March 21, 2019

Magnificent, Marvelous, Malaga ... I love this city !!!!

It really has it all...extraordinary history , fabulous weather, beaches, gardens, tapas, museums, music, farmers market, and during my stay both Carnival and a film festival! But, best of all, I had the pleasure of sharing my last week there with Anne and John ! I have done a lot of solo travelling over the past few years...and I love it, but having the opportunity to share the experience made me so happy !

So..Malaga ..founded in the 8th century BC under the Phoenicians, it is one of Europe's oldest cities. There is ample, and wonderful, evidence of Roman rule beginning in 218 BC... most spectacularly the Roman theatre which is in incredibly good condition considering it was built in the 1st century BC ! While I was there, rival schools were performing plays there. The Romans were eventually followed by the Moors, who in the 700's brought their unique style of architecture still visible in the Moorish castle Alcazaba. Built in the early 11th century, it overlooks the old Roman theatre and re-uses some Roman era materials. Its impressive walls, built as a fortress facing out to sea, protected the palatial residential quarters. With its ponds, patio's, fountains, lavish gardens, archways and glazed tiles it is a fabulous place to visit.

Malaga is truly like an open museum...or archaeological site...on the main square is the Roman theatre (1st century BC), towering over it the Alcazaba (11century ), and higher yet (56 floors higher, according to my Fitbit) is the Castle Gabralfaro. This castle crosses over the divide between Moorish rule and the reconquest of Spain by the Christians in the 1400's. It fell after a 3 month siege by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1487. Today you can walk the ramparts that surrounded the castle and enjoy a spectacular view.

It is not particularly surprising that with all this fascinating history Malaga is home to a wonderful Museum with extraordinary artifacts not only dating back to the Phoenician, Roman and Moorish times, but some finds from the Caves of Nerja which are about a 45 min drive/bus ride from Malaga. Re-discovered in 1959 and stretching almost 5 km these caves were seasonally inhabited by humans from about 25000 BC. Although not available for public viewing due to their fragility, Neanderthal cave paintings dating from 21000 BC have been found there. By 4500 BC, domesticated animals were being kept and farming was taking place around the cave. Textiles and advanced pottery was being produced by 3800 BC, examples of which can be seen at the Malaga Museum. A tour of the caves was a really great day trip..although my camera was not up to the task.

And then there's the art ! Malaga is the birth place of Picasso. There is a charming bronze statue of him sitting on a bench with a sketch pad and charcoal in hand that I passed every day. Most days I gave him a gentle pat on the head as I passed..but after I'd seen the pictures he did of his wife just before he left her for a woman half her age, my pat on the head turned into a slap on the cheek ! Still the Picasso Museum is a must see in Malaga.

There ws a temporary Matisse exhibit that was a joy. The Carmen Thyssen Museum with 19th century Spanish works including Julio Romero de Torres whose art I'd enjoyed in Cordoba.

The Cathedral dates from 1528 and is known locally as the One Armed Lady, as it has only one tower...the second tower was never built due to lack of funds. The Teatro Cervantes was less than a block from my apartment and I spent a lovely evening there with the Philharmonic Orchestra and a spell binding guest pianist. ..she was fabulous.

Tapas, fresh figs, pomegranates, and almonds from the street vendors...history, art, sun and sand. ..even after 5 weeks, I was sorry to say goodbye to Malaga.