Friday, October 2, 2009

Spain, Málaga - City Centre (Part 1 of 5)

This was my first visit to Spain, to a seaside province located on the Costa del Sol above the Mediterranean Sea - Málaga.
The city centre lies just a few metres to the sea and this provided an alternative view compared to the rows of shops lined along the pedestrian-only walkway.

There are the familiar Spanish brands of Zara, Pull and Bear, Mango, Women'secret...etc to send most women into a shopping frenzy. I was lucky to be there just in time to enjoy the last day of some discount season (similar to the GSS in Singapore I guess) and even so, I noticed on the price tags of some clothings that there are different prices in Euros depending on the country of sale within EU. The discount varied from a mere €1 to €3 but it still gave me a feel-good factor to just shop there!

The Cathedral of Málaga could be easily located by following its high tower which peeked out from the nearby buildings. The cathedral would have looked symmetrical from the front view if not for a half-completed tower on its right due to the lack of fund. As a result, this gave rise to its alternative reference as "La Manquita", loosely interpreted as the "one-armed woman".

Málaga is also known as the birthplace of Pablo Ruiz Picasso. His birthplace, at No. 36 Plaza de la Merced (now No. 15) has been transformed into the Picasso Foundation, a museum exhibiting the recreation of the 19th Century living quarters, collection of art works from the famous artist, himself, as well as by more than 200 different artisits. A beautiful quote from the museum's brochure I found to be rather captivating:

"From a white father was I born and from a little glassful of Andalusian life. Born was I from a mother the daughter of a daughter aged fifteen and born in Málaga in the district of Percheles that handsome bull which endangered this face of mine crowned with jasmine"

Pablo Ruiz Picasso

The bull fighting stadium is located just a few kilometres from the city centre. As I couldn't bear to witness this bloody sport, it was a much better option for me to see the stadium atop a nearby hill.
Also located on the edge of the city centre is the Alcazaba, which is the best preserved Moorish fortification in Spain. Unfortunately, during my visit, the ruins of a Roman theatre dating to the 2nd Century just next to the entrance of the Alcazaba was undergoing some restoration work and I could only peak through the barricade.

It was quite an experience and a form of relaxation for me to just wander the streets. If not shopping, people could be found sitting in cafes, resting their feet by the fountain, nobody would stop you even if you were to wander into a shop just to marvel at the wine barrels signed by famous personalities, the snaking alleys with the typical spanish balconies lining the buildings and the late diners flooding the restaurants even in the wee hours of the night.

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