¡Qué belleza por todos lados!
18.07.2013 - 29.07.2013
~--This is the "I'm behind on the blog, so let me put down what I can" edition!~
While in the city of Malaga, the celebration for the Virgen de Carmen (pronounced veer-hen) was mentioned as something to see. In Andalucia, religious Virgins are common & popular.
She happens to be noted as the "Queen of the Seas" & is the patron saint of the of the fisherman & mariners. For her being so important, it was ridiculous trying to find out info on this celebration because every person I asked had a different date & place for the celebration. I did finally find out that there are SEVERAL celebrations in multiple places, especially in the coastal towns -remember Queen of the Seas! So happen to find a poster for a celebration in her honor, taking place in a park in malaga. It turned out to be a street/park festival with your typical stuff; rides for the kids, vendors of many kinds & food. Oh wait, did I forget to mention there was a ham leg to be carved or the delicious sweet cake bread?! Also, there was a dance performance that was FANTASTIC! There were gals of every age on stage at some point! Dancing in beautifully authentic clothes & adding flare with their moves! The music was infectiously happy & you couldn't help but smile!
--dance moms in Spanish are also big time drama queens but with more arm/hand movements
--women got angry at me when they showed up late & I had saved seats because I was early & smart
--other fave part of show was the very young children watching in the audience who were overtaken by the NEED TO DANCE! (See pics)
They had a party going on the beach nearby, people eating on boardwalk outside the restaurants/cafes AND I got to see a Zumba class Spain style on the beach!
Even though the celebration was in her honor, she was nowhere to be found...
Onto waiting for the weekend to go by so we could watch her statue/shrine be put into the sea, as happens every year.
Making my way to Muelle Uno to look around, I spot a church making lots of noise with tons of people. Some people call me nosy, I think I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge! I'm a sponge! Hence why I keep doing so much while on vacation! So I head that way & see a line of people waiting to kiss the scapular of the Virgen & bring her flowers. Finally, there she is in all her glory! A tall decorated beauty! People in wheelchairs were brought to the front of the line.
Not gonna describe because of course I got pics! Come to think of it, there's not much I haven't taken a picture of...! I could have a photo gallery of light posts for god's sake...
Time came to go the beach & we watched as a different statue was hoisted onto a boat by divers & the coast guard (remember Queen of the Seas) that was on its way to the middle of the water, where a much bigger boat waited for her to go out to the Mediterranean sea...
So many people screaming, crying & taking pics.
>Went to the "aquarium" & discovered that I personally know people with more fish than this place. Enter angry & disappointed face here. Well look on the bright side at least it was in a cool looking part of the city. (See pics of Muelle Uno)
>And because we haven't seen enough interesting or dynamic things yet, onto The Cuevas de Nerja or The Caves of Nerja.
Nerja is a town 45 mins from Malaga city & that was a quick breeze when it came to the treasure we saw! Soooo amazing to think what the earth has done to form these caverns! Yes, stalactites & stalagmites are AMAZING! If my science professor could hear me now...Yes, I mean sí, there are pics to see sure there are bats in the reptile house but not in the caves...
>While in Nerja & because we can't get enough animal encounters--we went to the Donkey Sanctuary
Lots of yes, you guessed it- donkeys, I mean burros. But also horses, pigs & sheep to hand feed fruits, veggies & bread to. So much fun feeding the animals & watching the kids get a kick out of the animals touching their hands with their tongues
And yes, while on these premises- I happened to find not 1 but 2 cats...
Onto finding out that on Sundays certain landmarks sites are FREE! Its a ghost town on Sundays...So yay for something cool to do & for free!
>1st up is The Alcazaba, which is a palacial fortress that was built in 11th century & its name is Arabic for "citadel". It was an interesting balance of stone, rock & metal but also trees, flowers & gardens. And wait til you see the view!
Who knew that fortresses could be so interesting?! The attention to detail was quite surprising.
Right after, or as soon as I hiked forever to get there...was the Castillo de Gibralforo .
