Friday, April 15, 2011

April 5th and 6th – Culture Vultures in Malaga

An incredibly windy morning on our way to Tangier (80 mph winds!) meant that we couldn't get into Tangier's port, so instead, we sailed into the relatively calm waters of the Mediterranean to get into Malaga at 5pm, a day ahead of schedule. This gave us a chance to go into Malaga for a drink after dinner – Malaga on a windy Tuesday night is quite quiet, but it was lovely to have an evening out without having to check our watches all the time in case we didn't get back before the ship sailed (although the fact that we had to abruptly change from Moroccan time to Spanish time at 5pm managed to keep me confused for a couple of days!).

We used to live just up the coast from Malaga, so we've seen pretty much all the sights many times (any visitor to our flat was taken to the Alcazaba and the Picasso Museum); but we had read on the internet that a new art gallery has just opened up in the city a month before, so we headed to the brand new Carmen Thyssen Museum, founded by the widow of Baron Thyssen whose collection is in the excellent Thyssen Museum in Madrid.

Malaga's new cultural attraction, housed in a beautifully converted old mansion, features a collection of mainly Spanish work worth a cool €700m; and although we hadn't heard of many of the artists before, there was some good stuff in there. It's interesting to see the efforts that Malaga is making towards turning itself into a cultural destination, and to distance itself from the unsophisticated "sun and fun" reputation of the Costa del Sol.

So, having satisfied our cultural needs, it was time to turn to a more basic need that we'd spent days looking forward to – food. Andalucia's wonderful tapas bars are probably the reason that we're so attracted to this part of the world, so we were positively salivating at the prospect of indulging our passion for tapas. We weren't disappointed, and filled our faces with fried fish and delicious tapas.

Once we had achieved our main two objectives – art and tapas – it was time for a bit of a general wander, so we headed for Malaga's city beach. When they think of the beaches of the Costa del Sol, people tend to forget that Malaga itself has a long sandy beach the other side of the port, and although it was looking pretty churned up by the big waves, it's not a bad one. We had a bracing walk along the promenade and settled in at a pleasant beachside bar, wondering if we should move back here when/if we settle eventually.