Tag Archives: Málaga

The food in Spain

Or I should say, the food that we enjoyed in Spain this trip. If you missed my intro post about our trip to Spain, you can check it out here.  For this post I thought I’d talk about the food on this trip.

We landed bright and early in Málaga, even before the sunrise, on a Friday morning. I thought that we might be able to sleep on the plane, then we’d be ready to explore Málaga a bit before being able to check into our room. Oh that was not to be and we had four hours to kill before we could finally relax. I think no more early morning arrivals for this gal.

I had a few things jotted down that we could do that morning and the times those things opened. As we deposited our bags at the hotel, the receptionist giggled a little when I asked if Casa Aranda was open. That’s our favorite churros place and we were hoping to get a table on the patio. He thought maybe but it was so early!! Like I didn’t know that, heh. We did wander over to Casa Aranda and by now it was about 7:15 and they were just setting up the patio. They guided us to a table inside and we sat there until the patio was set up. I wasn’t really hungry as they fed us something on the plane before we landed. So we each had a coffee (and the two churros that the waiter comped us!) and moved on to wait for the tourist office to open at 9:00. It was nice to sit on the plaza and people watch. It was a pleasant 75 degrees with lots of people on scooters, some runners and many birds chirping and flying around.

Finally the travel office opened and I asked all my questions about bus routes for the things we wanted to see outside of the city center. The nice gal wrote all over a tourist map showing where the bus stops were. Hubby bought some post cards and we moved on again.

Then El Corte Inglés (Spain’s biggest department store) didn’t open until 10:00 so we stopped at La Canasta for refreshment. I had my first fresh squeezed orange juice of the trip. Oh my!! You have not tasted OJ unless you’ve had this fresh squeezed stuff. I had it every. single. day. Or close to it anyway. So delicious!! I had a warm croissant with homemade strawberry jam that was also delicious.

Some eating adventures in Málaga were not as good as we had hoped. We went back to one place we had gone to in 2016 but it was not nearly as good so that was too bad. So, no photos of that food, sorry.  There was another one in Plaza de la Merced. We got the sampler tapas deal which really wasn’t that great either. I’m now having trouble remembering what all the five tapas were. We did stop at El Pimpi after climbing around at Gibralfaro then walking down the hill back to town. We had their shrimp pil pil and it was delicious. Forgot to take a photo!

We did have a great meal at Matiz, the restaurant attached to our hotel in Málaga, Molina Lario.  Alas, I only have one  photo from that evening and it was the olives and bread we enjoyed before the meal. One evening we were being particularly picky I guess because it took us over 30 minutes to settle on a place to eat. We were called in by a waitress. Many waiters in Málaga will stand on the patio looking for customers when it’s not busy and try to get you to eat at their restaurant. And so this gal spoke to us in English and we looked at the menu. Oh good, they’ve got boquerones en vinagre (anchovies in vinegar) so this place is okay. This is one of hubby’s favorite things in Spain. And they had the shrimp that he wanted. Cold shrimp that you have to peel. Not my favorite but they were good, once you got the shell off. They had a really good ensalada mixta(mixed salad) so I was happy too. We shared everything and really enjoyed that meal. The waitress spoke about four languages, or was it five? She was Italian but knew English and Spanish and I heard her speaking French to the customers at the next table. When we told her we were Americans she said she’d love to visit America but she won’t because of our so-called president. She also said she likes Americans better than the British.

Yes, back to the food.

We tried different breakfasts this time. I really liked the croissants with ham and cheese. I probably had that the most for breakfast. We ate at Lepanto, a famous pastry and sweet shop in Málaga that also has a full menu.  Loved their croissant sandwiches. We had a tortilla espanola one morning. It was a plate with two pieces so was perfect for the two of us. We also partook of the fabulous breakfast buffet at our hotel in Madrid. Did I not take photos of that either? Well, here’s the sad tale. I travelled with sore shoulders this time. I had good and bad days so I guess this affected my photo taking. I did manage to get some food photos that I’m including in the gallery below. I’m also going to include some of hubby’s photos to fill in the gaps.  I included photos of our two favorite churros places in my previous post and I’ll include them again in this gallery. They are Casa Aranda in Málaga and San Ginés in Madrid.  And of course we had fresh squeezed orange juice at both too. Oh, yum!!

