Travels in Spain: Málaga

We left Gijón on April 1st, almost exactly 11 months after arriving, and while leaving is certainly bittersweet (we met some wonderful people and had many great experiences), we are excited to do some more traveling around Spain and elsewhere. Our next trip takes us to the autonomous community of Andalusia in south Spain. Andalusia is what most people, especially my fellow Americans, think of when they think of Spain. It is an altogether different feel than North Spain and Asturias, more tropical, more friendly, more touristy, and more sunny. We will spend the first week in the coastal city of Málaga, and our apartment rental is located in the middle of Old Town.

Old Town is near the Cathedral of Málaga, which towers over the narrow streets and tan and yellow buildings. At the time we arrived, there had been major rain storms which brought with them Sahara desert sand and covered everything from the streets and buildings to cars with a light layer of sand. I am unsure at present if we will visit the inside of the Cathedral, as, after our recent trips to Burgos and San Sebastian, we visited a lot of churches, and one can become “churched-out” as it were. Still, I was able to take some pictures from the outside of the church.

Our second day we ate at a hip and colorful gastropub on one of the narrow streets in Old Town, which was quite good and not packed (we were the only diners at the time), which made it a good respite from the hustle and bustle of the streets just outside of the restaurant. After we walked toward the port, which itself is grand but not memorable (and, most recently living in Long Beach, California, where the port is the second largest on the West Coast, makes us very familiar with ports).

The walk was more peaceful (and quiet) as we moved away from Old Town, toward the Jardín de la Abadía, which possessed wide walking paths, a couple of man-made small lakes, open green spaces with people taking in the sun on a cool and sunny day. We stopped at a bench to take it all in, before walking along the paseo maritimo next to the Playa de Huelin, which was a gray sand beach with people playing volleyball and other walking along the beach.

Our apartment hosts were kind enough to tell us a great many things about Málaga; a bunch of good restaurants and tapas bars, which are the best beaches to visit, and that there are a great many museums that can be found around town, but not so large that it takes more than an hour to visit. So we made a list of five places we wanted to visit in our week here, and decided to visit as we could. It is nice to have enough time to enjoy the city and beaches without needing to rush to check off a list of places to visit before leaving.

Wall paintings behind the CAC Málaga

Our next stop was the CAC (Contemporary Art Center) Málaga, which has five, white walled rooms with high ceilings and various contemporary art. The entry is free, and well worth visiting; it takes about thirty minutes to an hour to visit. For Americans there is a painting by famous American artists Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat; there are also a great amount of Contemporary paintings done by Spanish artists; along with installations and sculptures. For me, as paintings are my favorite art style, it was quite impressive what contemporary artists can still do with oil on canvas. Below are some of my favorites.

Angeles Agrela "Lucia y sus trenzas"
Angeles Agrela “Lucia y sus trenzas”
Ana Barriga, "Ella mira así, así"
Ana Barriga, “Ella mira así, así”
Jorge Hernández, "La proposición"
Jorge Hernández, “La proposición”

In the picture at the top of the blog is an exhibit of an eclipse (with Jesse standing facing it), as well as the two installations below. You can even see us reflecting in the drops/tears.

There is also a whole exhibit room devoted to the artist Phil Frost; at first it did not look like our type of art, but once we started to examine all the mixed media that he incorporated into the artwork, it became fascinating and we had to examine each piece to see what he added; coins, door knobs and shovels and crushed soda cans, shoe polish, magazine cutouts, and way more. Definitely worth checking out.

Our next excursion was a walk down to the beach; on the way we passed through the Parque de Málaga, which was like a little jungle oasis between the city and the ocean. Trees from all over the world, including numerous tall palm trees, eucalyptus, and furry pine trees, among many others, combined with gravel paths and grand tile and stone fountains with statues of nymphs at their center made the park feel serene and much quieter than the hustle and bustle of the Old Town that we had just left minutes earlier.

Ninea La muñeca (The Doll Nymph)
Jesse maxin and relaxin.

There was a stage at the center of the park, with rows of seats facing it; a DJ was playing music while a group of teenagers watched, a father chased his son, and we passed by, bobbing our heads to the beat. But once past the stage, the sound faded and we were back in the jungle again, where green parrots squawked and flew overhead. On the other side of the park was the sea, however the weather in Málaga has been unusually rainy and windy; as such, the walk along the Playa de la Caleta was quite windy and cool, but the waves were strong and crashing quickly.

We walked on the boardwalk next to the ocean for a long while, passing by numerous Chiringitos, which are seaside restaurants, and they usually feature an outside grill built out of a child-sized boat. The smell and look of the different fish being prepared was particularly pleasing on this windy day. We walked for a few miles down the beach, with nowhere in mind, until we saw a sign for a mirador (lookout point), and we love miradores. So we climbed the road upwards, until we reached the Parque Forestal El Morlaco. At the entrance there is a water fountain and statue of a man that had become one with nature, which was cool but also a bit strange.

Anyway, we traveled through the park, which had an asphalt path but it was also easy to veer into the forest, which was populated with many pine trees and pine needles replaced grass and other shrubs, making it easier to traverse the off road terrain. We found the mirador, which had a bench we could rest our weary feet and look out, above the tall trees, with envy at the nearby homes that were able to enjoy this sea view from their balconies.

Our walk down from the mirador and out of the park was much more relaxing than the climb up, and, lucky for us, the local bus stop was very near the bottom. We rode the bus back toward our apartment and prepared for another adventure around Málaga, which will be in the next post, so stay tuned!

Published by Phil Barrington

Currently living in Spain, Accountant by Day, Writer by Night. Lover of baseball, travel ,and spreadsheets. Check out my blog:

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