A Google Image search for Málaga yielded this!
Oh - My - G-..............
In mesmerised disbelief, I clicked on the site, and was happily surprised to find a really excellent introduction to the city and the region, courtesy of CarMalaga.com. Ignore or enjoy the second language typos; the information is comprehensive but not overwhelming, and conveys affection and and some pride. I don't drive, but on the basis of their website, I rather like the sound of CarMalaga.
But I also rather hope that these colours are more accurate!
Both are shots of the Plaza Toros de Málaga, but this second one is from the Spanish language tourist site, Sevilla Info.com.
Not that I shall be visiting the bullring. Done that.
I had an au pair job in Biarritz in the summer of 1979, and one day the family took a trip across the border to Santander; my one and only foray into Spain before last summer.
I remember the canopied quayside restaurant which served the most delicious seafood. Oh yeah. Sitting by the water on a breezy sunny day, eating bouillabaisse in good company. Oh yeah.
I think that part of my passion for seafood is that I do associate it with the smell and sounds of the sea. Family camping holidays in Whitby and Robin's Hood Bay. An early morning ride out from the campsite with my father, when everyone one else was still asleep, to watch the fishing fleet come in to Scarborough - of course they were already in by the time we arrived, but the morning was fresh, the gulls were wheeling and shrieking, I was on an adventure with Daddy, and it was lovely! Years later Habibi and I lived in Liverpool, by the Mersey, and Bristol, by the Avon, and visited perfect Poros, and somewhat less perfect Corfu. The English and The Seaside. Altogether different from 'the beach'!
Anyway, at Santander they took us, including 6 year-old Cyrille, to a bullfight. I watched, but really didn't see the point of terrorising and weakening a powerful animal to create a more equal contest for a snazzily dressed man with a cape and sword: to me, this sort of entertainment belonged to the past. Cyrille's reaction was interesting. He was neither excited nor upset - physical distance creating emotional distance? He was just baffled. What were they doing? Why were they doing that? Why were we there? I left the family to explain that one.
Another strange and vivid memory from that day is of walking down a narrow and very respectable residential street between high walls with small, grille-caged windows, and finding one wall daubed with a crude, life-size, black paint graffiti of six stick-men cut in half by a spray of red paint bullet holes. Incidental terrorism - a silent reminder for all the people who happened to pass it on their way to school, or the baker's, or to do any of the normal things we should be able to take for granted, that they could not. Basque territory.
I was familiar with such images from TV footage of Belfast, but it was a sobering experience for a summer day-tripper in Sunny Spain. Of course now both the IRA and ETA appear to be moving on. Regimes do change. Armed struggle does become redundant. Peace is possible after all.
And I'm going to Spain veeeeeery soon!
Have I shopped? Not yet, but I've made a list.
Have I packed? Not yet, but I've ironed everything.
Am I really going to be ready in time? Of course!