Art and Tapas— An Afternoon in Málaga

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Trendy shoppers brave the heat under the sunshade awning in the pedestrian zone in downtown Málaga, Spain.

After three days of Airbnb bliss in Valencia in July, it was time to make my way south towards the Costa del Sol in the south of Spain. A short-ish train ride from Valencia back through Madrid, and then a straight shot south through Córdoba, my afternoon in Málaga ended up exactly as I had imagined.

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Málaga offers something for everyone; whether you are there to shop, visit museums, or admire horse-drawn carriages in front of old cathedrals, you’ll have plenty to photograph!

The aspect that sticks out the most was that it was unbearably hot. It was the hottest set of hours during my entire two weeks in Spain. Not only was it hot, there were no clouds, and it was also humid. Nowhere I went in Málaga could provide respite from the sun. Even the air conditioned insides of the Picasso museum and the Picasso birth house were insufficient for cooling me off. If you look at a map, you’re not that far off from Africa, so I suppose it made sense that the heat felt relentless.

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Unbeknownst to many, Picasso was born on Spain’s southern coast in 1881.

I walked the twenty minutes or so from the train station towards the main pedestrian zone of Málaga where Picasso was born in 1881. Sure, you can see his great works like Guernica in the larger museums of Spain, for example, the Reina María Sophía in Madrid, but there is something that feels so good about exploring the smaller museums that pay homage to the great artists in their hometowns.

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Tinto de verano accompanied by Spanish green olives are the sure-fire start to any late-afternoon leisurely Spanish lunch.

I was about to pass out from heat exhaustion and dehydration by the time I stumbled upon this amazing tapas restaurant that was highly recommended in my Lonely Planet Spain travel guide. I revived myself with the refreshing tinto de verano accompanied by house green olives. By the way, Spain is the world’s largest producer of olive oil, in case you didn’t know!

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Argentinian-style empanadas accompanied by a chimichurri marinade pair perfectly with a mixed greens salad topped with roasted red peppers, fresh ground black pepper, topped with olive oil, of course.

The thing I liked so much about my two weeks in Spain is that I never felt weird eating all alone, which I did almost the entire time, since I was traveling by myself. Everything was so leisurely, and the waitstaff are generally friendly and always become your single-serving friend for the time that you are at the restaurant. El Tapeo de Cervantes was no exception. In Spain there is no such thing as a quick lunch; I was there for about two hours. Everywhere I ate in Spain, I ate slowly, and I enjoyed watching all the customers’ meals being handmade.

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We open when we arrive, we close when we head out, and if you arrive when we’re not here, that means our visits haven’t coincided.

This tile does a good job of portraying the Spanish lifestyle, especially in mid-summer. After living in the hustle of Silicon Valley all year long, it was refreshing to be in a place that operates based on people’s moods and appetites, rather than some preordained arbitrary rigorous work schedule.

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Don Quijote and Sancho Panza stand guard over the bar at El Tapeo de Cervantes tapas restaurant in Málaga, albeit somewhat far from their home stomping grounds in La Mancha.

The next time I come back to Málaga, hopefully within the next year, I hope to actually visit the Roman ruins. I was far too overheated after my visit to both the Picasso museum and his birth house, and then far too sleepy after my two hours in the tapas restaurant to have rallied myself to explore the ruins. After all, I was on my way to meet some friends about an hour away in Nerja, and I had to catch the evening bus on time.

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I couldn’t believe my timing when this scooter entered the shot I was framing of the Roman ruins. Roman antiquity punctuates all throughout Spain’s geography, and I appreciated the juxtaposition of the ancient with the modern.

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2 Comments on “Art and Tapas— An Afternoon in Málaga”

  1. Bill October 27, 2014 at 04:07 #

    Enjoyed reading the travel log. As always, your ability to give the reader the same vision as if the reader was there. Can’t wait to read about the return to Spain in the future

  2. Marisa LaValette October 27, 2014 at 12:14 #

    Thanks Bill! Where are you guys going next on your exciting adventures?

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