Frigiliana.

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When I went to Nerja in 2016, I was hoping to do a hike to Frigiliana. My excuse for not doing it was either not finding it or the bus timetable (or both). Cuando fui a Nerja en 2016, quería hacer una ruta a Frigliana. Mi excusa por no hacerlo o no poder encontrarlo o el horario del autobús o ambos. 

This trip, I rectified the situation by stopping there on the way to Granada, taking advantage of having a car. Este viaje, rectifiqué la situación y paré allí por el camino a Granada, aprovechando tener un coche. 

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Frigliana is considered one of the most beautiful villages of Spain and is a pueblo blanco, despite being in Málaga and not Cádiz. It’s located 71 kilometres east of Málaga and 6 kilometres north of Nerja (44 miles and 4.7 miles for the Yanks). It has a population of 3071. Se considera Frigliana uno de los pueblos más bonitos de España y es un “pueblo blanco”, aunque está en Málaga y no Cádiz. Está ubicado a 71 kilómetros al este de Málaga y a 6 kilómetros al norte de Nerja. Tiene una población de 3071 personas. 

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We arrived about 10:30. My mom didn’t feel up to walking the hilly village, so she rested as I explored. I was hoping to find a cash machine from my bank to top up my phone, but they didn’t have my bank. No worries. I explored the village as much as I could, headed up to the castle and admiring the views. Llegamos sobre las 10.30. Mi madre no estaba en forma para subir las colinas del pueblo, y ella descansaba mientras exploraba yo. Estaba buscando un cajero de mi banco para cargar mi móvil, pero no había. No pasa nada. Exploré el pueblo tanto como posible, fui al castillo y admiré las vistas. 

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Frigiliana is next to a natural park (de las Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama) with a ton of hiking trails that I could have explored on my own. It was threatening rain (and a few drops even fell), so I didn’t feel too bad about missing out on the hikes. Frigiliana está a lado de un parque natural (de Las Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama) con muchas rutas de senderismo que me gustaría explorar. El cielo amenazaba lluvia (y cayeron unas gotas), y no me sentía tan mal de perder las rutas. 

The village was lively and even had a tour group visiting it on a November Tuesday morning. El pueblo estaba vivo y incluso había un grupo de turistas visitándolo esta mañana de martes de noviembre. 

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I stopped in a café for wifi so I could advise the hotel in Granada we would be late due to the parking. No problem. I also topped off the phone and enjoyed the mountain views. Fui a un cafetería para tomar un café y aprovechar el wifi para que pudiera avisar el hotel en Granada que íbamos a llegar tarde (tenía que hacerlo para que pudieran avisiar el parking). No problema. También recargué el móvil y disfruté de las vistas de la sierra. 

I was glad for the opportunity to visit Frigiliana. The province of Málaga keeps surprising me with its beautiful villages. I can’t say they’re all off the beaten path, but they’re popular with tourists for a reason. They’re quaint and beautiful. Estoy agradecido de haber podido visitar Frigiliana. La provincia de Málaga es una caja de sorpresas con sus pueblos bonitos. No puedo decir que son desconocidos, pero hay una razón que son tan populares con turistas. Son pintorescos y preciosos. 

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Málaga y Granada 2017.

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How do you follow Paris? Andalucía, in the south of Spain, of course. Después de París, ¿qué hay que hacer? Desde luego, Andalucía, el sur de España. 

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I have been to both Málaga and Granada many times before, and although I wanted to take my mom on a road trip from Cádiz to Almería, time wasn’t going to permit us. Granada is one of my favourite cities in Spain, and I hadn’t been since 2013. I thought my mom would like the mountains and coast aspect of Málaga as her favourite state is Hawaii and Málaga reminds me of Hawaii. Había estado en ambos Málaga y Granada en varias ocasiones anteriores, y aunque quería llevarle a mi madre en un viaje de coche desde Cádiz a Almería, el tiempo no nos permitió. Granada es una de mis ciudades preferidas de España, y la última vez que fui era en 2013. Pensaba que a mi madre le gustaría los montes y la costa de Málaga, como su estado favorito es Hawaii y Málaga me acuerda de Hawaii. 

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We flew to Málaga from París Orly without any problems, and my huge backpack (that will not be part of Camino 2018 #lessonslearned) arrived too. We rented a car, and driving in Málaga was a bit of a nightmare. I am not a fan of driving in Spanish cities. Salimos de París Orly en un avión destinado a Málaga sin problemas, y la mochila grande (que ni pienso llevar en el Camino 2018 #lessonslearned) llegó también. Alquilamos un coche. Conducir en Málaga era una pesadilla. No me gusta conducir en las ciudades españolas. 

