A May 2004 trip
to Malaga by getawayguy
Quote: We were looking for sunshine, old-world charm, friendly people, good food, adventure, and history. We found all of that and more, and at a very affordable price.
The roads are in excellent condition, making it easy to rent a car and travel on your own to the many historical sights within easy reach as day trips. Malaga is home to an ancient Roman theatre, the Alcazaba, Gibralfaro, Picasso's birthplace, several wonderful museums (including a Picasso museum), a famous cathedral, and a history dating back to the first millennium before Christ. There are many prehistoric sites, including the nearby area of the Nerja Cave, the caves of Rincon de la Victoria, the Cave of Dona Trinidad, and La Pileta Cave. The beaches are beautiful and well maintained.
Granada should be visited at least for a day, if not more. You don't want to miss seeing the Alhambra and Generalife or the main cathedral. On another day, travel to Algeciras, park your car, and take the ferry across to Tangier, Morocco, for the day. One week is not much time to see all that this area offers.
We were in a fully furnished two-bedroom apartment on the second floor of the building. To get to it, we passed through two different locked gates that required the use of electronic push-button keypads with different combinations to be punched in. There are no elevators, and you have to climb three sets of steps. This resort would not be handy for guests with mobility problems. The apartment itself was very enjoyable to stay in and to use as a base camp from which to see the Costa del Sol area. A narrow hall leads into the apartment from the front door, past a door to the kitchen, then through the dining room and living room to the sliding glass doors that open onto the oversized balcony. From the dining room, the smaller hall provides access to both bedrooms and both bathrooms. The narrow kitchen is very efficiently arranged with a refrigerator, microwave, a stainless steel sink, a glass topped four-burner stove and oven, a toaster, and lots of cabinet space. It had a full complement of pots, pans, dishes, glassware, silverware, cutlery and other kitchen paraphernalia. The access to the laundry room is through the kitchen and has a clothes washing machine, but no dryer. There is, however, a clothes-drying rack on the patio balcony. The dining room has a glass-topped table with six chairs and a sideboard where dishes and glasses are kept between uses. Our living room had two sofas, one of which was a hide-a-bed, a coffee table, two end tables and a table with a TV, which got only a few stations, mostly in Spanish. The patio balcony came with plastic chairs and a table. The larger bedroom had a queen bed, two night tables, a clock radio, a dresser and a closet, with a small safe that costs extra to use. The smaller, second bedroom had two twin beds, a nightstand, a dresser and a closet without a safe. The larger bathroom had a sink, toilet, bidet, and a tub with a shower. The smaller bathroom had a sink, a toilet, and a shower. There is no air-conditioning, but ceiling fans are provided.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 3, 2005
Urb. Riviera del Sol C/Zeus 29650 Mijas Costa
34 9529 32034
The day we went to Malaga, we started out with a list of sights collected from travel guides and Internet information sites. Driving a rental car in a strange country can sometimes be an experience in itself. We soon discovered that Spain provided excellent roads and highways and once we got used to the road signs, we began to really enjoy how courteous the other drivers were. The scenery along our route was beautiful with wild flowers in bloom and changing views of the Mediterranean Sea on our right. As we arrived in Malaga, we followed signs that guided us to the marina area in the heart of town. We drove around the area for a short time to get a feel for lay of the land before depositing the car in one of the underground parking garages. We walked a few blocks to the Plaza de la Marina, where we began our walking tour.
Our first stop was at the Cathedral, which was built, along with the nearby Church of El Sagrario, over the site of the Great Mosque. Building began in 1528 and ended in 1782. Some of the work was never completed. The incomplete south front tower is the reason for the Cathedral’s nickname of "La Manquita", "the one-armed". The inside of the Cathedral is incredibly beautiful and should be seen if at all possible. The Cathedral front opens onto Plaza del Obispo, a beautiful square containing the Episcopal Palace. In the plaza we stopped briefly for a snack before going on to the Picasso Museum on Calle San Agustin, one of the most charming streets in Malaga. It is a very popular tourist area because it also has the Convent of San Agustin and the Palace of the Counts of Buenavista.
Until 1997, the Palace housed the Museum of Fine Arts, but now is the seat of the Picasso Museum, holding examples of the work of the most famous artist ever born in Malaga. We had seen a collection of Picasso’s works at the Hakone Open-Air Museum the last time we visited Japan, so we had an interest in seeing this museum, too. However, the best reason for visiting it, in my humble opinion, is to see the exhibit below the museum. Excavations beneath the building unearthed significant ruins from Malaga’s Phoenician, Roman, Moorish and Renaissance periods. I was able to touch a vase embedded in a stone wall that dated back to six centuries B.C. That is incredible to me. Unfortunately, no one is allowed to take pictures inside the museum, including the excavated ruins.
