After a few days in London, we were off to Spain. I arranged for us to stay in a hotel near the port in Málaga the day before our cruise was to set sail. Since we had a 6:40 am flight, we knew we had to be at the airport at 4:40 am, which meant we were up at 4 am. We didn’t need to unpack the night before so all that was needed was a jump in the shower, dress, and go and so we were off. We checked out of the hotel, walked a fair distance before realization set in that I left my camera bag on the bed. My husband, the sweet man that he is, ran back to the hotel and waited in line to convince the desk clerk to let him back in the room. He grabbed the camera bag and we were off once again to the airport. It was a cold, frigid morning and again I wished I had packed a winter coat, but at least I had my gloves!
We arrived in the terminal after climbing the maze of escalators from the ground floor up to departures. Aer Lingus has its check in desk off of the main area and we found ourselves walking in circles trying to find where we were going. We located check in down a few ramps and there was no one there but the ticket agent and us, which made check in extraordinarily easy. We put our luggage on the belt, grabbed our tickets, and made our way to security. I always laugh at my husband because while standing in line way before we actually get to security, he has already pulled off his belt and shoes and looks like he is doing a little striptease in the airport. I don’t wear a belt and I will usually wear sandals because of the easy on/easy off nature of sandals vs. having to tie or zip up shoes or boots. When it was our turn, my husband and son both had shoes off even though they didn’t have to do that. It seems as though the US is the only country concerned about taking shoes off passengers, which allowed me to get through security quickly.
Once everyone was dressed again, we walked to our departure gate. This is something else I like about traveling abroad. For example, at Gatwick we were able to check in at a desk in front of the gate and sit down. Then when it is time to board, there isn’t a need to have a line form in front of the door because the ticket agents have already checked everyone in. Less stress, less pushing, and overall much easier. We boarded the plane and only then realized that there were very few people on the plane. We were on a large plane as well and there were maybe two dozen people or so on it. I haven’t seen anything like it in years so I’m not sure if it was because it was a new route for Aer Lingus (London Gatwick to Málaga) or what, but I was loving it. This was a quick flight of only about 3 hours and once when we landed, we adjusted our watches ahead one hour to reflect the new time zone we were now in.
The plane flew past the coastline and then turned to fly back into Málaga and gave us a spectacular view of the coast and the city. For some reason it made me think of Phoenix or Las Vegas because of the mountains in the background combined with palm trees. Málaga is a city and a municipality in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain. With a population of 568,305 in 2009, it is the second most populous city of Andalusia and the sixth largest in the country. This is the southernmost large city in Europe. It lies on the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) of the Mediterranean Sea, about 100 km (62.14 mi) east of the Strait of Gibraltar and about 130 km (80.78 mi) north of Africa. This is a view of the city toward the port.
I was excited to see the sun and knew that warm weather was in our near future. Making our way through the airport, it was a complete ghost town. We could hear our own heels on the tile and we saw no one except some of the other people from our flight. Passing through customs was also quick and we then went to collect our luggage. This was fast and easy most likely because there were probably only a few bags on the plane. To exit the airport, we walked a distance, but then realized we had been in the older portion of the airport. The newer side was just that – newer, shinier, and more modern. I arranged for someone to pick us up at the airport and we never had to wait because he was right there waiting for us with a sign. His car was parked a short distance from the airport exit and we were quickly on our way to our hotel. After only a short ride, we were at our hotel, the AC Palacio Málaga, which is situated close to everything and allowed us a view of the port.
Check in was simple and fast and despite arriving before noon, we were able to go into our room. We then headed back out to explore our surroundings and I quickly fell in love with Málaga. The architecture, layout of the city, the food, and the people make this a must see place to visit. The view from our room was of the Cathedral of Málaga and although not a perfect one because of the ductwork on the roof between the buildings, but how can you not stand in amazement when looking at this incredible piece of architecture?
Wanting to simply walk without caring where we were going, we headed out and about the area of the cathedral. Here’s a little information about the cathedral:
Cathedral of Málaga is Renaissance church in Málaga, Andalusia, southern Spain. It is located inside the limits that the missing Arab wall marked, forming a great architectonic set with the nearby Alcazaba and the Castle of Gibralfaro. It was constructed between 1528 and 1782, following the planes by Diego de Siloe. The interior of the cathedral is also in Renaissance style. The cathedral, with a rectangular plan, is composed by a nave and two aisles, the former being wider, though having the same height of the aisles. The set of chairs in the choir is a work of Pedro de Mena. The facade, on the contrary, is baroque style and it is divided in two floors, on the floor below there are three arcs and inside of them there are doors separated by marble columns. Over the door there are some medallions. Those of the laterals doors represent the patron saints of Málaga, St Ciriaco and St. Paula, while the one in the center represents the announcement of God.
The north tower rises until the 84 metres of height and is the second-highest cathedral in Andalusia, behind the Giralda of Seville. The south tower is unfinished. Some claims such as a sign at the base of the tower state that funds were used to aid the British colonies gain independence from Great Britain, while other investigations of registries deduce that the money may have been used in the preparation of the “Way of Antequera”. The fact is that this condition of being unfinished gives to the Cathedral the nickname of “La Manquita”, meaning in English, “The One-Armed Lady”.
Internally a series of artworks fills the temple, among them are the gothic altarpiece of the Chapel of Santa Barbara and the 16th century tombs of the Chapel of San Francisco. The Chapel of Incarnation shows a neoclassic altarpiece of 1785, work of Juan de Villanueva and carved by Antonio Ramos and Aldehuela with sculptures of Salazar and Palomino, and The Beheading of Saint Paul painted by Enrique Simonet in 1887 during his stay in Rome.
No matter at what angle you take a picture of the cathedral or time of day, it always looks amazingly beautiful.
Next time while in Málaga: Tapas, shopping, statues, and more.