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We stayed in some tourist apartments. They needed a lot of small repairs. My mom stayed to rest (theme of the holiday) and I went for a sunset walk around the Alcazaba and Castillo de Gibralfaro. It was a bit cloudy, and there were a lot of tourists doing the same. Nos alojamos en unos apartamentos turísticos que necesitaban muchas reparaciones pequeñas. Mi madre se quedó allí para descansar (como hizo durante todo el viaje) y fui por un paseo por la Alcazaba y el Castillo de Gibralfaro. Estaba nublado, y había bastante turistas haciendo lo mismo. 

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The Christmas lights were turned on in Málaga as it was late November. For dinner, I found my fave restaurant from my 2016 tripYa habían encendido las luces navideñas de Málaga como ya era finales de noviembre. Para cenar, encontré mi resturante favorito de mi viaje de 2016

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I wasn’t sure of the plan on Monday. Once again, I had planned on doing the Caminito del Rey, a famous hike through the mountains of Málaga, but alas, they’re not open on Mondays. I ended up staying in town exploring on my own. No tenía plan para el lunes. Quería hacer el Caminito del Rey, una ruta conocida por los montes de Málaga, pero no está abierto los lunes. Al final me quedé en Málaga para explorar más de la ciudad. 

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Around sunset, I found a short hike that I was originally going to count toward the 40 hikes, but it was only about 2 km total. It took me around the castle with beautiful views. Durante la hora de atardecer, encontré una ruta cortita que iba a contar con las 40 rutas, pero solo era una ruta de 2 kilómetros. Iba alrededor del castillo con vistas preciosas. 

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I had the opportunity to see the Christmas lights show. As I am more or less Valenciano, I did feel it was derivative of the Fallas Streets of Lights, but it was still fun to watch. Tenía la oportunidad para ver el espectáculo de luces navideñas de Málaga. Como ya soy más o menos valenciano verdadero, pensaba que era una copia de las Calles de Luces (Careers de Llum) de Fallas, pero era divertido. 

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On Tuesday, we headed to Granada with a stop in a Málaga pueblo, Frigiliana, which I will write about more later. The trip in total takes about two hours without stops. Martes, fuimos a Granada con una parada en un pueblo malagueño, Frigiliana. Voy a escribir de ello después. El viaje tarda unos dos horas sin paradas. 

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Granada, a city of 237,540 residents, is one of my favourite cities in Spain. It was the last city to be reconquered from the Moors in 1492 and the influence can still be seen today. The views of the Alhambra (and the Arab palace itself) are the highlight of an incredible city. Granada, una ciudad de 237.540 habitantes, es una de mis ciudades favoritas de España. Era la última ciudad para ser reconquistada de los mores en 1492, y todavía se nota la influencia hoy en día. Las vistas de la Alhambra (y el palacio) son uno de las mejores cosas de una ciudad increíble. 

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We stayed near the city centre. My mom had to rest, of course, so I went off to the Albaicin, one of my favourite barrios in all of Spain. It was an overcast day, so the sunset from San Nicolas wasn’t as spectacular as normal, but I wasn’t complaining. It still had the same vibrant atmosphere. Nos alojamos cerca del centro de la ciudad. Mi madre, como siempre, tenía que descansar, y fui al barrio del Albaicin, uno de mis barrios preferidos de todo España. Era un día nublado, y la puesta del sol desde San Nicolas no era tan espectacular como normal…pero no me quejé. Todavía tenía el mismo ambiente vibrante de siempre. 

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Do I wish my mom had seen more of the cities along the way? Definitely. I had been wanting to show her my home for nine years. It was frustrating and disappointing that her health wasn’t 100% to explore the cities like I had. Am I glad for the opportunity? Definitely. Ojalá que la salud de mi madre le permitiera explorar más de las ciudades que visitamos. Quería enseñarle mi hogar durante los últimos nueve años. Me puse frustrado y me decepcionó que no pudo explorar las ciudades como me gusta. ¿Me alegro haber tenido la oportunidad? Desde luego. 

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We still had the drive back to Valencia left. Todavía nos quedaba la vuelta a València. 

A continuación…

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The Set Meravelles of Málaga Provincia.

Some places in Spain are so special that they merit a closer look. My recent visit to Málaga showed me there are many more than Seven Wonders (Set Meravelles in English!).  So I am dedicating a separate entry for Málaga Capital and Málaga Provincia. Last week I wrote about the city, and now it’s time for the province. Algunos sitios son tan especial que merece la pena hacer otra mirada. Mi visita en febrero a Málaga me mostró que hay muchas más que Siete Maravillas  (¡Set Meravelles en castellano!). Por eso, he decidido escribir dos entradas distintas para Málaga Capital y Málaga Provincia. La semana pasada escribí de la ciudad, y ahora toca la provincia. 

