especially, my mom and I felt that our quota for looking at theaters was full. I went for a walk one night and found it anyway, but it was funny to see the theater all enclosed and roped off. In Turkey you can go wherever you please. Cats be rebels in Spain though (middle right of picture).
The weather was warm and could get hot in the sun, but it was nothing uncomfortable. The sea is just a five or ten minute walk away. My mom, Grace and I wandered our way to Malageta beach and tested the cool water with our feet and continued our aimless walk along the edge of the waves. It was easy to see why so many people prefer to holiday here where there is scarcely a cloud in the sky, it never rains, it is always warm, people are friendly, food is cheap, good, and abundant, history is deep, architecture is pristinely maintained, and there are amazing gardens, palm trees and greenery everywhere, even in the midst of the city and plazas. One down-side about all of Spain are the top-less beaches. Not my thing.
Meeting Dan, who taught me so much of my Spanish online, for the first time in real life was the highlight. Being invited in by a great friend and a friendly family is of course the best way to travel and meet a new place. Many thanks to Bohdan and his mom, grandmother, brother, and fishes.
We ended our stay with an evening walk up to the near-by castle. On the bus ride down to Malaga, my mom remarked that it would be a shame to leave Europe without seeing a castle. Malaga supplied it all. The views as the daylight dimmed were a glory gladly to be seen. As a tip, bullfights can be seen from on top of the hill without needing to do all that paying for a ticket stuff. The ring has no roof.