Malaga, Spain – on the Costa del Sol

Malaga was the second stop of our fall cruise.  It is considered the southernmost large city in Europe.  The resorts along the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) are very popular with the British so it’s easy to find English speakers and lots of info printed in English.  (Truth be told, our very limited Spanish was never tested in the 3 weeks we traveled in Spain!)

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Malaga is one of the oldest cities in the world, founded originally by the Phoenicians around 770 BC and was subsequently ruled by Ancient Carthage, the Roman Empire, the Visigoths, the Byzantine Empire and, for 800 years, was under Muslim Arabic rule.  In 1487 the Crown of Castile gained control.

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We took a hop-on-hop-off bus from the port to see the sites.  First stop was the 14th century Gibralfaro Castle, at the top of the hill.  The  earliest construction here dates back to the Phoenicians.

These dioramas show the Cathedral , the Alcazaba behind it, and the castle on the hilltop.

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There’s a small museum inside the castle but the spectacular views are the main draw today.  (Our ship is on the far left.)

DSC07300 CDSC07305 C Malaga Cathedral The CathedralDSC07311 C The Alcazaba The AlcazabaDSC07313 CDSC07320 C Plaza de Toros The Plaza de Toros, the bull ring, can hold up to 15,000 spectators.

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Back on the bus we went down the hill and got off near the Roman theatre. 

This was only rediscovered in 1951 when renovations were being done on the Casa de la Cultura.  The Culture House was eventually demolished to uncover the site.  Built by Caesar Augustus in the1st century AD, this theatre was used until the 3rd century.  Much of its construction material such as stones, columns and carved stones were later used for building the Alcazaba, on the hill above it.

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The Alcazaba palace is a Moorish citadel built on the remains of an older Phoenician fortress.  What can be seen now was built in 11th century and expanded in the 14th C.  It was the residence of Arabian kings and the palace fortress of the Muslim  governors.  It is the most well preserved citadel in Spain.  

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There were lots of school groups visiting.

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Another diorama shows the lay out.  We missed getting a map at the entrance.  It’s quite a jumble with gardens leading  to rooms leading to unexpected dead ends.

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I was delighted by this place.  It’s a mini Alhambra with lovely photo opts at every turn. 

(You can see pictures of another Alcazaba down the coast in Almeria that we toured on another cruise.)


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A few blocks away is the Cathedral of Malaga.  This Renaissance-style cathedral was begun during the Gothic period in the 16th century and building continued into the 18th century.  It incorporated an old mosque and adopted many architectural styles over the years.  The current building is still unfinished.  The lack of the south tower has given it the popular name of “La Manquita”, the one-armed lady. 

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Malaga street scenes…

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The Ataranzas Market was recently refurbished.  There’s a huge stained glass window on the rear wall.  By early afternoon most of the stalls were closed.

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Park de Malaga

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Malaga City Hall

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A final view of the Alcazaba.

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A wonderful day in Malaga.

Posted in Malaga, Spain | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

A Second Look at Funchal, Madeira

Madeira was the first stop on our cruise from Ft Lauderdale to Spain this past spring.  We also stopped at this island in the fall of 2012.  You can see pictures from that trip here: Madeira.  On that visit we took a van tour of the island and had only a little time in the city of Funchal.  This time we decided to spend the day in town.

We thought the rain had passed so we were surprised by a sudden downpour.  Too bad we left our umbrellas on the ship!  We stayed fairly dry by ducking into shops and doorways during the worst of it.  The day stayed gray with intermittent mist.

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This is the Se Cathedral, the Cathedral of Funchal, built at the end of the 15th century.

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Our walk toward the east side of town took us past this small river.  There are several similar rivers that cut through the city on their way to the sea. 

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Our goal was the City Market and the old town.

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The market is built around an open courtyard – a bit wet on this day.

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Walking farther east we came to the passenger gondolas.  These cable cars travel up the mountain to the Botanical Gardens which overlook Funchal.  We decided to save this for another trip and better weather.  The garden was in the fog most of the day.

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There are lots of little restaurants and artistic doorways in this part of town.

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See the little cable car (even with the lamp) in this picture below?

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DSC07226 C Corpo Santo Chapel

The small Corpo Santo Chapel is from the 15th century.

I love how they incorporated the old façade onto this modern building.

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Back in the center of town we walked through the Praca do Municipo.  We came through here on our previous visit. 

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Wonderful Portuguese style stones pave almost every street and walkway.

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And a peek inside a doorway finds tiled walls.

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These turtles were desperately trying to sun themselves on this cloudy day.

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I remembered this pretty park in the middle of downtown.  This time it was all abloom since it was spring.  Maybe the same swans swimming? 

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DSC07289 C  Once again, farewell Funchal.

Posted in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments