Moving from on high to on the ground in Malaga

I just loved the AC Marriott Palacio Malaga for many reasons, not least of all the amazing views. Eighth floor balconys overlooking the water and the vibrant heart of a city tend to spoil you quickly. I lingered for an hour after check out Monday afternoon, savoring an appetizer and glass of wine on the Terraza as I stared out over the harbor.

So I was also prepared for a letdown as I moved to a HomeStay rental studio apartment about four blocks away, even as I was looking forward to being “on the ground.”

And as things turned out, I landed a pretty damn nice location. The studio apartment itself doesn’t appear to be anything special, but it’s not bad inside for the cost. It’s not fancy, but quite comfortable, with everything I needed for the next five days.

What’s absolutely great is its location.

As in less than a block from the very popular Plaza Merced and it’s many restaurants, grocery, and other attractions. Three blocks up Calle de la Victoria to a laundermat.

Ok, it’s not the 8th floor looking out at the Malaga Harbor, but over yonder is the entrance to Plaza Merced and a wealth of restaurants, the Picasso museum and other attractions.

And up the paved hill to the entrance of the historic Castillo de Gibralfaro, which offers views of the city rivaling the Palacio hotel.

I need only step across the road outside my rental and there looming across the boulevard below is a section of the nearly 1,000 year old Castillo de Gibralfaro.

Simply walk out the front door and thought the security gate, and you’re in the center of much of what makes Malaga special.

One side of the amazing Plaza Merced a block away from my rental. Nearly a dozen restaurants grace this side of the plaza, and another 15 to 20 ring the two other sides. Thousands of people stroll about or sit about eating and lounging every day. The yellow building with green shutters on the left houses the Picasso Foundation.

I could live here. I won’t, of course. But I really could. This place is worth learning Spanish for.


Flock of Seagulls

My iPhone camera doesn’t do it justice, but this gives a hint of the beautiful spectacle to be seen from the Terraza from time to time throughout the afternoon and into the evening.

Hundreds of seagulls soaring about on the currents. This shot not only doesn’t capture the detail well, it only shows about a third of the seagulls.

And you thought they were just a 60s art band.

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