Browsing: Europe

Day Three-Market Lunch in Malaga

November25

Breakfasts had been stellar in our Air BnB and this simple one was my favourite. Sister #3 grated a tomato on a cheese grater, adding just a smidge of olive oil and salt. She then toasted olive oil smeared baguettes which we subsequently rubbed with garlic cloves. We spooned a little of the tomatoes on the toast and voila! The Spaniards call them Tomato Bread and they are one dish I have managed to make since I got home!

The main entrance of the market is this imposing horseshoe archway in off-white marble, which is in fact the only remaining part of what was once a grand seven-arched shipyard – ataranzas in Arabic and old Castellano. A shipyard? In the middle of the city? Amazingly, even as late as the 18th century the sea reached right up to the present-day market, and fishermen sat alongside the south-facing wall of the building and cast their lines into the Malageñan waters.

From the market website: “From Moorish shipyard to market, Ataranzas underwent many transformations. Following the fall of the city to the Catholics in 1487, a convent was set on the site, but apparently the sound of the waves distracted the faithful from their prayers. More appropriately perhaps, the building was then turned into a huge military fort for storing weapons. Later, it became a hospital and even housed a medical school. Sadly, by the 19th century the original structure had largely fallen into disrepair and in 1868 the revolutionary government of the time ordered the remaining ruins to be demolished to make way for a modern and spacious market. The Nasrid arch was recovered thanks to the intervention of several members of the San Telmo Academy. It was completely dismantled, stone by stone, and rebuilt in its present location, as the main entrance to the new market in 1876 by the Cantabrian architect Joaquín de Rucoba who designed the market in neo-Arabic style, with slatted, arched windows and panels, but using the most modern of 19th century building materials: iron. it was inaugurated in 1879.”

I have been to Peak’s Market in Seattle, St Lawrence Market in Toronto, Marché de la Libération in Nice and Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem and I was blown away by the size and the food displays in Malaga’s market!

As you might imagine, we got hungry gazing at all of this delectable food, when we spied some tables on the sidewalk just outside the market. There was a gentleman valiantly trying to manage the order of the people waiting for tables. First, he said “Please stand over here. Oh, please move over here. You are behind these people; can you follow them?”

When it was finally our turn to snag a table, I was a bit stressed from being shuffled all over and wondered if the ordeal would be worth it.

After one sip of their refreshing sangria, I was convinced that this was indeed worth doing.

When we received our menus, we realized that almost everything they served was tapas style and we were delighted that we had the opportunity to regain our faith in Spanish tapas. Sister #3 and I are a little bit more adventurous than Sister #2 so we went ahead and ordered Pulpo a La Galleja (octopus in salt, paprika, and olive oil). They were pungent from the sea but tender at the same time. Loved them.

More to Sisters #2’s liking, we shared these gorgeous Gambas Plancha (grilled prawns)

and Berenjanas con miel (deep fried eggplant with honey),

as well as Alcachofas (artichokes). Both the eggplant and artichokes were lightly breaded and piping hot. The honey drizzle was a lovely idea as well as the sauce to dunk our artichokes. But try the latter sometime with hollandaise, you won’t be sorry.

Kath’s quote: “So I decided to be an artichoke: a little prickly on the outside with a big heart on the inside” – Ed Roberts

Love never fails.

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Day Two, Part 2-Flamenco & Boat Tour

November24

We may have put on some extra steps when searching for the Flamenco venue, but we were still too early for the show, so we popped into this bistro just around the corner to our destination. I loved the decor and the Pacifico was ice cold, so we were content.

Unfortunately, we were not permitted to take photos of the performance until the very end. I opted to take a video and unfortunately, I cannot post it here. So close your eyes and imagine this scene: the musician is stellar with his agile fingers flying all over his guitar. The singer’s voice is strong and mournful and even without understanding her words, I was moved by her lament. The dancer was the biggest surprise. No cassinettes or crinolines, she wore a simple “folk” dress and stomped around the stage in a vengeful manner. When she hiked up her skirts, the emphasis became almost sexual.

But our day was not over yet! We made our way back to the Harbour for a sunset cruise on the bay. From this vantage we could see the top of Alcazaba and learned that it is an old Moorish fortified palace which has stood guard over Malaga for nearly a thousand years. It is said that the impressive building is undoubtedly the finest surviving example of a Moorish citadel in Spain.

