It’s the the southernmost large city in Europe, with a population of more than half a million making it the sixth largest in Spain – Málaga is where we headed.
Parking our motorhome in the car park at Plaza Mayor near the airport, we took the train – which was fun, clean, efficient and cheaper than trains in the UK for the equivalent distance.
Málaga was buzzing for Semana Santa (Holy Week), an awe-inspiring procession that’s been a tradition since the 15th Century. Málaga itself is a very good-looking city with many fine old buildings and traffic-free areas, some narrow old streets and some wide grand tree-lined avenues. People were lunching outside, people were waiting at the edge of the streets for the processions that were due in a few hours, and people were happy.
Excellent musicians busked, and a couple of other interesting characters broke down the rules and tried different tactics to raise money…
We headed first to the Picasso Museum, housed down a lovely narrow street (the one with the big-nosed pirate and embracing men, above) and here to celebrate the fact that the great artist was born in the city in 1881.
Sadly, no photographs were allowed inside (it was the rules – and we know you thought this was one of the revered artist’s creations above, but in fact our son Daniel, aged five, was inspired to draw some of his own art, without our guidance, and we think it’s mighty fine. Watch out Damien Hirst, there’s another slightly different D Hurst on the block now!).
Daniel’s little brother Darley, aged three, kept going on about “camels” and it was only after a while we realised he meant the many female nudes Picasso painted…! Darley does love animals.
Málaga celebrates Picasso proudly, and consequently it felt an arty place, a city that welcomes artists: here art and artists matter.
Next, we wandered to the 14th Century Gibralfaro castle with its amazing views from 130 metres high. Then we wandered back down to town for some tasty tapas.
And then it was time to see some of the Semana Santa show. It’s an annual week of huge processions, a Catholic commemoration of the final period in the life of Jesus, covering his visit to Jerusalem and leading to the crucifixion. It’s seen on the streets of almost every Spanish city and town during the last week of Lent.
The other main sight you see is the magnificent “thrones” depicting scenes related to the last days of Christ. Some are so massive they need hundreds to carry them, every slow step accompanied by sombre loud drumming.