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November, 2017

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We flew to Malaga in Andalusia Southern Spain in November. Most people go to this region for a beach holiday, but we went with friends to do some sightseeing. The temperature was ideal for this – about 24 degrees. We stayed at the Hotel Ibis Malaga Centrum Ciudad, which was a nine-minute walk from the railway station and near the old town.

The following day we traveled by train to Granada principally to visit Alhambra the Nasrid “palace city” a UNESCO World Heritage site. We booked tickets online before traveling to avoid queuing and took a taxi to the palace. It was certainly impressive with luxurious decorated ceilings, walls, arches and floors. The rich plaster work combines geometrical patterns with and flower motifs together with the most exquisite tiling. The original hilltop walled city was a Muslim fortress for Sultans and later by Catholic Monarchs as a triumph of Christianity over Islam. Outside there were courtyards, fountains, long pools, orchards and gardens. Basically, it is Andalusian Moorish design conceived as a citadel for the royal court. Despite the lovely warm weather, we could see the majestic snow-capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada beyond.

Our next day out was to Cordoba by train, where we took a taxi into the historical heart of the city.Starting off by the Mosque – Cathedral of Cordoba, we explored the area of narrow lanes in the Juderia. We went to Alcazar, originally built for the Moorish rulers until the city was conquered by the Catholic King Fernando III. It is made up of various halls around courtyards filled with trees and aromatic plants. There is the Hall of Mosaics and Arabian-style gardens with ornamental pools and fountains. This is where the infamous Spanish Inquisition took place. Nearby we saw the Puente Romano bridge over the Rio Guadalquivir. It is not difficult to imagine that during the 10th century Cordoba was the greatest capital city in Europe. And for the taste of Andalusia, not to be missed is the Pastel Cordobes a dessert of puff pastry with citron filling!

We explored Malaga itself on the next day. There is a wealth of beautiful buildings and places to visit around the city. As well as the ancient, there are modern art galleries – Picasso being the most famous. We enjoyed the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo (which was free to enter by the way) Also, there were great places to eat and drink – my other half was impressed by the hostelries that sold craft beer. Right by our hotel was Le Grand Cafe Centro, which had great ambience and good beer. It was decorated with Hollywood memorabilia with even an aeroplane hanging from the ceiling! We were there on a weekday, but I imagine it would be crowded at weekends. Overall Malaga is a good base for exploring this part of Spain, and we have decided that another trip to this region could be on the cards.


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