Welcome to Malaga
Today we woke up next to La Malagueta Beach in Málaga with a spectacular backdrop of the Málaga Mountains. La Malagueta Beach is actually man-made and was created in the 1950s. It’s a popular beach with umbrellas and chairs to rent and a Spanish restaurant that has a large outdoor charcoal grill where they cook their seafood in front of you – talk about heightening of the senses as you walk nearby!
We made sure to have pastries and coffee delivered to the cabin today so we could eat before we headed out for another excursion. If you have the Fantastica package with your MSC Cruises booking you can choose to have coffee/tea, fruit juices and pastries delivered free of charge any morning to your cabin – a nice addition if you want the maximum time in bed before your port day! We were booked for another short city tour and we were looking forward to it after the great experience yesterday. Again we were seated on bus 10 with a language split between German and English.
On our drive through the city, our guide pointed out several beautiful buildings such as the Bank of Spain, the City Hall as well as beautiful Málaga Park lined with horse carriages and, Palm Promenade which runs the length of the harbour and offers a great walkway.
The nearby streets of pastry shops, cafes, restaurants and tourist attractions are close together, like the Roman Theatre, the Picasso Museum and Málaga Cathedral. They are all within walking distance from the port and mostly flat. However, for the next part of our journey, we were thankful for our air-conditioned coach; we were headed up to Alcazaba of Málaga which sits partway up the steep mountain. The drive to the fortified Moorish city was beautiful, there are many nice houses here and the view was great as we slowly navigated the winding roads.
The Alcazaba (from the word Casbah meaning a citadel) of Málaga is a 10th-century walled city which in its day, was also home to 4000 people. Its location on the hilltop means it has wonderful views of the city and coast as you walk around the stepped outer wall. The grounds are well-kept with gardens that feature myrtle and olive trees as you would expect any site with Roman history to have. There is also a small room with various artefacts at the entrance so you can get an idea of the kind of history the ancient ruins have.
Afterwards, our coach took us back down to the mountain and to the narrow streets of the old city. There is a Roman Theatre right in the middle of the city that you can actually walk around.
Exploring the city
From here we left the coach and we had already made plans, so we left the tour and headed via a small road of shops with bakeries selling fresh sweet and savoury pastries. Sampling some, we carried on towards the port.
Málaga has a great waterfront packed with restaurants and shops. If you’re looking for a bite to eat like we were, you’ll find plenty of tapas restaurants but also Indian, Thai, American and more. We picked the obvious choice of Spanish cuisine and ordered a range of tapas to share with a cold coke and fresh orange juice. The restaurant was packed and the food was delicious but had we been pressed for time to get back to the ship, the sleepy service could have been an issue! Alas, that is the Spanish way. In fact, our tour guide earlier told us the only thing that runs on time in Spain is the bullfighting!
We got back on the ship and set up to film the sailaway whilst finishing off the blog. The sailaway from Málaga was the best we’d had yet; we were in a position to sail straight out into the horizon and had a full panoramic view of the port, beach and mountains – we have a great video which we’ll put up on our return. There were a few tables of people sitting out on the terrace with us but it still seems to be a bit of a hidden gem. We got plates of Spanish-inspired food from our favourite buffet (can you guess the name, we’ve mentioned it once or twice?) and got on with our editing in the evening sun. Tonight’s Mediterranean weather of 18 degrees and warm breeze meant everyone on the deck stuck around for the sunset over the Spanish Coast sipping their wine and cocktails.
The sun had almost gone down when we noticed the iconic silhouette of Gibraltar off the starboard side in the distance. We headed up to the top deck and sure enough, we were able to see the coast of Morroco on the other side with enough light for a few snaps. As the Strait of Gibraltar is so narrow we quickly became surrounded by other ships traversing the same route in both directions. From car carriers and container ships to tankers and other cruise ships – it was like a motorway version of the sea all of a sudden.
After the sunset and we had finished working we headed down to Deck 7 and to the L’Ametista Lounge. Enroute we noticed tonight was White Night onboard MSC Magnifica, unfortunately, we had been too busy to attend it, but it looked great.
Tonight’s performance was a magician/entertainer called Tom Crosbie “The Performing Nerd”. We decided to get a seat at the bar and order one of the many Aperol Spritz variations and a Bacardi and coke. He had already started his routine as we entered and we were greeted by a large audience very obviously enjoying the show. He started off some mind-boggling card tricks and had us all laughing as he did it. Then he moved on to some Rubix cube tricks. He was able to solve it every way imaginable – even behind his back with one hand? Yes! There was some good audience participation when he had us try some hand-eye coordination tricks that are always harder than they look. The whole performance was around 50 minutes and was great – additional unplanned laughs came from he went to the bar at the end and noticed his outfit by accident was the same as all the bartenders, with one of them quipping “Hey, who’s the new guy?” when they saw him setting up his tricks earlier!
Afterwards, we headed to bed via a stroll of the outer Deck 6. You can walk fully around the ship, which is really nice and the decks are extremely wide too. We’ll get some photos in the daylight for you. Our bed was calling now and we are certainly ready for a nice lie-in, as tomorrow we have a full day at sea before arriving at La Coruna in Spain the day after!
Update: Our video from Malaga!
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