Monday, May 2, 2011

Jamon, Jamon - Malaga

Niche with Santa Maria and flowers found in a side street, Malaga.

Painting by Andy Hope 130 in the Museum of Contemporary art, Malaga (hard to find, but worth the effort!)

Installation and part of the Retrospective Exhibition of Sylvie Fleur at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Malaga

The Cathedral as viewed from the Plaza at night Time (including sea gulls)

Malaga view from the Alcazabar Look out (towards the Bull Ring, one of only a couple authentic rings in Spain)

The rear of the cathedral, at day time

A wonderful Dali-esque addition to the streetscape during the building's renovations

At the last minute, I decided to change plans and leave the residency a day earlier and spend an extra night in Malaga. What a place!

I stayed in the Don Curro Hotel, and could not have chosen better as it was in the best part of the old city, a stroll to the “Catedral” that dominates the city and presides over a very lively plaza (best at night); a short walk to the Alcazabar (if this isn’t a rival to Alahmbra, then I can’t wait to go to Granada – It’s amazing); the Contemporary art museum, the Picasso Museum and his place of birth (the last being the only site I didn’t visit); and, as it turned out bus stations from other cities and to the airport. Although this decision involved a 7 hour trip along the coast instead of a three hour drive in the interior roads (I am still too scared to drive) the day was a really pleasant experience, as well as a test of my understanding of Spanish.

However, a word of warning. The cab driver who took me from the bus stop to the hotel failed to give me the change from a 5Euro (cost was about 3.5E) Oh well, he’s a cabbie… I bought a bottle of water – and the kiosk guy “accidentally” gave me a one and a two Euro as change instead of two 2Euro coins. I asked for the correct amount. And even at the Picasso Museum, the clerk there “accidentally” gave me change of a 10 instead of a 20 and didn’t blink and eye when I picked her up for it. Three for three transactions in the first day - always check your change!

Meeting an interesting French man in the Picasso Museum, whose Spanish was perfect (he was on holiday from working in Granada) was fortuitous, as it meant I could eat something more than “Jamon Bocadillos” (Ham sandwiches) as the menus still baffle me (despite studiously looking up the words I don’t know upon returning from eating anywhere). We enjoyed some great Spanish “Vino Rojas” and Tapas and interesting travel and life stories, before parting company way too late (he is on Spanish time and I must have had a second wind, because I couldn’t believe it was 2am in the morning when I had arisen at 7:30 am).

The next day was raining, but I still managed to find and see a great exhibition at the Muesum de Contemporary Artes by Silvie Fleury; as well as a retrospective of Andy Hope 130’s “Robin Doestoyevsky” (where Batman’s offsider takes a turn as the hero and dons a cape that often borders on historically feminine costume); and part of the Contemporary Art Museum’s permanent collection, which contains a number of Andy Warhol serigraphs and Louise Bourgoise Sculptures, as well as generally very high standard works by other artists. The area must have had some rich patrons in the past.

The rain continued, and so did I, happening upon the Thyssen Museum and deciding it’s welcoming, warm interior was worth the 6Euro admission price. The Museum contains a collection of Spanish artists of the Romantic and Impressionist style and apart from one or two, and a Zurburan in the Great Masters wing (most of the other works were by “anonymous”, so I am not sure about the selection of the name, here) the works were pretty second rate. However, it was interesting to see the rendition of traditional costumes and “daily Life” of the Spanish, a few centuries ago.

After a Menu de Dia (thank goodness for these) of Fish soup and Sardine salad, I took advantage of the siesta and a reviving 90 minute kip, so I finally managed to see the interior of the Alcazabar. I then saw the temporary exhibition of Kippenberger at the Picasso Museum. It was worth the long day required and I am now a fan of this German painter who died way too early (only a few years older than me!)

A read of my book back at the hotel and I sauntered off to a local eatery, deliberately chosen because the only language I could hear was Spanish – bound to be good! Well, the Jamon Bocadillo was actually nice and the red wine (“I’ll have what they’re having”) also good. Still an indecipherable menu!

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