Set Meravelles Málaga Province

1. Caminito del Rey (Yet to discover)

Located in a steep gorge in El Chorro near Ardales, the Caminito del Rey, once known as the world’s most dangerous walkway after five people died between 1999 and 2000, is reopen to the public as of 2015. It received its name when Alfonso XIII walked it to inaugurate a nearby dam. It was closed in 2000, and in 2011, extensive construction to make it safer for hikers began. It’s extremely hard to get tickets, so make sure you check the web site in advance to get yours. (I checked two months in advance and they were already gone.) Ubicado en un cañón profundo en El Chorro cerca de Ardales, el Caminito del Rey, conocido en el pasado como el Caminito Más Peligroso del Mundo después de la muerte de 5 personas entre 1999 y 2000, reabrió al público en 2015. Recibió su nombre cuando Alfonso XIII caminó por allí para inaugurar una presa en la zona. Cerró en 2000, y empezaron obras en 2011 para hacer el Caminito seguro para senderistas. Las entradas suelen estar agotadas (miré con dos meses de antelación y ya estaban agotadas), entonces, si quieres ir, hay que mirar con much antelación. 

2. Ronda
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Located 100 kilometres (62 miles) from Málaga capital, Ronda is a small city of 35,000 inhabitants most famous for its Puente Nuevo, completed in 1793. It attracted writers like Orson Welles and Ernest Hemingway in the past. It’s been around since the Neolithic Age, and its current situation has been around since the Romans. Ubicado a 100 kilometros desde Málaga capital, Ronda es una ciudad pequeña de 35.000 habitantes y es conocido por su Puente Nuevo, terminado en 1793. En el pasado, tenía su encanto para escritores como Orson Welles y Ernest Hemingway. Existió en la Edad Neolithico, y la situación actual ha existido desde los Romanos.

3. Nerja and surrounding villages
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Nerja, a small city of 21,000 inhabitants 50 kilometres east of Málaga, has a name meaning “abundant source. In addition to the caves with primitive paintings discovered in 1959, there is a famous 19th century aqueduct nearby. The highlight of the village, for me, is the view from El Balcón de Europa, a lookout in the centre of town. Nearby villages of Maro and Frigiliana are also worth the visit. Nerja, una ciudad pequeña de 21.000 habitantes situado unos 50 kilometros este de Málaga, significa “fuente abundante”. Además a sus cuevas con pinturas primitivas descubiertas en 1959, hay un aceducto famoso del Siglo XIX. Lo mejor del pueblo, para mi, es la vista desde El Balcón de Europa, un mirado en el centro del pueblo. Los pueblos de los alrededores Maro y Frigiliana también merecen la pena. 

4. Antequera (Yet to discover)

Antequera, known as the heart of Andalucía due to its central location between Málaga, Córdoba, Granada and Sevilla, has nearly 42,000 residents and is located 45 kilometres (27 miles) from Málaga capital. It features an alcazaba (citadel), many churches, Roman baths, the Arco de los Gigantes (Giants’ Arch), the Palace of Nájera and is also one of the hottest places in the summer in the Iberian Peninsula. Antequera, conocido como el corazón de Andalucía dado a su ubicación centra entre Málaga, Córdoba, Granada y Sevilla, tiene casí 42.000 habitantes y está situado a 45 kilometres de la capital de Málaga. Hay una alcazaba, muchas iglesias, baños romanos, el Arco de Gigantes, el Palacio de Nájera. También es uno de los sitios más calorsos de España en la Península Iberíca en el verano.

5. El Torcal (Antequera) (Yet to discover)

Located near Antequera, El Torcal is a nature reserve with several unusual and beautiful rock formations and a ton of hiking trails. The Sierra de Torcal separates Antequera and Málaga capital, and the highest point is Camorro de las Siete Mesas at 1336 metres (around 4000 feet).  The Tornillo (Screw) is the most famous rock formation, and there are also caves. Situado cerca de Antequera, El Torcal es una reserva natural con muchas formaciones de roca raras y hermosas. También dispone de muchas rutas de senderismo. La Sierra de Torcal separa Antequera y Málaga capital, y el cima más alta es Camorro de las Siete Mesas con 1336 metros de altura. El Tornillo es la formación de roca más conocida, y también hay muchas cuevas. 

6. Marbella (Yet to discover)

Eva Longoria and Michelle Obama both have talked about the beauty of Marbella, a city of 140,000 located between Málaga capital and Gibraltar. It’s at the foothills of the Sierra Blanca and attracts thousands of tourists every year thanks to its beauty. It’s famous for its Golden Mile, a four mile (6.4 km) stretch of luxury estates and hotels. Eva Longoria y Michelle Obama hablan de la belleza de Marbella, una ciudad de 140.000 habitantes ubicado entre Málaga capital y Gibraltar. Está al pie de la Sierra Blanca y atrae miles de turistas cada año dado a su belleza. Es conocido por su Golden Mile, 6,4 kilometres de casas grandes y hoteles pijos. 

