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Málaga >  Google™ Map Mar 2018  Malaga Coat of Arms

malaka Phoenician salt (disputed). Population - 569,130.

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Mar 2018

Malaga Coat of Arms

Off to Málaga are you? Going to Torremolinos? It's brilliant isn't it or you heading down to Marbella? Didn't know you was loaded?...

Torremolinos - Plaza del Lido

No, just going to Málaga...

Sure, you're flying there but where you staying? Knowing you two, probably Fuengirola eh, eh? We went go-karting there once when you got plastered doing shots and there's a massive new Aldi™ with a free shuttle bus[1]. Where you staying again?...

No, just going to Málaga and staying in Málaga...

... Why?

[1] There's not really but you get this big snob's point?

Well, here's for why! It looks not a little unlike this although all of that fried fish is said to leave some people a little seasick.

Málaga - Plaza de la Marina
Málaga - Calle Herrería del Rey

The maze of backstreets are a treat with all your major international cuisines[1] covered and it's just over 10 minutes by train from the airport.

There's history here that's Phoenician making this one of the oldest cities in the world, unlike Torremolinos[2], which is largely for nosh, sun etc, and there are more museums in Málaga than there are, well, things in the world to put in museums.

[1] Not really and only if you consider the occasional modern take of teriyaki with the ubiquitous tapas. Away from the patatas bravas, there's a curious hybrid of Indian and Mexican around these parts... 'Right lads, just got a job lot of rice and chilis. Any ideas what to do with these?'
[2] Speaking of which, isn't Torremolinos dreadful? Well no, you'll find it isn't at all, actually.

  Museo Picasso Málaga (Calle San Agustín)

Pablo Ruiz Picasso is Málaga's most famous son if you discount Antonio Banderas who just has been.

Despite moving away by the time he was eleven, Picasso was a right prodigy, apparently, and was tutored by his accomplished artist of a father from an early age. Pa was more of a traditionalist and it's said that his critical comments played a hand in Pablo heading down the, erm, unconventional route.

A French couple asked for directions to here the next day presuming the idiot in shorts to be a tourist himself, presumably. There then followed an interchange in pidgin English, Spanish and French with the payoff of "Ce n'est pas pour SlyBob!" rewarded with a laugh.

All Europeans together, eh, and something you definitely won't get away with after the morning of 1st February 2020.

And Fellini Dreamed of Picasso is a temporary bonus today with the contents of the fêted film director's notebooks on display.

Being a bit of a doodler himself, he was encouraged by his Jungian therapist, for the purpose of analysis, to sketch his dreams in which Picasso appeared four times. He did this for over 20 years and by the look of things, the other 20-odd-thousand were either about clowns or prostitutes. Or both.

Looking at some fish and meat in a city of this size is a must and the Mercado Central de Atarazanas is Málaga's main market.

Málaga - Mercado Central de Atarazanas - INT. DAY
Málaga - Mercado Central de Atarazanas INT. DAY

By 'looking' it's not meant in a 'UURGH! What's that' or 'AARGH! They eat those bits here?' kind of way. No, that stage has well and truly been passed and, besides, there's often some good lunching with the locals close to hand.

None of the roads have been cordoned off so there's no nipping in by the back via a colourful floral display. It's almost as if there's nothing going on here? There isn't, you see, so that's where any similarities with Alicante and Palma end, which is a shame as those two still get mixed up in SlyBob's mind.

They don't even speak Catalan down here so there's no clever pun that you definitely don't see every day.

  La Taberna del Pintxo Larios (Calle Alarcón Luján)

It would take all day to list every tapas joint in town but here's a variation. It's more of a Northern Spain thing and you help yourself at the counter based on a system of colour-coded cocktail sticks.

They'll tot it up when you ask for the cuenta but it's very difficult to refuse those fresh out of the kitchen and proffered on a platter.

That means, by the time you come to leave, your empty plate looks like you've just won a particularly long game of Ker-Plunk™.

There are at least 30 museums and galleries of varying significance even if the city's bid for the 2016 European Capital of Culture lost out[1] to San Sebastián. The Picasso and Modern Art museums both opened in 2003 giving the cruise ships a reason to stop and the city exploded as a cultural destination.

This all under the stewardship of mayor Francisco de la Torre whose €100m project now makes Málaga much more than just an airport for the Costa del Sol.

It's known there are at least 30 because, heading south over Alameda Principal, that information has been digested under a leaky canopy in Soho and no, not that one.

Málaga - Calle Tomás Heredia
Málaga - Calle Trinidad Grund

They've simply nicked the name for the previously edgy area just north of the port that's now home to the arts and already starting to look like Greek Street.

