In Málaga, day 1 - Vuelta a Iberia - CycleBlaze

November 20, 2019

In Málaga, day 1

Málaga was never in our plans for this tour.  The original plan, if we had biked down to the coast from Córdoba, was to take a hilly route through Zuheros, Montefrio, Alhama de Granada and Vélez-Málaga.  We’ve seen some of this country before and it would have been a beautiful if challenging four or five day ride.  We’d have definitely gone this way if the weather were cooperative.

Malaga itself though was a place we were intentionally avoiding.  We flew in here on our first tour and weren’t especially impressed.  Just a big, busy city that we were happy to escape the morning after we arrived.

We didn’t really give it a chance then, arriving jet lagged late in the afternoon at the end of the long flight, on a short time budget and anxious to be on the road.  In fact, it’s quite a special place and we’re excited about being here for several days.  An excellent place to hole up while we wait for the rains to move on.

This morning the weather is unexpectedly fair - warm, partly cloudy.  These are probably the best hours we’ll see here, so we step out the door to get in the best walk we can before the rains arrive.

Walking up the hill toward Gilbarfaro. It’s a beautiful walk, with views that just keep getting better as you climb. It’s a walk we’d be happy to take often.
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Málaga really respects its trees.
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Looking west across Malaga from below the Gibralfaro. We’re really fortunate to be having this break in the weather so we can appreciate the views.
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Málaga‘s town hall
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Fuente de las Tres Gracias (the fountain of the three graces).
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La Malagueta, Málaga‘s bull ring. It’s a historical monument,in use since 1876.
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Bruce LellmanCirque du Soleil could make good use of this, permanently.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanOr perhaps they could timeshare. The matadors still have their claim on it for the summer months.
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2 weeks ago
Looking across the bay, all the ships seem to be heading for shore. In another hour the rains will arrive.
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The Alcazaba
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The cathedral, also known as La Manquita (the One-Armed Lady), because its second tower was never completed.
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Another view of city hall.
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By midday the rains were just arriving, so we stopped in at a cafe for lunch and returned to our apartment for the next few hours.  By mid-afternoon they passed on so we went out again, this time primarily to walk through the belt of gardens that parallel the waterfront.

The gardens of Málaga are really quite remarkable.  Very lush, very diverse, they remind me of Menton.  This must be an intoxicating place to visit when it’s in full bloom.  Particularly fascinating is the long Parque de Málaga.  Interlaced with pathways weaving beneath exotic trees from around the world and featuring scattered sculptures and fountains, it is a fantastic place to stroll.  Every other tree you pass seems remarkable.

For dinner we went to Helas, an authentic Greek restaurant, of all places.    We were really surprised to find a Greek restaurant here, the first we’ve seen in Spain.  We chatted with the Greek owner (from Sparta) who kept stopping by our table to look at our photos from the day and then calling Carmen (his Spanish wife, whom he met in Sparta long ago) over to look also.  They’re new to Malaga, having just relocated here this year from Seville where they ran this restaurant for last 25 years. 

So far, Málaga checks off all the boxes: warm, beautiful, walkable, bikeable, good restaurants, an airport.  We could be back some winter.

Looking up toward the Alcazaba.
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This is the most amazing Ceiba I’ve ever seen.
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Another amazing tree. There are quite a few ceibas here, of different varieties. The garden is a bit of an arboretum, and many of the trees are labeled.
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Another ceiba, Ceiba pubiflora.
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There are many monk parakeets in these gardens, as well as several other species of parrot. They thrive on the vegetation in these parks, especially on the large rubber trees.
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This shaggy guy is a Canary Island pine, as are its neighbors.
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So what is this climber, anyway? He’s growing up the side of a Canary Island pine.
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Bruce LellmanIt's just a philodendron of some variety. Bill will fill in the rest I'm sure.
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2 weeks ago
Bill ShaneyfeltIt is a tropical vine...

My first thought was Philodendron.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philodendron

But Monstera also looks similar.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monstera

I really have a hard time with tropical plants. So many that look so similar, and in an urban garden, location clues go out the window.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanI think Bill May be right, and it’s a Monstera instead. Appropriate name - some of these are huge.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltThanks, Bill. I’m not sure either, but it looks like a Monstera to me. Besides the size (some of these are almost treelike), the leaves have the characteristic perforations in the leaf blades.
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2 weeks ago
Bill ShaneyfeltTo Scott AndersonThat was my thought too. Glad to see you think so too.
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2 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanYes, Bill's right. I never thought of monstera because the monstera I was familiar with, when I went to high school in Florida, was quite a different variety.
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2 weeks ago
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José Lara Pérez, a local writer, holding one of his books. A bit eccentric, he latched onto us and engaged in a lengthy conversation. Interesting at first, but difficult to break away from when we’d had our fill.
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This was interesting. I assume this is some sort of photoactive glass or plastic. The material looks clear in the right light, but takes its color from the objects behind it.
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Jen GrumbyLove that you had the flexibility to re-direct and Málaga looks like the perfect place to spend a few days.

I think I could just wander around checking out the jaw-dropping trees.

Nice to see the changes in the video and photos. And the great cycling paths!
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2 weeks ago
Carolyn van HoeveWe very much enjoyed Malaga too. Bruce just read your post from Carmona to Ecija and assures me the river was substantially higher!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonThat’s what hip waders are for, silly. Did you forget to take them along?
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyIt’s been a great interlude. Very therapeutic. The bruises are healing, the rains are passing as I speak, and we’re ready to roll again.
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2 weeks ago