From the Picasso Museum, we took a short walk to the Church of Santiago, built in the 15th century, and then to the Plaza de la Merced where we saw a funerary obelisk marking the remains of General Torrijos and fifty of his followers who were executed by firing squad on the San Andres Beach in 1831.
On our way to Gibralfaro Castle and the Alcazaba we stopped at the remains of a Roman theatre. The theatre is proof of Malaga’s importance in Roman times and dates back to the 2nd century A.D. As we sat on the stone seats, my mind drifted back to my high school days in Mr. Dresp’s Latin classes when I wondered if I was wasting time studying a dead language and learning about old Roman conquests. The more we travel, the more I wish I had paid better attention in school. The Alcazaba was built over the ruins of a Roman fortress in the first half of the 11th century, and was completed in 1063, during the period of the Moorish kingdoms of Granada. The entire Alcazaba site has undergone large-scale restoration and should not be missed. One of the palaces houses the collections of the Archaeological Museum, with interesting examples of Moorish ceramics, as well as prehistoric, Phoenician, Greek, Roman and Visigoth remains.
Gibralfaro Castle completed the defensive system of the Alcazaba and stands on a high hill commanding magnificent views of the city and the bay. It is no longer in use but it has been restored several times over the years. We were able to take some wonderful pictures of Malaga and the bay from Gibralfaro Castle and the Alcazaba.After climbing to the top of the Alcazaba, it was nice to discover an elevator that delivers you to the bottom and leads to an exit only a block away from Malaga's beautiful Town Hall built in neo-baroque style in the early 20th century.
There are plenty more sites worth seeing in Malaga if you have the time. With only a week on the Costa del Sol, and so much more to see and do, we had to limit our time in Malaga to one day. We look forward to returning some day in the future to see more.
We drove our rental car there one day, arriving at about 2pm. We were just in time to learn that the cave is open only from 10am to 2pm and from 4pm to 6:30pm daily. Unfortunately, the store also closes from 2pm until 4pm.
The good news was that parking in the large paved lots was free, and the rather large restaurant was open and offered either a well-stocked buffet or your selection from their menu. The prices were fairly high compared to US pricing, probably due to the fact that we tourists are a captive audience. We opted for ice-cream parfaits for about 11.3€. We were able to visit with some British tourists until the ticket office re-opened at about 3:45pm. Two adult tickets cost 10€.
From the man-made entrance, we descended a flight of stairs for about 8m to an "entrance hall," the site of an archaeological excavation. Some of the finds are shown in a display case and on explanatory panels. We continued down a narrow passage about 2m high, entering the Hall of the Nativity, where our picture was taken for later purchase in the gift shop. Here, in a showcase, we viewed a stone-aged skeleton that was found in the cave.
A passage on the right, called the Hall of the Tusk, encircles the Waterfall Chamber, sometimes referred to as the Hall of the Cascade, or Ballet, where the internationally famous festivals of dance and music are staged in the summertime. The auditorium consists of about 100 metal seats, without cushions. The stairway offers an excellent panoramic photo opportunity. Photography is discouraged, but people took pictures anyway without being harassed. The cave is so large that a normal flash would be practically useless anyway. Beyond the stage, we entered the Hall of Phantoms, which ends in a bottleneck resulting from a chaotic pile of fallen rocks. Above this is a spectacular stalagmite formation called The Castle.
We took the steps over the bottleneck into the Hall of the Cataclysm, where we enjoyed two panoramic views. Behind us was the Hall of the Phantoms, and ahead was one of the most impressive show cave scenes in the world: the Hall of the Cataclysm. It is more than 100m long, 50m wide, and over 30m high, with a giant center column featured in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest in the world.
Here the path divided, and we took the one on the right descending to a new landing known as the Organ, where we were told that striking the fluted columns would produce different musical sounds. More steps lead down to The Bridge. In the highest point close to the roof is a passage leading to the Upper and New Galleries, which are only open to the public on special occasions as a part of a 7-hour tour costing 90€ per adult. After crossing The Bridge, our path passed over a huge fallen block and then rose as it circumnavigated the central column before rejoining our original path at the entrance to the Hall of Cataclysm. Returning along the same path gave us another perspective. In the Hall of the Tusk, we turned right to exit up a final flight of stairs. The padlocked steel door on the right leads to the Hall of the Mine and other sites of archaeological interest not open to the public.
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