Still, some top-notch coffee in the Santa Coffee café and home of the leaky canopy. Take your pick from Ethiopian, Brazilian or settle for an El Salvadoran although you'll likely get the jitters by your third refill while that rain simply refuses to stop.

[1] And everybody knows how  that feels, right kids?

  Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Málaga (Calle Alemania)

Málaga's go-to venue for those who like to say 'I could do that!' Not that you'd get close to reproducing one of  Stephan Balkenhol's fantastic wooden figures, not shown, that showcase his skill as a sculptor.

Málaga - Centro de Arte Contemporáneo

In another room, however, it's still not known just exactly what is being 'juxtaposed' here?

The Parque de Málaga is the city's prime piece of public greenery, separated from the port by the main road through.

Parque de Málaga - Paseo España
Parque de Málaga
Parque de Málaga

It's popular with the locals for an early evening paseo but it's not all exotic, labelled shrubbery, monuments and gilded nymphs.

No, it's also home to a fair few of Málaga's more colourful characters, the monk parakeet. Just like their cousins in West London, the ring-necked, the city council has been called on to do just that with the occasional cull required to keep the numbers down.

Parque de Málaga - Myiopsitta monachus
Parque de Málaga - Paseo España

There's also an indicator of the excessive rain that's been had since arriving and, yeah, like there's a reminder needed of that.

  Colección del Museo Ruso (Av de Sor Teresa Prat)

Just a little way south can be found some Russian art and artefacts from the 15th century onwards. It's said, they say, that it was opened as an attraction for homesick Muscovites who had started to buy up all the property in and around Benalmádena in the noughties.

They're sick? Who wouldn't be with all this rain and today will be a particularly tricky one to spot an unusually tipped umbrella coming at you.

Hang on a minute, some of the roads have been cordoned off so there is something going on here. Not an accidental, random fiesta, again, but a demonstration by the national police force and their supporters to demand the same pay as their regional, autonomous counterparts with all of this hoo-ha happening just up from the parakeets.

Málaga - Avenida de Cervantes
Málaga - Paseo del Parque

JUSAPOL! JUSAPOL! JUSAPOL! JUSAPOL! While that's not an overly catchy chant, it's only come 30 years too late for the name of the indie band that Bob thought would get their big break back in 1988... 'Straight in at number 20, here's Jusapol! with "Escalator"'.

Now known to be stolen from Boston, ABC and the Smiths but you'd still all be whistling it tomorrow if you heard it.

  Museo de Málaga (Plaza de la Aduana)

This one is more your old pots and statues with just a handful of the contemporary. It can't actually be commented upon because advantage was taken of a gap in the clouds and when the heavens reopened, this place hadn't.

The aforementioned port is the oldest in Spain, they say, but is somewhere you wouldn't have wanted to be wandering around of an evening prior to 2011.

Málaga - Paseo del Muelle Uno

Since then, there's since been a major redevelopment but the generic transformation to the retail and the restaurantorial means you could, sorry Málaga, just about be anywhere.

Here is home to Málaga's only Michelin™-starred  restaurant although the dining budget didn't quite stretch to 19 platos.

Málaga - KFC Muelle Uno

No, bouches were amused by just the 11, actually, the secret blend of herbs and spices that is, not really.

There's access along here to a serviceable beach and a lighthouse that's not nearly as old as you'd hoped.

Málaga - Playa la Malagueta
La Farola De Málaga

You will, however, have to watch your Green Cross Code™s as the shuttle buses from the cruise liners ferry passengers to and from town.

Málaga - Paseo de la Farola
  Centre Pompidou (Pasaje Doctor Carrillo Casaux)

There's likely to be some 'pop art' in this 'pop up' gallery, which sits beneath a giant, see-through Rubik's Cube™, of sorts, down by the port.

Málaga - Centre Pompidou

It's part of the proper one in Paris but the contents can't be commented upon, neither, since it's inexplicably closed on a Tuesday.

Is that a castle in the air? Of course it is and the Castillo Gibralfaro will let you up and inside for a few €euro coins.

It's a fair lug up on this type of terrain with a brief respite on a viewing platform. It's definitely[1] loftier than the advertised 130 metres and at just under €3euros each, actually, expectations aren't nearly so high.

Málaga - Up to Castillo Gibralfaro
Málaga - Mirador de Gibralfaro

It does, however, represent pretty good value with access all ramparts that were just about borderline, in places, for these wobblies and yes, that'll be the old vertigo.

Málaga - Castillo Gibralfaro - EXT. DAY

[1] It certainly seems like it.

The history's all in Spanish but it was built in either the 10th or the 14th[1] century and was last in the news during an Inquisition-era siege by the Catholic Monarchs.

