Annette and I took had a Girls’ Day Out – sans kid and man – to Malaga today. We spent preciously little time there between the 1 hour drive one way and the grocery shopping and me wanting to be back in the afternoon so I can do something with Max and Uli can relax but was fun anyway – a reminder how life used to be, before Max came along and made leisurely strolls through the city, with even more leisurely lunches in a little café and an undisturbed hour in an Internet Café to upload the blog and read the email impossible.
I caught myself glancing around for kid-worthy activities only to remind myself that the little plaza there with all the pigeons can be blissfully ignored today, because neither Annette nor I feel particularly like chasing pigeons. I also do not have to look out for little walls to climb and balance on or keep an eye out for dog poo on the ground which seems to magically attract Max. Best of all: we could actually choose a café of our liking and the question whether they serve patatas fritas or a similar kid-friendly dish never even entered our minds.
I like Malaga; it is much bigger than I thought it would be. I had anticipated something along the lines of Konstanz, 70,000 people or so a bunch of them in the burbs but Malaga is almost 10 times that big. It has suburbs alright and I sure wouldn’t want to live there in one of those high-rise buildings but the city itself is nice with lots of old houses with nice facades, narrow little streets (so narrow that one can’t get a decent shot of the nice facades), broad streets with stores and Cafes and – like any self-respecting European city – a church around every corner.
I defy the stereotype of the typical German tourist who runs around hitting every cultural highlight with a scholarly Dumont travel guide in hand inspecting every painting, carving, mural, fresco in every church, chapel, on every fountain or building of any historic value. Especially when visiting a place for the first time I’d much rather walk around, soak in the look and feel of the place, browse a book store, look at the shops and menus and how people are dressed. I also defy the stereotype of the American tourist who walks around – in Tevas and shorts – mind you it is sort of warm but the locals still wear boots and coats – with the “Rough Guide” or “Lonely Planet” in hand desperately trying to find that one restaurant, bar, hotel that some American travel guide writer praises because of its pancakes, authentic burgers or large cervezas. I guess I just sort of slipped into hyperbole again – can’t seem to help myself.
This might sound shallow but the most noteworthy place wasn’t the Picasso museum (too long a queue for us to bother) or the cathedral (where you have to pay to go in and so I decided to wait and see whether I could slip in tomorrow, Sunday, with the faithful) but a place called Sampaka, a chocolate store. I love chocolate, dark, light, filled, pure, for breakfast, lunch or dinner, with tea, wine, roast-beef, sushi, summer, winter, rain or shine and this was about the best damn chocolate I ever ate. I had a small piece of dark chocolate – crunchy on the outside with a soft fluffy yet substantial center – that tasted of lemon – more than a hint but not too much, and not acidy but nicely tart. The word revelation comes to mind – at least to mine – and I had to round the corner quickly to not give into the temptation to buy another piece or fifteen and sit down in the middle of the street and eat them all while entering a higher level of consciousness. I purchased a dark bergamotte flavored bar – and it took considerable strength to put it in my bag and take it home so it can serve as the dessert of our Easter dinner tomorrow. I protected it well, shielding it from the sun and such and it looks perfect and I can’t wait for that dinner to be over so I can open it. I’ll have to go back to Malaga and see the Picasso exhibit and the cathedral and – if luck has it – I might just happen upon Sampaka again.
Tomorrow is Easter Sunday which seems to be surprisingly low key here compared to all the hustle bustle of Semana Santa. There is a resurrection procession going on in Malaga which we will try and catch a glimpse of and I am sure everybody will head to church dressed in their Sunday best (but us) and everybody will eat fancy food but I don’t expected any more pointy-hooded figures walking the streets. Too bad, really, it added a lot of color, surprise and intrigue to our strolls. Anyway, we are going to go back to Malaga and meet up with Sabine who has been living there for, well, a number of years and so maybe, if I am lucky she not only knows a great place to watch whatever resurrection spectacle is going to be performed but knows of more places to buy spectacular chocolate.
I should really make this Girls’ Day Out thing a regular occurrence.