Some other nice meals included a meal of tapas at Nacalú, across the street from our hotel in Málaga. We kept seeing the place fill up in the evenings and decided it must be good and it was!  We got a sampler of tapas along with our ticket to the flameco show that we saw in Málaga.  The flamenco was at Cal Y Canto and the food came from the adjoining restaurant, El Gallo Ronco. We talked about going back for another meal but we didn’t make it. I read that the cafe in the Jardín Botanico was good and since I was hungry after exploring that glorious place, I decided to try it out. Score!! I had their spinach quiche accompanied by a mixed salad with the most tasty citrus-flavored dressing. Oh my!! One last meal in Málaga was at Quitapenas on the marina. Seafood and another ensalada mixta.  See a pattern here?

We had the same meal that we had three  years ago at Café Varela, the restaurant attached to our hotel in Madrid, Hotel Preciados. They have the best paella and ensalada mixta that I’ve ever had.  I managed to get my favorite tortilla española at El Brillante in Madrid. When I ordered it the waiter asked me if I wanted a whole tortilla española.  Oh no! I only wanted one piece.  Oh “pincho” he said.  Ah yes, I forgot that part.  Oops! Delicious and as perfect as I remembered it.  We wandered around central Madrid on our last day and then began searching for a place to eat. We stood outside El Botín for a long while because I hadn’t had any lamb yet on this trip. And Botín’s lamb is fantastic!  We hemmed and hawed and decided to try something different instead of somewhere we had been before. That and I didn’t want another high priced meal. So we ended up down the street at Mirador del Arco de Cuchilleros. Since their patio was full, a good sign that it’s a good place, we ate inside which was very pleasant. Nice waitress and good service. We had another meal of tapas including boquerones en vinagre, croquetas de jamón, acetunas and chuletitas de cordero (anchovies in vinegar, ham croquetas, olives and lamb chops). Everything was delicious!  They even gave us a little salad of tomatoes and cucumbers as a free appetizer.

I hope you’ll enjoy the following gallery of the food that I did manage to photograph. And stay tuned for more posts about our trip to Spain.

 

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Spain, revisited

We just returned from many adventures in Spain and I’d love to tell you all about them! We spent six nights in Málaga then three nights in Madrid.  It was magical and frustrating and beautiful and all of these things.  This was our fourth trip to Málaga and we got to explore the city further and visit new places like the automobile museum and the Jardín Botánico and we finally got to Gibralfaro, the castle at the top of the hill above the alcazaba.

It was sunny and in the mid to upper 80s every. single. day.  Hubby was in heaven, it was a tad too hot for me. But you put your hair up and just make sure you’re hydrated and take lots of refresco breaks. Because of the heat we did not go to the Alcazaba as planned and ended up paying for it but not using the ticket. We took the bus to Gibralfaro then walked down and we thought it was the trail that lets you into the alcazaba. Nope. By then we’d already climbed in the heat and we’d have had to climb up into the alcazaba. No. Time for a refresco at Pimpi. That’s the huge restaurant right next to the teatro romano. They have a nice patio and after climbing around up at the castle, the timing was good and we sat right down, ah……

We had a variety of meals and tried different breakfast items this time and made time for two of our favorite churros places.  Of course we had tapas many times and several boquerones en vinagre as that is hubby’s favorite. I tried several ensaladas mixtas (mixed salad) and my favorite, hands down, is Cafe Varela’s in Madrid. We saw a fantastic flamenco show in Málaga and it included a sampler of tapas and the food was great!! So was the flamenco. I’m so glad we did that.

