A Day in Malaga

I live in a tiny Pueblo in Malaga Provence in the autonomous region of Andalucía in southern Spain. It’s a mouthful when I put it that way. My understanding is that the general administrative organization of the country starts at the top with the government in Madrid. Under that are a number of regions/autonomous regions. There is a difference between regions and autonomous regions but administratively they are about the same level. below that are Provinces. Most Provinces take their name from the main/capital city of the province. I still have a lot to learn about the structure of the Spanish state and government, though I’m picking up more every day.

Malaga is about 45 kilometers from our town, and on the bus takes about an hour and a fifteen minutes to get there. In the area between Ronda and Malaga the busses are all run by Autobuses Paco Pepe. Using the bus is simple. Tickets can be bought on board with cash (effectivo). To get to Malaga it’s €6.08 on clean, climate controlled, affordable and on-time buses.

Over the last couple of decades I’ve developed an intense sensitivity to motion sickness while in cars, busses, boats, trains, and planes. I used to sail on a tall ship, but these days if I ride in the back seat of a car for 20 minutes I’m seasick for the rest of the day. Even with medication I can be pukey for a while after a journey. The mountainous roads of Spain are a thing of beauty. But they make me sick as a dog. This time I found that sitting in the back third of the bus made a big difference when combined with my motion sickness medication (Bonine for those keeping score).

When I got off the bus at the main Estacion de Autobus in Malaga, I felt pretty refreshed and in good spirits. As is often the case with my day trips, I had business to attend to first. I wrapped up my commitment in under an hour, and then I had several hours of on my own explore the city before my return trip home.

The first stop after taking care of my business was for a coffee at Recyclo Bike Café Shop in the heart of central Malaga. Situated in a lovely pedestrian plaza, the shop has two main entrances; one for the bicycle shop, and one for the cafe and they are connected inside. I started in the bike shop. I chatted with the shop employees for a little while. They had a wide variety of Kona bikes, a handful of Brompton folding bikes, and other bikes around the showroom floor. From the ceiling in the shop and the cafe hung classic steel framed bikes and other fun bike oriented decor. After a little browsing, I went over to the cafe and sat down to a lovely espresso. At 10:30 or 11:00 it was exactly what I needed.

Not far from Recyclo is the Mercado Central de Atarazanas, a large, open farmers market in the city center. The building is amazing with its brick and wrought iron exterior and incredible stained glass that paints the vendor stalls in bright color.

Inside the mercado was filled with people strolling the aisles and examining the wide variety of food available. It is a perfect place to people watch, grab a fresh juice, and get a sense of the local cuisine through the freshest ingredients. Given the location of Malaga on the Mediterranean coast, it came as no surprise that there were plenty of sea food vendors.

I left the mercado and visited a well stocked art supply store called Iberia Art to pick up some material for me and the family. From there I wandered on foot for several hours with my camera. It’s been a while since I have found myself on my own with a few hours and no itinerary or agenda in a city to follow whatever path that I desire.

From my perspective as a visitor, Malaga has what looks like extensive bicycle infrastructure. I didn’t get any photos of the many bike lanes I saw throughout the city, but there were a lot. Most were separated from the main roadway and look safe and easy to use! Most surprising to me was the DHL delivery e-trike.

This was a worthwhile trip, and was a great appetite builder to come back and see more parts of Malaga. As my ability to speak and understand Spanish continues to improve I’m hoping to get back and see more of the cultural and historical sites in this city which was founded by the Phoenicians, thrived under Roman rule, was a vital piece of Al-Andalus, grew as an important coastal city in modern Spain, and now is a my hub and launchpad for travel throughout the rest of Spain and further afield.