One last day with a view

Moving to a studio apartment tomorrow for my last five days in Malaga. So after a few hours wandering around my new area in a residential neighborhood four blocks away, I’m spending as much time as I can on the hotel’s roof top Terraza overlooking the harbor.

There are other amazing views in Malaga to enjoy, including tomorrow from the old Moorish fort, the Gibrafaro, just a couple blocks from here. But I’ll miss the stunning views of the city and the harbor here.

Yes, Cherie, it is the one armed lady, la Manquita.

If the AC Marriott Palacio was in Chicago, there’d be a 2-hour wait list. And it’s a sure bet they’d be charging a lot more than 3 euros- $3.42 – for glasses of excellent Riojo. And the appetizers- like grilled octopus, and foie gras with goat cheese- wouldn’t be nearly as large or inexpensive.

There’s even a small pool at one end. The place is amazing, and the fact you can’t always immediately find a table outside is a testament to it’s popularity and reputation among the locals.

This place is a real gem. The staff are excellent, attentive and unfailingly helpful. I won’t come back to Malaga without staying at least a couple nights here just for the experience.

The pool… largely unused.

And you can enjoy a cigar with your vino. Heaven by the harbor.

Staying up late tonight to watch the Bears game, starting at 10:40 pm local time. How’s that for Sunday night football?

Mas mañana. Go Bears!

Where to next

For anyone wishing to know where I’m headed next, below is my intended itinerary. Subject to change, as it already has, but pretty firm.

Feel free to ask any questions and make request, such as places and photos.

Jan. 4 – 11; Malaga, Spain 8 nights

Jan. 12 – 13; Tangier, Morocco 2 nights

Jan. 14 – 16; Casablanca, Morocco 3 nights

Jan. 17 – 21; Marrakesh, Morocco 5 nights

Jan. 22 – 27; Essaouira, Morocco 6 nights

Jan. 28; enroute Casablanca via Marrakesh

Jan. 29 – 31; Lisbon, Portugal 3 nights

Feb. 1 – 21; Porto, Portugal 21 nights

Feb. 22; Enroute Archidona, Andulusia 

Feb. 23 – 24; Archidona 2 nights

Feb. 25 – 28; San Sebastian/Bilbao area

March 1; Enroute Lourdes, France

March 2 – 3; Lourdes 2 nights

March 4; Enroute Pamplona

March 5 – 6; Pamplona 2 nights

March 7- 11; Barcelona 5 nights

March 12 – 16; Valencia 5 nights

March 17 – 21; Mallorca 5 nights

March 22 – 24; Cuenca 3 nights

March 25 – 27; Madrid 3 nights

March 28; Fly to Chicago

The holidays in Malaga

Heard loud cheering and the squeals of children and looked out from my balcony. A huge crowd of people lined the boulevard across from the hotel, both sides of the street, for blocks. Floats, costumed characters, marching bands and more.

People on the float pictured were throwing fistfuls of candy to the audience. Christmas? New Year? Some celebration I never heard of? Whatever it was, it was quite the spectacle.

Me gusta Malaga. No, yo amo Malaga!

There are some places you just know the minute you set foot there that it’s going to be special.

Malaga is all that and much more, a place where the ancient and the modern coexist beautifully. 

Situated on the southern coast of Spain, at the mouth of the Guadalmedina River in the middle of the Costa del Sol region, Malaga is approximately 100 miles northeast of Gibraltar, and an hour flight from Tangier, Morocco. 

View of the Malaga harbor from my 8th floor balcony.

First settled nearly 2,800 years ago, it is one of the oldest cities in the world. 

Numerous cultures have put their stamp on the city since the Phoenicians established the city of Malaka 1100 years before Christ, including the Greeks, then the the Moors. In 211 BC, the Romans came and stayed until the Visagoths arrived in the wake of Rome’s fall. That was followed by eight centuries of Islamic rule, before what would become Spain assumed control in 1487.

Oddly enough, it was only 100 years ago that the old Roman theater ruins, the “Teatro Romano,” was discovered immediately adjacent to what would become the heart of the modern “old city.”

It would be another 450 years before Malaga saw its final battle, during the Spanish Civil War in 1937.

With all its history, Malaga has been called “an open museum,” a place where its Phoenician, Roman, Greek, Moorish and Spanish Christian influences lay all about. Add in that this is the birthplace of artistic lion Pablo Picasso, as well as actor Antonio Banderas, and one can understand that this is a unique place. 

Immediately behind my hotel is a mammoth Cathedral, centuries old. It towers taller than the 15th floor Terraza of the AC Marriott hotel. My map is unclear exactly what it is called- I’ll bother to look it up tomorrow.

A really big, tall Spanish cathedral

In any event, all that history both blends with and stands apart from the modern day culture of the city, which is, in a word, delightful.

Malaga is not a small city, exactly, with 570,000 inhabitants, sixth largest in Spain. But the old town, where you’ll find all the fun and interesting stuff, is eminently walkable- strollable is a better word to use. You’ll want to wander slowly. 

In early January the temperature ranges from the high 50s to low 60s, not summer weather, but sunny and quite comfortable in the day time.

The harbor area is both a scenic delight and a working industrial area, and one doesn’t clash with the other, as odd as that might sound to Americans. Packed trendy restaurants are just across the road from 2,000 year old Roman ruins. A block away from the the “Roman Teatro” is the Picasso Museum; three blocks off is his birthplace.

The 2,000 year old ruins of the Roman Amphitheater is just a stone’s throw across the way from the hugely popular “El Pimpi” restaurant.

I wandered about the Old Town for several hours Saturday. I’ll be here through next Friday. Consider this my book report on Malaga. For the next week I’ll explore the town and post more photos here, and maybe more text, before heading to Tangier for the start of my trek through Morocco. 

And for the next two days, I’ll continue to enjoy the lofty views from my 8th floor balcony and the spectactular 300 degree city and harbor vistas from the hotel’s 15th floor Terraza. 

A personal reminder

This pic isn’t from my current travels. Just a reminder to myself to turn down whatever interior clock is running that tells me that every delay and inconvenience is somehow inherently bad.

I’d offer some elaboration on that, but since I’m taking it slow today, I won’t. More mañana.

Time to start living on Island Time again.