We saw lots of art.  We love art. I read about and saw photos of urban art in the Lagunillas area of Málaga, to the east of Plaza de la Merced. Not the best neighborhood but they didn’t seem to mind us taking photos of the art. We naturally went to the Picasso museum in Málaga. We always go there. We love that museum! We also went to the Pompidou in Málaga, then the Reina Sofia and the Prado in Madrid. Lots of art!!

We were celebrating hubby’s retirement with this trip and we wanted to see if we could tell if we’d like living in Málaga. I do still love the city but I am no longer sure that I want to retire here.  We are rethinking our retirement plans and perhaps we spend 3 months in Málaga each year then do something else the rest of the year.  We’re able to stay for 90 days with our passports whereas if we retired there we’d have a lengthy retirement visa process. So, more to think about.

I’m going to create other posts of our trip but for now, I thought I’d share some highlights of our 10 day adventure in Spain. Be on the lookout for some more posts about España!

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Málaga, España

Hello out there! I have been neglecting my little blog and I have missed it greatly.  We had a busy summer and the blog posts are stacking up in my head so it’s time to get them out there finally.  Summer is a usually busy time anyway because you have to squeeze all the fun outdoor things in before winter comes.  But this year we had new music camps, a family reunion and an unexpected trip to attend the wedding of my brother and his partner of 22 years, whew!  Now that school has started again and fall is here, it’s time to get back to one of my favorite things, creating blog posts.  I hope you all will keep coming back :)

I had been creating a post a week about our trip to Spain earlier this year and I had at least one more that I didn’t create.  This one is about Málaga, the city we still think we want to retire to.  We started our trip in this charming coastal town in southern Spain.  We viewed a beautiful sunset as our plane descended and then spent the next four days holding our noses as we passed piles of trash all over the place.  I noticed the piles from our taxi as we drove into town.  We managed to be in Málaga during a trash workers strike! Hmmmm…..our timing was perfect eh?  Well it will certainly be something I’ll never forget!  We tried to not let it bother us but one pile was just steps away from our hotel and you’ll see a photo of it below.

We did so many fun things, some of which I blogged about earlier this year.  We paid another visit to the Picasso museum, toured the Alcazaba, spent an afternoon with a blogger friend who showed us cool street art, ate fabulous food and drank the sweet wines of Málaga.  If you missed either of my previous posts about Málaga, do click on the links and check them out.  I think you’ll enjoy them.

One day it rained a little and we decided to spend that time at the Centre Pompidou.  The city of Málaga signed a 5 year agreement with France’s Centre Pompidou to use its name and display pieces from its collection. These works of art date from 1905 forward.  In searching for a bit of information I found this article that gives more details about this lovely museum. The Pompidou allows photos so I’ve created a gallery of those.

I hope you’ll enjoy these photos from Málaga, including the photo at the top of the page.  This was taken from the roof of our wonderful hotel, Molina Lario, which I highly recommend. Málaga is still at the top of our list of places to retire.  A ver lo que pasa (we’ll see what happens)!!

And a few from the Pompidou museum:

If you’d like to see more of the artworks, check out their official website. I will definitely be returning when I’m next in Málaga. Here’s one last photo of the cube and the beautiful skies of one of my favorite cities in Spain:

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Bloggers unite in Málaga!

Or: an afternoon in Málaga, España.  But I just named my previous post beginning with “an afternoon in” and didn’t want to be repetitious don’t you know.  For this week’s post I want to share with you what Marianne from East of Málaga showed us our second day of our most recent trip to Spain.  I’ve been following Marianne’s blog for several years and we always talked about meeting up when I was next in Spain.  And so we did!! And it was such fun.

