We took a leisurely stroll through Malaga. Wandering Malaga Park along the Paseo del Parque, we let the mature tropical foliage provide some coolness in the light humidity. We decided not to take any tours, not to plan our day. Near the city hall, we started the hike up to the Castillo de Gibralfaro. This Moorish fortress was built in the 10th Century and today, the outer perimeter walls show their age. Several vertical feet provide you with views of the old city as well as the coastline and the nearby bull ring (Plaza de Toros). Bullfighting began at La Malagueta in the late 1800s and you can still catch a fight from April to September.
After taking in the view and catching our breaths, we wandered back on the street. There were several shops and eateries lined up along the waterfront, but I wanted to see what was off the main drag. Near Malaga Cathedral, there were a couple of alleyways sprinkled with cafes and restaurants. Picturesque to say the least and alive with locals conversing over their afternoon siesta meals. Our uphill hike left me famished and we stopped at the first locale we stumbled upon. I am not a picky eater, a helpful trait for a traveler. We had tapas. Shrimp paella, Iberian meats, and a glass of Piña made for a satisfying lunch. Our waiter was soft-spoken but friendly. He mostly spoke with Aaron who willingly tested his Spanish. Most of the restaurants had extra menus in English. While Spain welcomes tourists, be advised that the language barrier will leave you lost if you decide to take a cab. Drivers in Malaga speak mostly Spanish.
Once we had our fill, we strolled further down the alleys. I noticed that most people were eating large meals, not tapas. In true European style, locals were grubbing on their largest plate at lunch time, saving the light tapas for the evening. And, of course, having a refreshing glass of wine to wash it down. The air was light, fun, and I enjoyed the vibrancy of a regular day. The locals wore business casual. The men in worn slacks and loose button downs. The women in summery dresses and sandals. It was relaxed chic. The conversations were fluid and light. Each party engaged in its own bubble, even with the tables close together. The lack of workday stress was quite noticeable. And charming.
We tasted and bought some salted almonds off a street vendor. They were roasted, covered in a light glaze, and rolled in salt. A nice treat for the two American tourists with no agenda. For us, Malaga was a lovely place to wander, observe, and just enjoy the quiet moments.
If you want to hit up Malaga when the days and nights truly come alive, be sure to visit during their August festival. This 10-day street party celebrates the conquest of the city by Isabella and Ferdinand in the 1480s. Expect flamenco dancing, fireworks, and lots of sherry. Ole!
Additional research and information was pulled from http://www.andalucia.com/cities/malaga/home.htm. This is a great resource for all the wonderful spots in Malaga.