Best of Spain

Day 12 – September 15, 2004 - Costa del Sol

After our late evening last night, we were able to sleep in a little bit and bring in our laundry from the deck, a beautiful place to dry clothes. We had an excellent breakfast buffet at 8 AM and then met about 24 of the others from our group for an excursion to Malaga and a wine tasting.

We started with a panoramic tour of the city with its palm tree lined avenues, its lively harbor busy with cruise liners, and its long sandy beaches. Our local guide, Vivian told us about the city and the area where Picasso was born.

This is the 5th largest city in Spain. This area was nothing 25 years ago but now is high rise next to high rise on the beach and condominiums and golf courses all the way to the foothills.

Málaga was founded by the Phoenicians and the Romans settled this area of the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the city however was developed by the Moors until their expulsion in 1492.

We followed the winding streets to visit the Moorish castle of Gibralfaro and admired the splendid views over the city. This fortress was used to protect the city of Malaga from invaders until the 1920's.

We then visited the old town and had a tour of the house where Picasso was born and saw an exhibit of 51 of his early lithographs. Our next stop was the site of an excavation of a two thousand year old Roman amphitheater at the foot of Alcazaba, another castle with massive concentric walls built in the 8th to 11th centuries to fortify the city.

We walked to the Cathedral of Málaga built in 1528 after being converted from a Moorish mosque. Even after almost 500 years it is not completed as funds for the final tower were sent to America in 1778 to help fight the American Revolution.

We walked around the area for another 30 minutes and then met Francisco and the bus and drove a short distance to a local winery where we were able to taste Malaga’s special sherry like wine. Not liking this sweet wine, which reminded us of the port wine we had in Portugal, we did not purchase any bottles to take back with us.

We took the ring road around the city and we were back to our hotel at 2 PM. We returned to our room and organized the pictures and worked on some panoramas from past days.

Around 3 PM we decided to take a walk on the Torremolinos beach directly across from our hotel. We walked about a mile in the water and sand - cool and dark sand - seeing the sunbathers and swimmers.

About 1/3 of the women and ALL MEN are topless - so this is strange for an American. We walked back on the sidewalk looking at stores, restaurants, and cafes.

This hotel is ideally suited for world travelers as they cater to all groups from the oriental at breakfast, the European with the beaches right in front and the American, with ice machine and high speed internet in the rooms. Very nice!!!

Dinner tonight was at the hotel restaurant; a buffet at 8PM, the earliest they serve dinner. We will have an early morning tomorrow as we will go to the Rock of Gibraltar and we want to beat the crowd. So we have to be out of the hotel with our luggage by 7:45.


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