Marianne and her husband met us in the lobby of our hotel and we headed out on a walking tour of the center of old town Málaga.  I mentioned to her that I was interested in seeing the street art that I had read about and seen photos of, something that was new to us since visiting 5 years ago, so we did that first.  She gave me a brochure entitled MAUS: Málaga Arte Urbano Soho (Málaga Urban Art in Soho).  The brochure contains a map of the locations of all the urban art as well as a bio about each of the artists.  This project hopes to convert Málaga into an internationally renowned city in the art scene, the brochure says.  These pieces of art are really something to behold, each very different than the others.  Some of the artists come from Spain but a few others come from South Africa, Belgium and China. There is also a work by Shepard Fairey (Obey) who is known in the U.S. for his Barack  Obama “Hope” poster during the 2008 election.   Neither my daughter nor myself have photos of it and I can only think that we were so overwhelmed by the fabulous art that we forgot to take a photo of Obey’s piece?  I wish we had had time to go back and see more of these.  They are spread out over several blocks near the Contemporary Art Museum and we had just enough time to see a handful of them before we stopped for refreshment at Cafe Central.  Come have a look at the urban art that is changing this neighborhood in Málaga.  Some of the photos were taken by my daughter and I just realized that for many of these we each took a different type of photo: she took the far away stance whereas I focused more on the details.

I found several stories about this urban art project and I’m sharing them here in case anyone wants more information.  Marianne’s blog post is great and has lots of wonderful photos of the art.  Málaga’s urban street art – MAUS from 2014 has a good photo of the Obey piece.  Another article about the Soho Art District is written by the author (Fiona Flores Watson) of another blog that I follow, Scribbler in Seville.  Within this post Fiona provides the link to the MAUS website which I am doing here as well.  One last link to another article with more photos of the art. This is such fascinating art and I highly recommend taking the time to walk these streets to view the various pieces.  I can’t wait to go back to see the ones I missed.  By the time I go back I’m sure there will be more.

After having a drink a Cafe Central we continued our tour and walked up to Plaza de la Merced to get a photo with one of my favorite Spanish artists: Picasso.  I didn’t see this statue on our last trip because the plaza was being renovated.  At the corner of the square is Picasso’s birthplace and museum.  We checked out Mercado Merced, the new market just beyond the north end of the plaza and hubby and I went back there that evening to have a sweet wine at the branch of Antigua Casa de Guardia.  I’m sad that we never made it to the original bar this time but the wine is still fantabulous!

We had lunch at El Pimpi and chose tapas plates that we shared amongst all of us.  I learned about a fish called rosada from Marianne and her husband, a very tasty fish that was given this name because of its pink tint.  Rosada means pink in Spanish.  We had a great meal but unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of the food, again!!  Here are some other photos from the afternoon including one of the two bloggers in front of the alcazaba and one of me drinking that lovely sweet wine later that evening.  Pure heaven :)

It was such a lovely afternoon and I learned so much more about this wonderful city on Spain’s Mediterranean coast.  I can’t wait to go back again!  I’ll leave you with a photo of the cathedral at night.

cathedral at night

cathedral at night

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La Alcazaba de Málaga, España

Greetings! I’m continuing my weekly series of posts from our trip to Spain last month. We started our two week adventure in Málaga and took advantage of a couple of sites that had free entry on Sunday.  One was the Picasso museum, the other, the alcazaba. This week’s post focuses on the alcazaba.  Built in the 11th century, it served as the fortress and home of many Moorish rulers until 1487 when it was captured by the Spanish king and queen, Ferdinand and Isabella.  Please come along for a photo tour of this architectural wonder.

First, some photos of the port from the alcazaba:

And from the inside, the beautiful Moorish architecture:

And a few more:

Two last photos, one from the Paseo del Parque and the other of the Roman Theatre with the alcazaba behind it:

Alcazaba y teatro romano

Alcazaba y teatro romano

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Eating our way through España

The next installment in what’s become my weekly post about my trip to Spain is all about the food.  Did I mention that we had fabulous food during our two weeks in Spain?  Pretty sure I did and it’s true!  I tried to take photos of the great food we had but sometimes I forgot.  I did get some good food shots and some come with stories too.