7. Vélez-Málaga (Yet to Discover)

A city of 75,000 people is located 4 kilometres (2.4 miles) inland, Vélez-Málaga is a market city with beautiful views and a quaint Old Town. It has castle ruins, several churches, and remains of the old walls. It looked amazing from the bus from Málaga to Nerja, and I nearly got off in Torre del Mar to be able to visit this town. Una ciudad de 75.000 personas que está situado a 4 kilometros del mar, Vélez-Málaga es una ciudad con un mercado famoso y ofrece muchas vistas preciosas y un Casco Viejo pintoresco. Tiene ruinas de un castillo, unas iglesias, y ruinas de su muralla. Me pareció superbonito desde el autobus de Málaga hasta Nerja, y tenía ganas de bajar en Torre del Mar para visitar este pueblo. 

Málaga City. SetMeravelles revisited.

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After my recent visit to Málaga, I decided that as both the city and the province have so much to offer that I should revisit the Setmeravelles for Málaga and dedicate an entry to both of them. First up, the city. You can still read the original Setmeravelles entry for Málaga here. Después de mi visita reciente a Málaga, he decidido que la ciudad y la provincia ofrecen tantas maravillas que debería mirar de nueva a las Setmeravelles de Málaga y hacer una entrada separada por la provincia y la ciudad. Primero, la ciudad. Todavía puedes leer la entrada original aquí. 

Málaga has a population of 569,000 people, making it the second largest city in Andalucía after Sevilla and the sixth largest in Spain. It’s home to two of the most famous Spaniards outside Spain, Pablo Picasso and Antonio Banderas. It also has a lot to offer tourists and malagueños alike. Malága tiene una población de 569.000 habitantes y es la segunda ciudad de Andalucía después de Sevilla y la sexta ciudad más grande en España. Es el lugar de nacimiento de dos españoles conocidos en todo el mundo, Pablo Picasso y Antonio Banderas. Ofrece mucho para los turistas y también para los malagueños.

Alcazaba
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The Alcazaba of Málaga was built by the Hammudid Dynasty in the 11th century and is the best-preserved alcazaba (Arabic for “citadel”) in Spain. It offers some amazing views of the city, and entrance is 2,20€, or 3,30€ for a combined ticket with the Castle of Gibralfaro. La Alcazaba de Málaga fue construido por la Dinastía Hammudid en Siglo XI y es la alcazaba mejor conversada en España. Tiene vistas preciosas de la ciudad, y la entrada es 2.20€ o 3.30€ para una entrada combinada con el Castillo de Gibralfaro. 

  Castillo de Gibralfaro
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130 metres above the city of Málaga lies the Castillo (Castle) de Gibralfaro. It was built at the beginning of the 14th century by Yusuf I of the Kingdom of Granada. It’s located next to the Alcazaba and costs 2,20 to enter, or 3,30 with a combined ticket to the Alcazaba. It also has spectacular views of the city. Situado a 130 metros sobre la ciudad de Málaga es el Castillo de Gibralfaro. Fue construido al principios del Siglo XIV por Yusuf I del Reino de Granada. Está ubicado a lado de la Alcazaba y cuesta 2.20€ para entrar. Una entrada combinada con la Alcazaba cuesta 3.30€. También tiene vistas espectaculares de la ciudad. 

Catedral
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The Cathedral of Málaga dates back to the Renaissance, although it has a Baroque appearance. The tower is 84 metres/276 feet high and the church is technically unfinished, which gives it the nickname “La Manquita”, or “One-Armed Lady.” La Catedral de Málaga es del Renacimiento, aunque el edificio es de la epóca barroca. El torre tiene altura de 84 metros y la iglesia todavía no es completa de construir, que le da el apodo “La Manquita”.

Teatro Romano
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In 1951, they discovered the old Roman Theatre, which is at the steps of the Alcazaba. It dates back to the First Century B.C. En 1951, descubrieron el Teatro Romano antiguo, que está ubicado al pie de la Alcazaba. Fue construido en el Siglo I a. C.

Museo y Casa Natal de Picasso

Pablo Picasso was born in Málaga in the Plaza de Merced in 1881. Although the artist moved away from Málaga when he was only 10, the city still boasts of his fame today. His birthplace is now a Museum, and there is another Picasso Museum in the Palacio de Buenavista. The Museo Picasso Málaga opened in 2003. Pablo Picasso nació en Málaga en la Plaza de Merced en 1881. Aunque el artista se trasladó de Málaga cuando tenía 10, la ciudad todavía habla de su fama hoy. Su casa natal ahora es un museo, y hay otro Museo de Picasso en el Palacio de Buenavista. El Museo Picasso Málaga abrió en 2003. 

