Leaving La Garrofa, we moved on towards Malaga. We had an idea that it would be worth stopping at a campsite north of Malaga for one night and we decided on a site at Torre Del Mar. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the site was full. I say fortunately, because we had a free night on a bit of rough ground overlooking the sea instead. We were not alone and it was a short walk from a very nice promenade for an evening stroll.
We had expected to move south of Malaga and then get the bus or train in for a visit. However, research showed up an Autocaravanas at Malaga Beach. I phoned to check if they had any space and was advised that they were full but, if we got there at around 0900 next day, we could wait for a space. This we did and we were lucky to get a spot close to the beach. The facilities were good and the bus was a ten minute walk away.
Malaga has more than 3000 years of history and is now a renowned cultural destination. It is the birthplace of Picasso and it now has the Pompidou Centre to lift its cultural credentials. It retains evidence of the influence of the Phoenicians, Romans and Arabs on its culture and architecture. There is enough for a few days exploration but, as usual, we gave it two days. We saw the things that interested us and left a few treats for another time.
The bus took us to the main part of the city where we were close to one of the Tourist Information offices. Whilst there collecting a map, we were approached by a Spanish gentleman who was about to start a walking tour in English and Spanish. We were happy to join the tour as we have had many interesting walking tours in other cities. He was a true local with a love of his city and had a wealth of knowledge and a sense of humour.
We started at the main shopping street which is now full of well known names. It is the centre for all the events such as fiestas that take place during the year and all the apartments above the shops are owned by wealthy folk who use them during such times. Apparently it is too noisy there for people to want to live there permanently.
We ended the tour in the square which has the Teatro Romano and a great view of the Alcazaba. As is often the case with these tours, we were taken to a restaurant for the opportunity to enjoy the tapas and were given a free snifter of something! We didn’t partake of the tapas as we had our sandwiches with us. We had the drink and a coffee then sat on the wall by the ruins to enjoy the busy atmosphere in the sunshine.
We saw more of Malaga the following day when we explored the various back streets.
Clyde had read about a fabulous fountain in one of the squares and was keen to track it down. Eventually we found the square, Plaza de la Constitucion, and the fountain. It was a severe disappointment as it was much smaller than he envisaged and it was switched off! We didn’t even take a picture as it was so insignificant. The square itself was quite pleasant with a mixture of buildings. We treated ourselves to a Costa coffee as consolation.
The cathedral was on my list and we both went in at a vast cost. It was possibly more attractive outside than inside but there was plenty of bling.
I then went to the Picasso museum whilst Clyde walked up to the Alcazaba to enjoy the views. Afterwards we walked through the botanic gardens, which run alongside the main road. There is a beautiful structure which seems to be part of an open air theatre.
This took us down to the promenade alongside the marina and main harbour. There was a cruise ship in and a number of large commercial vessels. The yachts were on the other side of the harbour where a modern shopping and eating area has been developed. This is where the Pompidou Centre is located. We did not go in as were running out of time and enthusiasm. However, it has an eye catching structure announcing its presence.
Malaga has not always been a tourist destination but in the last few years it has become much more attractive to visitors. The dock area has been well developed and there are plenty of interesting galleries and museums. The Botanic Gardens, which we did not visit apart from the free bit, are also a worthy attraction. The focus on the Arts has added to its appeal. When we were there, there were musicians and entertainers in several locations helping to create a vibrant atmosphere. Once again we were pleasantly surprised.
We have visited Gibraltar before and been up to the caves and tunnels and seen the monkeys. This time we thought we would wander through the town and see what it had to offer. It was an easy walk from the camperstop at La Linea marina and we then got the bus from the border to Casemates Square.
Casemates Square is named after the British Barracks located at the north of the square. The area was formerly the site of public executions but is now the hub of social activities.
After a cup of coffee in the sunny square, we set off for the excitement of the main street. We indulged in a little sales shopping before making our way to the library to print off yet another legal form for Clyde to sign. It was soon printed, signed and dispatched from the post office. Much easier than the experience in Granada!
We visited the Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned and I also visited the museum of Gibraltar. It was interesting to learn a little about the early life on the rock. The museum houses a collection of original artifacts, old prints and photographs as well as two extremely lifelike Neanderthal models. The lower part of the building is one of the best preserved Moorish Bath Houses in Europe.
We had lunch sitting outside the pub The Old Ship (I think!). It was all very pleasant and I rather enjoyed our visit. Clyde was less impressed and has no plans to visit again.