Málaga - Castillo Gibralfaro INT. DAY
Málaga - Castillo Gibralfaro INT. DAY

Far more interesting are an old set of playing cards and a chap who bears an uncanny resemblance to the brother-in-law circa 1973.

[1] Depending on who you ask or Google™.

  Santa Iglesia Catedral Basílica de la Encarnación (Calle Molina Lario)

Or Málaga Cathedral if that's a bit too much of mouthful to ask for directions to. They'll let you inside for a few €euros where you'll be told to 'Sssh!' and to cover up those shoulders while you admire the intimidating architecture.

Málaga Cathedral

It's the second-tallest tower in Southern Spain but unlike Seville's Giralda, they won't let you up it and you'll have to settle instead for a disappointing view from its relatively low roof. Besides which, there's a way better view from up here at the castle.

You can simply return the way you came up or there's a longer trail that loops and descends through woodland on the other side.

Málaga - Camino Gibralfaro

It's this way down where you might encounter one of these fellas, the common chameleon[1] and an elderly, Spanish parking attendant chiming in indecipherably before you set off.

[1] Much more likely some scrawny, black, Spanish squirrels or a  blackcap in a bush, neither shown.

Something about 'colour', it's thought, although he may just have been on about the bus you can actually get up here and looks to be about to leave.

Málaga - Camino Gibralfaro
Málaga - Plaza de Toros

In case you were wondering, the bullring back there and below still operates as a burger processing plant April through September. Outside of that, it's said to host other 'cultural' events although you're unlikely to be attending any if you think that even donkey rides are a bit dodgy.

Either way down brings you to the Alcazaba or a fortified palace if you'd rather. It's sold as the Alhambra of Málaga and, while not nearly so grand, represents excellent value when combined with the castle.

Málaga - Teatro Romano

First of all, though, cop a free peep at the Teatro Romano, nearly 2,000 years old but only discovered in 1951. That was when they started to build on an unused patch of land and, fumbling in the foundations, revealed some old Roman or other's idea of a good night out.

It's into the Alcazaba to turn right after the arch for a, quite frankly, disappointing snack bar and some fenced off ramparts.

Málaga - Alcazaba

The gardens and the palace proper are back the way you came and it's all quite a sight, they say, given they date from a time when there was still a 10 in the year.

It's here, however, there's another sudden downpour rendering the camera unusable and things largely unexplored settling instead to shelter with some strangers under the arch until the rain eases. That might not be for a while, this one is set for the day, seriously.

If you're still here, you may have detected, indeed, a cultural theme. That at least makes for some shelter in the centre although the phrasebook doesn't extend to sitting through a screening of Pedro Almodovar's latest.

Málaga - Cine Albéniz
Málaga - Calle Olózaga

No, it's time to skid back to the mercado, Bob's pair of worn-down soles not quite getting to grips with the stretches of wet and shiny, marbled paving.

All of the invitingly narrow passages, all of them, mysteriously lead back to the Plaza de la Constitución, the modern shopping area where all of your global brands, sorry Málaga, could just about be anywhere, continentally speaking.

Málaga - Plaza de la Constitución

If you're still still here, you may have detected, indeed, a rainy theme. Some unseasonable weather[1] had just dumped six inches of snow back home but down in Southern Europe it was locking horns with another storm over the Bay of Biscay.

The result? A lot of rain in Spain that fell mainly on the plane, the aeroplane, that is, then it wouldn't stop for three days and nights.

[1] Imaginatively titled the 'Beast from the East'[2] by the tabloids but will you please stop calling it that. You're employed by the BBC to deliver informative weather details and the licence fee isn't being paid for that kind of cheap chit-chat.
[2] The worst that was expected was a 'Pest from the West', which might give rise to some localised but light showers, yeah right!

There's a river that runs right through here and the Guadalmedina flows south from the hills into the Med. There's not too much west of it, unless you need a train, and east is where the charms of the old town and all the tapas are.

It's not really a river, neither, but more of a dry, concrete channel that's normally home to the homeless, dog walkers and skate punks.

Málaga - Puente De Los Alemanes
Málaga - Puente de la Trinidad

It looks more like this today meaning they've had to postpone filming of the Thunder Road drag-race scenes in the Spanish version of Grease or Lubricante as they call it here, probably.

The cast have all had to head indoors while they get one of the musical scenes in the can. Right then lads and lasses, from the top... uno, dos, tres, cuatro...

 Tu seras para mi (tu seras para mi) ho-ho-ho miel! Es electrificante!

  Museo del Vino (Plaza Vineros)

Small attraction in a handsome, old palace for those fond of the Fino. It's mostly labels, bottles and bits of old barrels and there's a meagre ration of something regional and sweet on your way out.

A bit early for that? You'll only be supping anyway under a canopy somewhere while you wait for a break in that rain.