Museo Carmen Thyssen (Yet to discover)

The Carmen Thyssen Museum focuses on 19th century works from Andalusian artists. It opened in March 2011 and features many items from Carmen Thyssen’s personal collection.  El Museo Carmen Thyssen es el hogar de obras de Siglo XIX de artistas andaluzas. Abrió en marzo de 2011 y tiene muchas obras de la colección personal de Carmen Thyssen. 

Centre Georges Pompidou (Yet to discover)

The French Centre Pompidou opened a temporary branch in Málaga, El Cubo (The Cube) that houses about 100 works from the Pompidou 20th and 21st century collection. It opened in 2015. The permanent display will study the influence of Picasso. El Centre Pompidou francés abrió un museo temporal en Málaga, El Cubo, que es el hogar de unas 100 obras del la colección de Siglo XX y XXI del Centre Pompidou. La colección permanente estudiará la influencia de Picasso. 

Nerja.

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One of the reasons I wanted to return to Málaga was to do some incredible hiking that I’ve heard about. When the tickets to do the Caminito del Rey were all gone, I had to think about what my backup plan was. I was eyeing Antequera, but the forecast was rain for Sunday morning. I asked at the Málaga Oficina de Turismo for some alternative trails to the Caminito del Rey, and they gave me a ton of information. I settled on the Río Chillar near Nerja. Una de las razones que quería volver a Málaga era para hacer una de las rutas de senderismo increíbles que todos me hablan. Cuando las entradas al Caminito del Rey estaban agotados, tenía que pensar en un Plan B. Estaba pensando en Antequera, pero daba la posibilidad de lluvia por la mañana. Pregunté en la Oficina de Turismo de Málaga para algunas rutas alternativas al Caminito del Rey, y me han dado un montón de información. He decidido hacer una ruta por el Río Chillar cerca de Nerja. 

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Nerja is a popular coastal village of  21,800 people 50 kilometres (30 miles for the yanks) east of Málaga capital. It’s most famous tourist destination are the caves, where in 1959 numerous cave paintings were discovered. It also has an aqueduct that was built in the 19th century. However, I missed out on both of these destinations, giving me a fantastic reason to return to this precious town. Nerja es un pueblo costero popular. Tiene 28.800 habitantes y está ubicado unos 50 kilometros al este de Málaga capital. Hay unas cuevas famosas a lado del pueblo que fueron descubiertos en 1959 que tienen dibujos antiguos. También hay un acueducto construido en Siglo XIX. Pero perdí los dos destinos famosos, que me da una razón volver a este pueblo precioso. 

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My reason to go was to do part of the Route of the River Chillar/Cahorros. After getting off the bus, I decided to explore the town and doublecheck Wikiloc, which one day I will master, from a café with wifi. I was curious about El Balcón de Europa, and I found my way there. Aunque fui a Nerja para hacer parte de la ruta del Río Chillar/Cahorros, decedí ir al pueblo primero para mirar Wikiloc otra vez antes de comenzar con la ruta. Tenía curiosidad del Balcón de Europa, y fui por allá. 

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El Balcón de Europa

I was blown away by the incredible views of the sea and mountains. I suddenly understood while Nerja was so popular and talked about. It reminded me a lot of Hawaii. The water was blue, the sun was bright, and I wanted to enjoy the views a bit. I had an early lunch about 13:30 and went off to hike. Me encantó las vistas maravillosas del mar y monte desde El Balcón de Europa. Por fin, entendí porque todo el mundo habla de Nerja. Me recordaba de Hawaii. El agua azul, el sol brillante…Quería disfrutar de las vistas un rato. Comí pronto, sobre las 13:30, y empecé la ruta del senderismo. 

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I walked toward the Río Chillar riverbed and followed a dirt path along the river. Although it wasn’t the official hike, it was a nice one that had incredible views of the mountains. There was another path that went to nearby villages. I wanted to catch the bus back to Málaga at 16:25, so I had to turn around way too early. Caminé hacía el Río Chillar y su cauce y seguí un sendero a lado del río. Aunque no era el sendero oficial, era un sendero bonito con ofrecío vistas bonitas de la sierra. Había otra ruta que fui a los pueblos cercanos. Quería coger el autobus a las 16.25 a Málaga, y tenía que acabar la ruta demasiado pronto. 

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Usually when I travel, I don’t have the opportunity to hike, but I may have to look for more opportunities. Wherever you are, there’s a world just waiting to be discovered.  Usualmente cuando viajo, no tengo la oportunidad para hacer senderismo. Ahora tengo que buscar más oportunidades. No importa donde estés, hay un mundo esperandote desc DSCN0716

Hike #3 of 40 in 2016
Date: 7 de febrero de 2016
Kilometros: Around 10-11 in total.
Destino: Río Chillar, Nerja (Málaga)

Return to Málaga.

