Showing posts with label Malaga. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Malaga. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

TPThursday: When Life’s a Beach. . .

As our summer days come to an end and autumn promises cloudy, cool – and damp – days in the Pacific Northwest, we start daydreaming about sun and sand.  Beaches beacon. Memories of some of our favorite beaches are the topic of today’s post.


Malaga, Spain’s  Costa del Sol: A Sunday morning stroll last November on the beach included a stop to inspect this new-to-us way of fishing. Tall poles were inserted in the sand and the line (barely glimmering in the sunlight) stretched out into the sea – so high you could walk under them.


Ko Olina, O’ahu, Hawaii:  We’ve spent the month of January ‘living’ at Ko Olina the last couple of years thanks to taking a plunge into the ‘timeshare’ world.  This is one of our favorite spots at this development on O’ahu’s western shores, some 30 minutes from Honolulu.

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Copalis Beach, Washington State:  Now you might think this photo, taken last March, is of a cloudy beach, but in this part of the world we have ourselves believing this is ‘filtered sun’.

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Cabo San Lucas, Mexico:  A Carnival Cruise stop introduced us to the beauty of the beaches in this part of Mexico last April.

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Riviera Nayarit, Mexico:  As much as we enjoyed our quick visit to Cabo, it was the week spent at Rancho Banderas, just north of Puerto Vallarta where our place overlooked this beautiful – and little used – beach.

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Victoria, British Columbia, Canada:  While images of beaches may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of this city on the tip of Vancouver Island, all you need do is walk a view blocks from the Inner Harbor and you’ll find them.  Well-maintained trails lead from the roadway overlooking them to the cove beaches below.

How about you?  Has life been a beach this year?

This is post links to Budget Traveler's Sandbox weekly feature, Travel Photo Thursday.  Head over there for more photos.  Hope you’ll stop by again as we tell you of our continuing adventures in Italy this month.  You can subscribe at TravelnWrite or follow along on our Facebook page

Thursday, February 16, 2012

TP Thursday: The Train in Spain

We have limited options for train travel in the Pacific Northwest so we savor the experience when we are in Europe. In November, we traveled in Spain by train:


We first hopped aboard in Osuna, the town I’ve written about in earlier posts – Land of the Olives.  We loved its small station, opened in 1874. The agent who manned the ticket window also had the only desk job. Prior to each  train’s arrival, though, he’d put on his uniform’s cap and head to the station’s platform to manually adjusted the large levers that set the tracks in the correct position.

DSCF1696 From that history-laden platform, we caught a regional, regionales, train - similar to this one - that delivered us to Malaga. Two tickets cost 22.40-euro, or about $31US.  We purchased them the day we traveled.

After spending a week on the Costa del Sol, we returned to Malaga’s station to catch a long-distance train that would take us north through central Spain, hurtling us as speeds reaching 300 kilometers an hour through Andalusia and its neighboring Castilla-La Mancha region to Madrid.

DSCF1908In stark contrast to Osuna, Malaga’s train station is an enormous – think international airport size – modern facility.

DSCF1911The trains are equally as modern . . .and large; very large. Renfe is the national train service that runs most of Spain’s trains.

We walked past the engine pictured above to get to our car, half way down the length of the train. Note how far behind me the train stretches back to this engine.

The cost of our two AVE (the high speed train) tickets, which we purchased before leaving home and printed out on our computer (Malaga to Barcelona), was 316-euro, or $433US.

We would  have paid less to fly; it would certainly have been faster, but for us, the trip is as much about the journey as the destination and had we flown we would have missed scenes such as these:


One of Spain’s “White Towns” – loved the castle on the hill to the left.


Spectacular vistas stretched for miles in every direction. . .

DSCF1933At Madrid’s Atocha Station we connected with the train that would  take us to our final destination, Barcelona, on the northeast coast.

Again we had a slide show of Catalonian towns through the power lines that often line the tracks. 


Trains are a ticket to adventure for us. Got any suggestions for our next train trip?

Today is Travel Photo Thursday so be sure to visit, Budget Travelers Sandbox for more photos and destination temptations.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

TP Thursday: Malaga–Anything to See There?

“But is there anything to see there? we are often asked about places we have been.

To our way of thinking, everything is to see there. And some of  most spectacular aren’t on a tourist map nor do they require entry fees.

Such was the case in Malaga, a city of more than a half million people and birthplace of Pablo Picasso, on Spain’s Costa del Sol.

All we knew about its Ayunamiento, or Town Hall, was that a bus stop we were looking for was near it and that it was located in the shadow of the towering tourist attraction, the Alcazaba (which means Citadel in Arabic).

When we reached the building constructed in the early 1900’s, its Neo Baroque exterior stopped us in our tracks with its beauty.


With such a stunning exterior we had to see the interior. . .

All visitors pass through a security screening/bag check.  When the security guard asked our destination, we responded, ‘Estamos touristas ~ solo veyamos’ (‘We are tourists – we are only looking’) with me pointing to my ever-present camera to emphasize the point.

And then we were greeted by the most magnificent sight:


The marble stairway leading to the building’s second floor is bordered by stained glass windows depicting scenes of the city’s history from its founding by the Phoenicians to the entry of Felipe IV. We’ve since learned they were made by the Parisian glass studio of Maumejean.


We missed the second-floor Hall of Mirrors, a room so beautiful that it is often rented for civil weddings because we didn’t know it was there until after I did some research for this post.


Even without the Hall of Mirrors, the building’s interior was stunning. Paintings – the fine art type – turned our stroll on the second floor hallway into a gallery tour. We perused a hallway lined with the framed portraits of all Malaga’s mayors.

