Málaga is an undeniably beautiful city that attracts Europeans and the British on holiday as an alternative perhaps to Tenerife and the Canary Islands. Spain has increased their tourism promotion budget to the UK and estimates that “…almost 90% of Britons who travelled to Spain in 2008 had already been there on holiday before. The links between both countries are undeniable and strong. [Britons] feel safe and secure there and they know they can communicate easily with people, drive on safe road[s] and get the best healthcare if they need it.” There is so much yet for Americans to discover in this city and although our time was limited, we certainly tried our best to get in as much as we could in Málaga.
Don’t be afraid when traveling to get out and about on foot minus your guidebook. I’m certainly not advising you to be an uneducated or uninformed tourist, but don’t rely exclusively on visiting every single tourist attraction. Sometimes it is the simple things that we see that make the biggest impressions. For example, Ave Quiromantica is a sculpture that took us quite by surprise.
“The Ave Quiromantica is a bronze sculpture located on Calle Bolsa, and this sculpture has the form that is half pigeon and the other half an open hand, the whole sculpture resting on a marble base. It was based on a sketch done by the poet Rafael Perez Estrada, to whom the monument is dedicated by the City of Malaga. The sculpture was created by Jose Seguiri, a local sculptor, and was dedicated in 2001.”
Although I wasn’t able to locate any information on the sketch, I did find a link to one of his works here in case you would like to read it.
Another sculpture was “Points of View” by Tony Cragg, a British sculptor. The sculpture is located at the corner of Calle Larios and Calle Strachan. The City of Málaga acquired the bronze sculpture in 2005.
If you decided to walk down to the port area, you would first come across Málaga Park. The park lies beside the port and goes from the Plaza de la Marina to the Plaza del General Torrijos. The wide open area is conducive to walkers and runners alike.
The park was built in 1897 and renovated in 2007. Here you’ll see beautiful new walkways, a new pond, improved landscaping, and the statues have all received a fresh facelift.
If you’ve read my blog before, you’ve seen me recommend the hop on/hop off buses and I spied one from the rooftop of our hotel. If you’re only in town for a short period of time and want to get around quickly and learn as much as you can, try one of these buses that are in most major cities.
An area extremely close to where we were staying is Palacio Episcopal, which was adjacent to the cathedral and offered a few dining options as well as vendors for pedicabs and those selling almonds.
The Palacio Episcopal is located across the street from the Cathedral and consists of two palaces. One is from the 16th century and the other is from the 18th century. The second palace was built in 1762 by the Bishop Lasso de Castilla, using the architects Antonio Ramos and Jose Martin de Aldehuela. The impressive façade is constructed with marbles of different colors (pink, white and gray) in a beautiful Baroque design, with pilasters and cornices. On the third floor of the façade is a vaulted niche that holds a sculpture of the Virgen de las Angustias, sculpted by Fernando Ortiz and Manuel Agustin Valero in alabaster.
Inside there is an interior covered patio that has arches resting on columns. This then leads to a grand staircase in the imperial style going to the second floor. On the side there is a beautiful exterior patio (the private patio of the bishop) that has tile work (azulejos) from the 18th century, depicting figures of men and women in typical dress. This patio also has small fountains done in tile.
Today the top floor of the palace is the home and office of the bishop. The first two floors are used by the Junta de Andalucia for special large art exhibitions. The palace is one of the most beautiful Baroque buildings in Andalusia.
A fountain rests in the middle of this square and no matter which way you photograph it, the photo will look incredible with either the cathedral or one of the palaces as your background.
Here is one of the pedicabs I mentioned with a Dunkin’ Coffee logo on it.
We were struck by the humor of this restaurant, one of a few located here next to the cathedral. Although we dined at La Taberna del Obispo, the irony of a Cheers restaurant in Spain for people from Boston didn’t escape us.
I took far too many pictures in Málaga to share, but there are some that I took simply because they put a smile on my face. This is one of them and is a picture of a small lion statue perched up on a plinth in front of the Cathedral of Málaga. He looks like he is hiding something, doesn’t he?
In our home, we like to put out a pesebre or nativity scene and couldn’t believe my luck when I found this store full of complete sets and individual pieces.
Seeing police on horseback and friendly enough to talk to pedestrians made it seem like they were staging scenes just for me.
Perhaps the gentleman was asking about where to place his garbage. On the street you’ll find four receptacles for garbage: glass, paper, plastic, and organic (anything that will break down like food?). The area was clean and organized and made me wonder why we still don’t see this in the US.
We were surprised to see a cigarette vending machine, something I haven’t seen in the States for years. Made me feel nostalgic for a cigarette. Well, not really!
As our time in Málaga came to an end, we knew we would return in the future. We all grew to love the charm of the city despite not seeing every corner of it or experiencing everything it had to offer. We had made a connection with this city and expect that feeling to grow stronger when we return again. It wasn’t the food or architecture or the people alone, but a combination of that and more.
As the bells from the Cathedral chimed, I snapped a few more pictures, and we returned to our hotel to pack and prepare for the next day.
Special thanks to TripAdvisor for some of the information for today’s blog post as details for certain items, like the statues, were difficult to locate. If you want to read a more detailed account of the entire city of Málaga, go here. Next time we will head to the port to begin our 5-day Mediterranean Cruise.