By contrast we soon came upon this whimsical art installation.

High end condos and shops created a half moon around the marina.

In the mid-upper photo, to the left of the middle palm tree you may see El Cubo. The close up of the coloured glass walls is above. Special art displays appear in this space on a rotating basis. The Cube was recently a stop on the Amazing Race.

The sun was just about to set as we boarded the boat. Do you notice that the Spanish skies aren’t particularly blue? I read about smog in Spain and found out that Malaga is moderately polluted.

The Three Sisters ready to leave the port. Could we look any happier?

I mentioned the sunset, I thought that these cranes looked like giraffes coming to a water hole to refresh themselves.

When we disembarked, I noticed the elevated series of lights above the city. That is the Alcazaba that I mentioned above.

We still had not stopped for dinner, so decided to choose between the restaurant offerings at the harbour. The sisters let me pick and I think that I surprised them with my choice.

Kath’s quote: “Travelling in the company of those we love is home in motion.”– Leigh Hunt

Love never fails.

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Malaga-Day Two, Bus Tour & Picasso Museum

November23

We had planned a full day of sightseeing for this day and started by navigating our way to the Hop on Hop Off Bus. We commenced with a loop around the marina including La Farola de Malaga. We would recognize it as a lighthouse, but the literal translation is a “lamppost”.

The day was gorgeous either for walking or bus touring and we felt blessed to be in this beautiful place on earth.

I was trying to capture this cruise boat but the angle from the bus does not accurately indicate the size of the ship.

I was happy to simply have palm trees in my gaze again. I do love the native trees in my part of the world but seeing palms usually means I have a sundress and flip flops on. That is the attire I feel most carefree in.

These beautiful trees line the main promenade of Malaga and although I have seen them in many tropical cities, they do not grow in our harsh climate.

This part of the tour included some high-end dwellings near the water. I can just imagine the gorgeous views from that vantage point.

I prefer though, the architecture of the neighbourhood called El Limonar which dates back to the late 19th century.

The contrasting architecture of old and not so old was everywhere in the city.

Sister #3 and I deposited Sister #2 in the shade of the entrance to the Alcazaba and made our way to find the Picasso Museum.

En route I took this unusual of someone making a delivery to the rear door of a convent. It is a statue of an angel, wrapped up in red velvet but you can see the wings peeking through.

I was also taken by another tree. I think the craggy but majestic tree on the right is an olive tree. I have admired olive trees all over the world but the one that was most dear, was one in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem dating back to the 12th century.

Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga, as we were instructed when we drove passed his home which is now a Museum.

But the second Picasso Museum was beautifully housed here (admission was included with our tour ticket). I have seen larger Picasso installations before, but this collection was particularly interesting when viewing it in his birth city.

Having studied Art History, I was familiar with this important work-Les Demoiselles d’Avignon but had never seen it in person. It dominated one entire wall in the gallery.

I was very taken with this Portrait of Paulo (the artist’s son). I loved the softness of the child’s features and the soft blue hues that Picasso chose.

La Sieste above, fascinated me, imagining that the models twisted like pretzels to depict this. But of course, that is untrue as the positioning was only in Picasso’s minds’ eye and distinguished himself from his predecessors.

I captured this sculpture of an owl for my Daughter-in-law.

As well as this sculpture of a Bull’s Head fashioned from a bicycle seat and handlebars for a Brother -in-law.

This was an early self portrait of the artist when you could still identify his bald head, stubby beard and striped tshirt.

Returning to entrance of the Alcazaba, we fetched Sister #2.

In many places around the squares in Malaga were these special plant holders for plants that grow on our window ledges at home. I have many spider plants but nothing as full and as stunning as these.

We were off on another quest. This time to find a venue where we could watch Flamenco (also included with our tour ticket). That post will follow. We passed these quizzical fountains en route.

Kath’s quote: “Love is the greatest refreshment in life.“-Pablo Picasso

Love-that is all.

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First Taste of Tapas in Malaga

November22

The three sisters love food and are always excited about perusing a new menu. We hadn’t planned om eating in town that day, but our tummies said otherwise.

We started our lunch at Esquina Sanchez with refreshing Victoria beer as well as a complimentary breadbasket. We each contributed a suggestion as to what to order.