And I can tell you it is the only City Hall I’ve ever visited that offers a bidet next to the toilet in its public restrooms, (or WC’s as they are called there)!

If you Go:  El Ayunamiento is located on Avda. de Cervantes, phone number 34 952 135 000, website (in Spanish)   Although we had no difficulty entering the building and exploring the hallways on our own, I noticed at least one web site advises getting permission to visit in advance by writing

For more photos from around the world, head to Budget Traveler's Sandbox, the creator of TPThursday.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Malagan Madness

Or, sometimes the best laid plans fail. . . and snaps become snafus. . .

The Snap
Those of you following along on our Spanish travels last heard from us saying we were off to meet friends who were flying to Malaga then drive to our current location, Marriott’s Marbella Vacation Club.

Sounded pretty simple when I wrote it. . .but as we’ve learned with travel, not every experience is what we think it will be.

The plans were determined weeks ago:  we’d meet at the Avis Rental Car counter in the Malaga airport after they had collected their bags.  We’d gone so far to find a map of the airport on line and located the rental counter – before leaving Kirkland.

A friend in Kirkland had flown into the airport a couple years ago and told us it had been a snap. So. . .
. . .we spent the night in Malaga and caught the high speed Metro train out to the airport. A snap.

The Snafu
The Avis rental car counter we were first told was downstairs in the secure arrivals area - a place accessed only by those with airline boarding passes; then we were told it was in the garage area with the cars.  Our friends’ flight was a bit delayed so we decided to wait outside the secure arrival gate and catch them as they came through and all four would find the rental car.

Their side of the story is that just before that gate where we were waiting (and where we'd been told every arriving passenger walks through,  there was a huge sign saying “Go no further, rental cars downstairs” so we waited outside the gate and they waited downstairs. And we waited. . .and waited.

Finally I dug out the directions for using our cell phone and successfully used my Seattle Verizon phone (which was programmed to make international calls) to call an English cell phone from Spain.  Our friends answered and said they were at the rental car kiosk – but we thought they were at the one in the garage. . .Avis was the last rental car agency in the garage so think of a couple of football fields to access it.  As we set off to where we thought they were, we chatted again by phone.

And then the phone quit working.  I would dial their number and the phone showed, “No Access Emergency Calls Only”.  They could call us, but got voice mail.  We were still football fields apart.

Joel rented the car and began putting our bags in it only to realize it was too small for our bags, let alone for two more people and their bags. 

Thus began an hour of switching cars, and setting off in search of our friends (this is a large airport with three terminals); they’d decided to search for us and we had the Avis counter clerk on alert for ‘friends’.  Our friend got to the counter we’d been at minutes after we set off searching for him. . .it was just luck that we saw each other across the crowded garage as he was returning to his starting point.

A few hours later than planned we set off in our larger car. . .well, make that truck.  (We’ve seen several bread and laundry delivery vans that look just like us):

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Going cruising with “Connie”

Now that we’ve finished the Southwest road trip, our suitcases are in the early stages of repacking for our upcoming fall adventure . . .

Ambles through Andalucia

We’ll fly from Seattle to Spain’s interior, beginning our trip in Sevilla, departure gate to the New World a half dozen centuries ago - the perfect place to delve into both culture and history. After a few days poking around the city,we’ll hop a train out into Seville province's countryside to spend a few days in Osuna, population 18,000. Then we head south to see the mark of 20th Century tourism and the Costa del Sol.  In the port town of Malaga we’ll meet friends, pick up a rental car and head out for the trendy, touristy Marbella on Spain’s Costa del Sol

A week later a train will take us north from Andalucia to Catalunya, where we will have a couple of days to explore Barcelona.  We’ve been here before, but always on a cruise ship stop that allowed only a few hours exploration, this time we’ll have plenty of time to ramble through its Barri Gotic and Las Ramblas and to ponder Gaude's architectural handiwork before we meet:

‘Connie’. . .

. . .  the cruise ship that will be our floating home for the two weeks it will take to reach the United States.

We are already thinking of the ship as ‘Connie’, the nickname given her by her former passengers/admirers. Formally, she’s Celebrity Cruise LinesConstellation, a 965-foot long (think 2.5 football fields) luxury liner.

Our 13-night cruise will take us from Barcelona, Spain to Fort Lauderdale, Florida; with stops in Alicante and Malaga, Spain; then after passing through The Pillars of Hercules, we’ll be off to Funchal, Madeira, and Tenerife, in the Canary Islands followed by seven ‘sea days’ as we  cross the southern Atlantic.

Map picture

We’re sold on repositioning cruises for a number of reasons: they are a good travel value, and they provide a mix of ports of call and plenty of ‘sea days’ to kick back, relax and enjoy all the ship has to offer.

We had such a great first time experience with Celebrity on their Solstice transatlantic crossing last spring going to Barcelona, that our expectations for Connie are high.  As we did on the Solstice cruise we will tell you about ship board life and introduce you to folks we meet along the way.

Note:  We’ve listed a number of agencies and websites that we’ve used to nab some incredibly good cruise fares on our TravelnWrite Deal Finder page.  It isn't too early to think about spring repositioning cruises. Some, like the transatlantic crossings, can take a couple weeks.  Others, like one we took from Vancouver, B.C. to Seattle, was a one-night 'crossing' and made for a fun Pacific Northwest getaway.

Back to Spain and our cruise: Do you have recommendations for us?  Restaurants? Flamenco shows? Tapas bars?  Send your tips by email or leave a comment.  And what about ‘Connie’ – are you a member of her fan club?  I'll compile your responses in a future post.


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