Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Winter Holiday - Malaga, Spain

In a word, beautiful.

I'm doing this cruise a little different from the others. Cash is a bit tight due to my upcoming relocation to Edinburgh, Christmas and another trip in January. All that means is rather than paying for a ship excursion to do the sight seeing it's DIY. So armed with a tiny map compliments of the NCL Freestyle Daily its step off the ship and time to wander.

You can see the top of Malaga Cathedral looking up from outside of the pier so that's the first stop. My breath is always taken away a bit when I walk inside these massive structures. The height of the ceilings, the art work, the attention to detail and the craftsmanship involved. Each church/cathedral has their own distinct look. They can be similar in the layout but for some it's the stained glass, others could be wood carving. First impressions for me on this one is the ceilings. You'll have to take my word for this one, or wander over to my Flickr page as I've got the Malaga photos posted already. Perhaps once I'm home I'll edit this and add in the photos that should be accompanying these words and it would all be much more interesting.

After the Cathedral its meandering through the streets and lanes. Pablo Picasso was born here in 1881 so there are a number of Picasso museums and galleries. However, I was just in a large Picasso museum in Barcelona in 2007 and I'd rather take the one day I have here to explore the city rather than spend it indoors in a gallery.

Eventually the wondering leads to up, up, waaaaay up to the remains of Castillo de Gibralifaro, Phoenician built, but modified in the 8th century by the Moors. As all good castles are, it's perched on the top of a hill and there is a 360 degree view of Malaga below. It was quite the stair work-out getting all the way to the top (and all the way back down again) but it was worth it. Back down on the bottom was a lovely Botanic Gardens.

Completing the archaeological stair master worked up a bit of a sweat and a much needed break. So we wandered back to a central square we had noticed before and found a nice little cafe bar, Cafe Con Libros. A bottle of the local ale,a small bowl of crisps and enjoying the French (?) music playing in the background.

A Mom came in shortly after us pushing a large stroller with a happy little baby. The cafe had vinyl records randomly hanging from the ceiling that caught the baby's eye and caused him to giggle and eyes sparkle. The guy working behind the counter didn't think twice when asked and he just took the Mom's 2 jars of baby food and heated them up for her in the kitchen. How nice :)

Beer and crisps finished and legs happily rested it was time to head back through the town making our way back to the pier to board the ship again. Once on board, if I've got a few hours before dinner I'll try to find a quiet spot in one of the public areas. My favourite being the Spinnaker Lounge on deck 13 as there are plugs in-between some of the sofas. My habit has been to fire up my laptop and go through my photos taken that day, cull the bad ones and tweak (if needed) the keepers to be loaded onto my Flickr page when I have a good strong signal. Then after do a little writing.

Other than that the evenings involve getting ready for dinner, eating too much rich food and then catching some kind of on board entertainment. This cruise they have a Second City improv troop on board and they are doing a number of shows over the course of the cruise. The one show we've caught has been highly entertaining so I am looking forward to the others.

Next port, Casablanca !

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