 

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You know a place is special when you just returned and you already want to go back because there was just too much to see and do. Sabes que un sitio es especial cuando acabas de volver y ya tienes ganas de volver porque había tanto ver y hacer.

I had previously been to Málaga capital in 2009, when I went to Gibraltar for the day. I was back to go to Ronda in 2013, and I’ve been wanting to go back to do the Caminito del Rey. My plans for the trip changed a LOT these past two weeks, as my original plan fell through (road trip through Jaén to Toledo, where I could make my way back to Bilbao, capital del mundo), and I had to buy the cheapest flight back to Bilbao at the last minute. I wish I had gone for Wednesday instead of Monday as I was NOT ready to come back to two weeks forecast of rain from a place where the sun shines 300 days a year. Había estado en Málaga capital una vez antes en 2009, cuando también fui a Gibraltar por el día. Volví a la provincia para visitar Ronda en 2013, y he querido volver a Málaga provincia para hacer el Caminito del Rey. Los planes por el viaje cambiaron mucho durante los últimos dos semanas, como el plan original me cambió y tenía que comprar el vuelo más barato a Bilbao en el último minuto en lugar de hacer un roadtrip por Jaén y Castilla La Mancha antes de volver a Bilbao, capital del mundo. Ojalá comprara el vuelo de miércoles en lugar de lunes porque no quería volver a la dilluvia que me esperaba en Bilbao desde un sitio donde hay 300 días de sol cada año. 

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My plan to walk the Caminito del Rey also fell through, as when I went to get tickets in early January, they were already “agotados” (sold out). I was torn between Antequera and Nerja for my backup plan. Tampoco pude hacer el Caminito del Rey, porque cuando fui a conseguir entradas en enero, ya estaban agotados. No sabía si iba a ir a Antequera o Nerja como mi Plan B.

I’m just going to have to go back to Málaga, folks. Voy a tener que volver a Málaga, chicos.

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I caught a Vueling flight from Bilbao too early Saturday morning, and after switching places with a mother so she could sit with her two kids, I got an exit row to myself. Score. They were quite happy to have a bilingual person there anyway, even if I did sleep the entire flight. I arrived in Málaga about 10, and I caught Cercanías into Málaga capital without problem. Having carry-on baggage meant they did not lose my baggage this time! Cogí un vuelo de Vueling desde Bilbao demasiado pronto el sábado, y después de cambiar asientos con una madre para que pudiera sentarse con sus hijos, tenía una fila de salida para mí mismo. ¡Toma! Estaban contentos tener una persona bilingüe en esa fila por si en caso…aunque dormí durante todo el vuelo. Llegué en Málaga sobre las 10 de la mañana, y cogí Cercanías al centro de Málaga sin problema. Como solo tenía equipaje de mano, no perdieron el equipaje esta vez.

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As my AirBNB host had some commitments spring up on him last-minute, I spent the morning meandering the mean streets of Málaga. I had a “pitufo”, what they call tostadas, con tomate, of course. I found one of my favourite cafés in all of the Greatest Península of the World, Café con Libros, is still open. I remember spending some time there with wifi back when there was little wifi in Spain to be found. (I found Málaga not to be as connected as Bilbao, where we even have public free wifi in most of the plazas). It still remains one of my faves, and it has a great location in Plaza de Merced, the same plaza where that famous painter Pablo Picasso was born. (His birthplace is 3€ to enter. I went before, so this time I skipped it.) Mi anfitrión de AirBNB tenía unas cosas de hacer de último momento, y por eso pasé la mañana explorando las calles de Málaga. Me tomé un “pitufo” con tomate, el nombre los malagueños dan a tostada. Después, encontré uno de mis cafés preferidos en toda la mejor península del mundo, Café con Libros. Recuerdo pasar tiempo allí usando su wifi cuando España no estaba muy conectado al mundo de wifi. (Tengo que decir que Málaga no es tan conectado como Bilbao, donde hay wifi libre en casí todas las plazas). Todavía es un café estupendo, y está situado en la Plaza de Merced, la misma plaza donde nació el gran artista Pablo Picasso. Su casa natal cuesta 3€ de entrar, y como había estado antes, he decidido saltarlo esta vez. 

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After a tapas lunch, I checked in AirBNB, and things went great. I caught a siesta before heading to the alcazaba. I only had 40 minutes to explore it, but they were 40 minutes well spent. For those interested, it is free on Sunday afternoons after 2 pm. It normally costs 2.20 or 3.30 for a combined entrance to the castle. Después de una comida de tapas, fui al piso de AirBNB, y era genial. Me eché una siesta antes de ir a la alcazaba. Solo tenía unos 40 minutos para explorar, pero era 40 minutos bien pasados. Para los interesados, cuesta 2,20, o 3,30€ con entrada combinada con el castillo, y la entrada es gratis los domingos a partir de las 14.00. 

