Marvellous Malaga market

It feels only five minutes since we were last mooching around the colourful central market in Malaga but its actually been years!

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The time our apartment is literally around the corner so we can get up bright and early to check out this lively scene.

No matter how many times I visit markets in Europe and further afield I never fail to be captivated by the variety and quality of products on offer.

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Whether its dried fruit and nuts, local cheeses or piles of perfect fruit and veg, its all so fresh and tempting.

Apart from this. This will never be tempting! I always force myself to venture down the meat aisle just to check out which unfortunate body parts are on display!

A stall holder peers over his loaded stall of local sausages, wines and other delicacies.

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A fishmonger demonstrates his descaling skills while once again I ponder the reason behind the orange vats of fatty meat!

Huge radishes glisten in stacks of glorious pink globes while spring onions the size of fists jostle for space with huge juicy tomatoes.

A last lingering look at some stacks of nuts now before we head off to find more photo subjects!

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Touristy Torremolinos

Heading back towards Malaga we stop off in the tourist mecca of Torremolinos to see what attracts so many people each year.

Torremonlinos was the first Costa del Sol resort to be developed back in the early sixties when it was little more than a sleepy village.

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At the peak of its popularity in the 50s and 60s it became a go to resort for the cheap package holiday crowd but also became blighted with endless high rises.

We only had a quick wander along the beach front which is lined with endless boutique shops, cafes, bars and beach gubbins.

There’s very little of traditional Spain to be found here but it is actually quite a nice stretch of beach.

Having always been a bit of a closet package holiday snob I have never really seen the appeal of the Torremolinos and Benidorms of this world, but each to their own!

With every thing on hand (and on tap for the beer lovers amongst us) Torremolinos offers an easy, safe and relaxing option for holiday makers who enjoy soaking up the sun and completely relaxing.

Not our usual style of holiday but sneakily, as I get older and older, I am starting to see the appeal of curling up on a sunlounger with a good book in one hand and a cocktail in the other .  ..

Load of bull ..

This short post is dedicated to a thorny Spanish cultural issue – Bull fighting.

I’ve always believed that part of visiting other counties is about appreciating the many varied parts of their culture and traditions.

However there are always some difficulties for me when it comes to certain elements of societies that celebrate the unnecessary suffering and pain of animals.

So I can’t reconcile myself to the Spanish tradition of bull fighting. Regardless of its revered history I find it abhorrent and cruel with no place in a modern society.

In case you feel this is anti-Spanish I am also anti fox hunting, badger baiting, cock fighting and horse racing. And I’m a lifetime long salad munching vegetarian… (so there!!!)

Splash of sunshine

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As we travelled between Spanish cities through the open countryside we couldn’t help but notice the endless swathes of vivid sunflowers.

As far as the eye can see these cheerful yellow flowers stretch to the horizons.

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It’s an incredible sight, bound to raise a smile in even the most world weary traveller.

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Sun baked Cadiz

After a whistle stop tour of Seville we head to the sunbaked city of Cadiz.

Cádiz is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Spain and one of the oldest in western Europe.

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One of Cádiz’s most famous landmarks is its cathedral. It sits on the site of an older cathedral that burned down in 1596. The current replacement was started in 1776,

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The old town is full of sprawling alleys interspersed with elegant open public squares.

We then head to the Tavira Tower, a 45 metre high 17th-century watchtower which offers a panoramic view of the city and the bay.

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There are some lovely views from the top of the tower but I only snapped a few on my phone so the quality isn’t great.

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We then spent 15 minutes in the tower’s Camera Obscura that gives a bird’s eye view of the entire city and bay before wandering through one of the colourful parks strewn with vibrant bougainvillea.

 

Ideally we should have spent a night in Cadiz as it felt like rather a rushed visit and I would have liked to have got a boat trip to enjoy the views of the city from the water.

 

 

Spanish touches

Alongside the stunning cathedral, Alcazar and other beautiful sights to be found in Seville, there are also a wealth of tiny details to be found everywhere you look.

