Malaga, Spain

(Alex)

The final stop on my little summer excursion to Spain was Malaga, down on the southern coast of Spain. Beyond the general location on the Costa del Sol, and the vague fact that Picasso was born there, Malaga was pretty much all new to me, and I was excited to arrive.

The weekend we arrived was actually the last weekend of the annual Malaga Feria, an apparently incredibly popular week-long festival each year which I’d never heard of before. Consequently the place was absolutely packed with people. We stayed at a place called Lights Out Hostel, right in the centre of town (in a private room, because my mate and I decided against the shared bunk rooms). It was pretty nice inside, and the roof terrace was an ideal place to meet a few new people. They also had a free sangria hour each evening, which went down well.

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The festival itself was pretty insane. During the day basically everyone in the city came out and wandered around, danced on the street (mostly the older generation, for some reason), and drank the local sherry, one of the main focuses of the festival. We tried some, and I thought it was actually pretty disgusting – think the sweetest alco-pop drink you’ve every tried, then add in about another cup of sugar. Way too sweet for either of us, and we stuck to beer after that. We managed to pick up a prime corner spot on one of the main streets for a bit of lunch, which was an excellent place to just sit and watch all the excitement go by over some food.

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We spent the afternoon walking around the city getting into all the fun (my favourite thing were the roaming brass bands, that would set up for a couple high tempo songs every now and then in the middle of the street), and by the time it started to get dark we’d observed a couple of things. Firstly, the Spanish do not appear to be able to handle alcohol particularly well. I hadn’t seen anything like it for a long time – the closest thing I can think of would have been O-week at university, but with about a thousand times more people involved. The second thing was that the city had become super dirty over the course of the afternoon, as everyone just chucked their litter on the streets. There were huge cleaning convoys which would come by every now and again, but it just wasn’t enough to keep up – check out the photo below, and that certainly wasn’t the worst we saw.

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Being Spain, the day/evening festivities were only really part of the proceedings – the next stage was when every young person got on a bus and headed out to what seemed to be a big theme park full of clubs and bars. We arrived at about midnight, from what I can remember, and made it home around 5am. The crazy thing was that then everyone got up at 10 the next morning to do it all again – nuts!

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My mate and I decided one day partying out of our two in Malaga was enough for us, and elected instead to spend most of following day at the beach. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this yet, but Malaga was a crazy hot place when we were there, probably the hottest we’d experienced on the whole trip. So on a 45 degree-plus day, lounging by the ocean seemed like by far the best plan. We went to one of the city beaches, and the water itself turned out to be really dirty, even by  European standards (though it seems some of the places just out of town are a bit better), so we didn’t do much actual swimming. Still, with our loungers and beach umbrellas, and books, and a constant supply of cheap cocktails, it ended up being an afternoon well spent.

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After a huge breakfast early the next morning (picture above, still not entirely sure what I ate) it was time to head to the airport, and back home to London. The festival dominated what was already a very brief trip to Malaga, and I wouldn’t mind going back another time to see a bit more of the city in its more normal state as what I saw this time was a lot of fun.

Until next time, B & A.

PS – after a week of brilliant sunshine and heat in Spain, what did London give me for my arrival home? That’s right, freezing temperatures and a rainstorm. I walked through the door home drenched, and a little uncertain why I’d left Spain at all…

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