In Málaga…

Keeping in theme with the tone of the guest post on Seville by Sophie, I thought of my Andalusian adventures that kicked off from Málaga, the Andalusian port city of Spain, that lies across the tip of Africa. It was February and yet the heat, oh it was blistering. Ir ran along the lines of an Indian summer that tends to sear the mind and the soul. The day we landed in Málaga, the city was enveloped in a haze that was a curious shade of jaundice yellow. It is a common feature there in Málaga –  the desert wind, Calima, blows in from the great Sahara Desert bringing with it poor visibility and high temperatures. During the course of the next few days, the haze gradually lifted but the heat, boy it was a stunner.

Now Málaga is the underrated cousin of the Spanish biggies, Madrid and Barcelona, and I do not know why because it has infallible charm. Walking in the shadow of the grandiose Alcazaba, the towering cathedral and the baños (Arab baths), the imagination tends to be overwhelmed by tales of the Moors, that mixed race of Berbers and Arabs who crossed over from North Africa and occupied Andalucia for seven centuries. But ancient Iberians, Phoenicians and the Romans were here too and you see the strange confluence of cultures in its many alleys.

My first impression of Málaga was formed by the sight of the many palms that line one of its main avenues. Those trees bring upon me a wave of nostalgia for things left far behind in the past – hazy memories of the desert city that I was born in. A glorious park, the Parque de la Alameda, was my refuge from the heat of the morning with its green surroundings filled with exotic plants procured from five continents. It was but a paean to man’s potential for creating beauty from zilch. You see, the park was created on reclaimed land.

Sauntering down one of Málaga’s busy streets, I chanced upon an imposing horseshoe archway. The Ataranzas. A market for fresh produce and paella. Ah, now I could not leave it alone, could I?  There is something alluring about the mercados of Spain. Be it in Madrid, Barcelona, Málaga or even a small place like Zaragoza. Is it an old-world charm, you wonder, with vendors and customers exchanging notes over fresh meat, seafood, vegetable and fruits? A plethora of colour for as far as the eye can see beneath the warm lighting of the market hall. My nose led me into a massive hall that was once a shipyard (in Arabic it is Ataranzas) with seven grand arches. Only one of those arches remain and it was the one that had lured me in.

A shipyard in the middle of the city, you might ask dubiously? Things were different till around the 18th century. The sea reached till where I was walking a while ago – on the streets around the present-day market. Once fishermen would have sat along the walls of the former shipyard and trawled the waters for the catch of the day. Apart from housing a shipyard, the Ataranzas had many avataars. Convent, military fort, hospital and subsequently a medical school. So many stories, so many memories, all embedded within its walls. Now only if those walls could speak, the tales that might tumble out.

This was just the start to my extensive rambles around the city, and lest I lull you into a sound sleep, I shall retire till my next post on Málaga.

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The view from the hotel room was made up of water the hue of emerald, the blue shimmering sea beyond the blocks of concrete and then these pretty palm trees.
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The Alcazaba in profile
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Town hall
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A section of the Alcazaba shows up between the old bank and town hall
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Banco de España. If you are a fan of architecture, you will find yourself riveted by its neoclassical look.
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Palacio de la Aduana. The new customs house for the port city.
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Parque de la Alameda
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Parque de la Alameda
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Parque de la Alameda
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A quick change of pace in the busy city
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Ataranzas
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Oh hello there…

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Ataranzas
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The stained glass window in the Ataranzas that are fit to grace a cathedral

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94 thoughts on “In Málaga…

  1. We’re adding this place to our bucket list! Loved seeing the colorful marketplace and the friendly fishmonger waving was hilarious. Didn’t expect that! Enjoyed reading your personal insights of the city – always a pleasure.

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  2. Wow what a beautiful blog post Dippy! 🙂 I hadn’t given much thought to visiting Malaga until now. It looks wonderful there – those palm trees are so refreshing. Did you visit in winter? Warm, sunny winter days are my favorite – it reminds me of Kathmandu, my hometown!

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    1. Thank you Pooja. Well it was Hot but oh all that beauty is worth it. I did visit in winter…and if only for Kathmandu and for Malaga’s stunning architecture (I shall give you a peek into it in the next couple of posts), you could make a beeline for it. xx

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  3. I didn’t know the wind had a name. Calima would make a pretty name for a girl. Then when someone asked, “Oh, that’s an interesting name. Does it mean something?” she can say, with an air of mystique and a steely eye, “It means desert wind.”

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  4. Thanks for bringing me back home! I spent my childhood summers in Málaga, my grandfather was born here. I never paid attention to its architecture as it was mostly a vacation destination for me and my sister so thanks for showing me too. Its people are among the kindest in Spain. Which was your favorite part?

