I love the logic of airports…. And how Brussels airlines are, well, so Belgium with their adorable security video and being late all the time…
The the flight from Warsaw to Brussels was pretty uneventful, owing mostly to the fact that well it was still night and I craved sleep. However, with the bad weather we left late and also had to get into one of those holding patterns when we got to Brussels because of the weather. On the plus side, I met the most irritatingly stereotypical yet fascinating French man I know.
Snooty accent? Check
Total disregard for other nationalities? Check
Moustache and stubble? Yes
Did we speak? Well, it was more just an exchange of grunts and looks. This could have been love (as in married couple fast forwarded 40 years where their primary means of communication was spite).
My flight to Malaga from Brussels was a little strange, I shall no lie. I sat next to a Belgium couple and for some reason I decided to say something in Flemish apparently (Hallo, goemorigen) and the lovely older gentleman proceeded to speak to me throughout the flight in Flemish…. (It seemed as though they were glad they weren’t sat next to some foreigner) I didn’t want to disappoint the kind gentleman so I nodded along, smiled, looked little things up in the dictionary (screenshot) throughout the entire flight… until the last forty minutes when he asked me (I think) where in Belgium I was from. It was at this point I told myself that the charade had gone on long enough and explained that I was actually an Australian living in Poland… and that I didn’t speak Flemish.
It was at this point that he pointed to his wife and said neither had she before they’d got married! So for the next 40 minutes or so we conversed in a mixture of Flemish, English and French, sharing stories and jokes (badly translated naturally). They offered their granddaughter if I were ever looking to be married, to which point I said that she must be a bit too young for me. Contrary to fact, their son was 55! Once we parted it was as if this man had become my favorite uncle, and she my oddly Gaullist auntie.
Once we landed I was in my game – that is, getting lost and pretending I know what I’m doing. Found the train station. Easily, and the confidence was just oozing out. This was quite adamant due to the fact that I was soon approached by random English people started asking if I could help them buy tickets for the train (apparently I speak English well for a foreigner…). And so I made use of my three years of Spanish (gracias Profesor Luis) and procured their tickets, directed them to the (hopefully correct) track, and was on my way to the BnB. Naturally, I had to grab a beer to soothe my traveling feet 🙂
My goal for the trip was not to use English at all when I needed to get something from the locals… and I can see that five odd years of not using it has impeded certain areas of my Spanish…. Which means I had to be creative 😉
I walked around, got a bit lost as I insist on not using google maps (went in the wrong direction completely, which compelled me to get a map… unsuccessfully). Walked around a lot of the city, stopping now and again to refill on sangria or cañas (small beer often served with olives). I ended the day quite early as barely any sensible sleep the night before had turned me into a slightly amoebic state. Case in point, I was so tired that I didn’t register that I ordered a plate of fried anchovies from the lovely waitress….. not wanting to disappoint her in any way, I ate the whole damn plate. Thing is, I abhor anchovies -_-.
However, truth be told, it was a little cold in my apartment and when I decided around midnight to turn what I though was a space heater…. Which of course the Andalusians had never heard, because it turned out to be a fan blasting out arctic temperatures all over the room. I quickly got my wits about me and Amundsen up my attire, turned off the Ice-Wind-Maker 3000 and tried to get some shit eye, hoping that the icicles would melt by the morning.
Day two. Ah yes, this was my ambitious day. I got up bright and early (my Spanish was not so great first thing in the morning, I responded to questions that did exist apparently, and mixed up married with tired. Don’t ask) as today I was going to see as much as possible in the morning so that the afternoon I could bathe in the sun doing nothing else that people watch 🙂 Even though it was only 8 degrees outside I said said no to the sweater, donned my shirt and backpack, and proceeded to amaze everyone on the street with my nipples until the sun came out. It was a teensy but chilly, I will admit.
My first port of call was Castillo de Gibralfaro – a gorgeous Moor-era fortress, from which you can see the entirety of Malaga and nothing but see across the way (check out the photos naturally). He place is usually free after 2pm on Sundays to get in, however, avoiding the droves of people that will plague the area by that time, it’s well worth just spending the 3.55 Euros for the Castle and the citadel (Alcanzaba). I spent hours walking around the fortress (which is up a steep hill, but seeing as I’ve conquered Adam’s Peak… I did not heed the warnings of “comfortable shoes,” regrettably). Afterwards I went down to Alcanzaba – the citadel. These two were once connected internally, many years ago, however at present, you have to go round to get to the entrance (and I suggest you to the Castillo first and Alcanzaba, it’s just nicer). The citadel is gorgeous, with explanations on how everything was built hanging around (in Spanish, though you can grab a pamphlet from the information desk – I preferred to suffer a tad and use my Spanish:)). A quick coffee to recharge my batteries and then, off to see that little abodethat Picasso grew up in. I think.
Malaga is just filled with these dazzling little side streets that you just can’t help going down – it’s like this amazing labyrinth of cafes, shops, musicians and street art that before you know it, you have no idea where you are (I was forced to use google maps… twice, then ask the locals, many times. How on earth do I still have both my kidneys?).
After spending some time just walking around, I decided it was time for a drink (it was literally afternoon, I deserved it, no matter what you say!). As luck would have it, at the square I found a sunny spot, musicians playing jazz manouche in front of me, beer and tapas (Eggplant with honey will become a staple of my diet from now on, it was gorgeous). It truly was an enjoyable few hours of bathing in the sun, beer and a little food 😉 I got up when I saw three older ladies looking for a place to sit down, offered them my table, paid my tab and decided to go off for another wander.
I got to Picasso’s museum, but unfortunately it turned out that there were some kind of renovations going on in the permanent exhibition, so instead there was (once again – on a Sunday free entry) to another artist: Torres. And I must say, having never heard of the man before, but reading his story and looking at his artwork – he wasn’t too shabby. Not my cup of tea, but still, damn interesting.
(We’re currently landing in Brussels – I can already feel that he cool air that will knock me off my feet once I get out of the airport).
After that, I once again just walked around the city taking in the sights, practicing my Spanish (my hola! And Perdón! Are basically at a native level now…) and finding another place to get this story down.
And as for the sunset, I decided to go back up to the castle, specifically from this hotel actually, to let Bambi take in the beautiful sun setting over the hills.
The being I spent in a bar called Pimpi, as well as a few others. And I managed to track down that clarinet player that at the beginning of the day played La Vie en Rose. Had him round off my night on the town with a personal request of it 🙂
After coming back to the apartment, I ended up chatting for a few hours with a lovely graphic designer who lived there. Turns out my Spanish ain’t half bad after a few wines and beers.