I arrived in Malaga on Sunday, 3 June, by plane from London. I was able to use my British Airways points for my flight from the U.S. to London (and was stuck in a middle seat in coach, which was not the most comfortable 8 hours), then from London to Malaga (first class!), and it cost me only 45,000 points and another $240!! Best deal I’ve ever come across! My expectations for the first class flight were perhaps a bit too high though, because despite having the entire row to myself, in terms of space and comfort, the plane itself was quite similar to flying Southwest domestically; seats had a 3-3-3 configuration and little leg room. Only difference is each row was limited to 2 people by placing an immovable tray in the middle seat. Sadly, for me, this meant I couldn’t stretch out in the entire row. But, there were definite upsides, especially: (1) use of the BA lounge at Heathrow (free champagne! I didn’t take advantage of the food because I was still stuffed from the huge veggie burger and fries Sarah and I enjoyed), & (2) the meal. I wasn’t super hungry but decided to eat and so glad I did, because by the time I arrived to my apartment it was a bit past 9pm and everything was closed!
Because of jet lag I found myself waking up at 2am most mornings, which made my first day of classes at the Malaca Institute a bit tough. Despite having studied Spanish for years (and spending a semester abroad in Chile), I used Spanish so little in the past 6 years I found myself struggling with basic vocabulary, verb conjugation, and even maintaining conversations. So I prioritized refreshing my language skills during this period of travel. There are so many options for learning Spanish in Malaga, and I must say that I have been very impressed with the school I chose. Everyone begins on Monday morning with a placement exam. While the exams are being graded, and students assigned to classes, we were taken on a tour of the city center. Then the first day of actual classes began in the afternoon. But I will confess, due to jet lag and having not slept more than a few hours/night for the past three days, I skipped the first afternoon of classes to grocery shop and sleep. My apartment is a bit far from the school, but I quite enjoy the 1:15 hour walk (or, if I leave the apartment too late in the morning, a 15-30 minute walk followed by a short bus ride) from home to school. What I love most about the walk is how peaceful mornings are here. In major cities in the U.S., if you want to be in the city center without people, you better be up by or before sunrise. Here, things are incredibly quiet until 9 AM, so walking around the city center at 7-8 AM permits photos of all the beautiful, historical sites and monuments without any people in my photos. Photos immediately below from my first week walking around the city, showing just how empty things are in the morning in the town squares, as well as photos of some of the most important sites in the city. One of my favorites is in the formerly Jewish neighborhood, where there is a Roman theater dating back to the first century, and on the hill above that, the Alcazaba, a fortress built by the Muslims in the 11th century. And even higher up the hill is the Gibalfaro Castle, dating from the 14th century, offering stunning views of the city.
The first museum I toured was the Museo de Vino- Wine Museum. So you can see where my priorities are 🙂 I finished the first week by enjoying the beach and one of the dishes Málaga is most known for- grilled sardines (despite keeping a pretty strict plant-based diet in the U.S., I still love seafood and don’t plan to spend all my time abroad skipping food integral to a culture… though my adventurousness stops at jámon and other meat- nope, sorry Spain). Oh, and the grilled sardines were only so-so, not nearly as tasty as I had hoped.
The street art in Málaga is spectacular.
I still have one more week to enjoy this beautiful city. But this post is already quite long, and I’ve made it to the majority of tourist sites (except the Picasso museum, which is on my list for later today!), so going to post now and if a Málaga pt.2 post is appropriate, I’ll follow up. Otherwise, my next post will be about my adventures galavanting around other parts of Andalusia!