Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Today we took a trip to see Malaga. We were going to walk into town to catch the train, but just as we hit the main drag, not 5 minutes from our apartment, the bus to Malaga pulled up and we decided it was smarter to just hop on. The cost was a mere 1.35 €, about $2.00 Canadian. Not bad, especially since the bus took us right into the centre just across the street from this - the display is lit at night for Carnival. We intend to go in some evening to see it in glory. 

I hadn't had morning coffee yet so we stopped into the Café Central, where we got a lesson in coffee ordering. The last one, bottom right, basically says, "Don't bother". 

Our cultural stop was the relatively new Carmen Thyssen Museum which houses a collection of mostly late 19th century to early 20th century Spanish art, with one room of Old Masters. The building is from the Renaissance period and was extensively renovated. This is an interior patio. 

 A view through a window blind. 

The Museum was funded by Baroness Thyssen Bornemisza, who is the widow of the late Baron Thyssen of Thyssen elevator fame. This portrait hangs outside one of the galleries. The Baroness is quite the philanthropist. There is a much more extensive museum in Madrid. Her husband was born in 1921 while she was born 10 days before Geordie. And she was Miss Spain in 1961. Quite the confection. 

Here's the building entrance. 

And this photo is one on the brochure for the special exhibition which brought together the works of two Spanish painters who were quite good friends. The painting hangs in the gallery. Look closely and you will see that it's a painting of both painters, painting each other. And the painting is indeed signed by both of them.

After our art crawl we had another coffee at a nearby cafe where the ham (lacón) for my little sandwich was cut from the pink hambone you see here. 

This is the church of San Juan (St. John). It has also been recently renovated which is why it's so clean looking. 

An interior shot with these wonderful buttresses. 

Outside on another square we were entertained by an itinerant accordionist. 

My last picture is the front of the public  market. I'm really not a good reporter or I would have taken photos inside. We bought apples there, and fresh strawberries from Huelva that cost 30 centimos for 1/4 kilo. We also bought fresh exotic mushrooms - a 1/4 kilo of those cost 60 centimos. It's a great market, very busy with so many varieties of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and even some snack bars where you can grab a glass of vino and a tapa. We didn't, but we could have.  Note the ships in the harbour - probably just back from fishing the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. 

We'll be back to Malaga. I'll do my best to capture the flavour of the interior next time. 

Saturday, February 07, 2015


We took a jaunt to Fuengirola two days ago. It seems larger than Torremolinos and certainly busier. I wish I'd thought to photograph the train. They are very modern and an efficient way to travel the coastline. Fuengirola is the end of the line in the south while Malaga is the terminus going north, Torremolinos is about the middle of the line, but there are many stops along the way.

There are monuments, including this obelisk near the station.

That's Malaga in the distance and beyond that the snow covered Sierra Nevada. 

We found a great coffee shop, Il Signore, where we had good coffee and, horrors, a Cronut, an evil thing filled with Kinder surprise flavoured cream. Love the ironing board tables. The young man in the picture is the owner, very chatty. We had a great conversation with him. We also bought some of his ground coffee because the stuff we bought at the grocery store has not been so good. 

In Geordie's continued search for British culture in Spain, he discovered this well-recommended place serving "The finest fish and chips on the coast".

He had to have mushy peas too. The fish pieces were huge, the batter indeed crispy, but next time I'm going to do the leading and we'll look for Spanish culture. 

On our saunter along the Paseo we found this place serving grilled fish in a creative barbecue. Yes, the coals are in the boat. 

As in Puerto Vallarta, there are sand sculptors. This was a miniature and used colour to add artful interest. 

Another sculpture - this one is called Mediterranea.

And this one inland, honours the hard working fishermen of Spain. 

I know this is a poor picture, but we were so surprised to see this flock of green parrots feeding with the pigeons. 

And since we are on birds - this is a bird of paradise blooming in our own garden in Torremolinos. (After our train ride, then 4 km walk back to our apartment. We chose to get off the train early and saunter along the Paseo.) 

We discovered a little Spanish culture in a café just down the street from us though.. Churros and café con leche, the churros sprinkled with a little sugar. That's a "serving" - one order. 

