Thursday, April 28, 2011

España, Part 3

España, Part 1
España, Part 2

We spent most of Tuesday in the city of Màlaga, which is about half an hour from where we were staying in Estepona. Màlaga is one of the larger cities in the Andalucia region of Spain, so I was excited to get to experience a typical Spanish urban scene.

We walked around the downtown area for a while, just wandering in and out of stores and taking in the sights. I seriously think I could have shopped all day there. The shopping was amazing! This region is known for its leather goods, so we searched through every leather store we found looking for the perfect find, but nothing was quite right (and everything was really expensive).
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Màlaga is the perfect combination of old and new. We walked through modern streets bustling with people and would then turn a corner to find a beautiful, old cathedral. I enjoyed seeing the contrast. It really shows just how much the city and the culture have progressed over hundreds of years.
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It started to downpour while we were walking around, so we ducked into a local cafe to wait out the rain. It was only about 11am, but the cafe was packed with locals of all ages, and everyone was smoking and drinking! I know that drinking and smoking in Europe are much more wide-spread and acceptable activities than they are in the U.S., but it was still surprising to so many people enjoying a beer before lunch. We decided to play it a little safer and ordered some delicious ham and cheese tapas, bread, and coffee. I usually can't drink black coffee because it's too strong for me, but this was delicious! I think it was seriously the best coffee I've ever had in my life.

After the rain stopped, we headed over to the Museo Picasso de Màlaga. Pablo Picasso was born in Màlaga, so his memory is very honored and prominent throughout the city. Now, I know next-to-nothing about art, so I wasn't jumping up and down to go to the museum, but when in Spain, do as the Spaniards do, and I'm so glad I did. Seeing the work of such a famous artist in his hometown was such a valuable cultural experience. I even found a few of his topsy-turvy paintings to be quite beautiful.
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After we left the museum, we wandered around the city and just took it all in. My family never misses a meal, so we decided to stop in at a local tapas restaurant. Màlaga is famous for their ham and cheese tapas dishes, so that's exactly what we got! We also tried a few bread and fish plates. Lunch was an interesting experience and, by-far, the largest language barrier we faced throughout our entire trip. Though my Spanish skills are limited, I understand and know enough to communicate in a very simple, caveman-like way. My Spanish got me nowhere at the restaurant, but we managed to come up with a nice little game of charades that allowed us to communicate with our waiter and vice-versa.

After lunch, we crossed the street and entered the Alcazaba Teatro Romano. The Alcazaba is an ancient Roman amphitheater, and it is amazing. It was so interesting to see this beautiful ancient structure right smack-dab in the middle of modern, and expanding, Màlaga. Besides the amphitheater, the Alcazaba is a group of old palaces. We toured the grounds and got to see some incredible views!
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We spent the rest of the day walking around in downtown Màlaga, and then went back to our hotel and called it a night.

Next stop: Gibraltar

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