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I had another coffee at an overpriced, overrated Café de Viajeros (Travelers café) and watched some of the Carnival parade before having an early dinner at a tapas restaurant I would return to on Sunday evening called Mesón La Alegría. I highly recommend it. Me tomé otro relaxing café con leche en un sitio caro y sobrevalorado, el Café de Viajeros, y vi parte del desfile de Carnival antes de cenar pronto en un buen restaurante de tapas donde también cené domingo. Se llama Mesón La Alegría, y os recomiendo. 

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Sunday morning I woke up, had my pitufo con tomate, and caught the 10:35 bus to Nerja from the Puerto de Málaga bus stop. I will write more about Nerja in a separate entry, but it was a great visit. My original plan to hike got changed when I saw how incredible the views from El Balcón de Europa were. (Nerja photos will be uploaded with that entry). Domingo por la mañana me desperté, me tomé mi pitufo con tomate, y cogí el autobus a las 10.35 a Nerja desde la parada de autobuses en el Puerto de Málaga. Ya escribiré sobre Nerja en otra entrada, pero era una buena visita. Mi plan original para hacer una ruta larga de senderismo cambió cuando vi las vistas desde El Balcón de Europa. (Ya subiré fotos de Nerja con esta entrada)

Monday I slept in a bit before heading to the Castillo de Gibralfaro. Amazing views of the entire city of Málaga. I went for another café at Café con Libros, checked out the market, found a few cool churches, and soaked up the environment and as much Vitamin D as I could. Lunes, dormí tarde antes de ir al Castillo de Gibralfaro, que ofrece vistas preciosas de la ciudad de Málaga. Fui a tomar otro café en el Café con Libros, fui al Mercado de Merced, vi unas iglesias chulas, y pasé por las calles y intenté tomar tanta Vitamina D como posible. 

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I had the best salmorejo in my life at Don Bosé, along with “lagrimas de pollo” (Chicken tears just doesn’t sound appetizing, but they were good.) I’m not a foodie at all, but I do like salmorejo more than gazpacho. Comí el mejor salmorejo de mi vida en Don Bosé, con lagrimas de pollo. No soy un foodie, pero prefiero salmorejo al gazpacho. 

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I was sad to catch the flight to Bilbao Monday afternoon. The flight actually arrived 15 minutes early, so good for Vueling. Estaba triste coger el vuelo a Bilbao lunes por el tarde. El vuelo llegó 15 minutos antes de hora previsto. Enhorabuena y Zorionak Vueling. 

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I was super impressed with Málaga once again. It has a lot to offer travellers, and I don’t think I will ever be able to see all the meravelles of the province. When I have time, I plan on separating the Set Meravelles page for Málaga into Málaga City and Málaga Province. Maybe that’s cheating, but there is so much to see and do here that it deserves more attention. I may not be a museum person, as I prefer nature and history, but there are a ton of museums. The presence of Picasso is still felt today. It was also great being in Andalucía after nearly three years since my last visit. The price of living in the north of Spain. Me impresionó mucho Málaga otra vez. Tiene mucho ofrecer a los viajadores, y creo que nunca podré llegar a ver todas les meravelles de la provincia. Cuando tenga tiempo, voy a rehacer la entrada de Málaga para poner Set Meravelles para la ciudad y otro siete para la provincia. Igual es hacer trampa, pero hay mucho ver y hacer en Málaga que merece más atención. No soy muy de museos, como prefiero la naturaleza y la historia, pero hay muchos museos en Málaga. Todavía se siente la presencia de Picasso hoy en día. También era genial estar en Andalucía otra vez después de casí tres años de mi última visita. Es el precio que pago por vivir en el norte de España. 

Date of trip/fechas de viaje: 6-8 de febrero, 2016

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Selfie de Alcazaba

Málaga…more than just beaches.

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I’ve postponed writing about Málaga as I know the people who live there are very passionate about their home, whether they were born there or moved there later in life. I hope I can do this justice, as I have only been to the capital city once, in 2009, and a return visit to one of the SetMeravelles of the entire country, Ronda, in 2013. It most definitely is NOT one of the worst cities to visit in Spain, as one blogger wrote last year. I know the province has more jewels than the capital city, but I really enjoyed my visit to the capital (much more than neighbouring gaybourhood Torremolinos!) in 2009.

