Malaga, Nerja, Frigiliana
After 5 months of travelling in South East Asia, we arrived home to the UK and spent the whole of April catching up with friends and family and had a wonderful time. It was also a good chance to have a hot bath and do some proper laundry (rather than just hitting the clothes with a stick in cold water!). We, of course, took the opportunity to eat all the foods we had been missing and so piled back on a few of the pounds we had lost in the Asian heat. As for the weather, it was the worst April on record for the UK and, whilst sitting on trains and buses, we certainly started to wonder why we sold the car before we went.
So here we are now in the 22 degree heat of the Andalusian coast. We flew in on dirt-cheap Ryan Air flights to Malaga where we hired a small car at the airport. Sully insists it will work out cheaper than the two of us taking public transport everywhere…
Our first stop was the historic centre of Malaga, which was a very pleasant surprise. For some reason, which we have now forgotten, we weren’t expecting it to be such a nice place – but it is! We enjoyed roaming through the winding streets watching local life take place. This is the birthplace of Picasso. We had some great tapas and were pleased they were so cheap! We also saw the botanical gardens with wonderful jasmine and roses and saw the Moorish fortress, Alcazaba, high up on the hillside. We then saw the bull ring and the posters for upcoming events. Bull fighting is a huge part of Andalusian culture and the matadors are local heros. The most memorable sight was the amazing cathedral, it is huge and looks particularly grand when lit up at night. We were in Malaga for less than a day and could have easily spent longer exploring the city and the narrow alleys with endless tapas bars. Worth a visit.
The next morning we drove along the Costa del Sol and arrived at Nerja on the Costa Tropical and nestled at the foothills of the Almijara range. It’s a quiet beach town that reminded us a little of Sicily. We arrived during the 3 hour siesta break and spent the afternoon sleeping peacefully on the pretty beach. In the evening we explored the town and had yet more tapas. There aren’t any sights as such, but it’s a lovely little place with white-washed buildings, narrow alleys to explore and colourful flowers everywhere. There are some great views of the coast from the town as it is up on a hillside. The ice-cream here is pretty good too.
The following morning we drove to a nearby town called Frigiliana, which is a spectacular 6km drive from Nerja. It is a very pretty Moorish hill village clinging to the lower slopes of Monte El Fuerte. All the buildings are white and have wonderful wooden doors of all shapes and sizes. This is the kind of place Soph was expecting to see in the medinas of Morocco. We spent a pleasant few hours strolling through the steep and narrow alleys and enjoying the amazing views over the hills and down to the sea. Beautiful place.
Our final afternoon back in Nerja was rather eventful. We discovered that we were in town for an annual festival called El Dia de la Cruz and so spent the afternoon and evening in the central town square watching performances of song and dance. There was a mix of the traditional local music and there was definitely some flamenco involved and the locals were there to celebrate. It was a great festive atmosphere, and there was free chocolate covered popcorn, toffee and toffee plums (think toffee apples). The Spanish definitely know how to party! Although we probably will need to see a dentist soon after what we ate! After another round of tapas this evening, our short time on the coast is complete and tomorrow we will held inland to the province of Granada.