One of the primary reasons we chose the south of Spain for our second stop in Europe was because of the food. We once had an excellent tapas restaurant where we live in Winnipeg, so we thought we knew what would delight.

I chose the patatas bravas, remembering my favourite dish from that Winnipeg menu. The name of the dish is “spicy potatoes” but that is not what was served at Sanchez. In addition, I am a French fry aficionado and know that the authentic way to prepare this dish is by taking potato cubes and frying them. This version came with roasted potatoes covered by a sauce that was creamy but not spicy. I prefer when the bravas tomato sauce has a smack of hot smoky paprika.

The croguetas of ham and fish were pretty bland and not like the excellent ones that Sister #2 makes with her Mother-in-Law’s recipe. Croquettes have long been a staple in their home and are made with a thick, rich bechamel sauce, seasoned accordingly, coated in an egg wash and breadcrumbs and shallow fried until a golden.

Sister #2’s croquettes.

We all agreed that the final dish was a hit. Sister #3 chose Gambas al Pil Pil (spicy garlic shrimp). These were meaty, well prepared and lovely when the provided bread was torn and dipped into the delicioous oil.

It may sound like we are picky. Afterall we were in the heart of tapas country; couldn’t we be happy with a local version? It is not that we wanted to diss the place, but we had chosen the restaurant without research, right on the main path that tourists use to wander through Old Town. We wouldn’t let that happen again…

In addition though, I think it was a case of “you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone”. Segovia the tapas restaurant that I mentioned from back home was simply that good at serving authentic tapas with high quality ingredients.

We continued to wander through the streets, loving every minute of our day.

That evening, Sister #3 cooked for us at our Air BnB. Since we loved that shrimp that we had that day, she prepared a shrimp encore with butter, onion, garlic and lemon tossed with beautifully prepared pasta. Alongside was a salad of greens, pear, gouda and muesli enhanced by a raspberry vinagrette.

In the end, it was a good eating day.

Kath’s quote: “Food is for eating, and good food is to be enjoyed… I think food is, actually, very beautiful in itself.”-Delia Smith

Love-that is all.

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Waking up in Malaga!

November21

Our first morning in Malaga, I for one was too excited to sleep in and I made my way to the kitchen before anyone else was up. I opened the shade and this was my reward and surprise! La Trinidad (The Trinity Church) right outside our kitchen window.

I quietly made my way to see the view from the front of the apartment off the balcony and this was my surprise!

The view became even more special as the sun continued to rise.

Since my sisters were still sleeping I opened my bedroom window and hung out above the street as I sipped my coffee to see yet another beautiful church.

We had a lovely breakfast of cheese, pears, baguette and jam as Sister #2 volunteered to traipse to the grocery store just down the street.

We followed our hosts directions as to how to get to Old Town, just happy to stroll and discover. We peaked down the street on our walking route and saw the church of the Sacred Heart built in the 20s.

Soon we came upon a gorgeous square with a fountain that served as a guidepost for us for future days. Sisters two and three had a 3 minute rest.

We explored the many sides streets of quaint shops and restaurants.

Another short stroll ahead and we were at Malaga’s Cathedral. We wanted to spend some time in the shadow of the cathedral as the day was becoming warm and we craved some shade. Instead of stopping at this cafe,

we found benches at one of the cathedral doors.

This fellow was pretty fascinating to watch, especially when we saw him later in one of the streets, pulling his genie lamp in a cart behind him.

Since we were still acclimatizing to a tropical climate (from Prague just hours earlier) when we came upon this lush urban oasis, we rejuvenated there.

I have enjoyed Bird of Paradise” in bouquets before but had never seen them in a garden.

There were tiled “sectional couches” (or so they resembled) right by this fountain so we claimed them for a beautiful rest, pinching ourselves that we were in summer-like Spain in October.

Adjacent to the park was this glorious avenue and it was from there that we retraced our steps.

This was the entrance to Fortress Alcazaba. In the Arab period, the sea which was close by lapped up against the lower walls. When we took a boat tour later in the week, we could see the castle and its walls from the water.

By this time we were peckish and looked longingly at the shaded tables full of people enjoying their midday meal. So we grabbed a table at Sanchez!

Kath’s quote: “We all have a hungry heart, and one of the things we hunger for is happiness. So as much as I possibly could, I stayed where I was happy.”-Mary Oliver

Love-that is all.

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