I was ending my first year living in Spain, unsure if I was going to be able to continue and regretting a ton of opportunities I’d miss to travel. We had the “Puente de Mayo”, the “bank holiday” weekend of May 1st. I wanted to go back to Granada and felt I should visit Málaga as I heard so much about it. I caught an early bus from the Linares bus station (I sort of miss that place as it was one of the places with free wifi in 2009 small-town Andalucía and we had no internet). The bus stopped in Granada and then went on through some amazing scenery between Granada and Málaga capital. The bus arrived, as they tend to do, and I deboarded and found myself in a beautiful city. (It’s the sixth largest city in Spain with a population of 542,000). I loved the Roman ruins and the pedestrian tunnel to go to the beach. It was one of my first times going to the beach as an adult, sadly enough. It would become a favourite pastime, although I much prefer a sunset walk along the beach than barbecuing myself. I went to Gibraltar (Gibraltar español. I had to say it!) and then tried going out in Torremolinos, which is very connected to Málaga capital all night long. I wasn’t too impressed by Torremolinos.

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I did find a great café, whose wifi I never deleted until the computer died in 2011 and whose name escapes me today, to have my tostada con tomate. It was located in the plaza where the birthplace of Picasso is located. I had forgotten it, but I did go to the Picasso Museum (I remember going to the one in Barcelona in 2003). I had the opportunity to see some beautiful views of the city. The capital may not have the elegance of nearby Marbella or the Je ne sais quoi of Valencia, but Málaga capital does have a lot of things to see.

In 2013, knowing that I was about to move to Bilbao, I went on a trip to Ronda to cross it off my bucket list. This was sadly my last trip to Andalucía as of March 2015. (I hope to go back soon). Ronda impressed me a lot. I happened to coincide with a cool local festival, so everyone was dressed in the typical Andalucía outfits. I fell in love with the bridge and had a relaxing café con leche at their Parador (castle converted into a hotel). I lamented having to go on to Granada as Ronda was so full of charm and life, but Granada *is* Granada.

From my private journal in 2009 on Málaga: Thursday I woke up real early to catch the 7.15 bus to Málaga. The province of Málaga is beautiful. Málaga sort of reminds me of Honolulu. The hostel gave bad directions again, and it was annoying the way I had to make the reservations as I had to change rooms every morning. Ah well. I was in sort of a depressed mood the first day, from lack of sleep. I went to the cathedral, saw it was 4€ to get in, refused to pay it, then went to see the alcazaba (different word for alcázar or fortress) and castle, which combined were about 3€. The views were quite beautiful. There is an ancient Roman theatre next to the alcazaba. I then went under the tunnel to the Malagueta beach…it was okay, but I’ve seen better beaches……Saturday I went to the Picasso museum where I had my brilliant insight into cubism, Spain and Almodóvar. I went to the beach for a while. Lounged around mostly.

Sounds like a good Andalucían holiday to me!

Setmeravelles

1. Ronda

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Located 100 kilometres west (62 miles) of Málaga capital, this city of 36,000 people is one of my fave places I have been in Spain. It’s a typical Andalusian town full of charm enhanced by an amazing bridge. The Puente Nuevo (“New Bridge” is over 300 years old and is 120 metres high (390 feet or 120ish yards). It took 42 years to complete and both sides threw prisoners off it during the Spanish Civil War. There is a ton of natural beauty and hiking trails to explore around this incredible place.

2. Picasso

Pablo Picasso is from Málaga. His paintings are some of the most famous ever thanks to his Cubist style, and in 2003, a museum was opened in the Palacio Buenavista which is located on Calle San Agustín, 200 metres from his birthplace in Plaza de la Merced. After visiting Málaga, I had a greater appreciation for this artist.

3. Alcazaba de Málaga

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The Alcazaba (Moorish fortress/citadel) is one of the best-preserved in all of the Greatest Peninsula in the World and was constructed by the Hammudid Dynasty during the 11th Century. It’s built on a hill and offers beautiful views of the port and Málaga.

4. Málaga Romana

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Right next to the Alcazaba is a Roman theatre rediscovered in 1951 that dates back to the 1st Century BC. That’s right, Before Christ. As the photo shows, it is currently undergoing restoration.

5. Antequera (yet to be discovered)

The “heart of Andalucía”, 42,000 residents is located equally between Málaga, Granada, Córdoba and Sevilla. Antequera boasts an alcazaba of its own, churches, a palace, and two Bronze Age dolmens (ancient tombs).

6. Cuevas de Nerja (yet to be discovered)

The small town of Nerja is quite popular with tourists and ex-pats (who make up at least 30% of the population if not more) from the British Isles. The mountains have a ton of “pueblos blancos”, or villages with white houses and architecture. The most popular tourist destination (outside the beaches) are the caves, which are large enough to hold concerts in the summer. They were rediscovered in 1959. In 2012, possible Neanderthal paintings were discovered here.

7. Marbella (yet to be discovered)

Eva Longoria and Michelle Obama can’t be wrong, can they? The posh city of Marbella is the second-largest city of the province with nearly 150,000 habitants. The Casco Viejo has ancient walls and many monuments. Most people go straight for the Golden Mile, a 4-mile stretch of villas, hotels and resorts.