University of Wisconsin–Madison

Mini Doors

This past weekend (Jan 31st) I visited Malaga, a three hour renfe train ride from Sevilla. Known for it’s beautiful beaches and hospitality, Malaga also is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. We were only there for a day and a half but here’s all that we learned, eat, saw, and smelled:

  • The first thing is you must have CityMaps2Go on your phone, you download an entire map of a city when you have Wifi and you get an interactive map that allows you to search for hotels, restuarants, and sites all without using any data or Wifi.
  • The Mueso de Picasso consisted of two levels of his artwork accompanied by a free audio-guide. It was honestly very informative and I learned a lot about Picasso as an artist. He really tried a lot of different art styles. My favorite artwork on display was the ” Musketeer With Sword”. The names of all the artwork followed this very upfront basic naming scheme which you would presume to be childish but it actually was genius. Half priced for students with your student ID!
  • La casa natal de Picasso (birthplace of Picasso) sites on the plaza de la merced also known as the the most romantic plaza in Malaga (don’t know why since it looked like any other plaza in Spain). Again there was an audio-guide around the spacious (for Spain standards) apartment. Picasso’s father was a professor of art and a second-tier artist, his main theme was pigeons. In a lot of Picasso’s initial works pigeons where featured. The tour was FREE for students.
La plaza de la merced
La plaza de la merced
Plaque in Picasso’s Home
Plaque in Picasso’s Home
  • The keynote tidbits I remember were about his baptisimal name. Traditionally one is baptisized with many names to procure the blessings of the saints to which they belong. Picasso’s name at baptism was Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso. If you want you can look into the saints associated with that but I just thought that was bizarre / unique.
  • Picasso loved flamenco and bull fighting. We once was in charge of the local bull fighting ring. Picasso also left Malaga at the age of 19 and never returned. One last fact, Picasso was productive literally until the day we died, painting his last painting the day before he passed away at age 91.

  • As common in almost every Spainsh town, Malaga boasted an impressive cathedral in the town center. The amount of detail in these churches leaves me in awe every time. The design and structure of Malagas cathedral was very similar to Sevilla’s cathedral but just smaller in comparison. Here is a shot of one of four entrances:

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  • The arabes conquered and reigned the region now known as Andalusia before it the Romans dating to the eleventh century. La Alcazaba de Malaga confirms this as a historic Arabic palace-fortress in current downtown Malaga. The palace-fortress contains a group of buildings (Gibralfaro and Alzazaba) connected by the Coracha. It looks like a mini town within the twelve foot high walls accompanying the entire perimeter. What’s mindboggling is in Arab Times, the sea reached the lower walls of the fortress.
  • Having never seen the Great Wall of China in person  and really only seeing big walls through Mulan and GOT “the Wall”, this can now be the largest continuous wall I’ve seen. Every 300 meters (made that completely up since they use meters here) there was a section that contained a small square sentry station with a mini door leading into it. The doors went to my chin which showed us how small they must’ve been.
  • It was interesting looking out into the port to think of what life was like here. Surely there wasn’t a better place for hide and seek? Here’s what the limestone palace looked like:

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  • In a cute but touristy restaurant named Comepizza in downtown Malaga I ordered a foccaia bread and an artisan salad which both were fantastic.

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  • The beach town looks out onto the Mediterranean Sea which is breathtaking. We went both days to see the glistening water and enjoy the sea spray. On Sunday there’s a farmers market type event that has many vendors selling local meats, cheeses, dulces (candies), and paintings. I got a homemade tarta de zanahoria (carrot cake) and woah was it good. Apparently Andalusia is known for their carrot cakes.

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  • Mas Comida: Tapateria – a hole in the wall restaurant specializing in tappas which is Spain’s specialty / reason they’re all so tiny (forget the walking everywhere part). I got the ensalada de Espana y una cerveza which to the best of my knowledge from looking and tasting the tappa consisted of potatoes, oranges, celery, and mayo (they love mayo).

Malaga is a beautiful weekend getaway during the winter and a more vivacious week holiday in the summer months, the people are very amendable and kind. I definitely recommend bringing a ponytail (super windy) and booking a hostel near the center of town since ours was 15 minutes out and we had to bus everywhere.