Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Rain in Spain (falls mainly when I visit)

Not just an ordinary bakery, but a "bread boutique."
I planned this Spanish getaway in a last-ditch effort to relax beneath a fiery sun before the cold, gray winter sets in up here near the North Pole.

Ha ha. I could practically hear the weather fairies guffawing as I rode the drafty RER to the airport.

Who is this Santa Aurelia and what's her story? Still figuring it out.
I arrived on my "Saint Day" (a catholic thing, I think), which I believe should entitle the namesake to the weather of her preference. To be fair, that first afternoon, it was about 80 degrees and I did spend an hour or so sitting in a swimsuit on the beach, staring out to sea and imagining that the clouds rolling in from the south east were actually just passing through, and not settling in for a multi-day rain-fest.

"You've brought us good luck," said Mario, my Airbnb host. "It never rains like this in September, and we really needed it after months of drought."

The letterbox belonging to an average house on an average street in Malaga. Pretty!
The hibiscus and other tropical flowers didn't seem to mind the rain.
A fanciful stone walkway--one of many throughout the old city of Malaga.  
My daily Spanish breakfast
Public gardens teeming with fruit-laden lime trees.
So, what's a girl to do when she's stuck in a drizzly Mediterranean town in late September with four free days all to herself? Museums. Restaurants. Cafes. Long walks on slippery cobblestones beneath a borrowed umbrella. It wasn't exactly the balmy Andulician holiday I was yearning for, but it was still pretty OK.

Malaga is the city where Pablo Picasso was born (oh, and Antonio Banderas, too), and, as seems fitting, there are two museums dedicated to Picasso's life and work; I went to both. (If there was an Antonio Banderas museum, I never found it.) There are also museums dedicated to flamenco, wine, and modern art, among many, many others. I visited as many as I could--usually two or three each day, breaking for a long lunch in between, then mixed things up a bit by popping into covered markets, the occasional vintage clothing store, and cafes where salty nibbly things are always served with your glass of €1.50 vino dulce.

A typical afternoon apero.
A walkway to who-knows-where.
The old cathedral, built in architectural styles spanning the centuries. It's still not finished! (The church keeps running out of money. Ahem.)
I bought a kilo of these delicious clementines from another stall and paid €.50. My kinda prices
Inside Malaga's Altarazana market, which dates back to the 14th century. Avoid the fish and meat aisles if you can; the fruits, veggies, olives, nuts, and other goodies are off to the right side. 
Funny olives stuffed with pickles. Mmm .... different!
A little organic stall inside the covered market.
Lunch at Loving Hut. They're everywhere, and I'm pretty happy about it! 
The vast white gallery inside the museum of modern art. I loved this place!
In the courtyard of the Museo de Artes Y Costumbres Populares.
Sampling the local wines at a popular watering hole. Your tab is written in chalk on the counter top.
Barrels and barrels and more barrels of local wine. All sweet. Very sweet! And delish.
One of more than a dozen flamenco-costume shops clustered in the north of town; this one geared toward the (really) young set.
Spain has a lot going for it: The people are friendly and good humored, the architecture is interesting and varied, the dining scene wasn't the giant pork-fest I'd been warned it was, and, I imagine, the beaches are even more beautiful when bathed in sunlight. Before my next trip, I will definitely consult with the meteorologists and, to be extra safe, I'll aim for a mid-summer sojourn. But I will likely keep to the same sort of itinerary, crammed with wonderful art, delicious food, and wide-eyed wanderings through tradition-soaked towns.

A fanciful wrought-iron gate in north Malaga. 
The lunch possibilities at El Piano, one of two vegan restaurants in Malaga.
And for dessert, we have ... lots of yummy-looking things that I did not try.
My lunch.
I never knew San Miguel was a Spanish beer. There's a giant brewery near the airport, where they may or may not make their "Eco" cerveza. 

The soy yogurt selection at the supermarket.

Cauliflower soup at El Calafate

Afternoon hot-chocolate break.

con churro! (Singular--those things are deep-fried and dangerous--one was plenty.)
La playa at moonrise on my penultimate day.
Fake meat in a can! Woot!

Why, si, yo gusto bien un otro vino bianco. Gracias.
A Spanish sunset.


  1. What a great travel piece, Aurelia! I feel like I traveled to Spain and back all in the comfort of my jammies while sipping coffee here in Denver. Those pickles in olives crack me up, but gosh the thought of them has my mouth watering, too. I might have to just try to find some gherkins and some olives with fat center holes to stuff them in. (WOW -- that sounds kinky, lol. Anyway...)

    Thank you for sharing your story and these terrific photos. Vicarious travel at its BEST. :)


    1. Karin, I miss your voice--on YOUR blog! Spain will still be over on this side of the planet waiting for you when you return. Then we can find you some of those authentic, phallic olive-gherkins to chomp on!

  2. My favorite pictures are the old cathedral and the olives stuffed with pickles. I like things "jutting out" apparently.
    You should hire yourself out as a rainmaker. I'm sure they'd love you in Texas! Sorry the clouds came in, but think of the savings on sunscreen! Your photographs are very beautiful, and I love the food pictures. I am hungry for some eco-lunch!
    I will share this with Si because he does so much want to visit Spain some day... and you of course!

    1. I'm so glad to know those olive-pickle numbers resonate with more than just my weird self. You can't go wrong with two tangy, salty finger foods jammed together, can you? If Si's into things that "jut out" too, we can rustle up some of those when you come for your visit!

  3. Hi there Aurelia,

    Thanks for sharing the pictures on your blog and reviews at HappyCow! I was wondering if you happen to know if there are any raw vegan spots in Malaga and near the city?

    Best regards... I will be checking out your blog.


    1. Hi, Lorenzo! I'm sorry to report that I did not discover any raw restaurants in Malaga, but I found that most waitstaff at the vegan or veg places I visited were extremely friendly and accommodating, which leads me to suspect that you might be able to get a "custom" raw meal if you were to ask (and possibly give some forewarning). An idea: though it's not quite the same as going out to eat, you should definitely visit the central market and score some fresh produce to eat during your visit. Most everything is much cheaper than here in France, and the selection is amazing! Especially tropical fruits, like mango and papaya. If you have access to a kitchen, you could make the best raw food ever from your market finds!

    2. Hi Aurelia!

      Thanks for your reply ;)... I will visit Malaga end of the month with my gf and we're into the raw vegan but it's all good we will definitely check out the other places you recommend! And ofcourse the markets :D Thank you anyway!

  4. You had me at the title! What a cute, funny and informative piece...just like it's author!

  5. Paris Paul! Yay! Thank you for popping over for a visit. Now, my turn to pop over and see you!

  6. That beach, wo-man... makes me think of our time in the South! Miss ya!!!

    1. Our Six-Fours weekend will always be a special memory, Susa! xoxo

  7. Lucky you to have experienced that Spain getaway! :) Hope to you see more of your holidays soon.

    1. Thank you, Kieran! It's been awhile since I've gone anyplace new, and I've got itchy feet. I'm dreaming of Sri Lanka, but San Francisco is next up on the travel itinerary!


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