A visit to Malaga Spain
We were onboard the Norwegian Cruise Lines Epic on a repositioning cruise from Port Canaveral, FL to Barcelona with various stops along the way - the fourth stop being Malaga.
Malaga is 4,597.5 sea miles from Port Canaveral and 141.5 sea miles from Cadiz. It is a municipality, capital of the Province of Málaga, in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain. With a population of 571,026 in 2018, it is the second-most populous city of Andalusia and the sixth-largest in Spain. The southernmost large city in Europe, it lies on the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) of the Mediterranean, about 100 kilometres (62.14 miles) east of the Strait of Gibraltar and about 130 km (80.78 mi) north of Africa.
If you have never been to Malaga & either you are planning a trip there, or you just want to know more about it, here are some good sources of information;
This was day 13 of our transatlantic cruise on the Norwegian Epic. The ship arrived in Malaga harbor at 7AM, and as this city was one that I had visited numerous times while serving in the Navy, our initial game plan was to visit the Castle of Gibralfaro and then the Alcazaba.
Once the Epic was in position at it's pier and the passengers were allowed to go ashore, we set out for the Castle of Gibralfaro.
As we were walking down the pier towards Malaga, we heard the Epic sound it's emergency horn signal (7 short blasts and 1 long). We found out later that it was a practice drill, but initially we were a bit worried about whether there was a real emergency or not! Imagine being ashore in Spain and your passports and all of your clothes are destroyed for some reason ! These were the kind of thoughts that came to mind when we heard the emergency horn.
Gibralfaro is approximately 2 kilometers from where the Epic was located, and the walk there takes you through El Parque de Malaga. It is nearly impossible to get lost, because the Gibralfaro sits high above the park and the path up to the castle starts near the Calle Gullen Sotelo which is located about two blocks north of the park. All of this means is that the trail and the Gibralfaro are always in your sight.
Did I mention that the weather this day was gorgeous, warm, not a cloud in the sky - but - it was getting warmer by the minute!
There is our goal; the Castillo Gibralfaro is at the center right, and the Alcazaba is just to the left and below it. You can't quite make out the walking trail up to the top, but you can get an idea of how steep it must have been.
All of the documentation online claim that Mount Gibralfaro is but 130 meters (430 feet) in height and it is obviously not the highest point in Malaga. But that trail to the top is such a continously steep trail, it makes the height seem much higher!
The trail up to Gibralfaro is steep, continously steep such that I should warn you that if you are not in good physical condition, do not attempt this trail! It was hot, and we found ourselves pausing under shady trees frequently!
However on the plus side, the views of Malaga below us, and the views of the Harbor, were beautiful.
I have visited Gibralfaro a number of times while in the Navy, and distinctly remember making this hike up to Gibralfaro several times, but it was far less difficult at that age than my current age!
Once we reached the top of the trail and began to explore the Castillo Gibralfaro, the views were stunning and it was clear that the purpose of this castle was to protect the harbor below.
After completing our exploration of Castillo Gibralfaro, we hiked back down the trail we had ascended with the intention of exploring the Alcazaba.
As the day was getting increasingly warmer, and we were already pretty tired from the walk up Mount Gibralfaro and then down again, we had not considered how to get to the Alcazaba entrance. So we first went in the wrong direction, only to find that it became a dead-end. So we retraced our steps back along the Alcazaba walls toward Castillo Gibralfaro, and went through a tunnel which brought us around to the other side of the fortress where we could finally see the Alcazaba entrance.
After we completed our look around the Alcazaba, we decided to walk about Malaga and try to locate the Picasso Museum. This was not what you might call a "large" museum, but they do have two floors of various works by Picasso, including paintings, drawings and ceramic sculptures. It should be noted that Picasso was born in Malaga, so there is a fair amount of reverence for him around the city.
After the museum exploration, we decided that it was time for lunch. We walked over to the Calle Granada and read the menu at D'Platos. This was essentially a tapas restaurant, but we were able to snag outside seating and enjoyed a couple of adult beverages with our tapas.
After lunch, we walked around downtown Malaga just to explore the city in more depth. Most of the areas we walked through were "pedestrian only", and as all the shops were open, we did a bit of window shopping.
After strolling back to the area nearest the harbor, we decided that it was time to head back to the Epic, but to do so via a slighly different route. We entered the Parque de Malaga from it's western end, and headed over to the beach nearest the cruise port. The beach was crowded because it was such a beautiful day, many families and children having a lot of fun - but not many people were in the water?
All passengers were required to be back on the ship by 6:00PM, so we concluded our beach exploration/stroll and walked back down the pier to get back to the ship's location and have dinner onboard.
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