Our transportation here is limited. First, because we don’t have a car. Second, because we are too young to be put on the hosts insurance (you have to be at least 25). Lastly, because we are about 10 minutes driving distance from the bus stop. That being said, when our hosts said they would drive us into town when they go grocery shopping, we jumped at the chance to spend a day exploring the city. The last bus to Colmenar was 7pm, and we got into the city at 11am. With our day bag and map in hand, we were off!
Our hosts, Denise (Dee) and Gabriel, pointed us in the right direction across the river. Mikel and I discovered the “river” is actually a sewage drain running through the city. I’m going to be honest here, between the graffiti covered buildings and streets, and the general sewage smell in the air, we were definitely reminded how clean Oregon is.
The first stop was Calle Lairos, basically the 5th avenue of Malaga filled with designer shops and restaurants. We made our way down the street, only to stop in a shop to get a couple of postcards (.60€ ea.)
Nearby was the Cathedral. It is called “La Manquita” (the one-armed lady) because it lacks a south tower and is still unfinished. This was the most expensive attraction of the day at 5€ ea., and it started to rain as we entered so we spent quite a bit of time inside. The photos I have do not do it justice, it was difficult to capture the essence in a photo, but this was Mikel’s favorite site we saw all day.
In front of the Cathedral is Plaza del Obispo (1762) which was one of my favorites with it’s vibrant orange color. A group of men parked their vepsa’s in a line and stood outside the Cathedral for a photo, and many bystanders took photos of the men and their vespa’s, it was pretty picturesque.
We continued along the main street where parrots flew among the trees on our way to the The Alcazaba, a palace fortress of the Moslem governers. It was built between the 11th and 14th century and cost us 2.30€ ea. to walk through. The pathways are lined with orange trees and greenery and the view was incredible. Dee and Gabriel told us to go to the Castle of Gibrilfaro if we wanted an even better view of the city, but it was a steep walk uphill.
The Gibrilfaro, one of the cities most important monuments, is adjoined to the Alcazaba through a pathway, so we started our ascent up the hill right away. The view is beautiful, you can see the bull ring and the majority of the city below.
On our way down the hill we pulled out the lunch we packed, a baguette with olive oil, prosciutto, and sheep’s cheese. Dee says this is a “typical Catalonion lunch.” We decided to go to a restaurant as well for a glass of wine and tapas. Gabriel said Grenada street had good tapas so we walked up the street and stepped inside the busiest, loudest place on the block: Casa Lola.
Here we struggled to order wine and a couple of tapas. Didn’t take us long to realize we didn’t even know how to order in Spanish, and it was clear the waiter’s didn’t speak English. We sat at the bar and pointed to what we wanted. The place was lively and definitely a local favorite. The olives come for free at most restaurants as far as we can tell. Mikel really likes them, they are really bitter though and I’m not a fan. The wine was delicious, 2.50 € a glass, which I know is expensive compared to other places we saw (1.50 – 2.00). I find it interesting that there aren’t wine lists like we are used to. You just ask for red or white and you get what they have, which is good and cheap. Same with the Hotel bar in Colmenar, there is only one choice of beer, a far cry from what we are accustomed to in beer centric, Oregon!
After filling up, our last stop was the Picasso Museum. Obviously we couldn’t take photos but it was an interesting experience. I somehow got us the 50% off student discount. I just said “estudiantes” and she started yelling in Spanish that we didn’t have our student ID’s (I think). Either way, she gave us the discount, total of 8€ to see the museum.
Overall, we had a great time touring the city. We got back to the bus station early as we didn’t want to miss the last bus back, and fell asleep on the way home.