The food markets in Spain are filled with seafood, meats, nuts, candy, fruits, vegetables as well as food stands where you can sit at a counter and have a little snack while you do your fresh food shopping.  We went to three of these markets but for one of the markets in Madrid we were there too early.  I had hoped to find a leather goods shop at this market near the Lavapies metro stop but it was too early on Sunday morning and there were only a few stands open, so I did not take photos.  But I did get a few photos of the other two markets we visited. They were Atarazanas market in Málaga and La Boquería in Barcelona.  Click on any image in any gallery to see a larger photo and the gallery itself.

Atarazanas market in Málaga:

La Boquería, Barcelona:

We had tapas frequently as meals but we did have some other meals too.  For example, the best paella I ever had was at Cafe Varela in Madrid and the service there is impeccable. They also have an excellent breakfast buffet which is pricey so Miss M and I only went once and absolutely loved it!  Hubby did not want to join us that morning.  Another great meal was at Vinoteca Moratin in Madrid where we ate with my blogger friend from Te Veo en Madrid.  You must reserve a table for this restaurant as it’s very popular and not very big.  My friend made our reservations two weeks in advance.  Another fabulous meal that we enjoyed was at Pura Brasa in Barcelona.  We liked it so much that we went back a second time two nights later and it was just as good!  We had a fun waiter at Taverna del Bisbe in Barcelona which, by the way, has THE best crema catalana in the known universe.  Take my word for it.  We had fun and delicious eating experiences all over Spain.

What follows is a conglomeration of some of the food we had in Spain, a couple of restaurant shots and a few people shots.

Food in Málaga and Córdoba:

Food in Madrid:

Barcelona food:

This last gallery consists of what is now a special place for us.  Hubby had his first boquerones here six years ago when we stopped for refreshment after sightseeing in Barcelona and he’s been eating them ever since. Taverna del Bisbe is right next to the cathedral so it was easy to find. Hubby attempted to tell the waiter about his initiation into boquerones but I don’t think he understood.  He smiled a lot and was a most jovial server. When I started to order one crema catalana he asked “Una?” meaning “only one?” sort of giggling.  I laughed and answered yes.  Miss M and I had the same desserts that we had six years ago as well and once again, they were excellent. When we paid and started to leave our waiter shook each of our hands and thanked us profusely.  He was so much fun on our last day in Barcelona.  Here’s what we ate at Taverna del Bisbe:

Eating in Spain is one of the highlights of traveling there.  I have not had any bad food ever in Spain.  I highly recommend all the restaurants that I mentioned above.  Cafe Varela and Vinoteca Moratin in Madrid, Pura Brasa and Taverna del Bisbe in Barcelona. Casa Aranda for churros y chocolate in Málaga and definitely try something sweet from Lepanto in Málaga.  We also had nice meals at El Viejo Pop and Tapa Tapa, both in Barcelona.  One rule of thumb we use when looking for a place to eat: are there many locals eating there? If there are, you’ve probably found a good spot.  We also take a look at the menus to see if there are enough items that are appealing.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my food tour.  What is your favorite from the photos above?  Or if your favorite is not shown here, do tell me about it.  I’d love to know your favorite foods.

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so…….I’m going back to Spain

We are planning to take a two week trip to Spain during spring break next year.  EEK! It’s NEXT year already!! Wow, how the time it does fly.  And I thought I’d create a blog post just for it.  It’s good to have a rough agenda of at least where you’ll be and to have hotels booked.  We will be staying in only three cities this time, Barcelona, Madrid and Málaga, which will allow us a few day trips. This differs from our last two week adventure 5 years ago when we stayed in too many cities.  Oh, it was a fabulous trip, but it was a bit too much travelling between cities.

