This isn’t a great photo. But it’s cleverer than you think. Here is the all-but-full moon, framed by the empty circle at the top of this artificial Christmas tree (universal, apparently, in civic displays throughout Spain) in the centre of Málaga.
We’re here for our last night. Tomorrow, we return to England for the last time as EU citizens. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
Rus in urbe. Signs of the countryside in town. We spent a lot of our time in Andalucia, particularly in Córdoba and Málaga, hanging over river bridges staring at bird life, or gawping into trees to see what we could see. Here’s a bit of a rogues’ gallery….
Cormorants on the river Guadalquivir…
Herons – or perhaps always just the same heron? Fishing, always fishing.
A poor swallow (Was it a swallow? Help me, someone) trapped in the synagogue in Córdoba, endlessly flying impotently towards the light, the incontestably glazed windows.
Then it was parakeets. We’ve moved to Málaga now. We could hear them all the time, squawking in the palm trees. But this pair had time to bill, coo and preen.
La Concepción Botanical Gardens were at the edge of town. But still definitively Málaga. I offer you turtles…..
and – not from the Botanical Gardens – the inevitable herring gull.
And if it’s red squirrels you’re after, you’ll just have to read my last post.
As usual, click on any photo to view full size. This is my entry for today’s Ragtag Challenge: rus in urbe.
We’re back in England now, back to temperatures of under six degrees when we’d got used to nearer twenty in Spain. Back to rain and wind instead of sunny breeze. Still, I can sit and sort my photos out.
Here are some from the day we slogged up the 240′ to Castillo Gibralfro in Málaga. Part way up, we came upon this enchanting scene.
I know the arguments about the potential dangers to both humans and wildlife from too-close contact. But these two Spanish children are not likely to forget, or be unaffected by this chance encounter with this little squirrel: or to resent the fact that he charmed the greater part of their mid-morning snack from them.
We’d been for a good meal with good wine in a cheerful local tapas bar. Now we were mooching contentedly round town, remarking on the fact that here we were, without coats, scarves and gloves, watching people enjoying themselves at outdoor tables in early March.
Music? Is that music? Oh yes, over there at that bar.
We were in one of the biggest open spaces in town, Plaza de la Constitución, and there at Café Central, seated at several pushed-together tables were about fifteen men with fifteen mandolins (or similar. We’re not experts), a double bass and a bit of percussion, making music.
They strummed. They sang. They joked and laughed. They were there to enjoy making music together. As an appreciative crowd gathered, they sometimes got us to join in too. Thank goodness for Guantanamera. Everyone knows that one.
Someone in the crowd bought them a round of drinks. We all cheered and clapped. Fifteen men of a certain age had made a pleasant evening special.
I bet they’ll be there next week. Same time, same place.
It seemed to be a long time before we found the right bus going at the right time to a terminus in the right place – beyond Málaga’s city limits. But we got there. La Concepción Historical-Botanical Gardens.
We quite enjoyed hiking round its Mediterranean landscapes, and visiting a desert-scape of giant and vicious looking cacti. We took a long forest walk with spacious mountain views one way, and a panorama of Málaga the other … and sadly, the motorway grumbling and roaring only just below. We agreed the place was lovely, worth exploring… but just a little under-loved and under-resourced.
We had lunch outside in the sunshine, and thought we might go home.
Thank goodness we didn’t. We had circled the outer edges of the gardens and failed to explore its heart. Here were subtropical glades, bamboo forest, tumbling jungle waterfalls. Shady, mysterious, quiet and only disturbed by birdsong.
Two Country Mice had a very enjoyable day.
A Spanishcandidatefor Jo’s Monday Walk. It’s Thursday but never mind.
It’s about to rain. But it’s been a good day. A favourite breakfast followed by a walk round Málaga’s 1000 year old port.
Then we found ourselves being unexpectedly tested: a walk high above Málaga, on a steep winding path taking us up 430 feet to the Gibralfaro castle. It’s a 14th century edifice, but once upon a time, in Phoenician-Punic times, this site was used for watching over the town, and the ships sailing in. So we did that too.
After that, to mop up the rest of the morning, we explored the market.
We’d earned our lunch. So we did what we always do. Watched where the workmen go. They have a nose for the simple establishments that cook good traditional food just like grandma makes, and at a good price. My fish couldn’t have been fresher.
Córdoba, seen from the Torre del Calahorra, and looking across the Guadalquivir.
The thing is, we lost our hearts to Córdoba. It’s drenched in history from the Romans onwards. Even the bus station is an archaeological site. We stayed in a pleasantly ordinary part of town, only ten minutes from the old historic centre, but with not a tourist in sight. Our hostess, who’s lived in the city all her life, wanted us to love the place as much as she does. Apart from tourist tips, she told us how to get the best from her ‘patch’, explained where the locals ate, and generally wanted us to feel at home.
Here in Málaga we’ve ended up in a zone full of holiday apartments – yes, I know we’re part of the problem. It’s a part of town that’s achingly hip, self-consciously shabby-chic, and doesn’t seem to cater for every day shopping needs like bread and fruit. It reminds us that we are in fact tourists.
Still, let’s not complain. First world problems and all that. Here are a few shots to show that there will actually be plenty to discover and enjoy in our final few days.
In December 2017, I introduced you to my Spanish teacher Javi, and the parallels between his life and that of my daughter living in Spain. Fast forward a year, and Javi is still my teacher and our friend, and planning a treat. He’s taking Certain Selected Pupils (two of us anyway) and Malcolm to his home town of Granada for a week. He’ll not only be our tour guide, but will get us behind the scenes of his city in a way that only a native can.
He’ll introduce us to its Moorish history (the Alhambra, of course), and to the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada. He’ll take us to his favourite haunts. We’ll eat together. We’ll meet his mum.
I can’t wait. On Saturday morning, bright and early, we’ll be at Leeds Bradford Airport, then airborne for Málaga, and Granada. Watch this space.