For those who think it must be wonderful and warm we give you this picture of our next door neighbours sunning on the pool patio. Never mind that yesterday when we woke up it was actually zero Celsius (yes, really). These folk were sunning later in the morning when the temperature had reached a balmy 11 degrees. It seems that if you come from rainy Britain or Holland it doesn't  matter the temperature. Came for a bit of sun dammit and I'm getting me a tan!

More Spanish culture - a cafe in the afternoon sun with coffee and an apple pastry.

And here at La Taberna Tito Juan which is very popular, and no wonder. Every drink, beer or wine, brings a plate of some tapa from the many on offer. We've enjoyed several over the last few days - including meatballs, eggs scrambled with potato, pork in creamy mushroom sauce. And the staff and patrons are so friendly. It's a great spot, just down our street. Last night it was as packed with very little room to maneuver. We were sitting at the counter so got to hand beers, wine and tapas off to other customers and the server. 

A different view of the Taberna. I can't explain the Orange cowboy hat with the big holes in it. 

I'll leave you with this shot of a little snack we had today, again just two blocks away on our own street. Thick hot chocolate with fried churros. Way too tasty. And wonderful on another cold day; we were even rained on on the way back to our apartment. 

Monday, February 02, 2015

Torremolinos, here we are

After a long but uneventful day, we made it to Malaga where we were met by our landlord, Enrique. I think we both were expecting a youngish man, so we're surprised to discover he was older than we are, walked with a cane, and although Spanish, talked with a Scottish burr.  Turns out he'd lived in Scotland for 34 years and was married to a Scottish woman. He was also charming and funny and made us feel so welcome. 

One interesting point of our flight was that we were accompanied to Malaga by the Kazachstan women's ice hockey team (about 40 young women) and unlike what stereotyping might expect, they were quiet and very well behaved. But perhaps that's because their accompanying coaches looked pretty serious and expected nothing else from them. 

Here is our apartment building. Look for the AC unit on the left side three floors from the top. That's us.our balcony looks out to the Mediterranean, which, while reminiscent of our home view, is lacking the freighters. It faces East and this morning due to jet lag we saw the sun rise up out of the sea.

We may be in Spain, but it's a haven for the British. They are also determined that since they are on holiday they should be sunning. So we see older men, with bare hairy chests, spindly legs and balding pates, gamely walking on the Paseo Maritimo soaking up the sun, while we are bundled under sweaters and jackets shivering because the temperature is no more than 14C, not warm at all. 

The other evidence is that since it was Sunday, several restaurants were offering Sunday roast. Here's mine. Geordie really wanted to have some. Note, the cabbage, the Yorkshire pudding and mashed potatoes with gravy. There was also a choice of beef, chicken and/or gammon ham. I had the rather boring chicken while Geordie opted for a combo of beef and ham. 

The sky has been a brilliant blue even though it's quite cool. There's a breeze off the water that beings the cold air. Here we see an old mouldering winch used to haul boats out of the water by human power. 

Here is the view from the Paseo looking north.

And the view looking south. 

While the Brits are gobbling their Sunday roasts, the locals are out on the walking streets eating tons of seafood, drinking wine and socializing. The streets were packed with diners and shoppers. 

Last night we did eat Spanish in this old Bodega, with lots of photos of bull fighters and the remains of then bulls, who no doubt went out in a gallant fight. That's a tiny bit of Geordie's head in the lower left corner. 

Today we did grocery shopping, and on the way to lunch passed by these two murals painted on the side of the local school yard. Note the Canadian in his traditional costume following his traditional customs. 

And I'm sure this cow must have knit her own socks. Before she lost her front legs perhaps. 

Today's lunch was the menu del dia at a place we've eaten before. The owner was thrilled to see us again, because we've eaten here several times in the past. The view was of the street, and this magnificent orange tree laden with fruit. We saw juice oranges for sale today - 2 kilos for 1 euro) We didn't buy them but may well do so later since we have found an electric juicer in our kitchen cupboards. 

And that's all for now. Just a sampling of the things we've been up to in our first full day. No doubt we'll become very boring and predictable and who knows, we might find ourselves on the beach with our shirts off yet.