We know the hotels we’d like to stay at in Madrid and Málaga but we haven’t yet chosen our hotel for Barcelona.  Perhaps there are other travelers out there that could give a recommendation?  Either way, here are two that really interest me.  We need a hotel that is close to a metro, not on the Ramblas but a short walk to it would be great. It should be able to accommodate three people.  Both of these hotels meet those criteria.

First is Villa Emilia.  It’s #23 out of 516 hotels in Barcelona and it gets rave reviews on TripAdvisor.  Here is the hotel’s website.

Next is Condes de Barcelona which is #96 out of 516 hotels, also gets rave reviews on TripAdvisor.  Hotel Condes de Barcelona’s website.

We will take a flight from Minneapolis and fly through Amsterdam both directions.  After our Paris fiasco, we are hesitant to ever fly through Charles De Gaulle again. One day I might write a blog post about it.   But I digress.

We’ll get to Barcelona on a Saturday and I’m really hoping we don’t miss the sardana at the catedral on Sunday at noon.  Or perhaps we should take a flight out on Thursday so that in case we have jet lag we won’t sleep through the sardana like we did 5 years ago. That’s a possibility.

Here is our rough itinerary as it is right now.

Day 1 (F) – fly to Amsterdam

Day 2 (Sa) –  arrive in Barcelona

Day 3 (Su) – Barcelona- try to see the Sardana at noon in front of the catedral; Picasso museum in the afternoon. (Check website for the Picasso museum to see if it’s still free on Sundays and adjust accordingly)

Day 4 (M) – Barcelona-Gaudi day? (Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila, Casa Batlo, La Pedrera)

Day 5 (Tu) – Barcelona- do leftover Gaudi stuff we didn’t get to yesterday because, really, that’s a lot! We’d also like to reserve at least one restaurant for a fabulous meal.  I have a few places bookmarked but nothing picked out as of yet.  Any recommendations?

Day 6 (W) – to Madrid

Day 7 (Th) – Madrid – day trip to Segovia(weekly flea market on Th from 8 to 3); make reservations at Meson de Candido? (open 1-4:30) or Restaurante Jose Maria? (TA reviewer said lamb is great)

Day 8 (F) – Madrid

Day 9 (Sa) – Madrid – day trip to Toledo (meet ladyofthecakes!! I hope)

Day 10 (Su) – Madrid – Rastro, Retiro, Reina Sofia is free from 1:30 to 7:00 (El Brillante afterwards)

Day 11 (M) – Madrid

Day 12(Tu) – to Málaga (take early to mid afternoon train)

Day 13 (W) – Málaga

Day 14 (Th) – Málaga – day trip to Cordoba

Day 15 (F) – Málaga

Day 16 (Sa) – Málaga

Day 17 (Su) – fly home

There are some things that I want to get done ahead of time.  Plane tickets are obvious, but I also want to book hotels and purchase train tickets.  There is a post on TipAdvisor that describes how to purchase Renfe train tickets online.  It’s very helpful and I’ll be perusing it once again towards the end of this year to freshen up on how it works. There are updates all the time to this post and it’s a great tool. One other thing I need to make reservations for are some restaurants where we’d like to dine.  One for sure is Posada de la Villa, which is a favorite of ours.  As you can see above, I would also like to reserve a spot at a restaurant in Segovia.

So many little things go into planning a trip.  I will be refining this as it gets closer to our departure and this is what I’ve got today just 13.5 months prior to departure.  But who’s counting?? Ha ha.  I’d love any comments and suggestions for any piece of this trip.  Thanks so much!! I’m going to close with some photos of the places we’ll be visiting next year.  NEXT year!!!  Yay!

La mezquita, Córdoba:

La mezquita, Córdoba, Spain

It will be fun to see the progress of Sagrada Familia, Barcelona:

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

One of my favorite cities in the world and this is a treasured spot – Plaza Mayor – Madrid:

Plaza Mayor - Madrid

One of my other favorite cities in the world, Toledo:

And, one last one.  Teatro Romano, Málaga:

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