>The Castillo de Gibralforo was great. If the fortress was good, this had to be too! In retrospect, I liked Alcazaba better.
But still a sight to see & worth the hike.
>Next adventure is a 25 min train ride to the coastal town of Fuengirola to go see more animals! Ha! Insatiable! I am Latina & we are passionate!
It was a zoo named BioParc & it placed different species of animals in the same habitat as it would be in the wild.
Saw lots of animals & then my highlight of the zoo was making Lemur friends!!! They can't all be cats...
>Bus ride to coastal town of Marbella where there's a casino & a beautiful beach-of course. Very pretty here, didnt do much but walk, take in beauty of the town & water.
>2 hrs 30 mins on the bus took me to...Seville- I mean Sevilla. Beautiful city! Like Malaga city-wise but also different. getting a kick seeing the similarities & differences between the neighborhoods, towns & cities :-) I took the double decker tour bus & saw the sights! The Arabic-influenced architecture here was so interesting to see! Beautiful bridges.
--*thank you to the nice bus driver who let me get on his bus even though 2 rude bus station women caused some issues
--*oh wait-also enter here, 3 kids on the bus who were traveling alone, scream/talked the whole 2 hrs & 30 mins. Then one of them puked all over the floor...
>Hop on the bus for a couple hours & I'm made it to the beautiful city of Granada! My guide spoke 5 different languages- English, Spanish, Itslian, German & French! I went to see the fascinating La Alhambra & had my mind blown away by the vast beauty of the SIGNIFICANT details of this palace! Its name translates to "the red" for its reddish clay. It was built as a fortress in 889 but later turned into a palace by a sultan of Granada. After the Reconquista, it was used by Christian monarchs & eventually for the Spanish royalty like King Ferdinand & Queen Isabella. This is where Christopher Columbus got his support to find the new world in 1492...
If you took how much I loved the beautiful details of La Alcazaba & multiplied by 1000, that's how much better this place was!!! ¡Qué Belleza! (What beauty! You have to see the pictures to believe. At one point, I told myself I couldn't take pictures of every nook & cranny...but I wanted to.
--*note- for those who don't know, questions & phrases of exclamation have punctuation marks in front of the sentence or phrase.
There were gardens, fountains, cobblestone walkways, canons, & hand carved wood details from the Jewish, Muslim & Christian influence.
And what is the LAST thing I expect to see?! Who said a cat? Yes! A grey cat maybe a Russian Blue (for those who know cat breeds) just sitting in one of the labyrinth maze gardens of Cypress trees. Or waiting for me...it's the same :-)
>last but not least, was my last trip from Màlaga to...Gibraltar.
Couple hours of driving the coastal towns & seeing the beautiful mountains, past passport control brought me to the Rock of Gibraltar. Wonderful! This was an unexpected experience with the huge difference of cultures. Mostly everyone spoke English & or Spanish from the nearby Andalusians. It was not a pretty city as but very hard, cold & military due to the heavy British influence. The euro was accepted but they mostly used the pound but There were few flowers & beautiful balconies as I have accustomed myself to see. It still was a cool place to visit & see. Walked around the city, took lots if pictures of The Rock, the view to Morocco & other sights. I went to St. Michael's Cave which was a joy to see, followed by encountering ape/monkeys on the side street! And there was a baby!! I made friends (of course)!
Next stop was going through & learning about the tunnels used in World War II that housed 16,000 men like a town! The tour guide was an exuberant little German man named Hans & man was he great! Listening to history isn't always fun to listen to but in this case it was! Even when he did the tour in German, it was still entertaining! Imagining the life of the people who worked & lived in such conditions- wow!
>>That was the last day in Málaga & it has been an unforgettable adventure with all types of things thrown in- planned & unexpected! It has been an unbelievable roller coaster ride for it is time to head to Madrid via train.
---~~My deepest sympathies to the people who lost their lives & their families/friends in the train accident recently on the Renfe train traveling from Madrid~~----- :-(
Stay tuned for Madrid adventures...