June 16, 2009:
Seville to Malaga by Bus
The next morning we took a taxi to the other bus station in Seville, Prado De San Sebastian. If we were familiar with the town we probably would have walked, but were told it was at least a 25 minute walk. The taxi ride only took a few minutes and cost 7.35 euros. We chose not to explore Seville yet, instead we were headed to Malaga. We booked our bus tickets online with the ALSA bus company. The cost was 34 euros round trip per person. We arrived an hour earlier than the estimated 3 hours so we immediately headed out to explore the sites after checking into our hotel, Zenit Hotel, Malaga.
Our hotel was located about 20 minutes from the city center, but after walking for months it was no big deal to get out and walk. Besides, you see a lot more on foot than you do through a taxi window. We were hungry as we were heading towards the city center, but it was also around 1pm and that meant siesta time and most places were closed. The only places that were open were coffee shops and some restaurants selling tapas at ridiculous prices. We opted for the coffee shop since they had sandwiches for around 4.5 euros. Both of our sandwiches were very bland and loaded with mayonnaise but I guess we couldn’t expect much at that price (even though we thought it was expensive).
Next we headed to Merced Plaza where we found an information booth, but that was closed too! Luckily the tourist sites remain open for all the tourists!
Armed with the tourist map from our hotel we headed out to see as many sites as we could fit in on our first day.
The photo above is in the courtyard next to Malaga Cathedral.
No trip to Malaga would be complete without a visit to one of their beaches! While the beaches don’t have the beautiful soft white sands of Thailand they are still quite nice and the Mediterranean sea is clean though a bit on the cool side. Yet, there was no shortage of people swimming, including an impressive group of youths who appeared to be practicing for a triathlon!
We also visited the Castle of Gibralfaro, which is worth visiting for the 360 degree view of Malaga, although the castle itself is not that impressive. At the bottom of the hill is the more impressive ancient fortified Alcazaba.
Later that evening after looking at prices at restaurants for dinner we opted to do something we hadn’t done since our long stay in Thailand (6.5 months ago). We went to the grocery store and purchased some turkey slices, bread and cheese and made our own sandwiches and ate in our hotel room. In all we spent about 1/4 what we would have if we had eaten out.
Malaga: Day 2
Since we were able to see many of the sites the day before we planned a more relaxed day: We visited the Picasso Museum, his birth residence and then relaxed on the beach.
The Picasso Museum, located in the heart of the old center, cost 6 euros per person but we opted to see the temporary collection as well so the cost was 8 euros. The main collection contains many unique drawings, paintings and sculptures created by Picasso during his long life and most of the works were donated by Picasso’s grand daughter. You won’t find any of his great cubist works here but it is still worth a visit for all even if you know nothing about his art. The temporary collection was very limited and may not be worth the additional 2 euros. It contained a few more sculptures and paintings. As usual, no photography was allowed in the museum so no photos.
Next we decided to try some tapas near the museum, but that was a big mistake as we should have known better than to expect good food in a very touristy area! We wouldn’t mind so much if the food wasn’t so expensive … oh well, we’ll be heading back to the grocery store for dinner again!
Afterward we headed to the Picasso birth museum (where he was born), which is located on one of the corners of Merced Square. This little museum is definitely worth the visit, since it is free and contains items from his youth as well as some of his paintings and drawings.
The beaches in Malaga, which are on the Mediterranean Sea, were our first taste of Europe’s beaches. The water is turquoise blue and surprisingly clear. However, there is a thin filmy substance (maybe a combination of oil and trash) on the surface of the water. It might be caused by the nearby large ship harbor that is right smack in the middle of Malaga that separates two beaches. Regardless, there were tons of locals and tourists playing in the water. We decided to take a dip ourselves but it was very short, since it was freezing cold! Ok, maybe not freezing cold, but it certainly wasn’t warm or comfortable like the beaches in the tropics. Overall, there really is no comparison to the beaches in Thailand, but still a very refreshing escape from the heat!