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    1. Hey Virginia, how exciting to have spent your time in Malaga as a child! I have more posts coming up on it. My favourite part was walking in the shadow of the cathedral and gaping at all the gorgeous buildings around and the view of the Alcazaba from outside. Yours?

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  5. I spent a month in Malaga many years ago when I was freshly divorced and had 4 little girls to bring up alone. I seriously thought of staying and doing whatever it took to support us. I still regret my head ruling my heart on that one. I was captivated by the city, the people the ambience. I am certain we would have been happy and your glorious post reminds me exactly why 🙂 xx

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    1. I would love to read of your experiences in Malaga, Osyth. Your association seems to have been a bit tumultuous (pardon me if I am wrong for I am guessing from the sound of it) and I think you did great with your decision. Non? I mean one always thinks about the path not taken… do you think you will ever visit it again? I am planning a couple of more posts 🙂 xx

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      1. It was an acute time that’s for sure. I don’t regret per se because regret is fruitless and frustrating but I do wonder, of course. We plan to do a trip to Spain at some point he to take me to the Pico Valeta where the observatory he designed and built is and to Grenada where he spent happy time, me to take him to Malaga where I left a little of my heart and perhaps we will try to take in Seville and Madrid too. Barcelona I hope to visit in November … I’ve only ever had a flying visit and it’s beyond time especially from the point of view of showing solidarity after the tragedy there two weeks ago. Can’t wAit for any of your posts Dotty Doodle… I always relish your posts xx

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      2. You do know you are one of my favourite persons. Not because you leave such lovely comments (though it does make me feel warm and fuzzy) but your thoughts get me. Plus I love learning new words and you keep introducing me to some all the time.

        That corny gushing apart, your November plans sound thrilling. Seville, Madrid, Malaga, Barcelona, Granada, Pico Veleta…it will be mind-bogglingly grand. I googled the observatory and its location is something else. Phew! Go lady go and soak up some of the Spanish goodness for me too. I miss it all Immensely. xx

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      3. That has made me feel very very good! Thank you. I only say what I feel and what I mean and I am an Oxford girl (we swallow dictionaries at birth) so that explains the words! Just to clarify – it will only (!) be Barcelona in November and is now confirmed. I am meeting my daughter (the one that lives in KL) there for a couple of days – she is flying in, seeing me, seeing another friend, going to Ibiza, back to Barcelona and thence to KL all in a week … phew! The rest will wait – I suspect it will be next year sometime but we, like so many, can’t plan finitely at the moment. It will be amazing when it comes though so I can wait 🙂

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      4. Dear Oxford girl, it is no mean accomplishment to gobble up whole dictionaries. I bow to thy wisdom. I shall hope to be enlightened further along this journey.
        I did not know that one of your daughters live in KL. It is such an incredible city full of experiences. I visited it twice and remember it with great fondness including the spicy Malay street food (why is that not a surprise). All of that in a week – KL, Barcelona, Ibiza, KL – sounds furiously busy. Oh but what fun awaits you girls in Barcelona!
        I think it is a great thing to plan and plot things at leisure. That way you can savour these beautiful places instead of rushing through them. xx

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      5. Number two daughter … she has been there 4 years and is ready to move on I think. Whether that will be somewhere else Far Eastern or Europe remains to be seen (and offered – we all have to earn a crust after all!). She ADORES the street food – I think that is what she will miss most! I feel the call of Tapas already,of course – Barcelona … I shall not let you down in the eating stakes!!! Xx

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      6. A move on the cards for her then! Interesting times – and all for the crust indeed. I am sure she will make a fine job of it wherever she lands on her feet. Europe or the Far East. She’s your daughter after all.

        As for the tapas-laden thought, I am confident that you are going to up the ante 😉 xx

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  6. It’s nice to see lesser known places brought to light. It’s so easy to get caught up in the big flashing cities that we always here about, but I’ve always been a fan of getting away from the crowds of travelers. I love a more authentic feel. It is a lovely post.

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  7. You took me right there as always 🙂 I agree that Malaga misses out against the larger Spanish cities, probably because of its proximity to the coastal resorts that aren’t quite as authentically Spanish! I love Andalucia; particularly Cordoba and Granada. Looking forward to the next instalment!

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    1. Thank you Rachel. I am planning a couple of more on the city because there was just too many aspects of it to cram into one post. I am so keen on Cordoba though I have to revisit Granada because it swept me off my feet. xx

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  8. The cathedral and the buildings are so amazingly impressive. Your photos are wonderful, as always, taking me there! I especially loved your description of the amalgam of different peoples who came together in Malaga. So intriguing!

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  9. I always love the way you manage to work in history and knowledge of the places that you visit into your posts; it’s so immersive and it makes me eager to see all these things and their influence in person! And hot in February? Well, that’s my first holiday of the year potentially sorted then! 😉 x

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