Whether it’s the eternally fascinating, detailed alazulejo tiles that serve as everything from wine adverts to house numbers, to the old tourist posters from yester-years.

Even rows of cheap leather cuffs take on a more exotic enticing air under the Spanish sunshine.

Multi painted plates, tiles and even thermometers are given the colourful treatment.

Even though the days of straw donkeys and plastic maracas might be a thing of the past you can still find plenty of sterotypically Spanish items to buy.

I love the tiny little Spanish dancer outfits! And a final drizzle of Seville’s Spanish flavour.

 

 

Splashes of Spanish colour

Some more colourful snaps of our exploration of Seville now and I am especially captivated by this vivid orange building.

The yellow trim pops against the hot orange walls and the detailed traditional tiles.

I also love these fragrant selections of spices that are just begging to be sniffed.

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Seville is packed to the hilt with delightful traditional tiles, known as Azulejo. They are a form painted tin-glazed ceramic tilework and adorn many buildings.

Then there’s rows of delicious tourist tat commemorating all things sterotypically Spanish like guitars, fans and flamenco dancers.

Escape the hordes in the main square and duck into some of the quieter back streets to be rewarded with simple architecture in pastel shades.

I love the castellated walls of this rich ochre building set against the clear blue sky.

Then it’s back to the main square to see if the hellishly long queues to get into the cathedral have died down – tip, get there very early or go in an hour before closing time, or you’ll spend all day in a hot, angry line . .

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Stunning Seville

Next on our Spainish tour is the beautiful cathedral city of Seville – capital of Andalusia.

First tourist snap of the day is the intriguing Torre del Oro or Tower of Gold. It is one of two anchor points for a large chain that would have been able to block the river and was used as a defence for the city to stop large ships floating up.

*Wikipedia alert* Constructed in the 13th century, the tower served as a prison during the Middle Ages. Its name comes from the golden shine it projected on the river, due to its building materials mortar, lime and pressed hay.

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Then we get the first glimpse of the lovely Cathedral, framed by palms and purple jacaranda trees.

Its official title is Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See and was completed in the 16th century.

*More Wikipedia* It’s the third-largest church in the world as well as the largest Gothic church.

The world’s two largest churches – the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida and St. Peter’s Basilica – are not the seats of bishops so Seville Cathedral is still the largest cathedral in the world.

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Aint she a beauty! Lots more to come from this lovely city soon.

Back to Spain

Whizzing through this year’s travels now. Next up on the trail in May was a return visit to Malaga combined with Seville and Cadiz.

I’ve not got too many snaps of Malaga as it’s already been fairly well covered in previous blog posts.

Being a particularly useless travel blogger today as I just can’t remember which little village these pretty tiles were snapped!

The same village provided these lovely decorative walls, from a natural organic green garden wall to a faux view on a whitewashed wall.

But the main event of this holiday, and the reason for returning to this area is coming up – Seville and Cadiz.

Pueblos Blancos

The white towns of Andalusia, known as Pueblos Blancos  are a series of towns and large villages  in the northern part of the provinces of Malaga.

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All of the villages are characterised by bundles of houses with whitewashed walls and red or brown tiled roofs

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Although we didn’t have time to extensively tour these little hidden gems, we did make it to one – Olvera.

The main monument of this city is itself.

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A phrase that exemplifies this reality is “Olvera is a street, a church and a castle, BUT what a street, what a church and what a castle!”, for that reason Olvera was declared a Protected Area of Artistic and Historical Importance in 1983.

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At the very tip of the town is the church Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación (the Parish of Our Lady of the Incarnation) next to the Arabic Castle.

From here you have a panoramic view over the picturesque red tiled roofs and whitewashed homes.

There is also a cemetery at the top of the village where you can see the traditional, stacked style of burials favoured in the area.

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As you wander the sunwashed, crazy paved alleyways, it’s like passing by whitewashed high rises for the dead.

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