Travels in Spain: Málaga, Part III

We rented an apartment in Málaga for ten days, so this is a continuation of our stay, and part one is linked here, and part two here. The sun finally came out! Which was a great start to my birthday; then Jesse went to the panaderia around the corner and brought back a slice of carrot cake and chocolate cake to start my birthday off right.

She also had made us reservations at one of the Chiringuitos (beach restaurant) that populate the coast in Málaga, recommended by our apartment hostess, named Restaurante Gabi. We walked from our rental apartment about an hour and a half along the beach front, enjoying the sun shining overhead and the cool breeze to maintain near perfect walking conditions. With the Mediterranean Sea as our backdrop, we ate a whole fresh fish (seabring) cooked on a nearby beach grill (our fish is the big white one!). The grill made of an old metal boat (like many of the Chiringitos here), shared fresh prawns and a salad along with a bottle of vino rosado. It was a great birthday meal!

After we walked back to Old Town, this time taking some of the narrow inner streets that ran parallel (and were much less crowded) to the paseo maritimo and coastline. Between the homes peaking at the ocean reminded us of some of the coastal towns in LA County, California.

We made another stop at a seaside restaurant named El Balneario and each had a tasty tinto de verano, while watching the ocean to one side and the grill master cooking up a lot of fish on the other. We even heard a feliz cumpleanos being sung to a(nother) birthday-haver, and I imagined it was for me! We meandered our way back to the apartment; spent the rest of the day in old town before getting some birthday gelato and navigating our way among the crowd. It was a great end to a fine birthday.

The next day we took the local bus into the north end of town, and visited the Jardin Botanico de la Concepcion (The Botanical Gardens). It was a hot and sunny day, and the gardens were a perfect respite. We were treated to some great views, plants from around the world, fairly empty trails and walking paths. We brought our lunch, bocadillos (sandwiches), manzanas (apples), and spicy pringles (they fit in the backpack quite well) and ate at a shaded lookout point in the park; enjoying the sounds of nature.

Something that was odd and interesting was the Barbie room, that we saw on the map. We were puzzled but happened upon it; it was a one room structure with different scenes from the late 1800s/early 1900s, portrayed by barbie and ken dolls, dressed in the clothes of the day and faces painted to match. The pictures may not do the models justice, but here are a couple anyway.

We could have spent most of the day at the gardens, and while spring had just gotten underway so the park was lush and green, I am sure in summer when all the flowers are in full bloom it is even better (but definitely hotter). I recommend visiting the gardens as it is a nice respite from the busyness of the Old Town and coastal beach areas.

We took the bus back to Old Town, dropped off our backpack, and took the two minute walk straight into the Carmen Thyssen Museo Málaga. When the sun shines, people usually do not go into the museums, so that allowed us to see the museum with less than 15 or so other people, spread out amongst the museum’s spacious four gallery floors. While the ten euro per person ticket was a bit pricey, the paintings and other art inside was worth it.

The museum is housed in a 16th-century palace though that is noticeable by the bright white inner courtyard and when taking a break on the outdoor terrace, which provided a cool view of the Igelsia del Sangrado Corazón.

There were many impressive landscape paintings, as well as a temporary exhibit highlighting Spain’s avant-garde artists from the years 1918-1936, including one that we had originally seen in Gijón months earlier, that was on loan for the exhibit (by Roberto Fernández Balbuena).

From the Museum permanent collection, here are some of my favorites:

“Gossips” (1893) by Jose Gallegos
“La buenaventura” (The fortune-telling) 1920 by Julio Romero de Torres
Marina, View of the Bay of Palma de Mallorca (1905-10) by Antonio Muñoz Degrain
“Marina” (1884) by Emilio Ocón y Rivas
Landscape Paintings (1895-1910) by Guillermo Gómez Gil (1895-1910)

On our last full day in Málaga we went to one more museum, this time it was the Museo de Málaga, which is near the Parque de Málaga at the far end of Old Town. Located in the old Customs house dating back to 1829 (when it was completed), later the building was used as the Civil Governor’s headquarters until 2008, when it was turned into the museum. The inner courtyard is peaceful with an off-center fountain, benches to sit, and the top of the third floor railings are lined with busts of Roman era people. When we entered (which is free for Spanish residents, which we still are for one more month, yay!) there were photographers taking pictures of a silver chalice (reminded me a bit of the Stanley Cup trophy) we presumed that was to be used in the Semana Santa festivities going on all the next week.

We entered on the first floor, where there was a high ceiling, large room, which appeared to be a storage room of sorts, with many, many items and paintings but with no descriptions, and tightly arranged. There were many ancient tools in display cases, and under these were drawers that could be pulled out to reveal even more. There were also large stones of various sizes with Latin inscriptions, furniture, religious paintings, and a very funky archway that had to be photographed.

There were paintings by Spanish artists on the next two floors, many of grand size, as well as a few sculptures. Here are some of my favorites:

Alegoria de la Historia, Industria y Comercio de Málaga (1870), by Bernardo Ferrandiz y Badenes and Antonio Munoz DeGrain
“Ecos de Roncevalles” (1890) by Antonio Munoz DeGrain
“The Princess of Kapurthala / Portrait of Anita Delgado” (1919) by Federico Armando Beltran Massies
“Slave Girl for Sale” (1897) by Jose Jimenez Aranda

On the top floor is the historical artifacts portion of the museum, with a great many artifacts dating back to the founding of the city by the Phoenicians in the 7th century BC, continuing through Roman times, with extensive pottery and tools and weapons. There were also some impressive mosaics dating back to Roman times, and one entire floor, found by a local resident when he was replacing the floors in his home.

After the museum we headed for the beach, to take off our shoes and walk with our feet in the water along the shoreline; while young kids splashed in the cold waters, adults and others sat sunbathing and taking in the warm day full of sunshine. We did the same, before walking back to our apartment, to pack and prepare for our next adventure in Andalucía.

One last look

Like I mentioned in the the earlier posts, there are so many museums in Málaga but one cannot see them all; this time we missed the famed Picasso museum, but he created so much art that if you are in an art museum in Spain, you can be certain there will be at least one Picasso and one Dalí painting (who also created a lot, I mean a lot, of art). Also, there is always next time. It was nice to have a lot of time in Málaga to explore many parts of the city; while Old Town is most popular amongst visitors, getting out of this area, especially to some of the less populated areas, where there are parks, lookout points, different restaurants and cafes, can be a welcome respite from the hoards of people in the popular tourists areas. So when in Málaga , take your time, explore a couple of the top notch museums, eat some good local cusine, walk the beaches and paseos, find a outdoor seat at a cafe, and watch the people go by.

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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