Malaga is not a popular destination for Chinese tourists. I am very interested in Pablo Picasso, who was born and spent his childhood here, so I put this city in my list to visit. The world known Spanish movie star Antonio Banderas, who starred in Interview with the Vampire, Frida, and many other Almodovar’s films, was also born here. I strongly recommend this city, not only for its fame gained from Picasso, but also for the leisure time and beautiful sunshine here.
I book an apartment in the old town and all main scenic spots can be reached within walking distance. Malaga is not as expensive as metropolis such as Barcelona and Madrid. The apartment I book includes one living room, one bedroom with a king size bed, a bathroom and a kitchen. All kitchenware is available. I share it with my two traveling buddies, 870 rmb per person for three day. My friends and I go to the supermarket nearby and buy fruits, Sangria and instant paella for a slumber party. Small alleys intersect, filled with uniquely-decorated restaurants and exquisite boutiques along them. There is also a main street in the old town, with affordable brands such as Zara and Kiko. You could also buy luxurious brands here, too. Happy hour starts early here, normally from 4pm to 2am. My friends and I buy four glasses of mojito for 10 euros and a tapa mixture for 10 euros. English is not used as commonly as that in Barcelona, so if you could prepare some Spanish sentences for the traveling, it would be very convenient.
Donde está el servicio, por favor?
Where is restroom, please?
La cuenta, por favor.
The bill, please.
How much is that?
Café con leche.
Coffee with milk.
Do not miss café con leche in Spain. It is an important part of local people’s life.
The most magnificent building in Malaga is Catedral de La Encarnacion De Malaga, including a museum in it. The cathedral is a national landmark, famous for its Baroque decoration and the splendid choir area.
Alcazaba de Malaga is another scenic spot you cannot miss. 4 euros for the Castillo de Gibralfaro and 1.5 euros for the peak. You could clearly feel what history has marked here. The bricks and some collapsed walls tell you what the glory and suffering the city has experienced. My friend jokes that 1.5 euros for the peak is difficult to use up, because the way leading to the peak is long and inclined and we are actually climbing up. It is a little exhausted, but it is totally worthwhile when you have an overlook of the whole city from the view deck. A young violinist is playing the theme song of the Game of Throne when we arrive there.
There are two museums about Pablo Picasso here. Museo Casa Natal de Picasso is the one I recommend. Although it is very small, the visitors can understand this art master from a different perspective. Picasso was born in this house and his childhood was happy by the accompaniment of his younger sister, and his parents, uncle and grandpa all dedicated to Picasso’s exploration for the art. Picasso’s father was an expert of still life and animals, who was into painting pigeon. We all know that pigeon is one of the most important themes among Picasso’s paintings. There is no doubt his father was influential on him in this aspect. The Plaza de La Merced almost does not change nowadays, where Picasso often played here and observed pigeons here. Picasso’s father worked as Assistant professor in Malaga’s art institution and professor in Barcelona’s university and friended with many artists at that time, which was also an opportunity to open the door to art world for Picasso. Picasso’s mother was a buff of literature and she was thought to be the spiritual pillar of the family. Picasso’s uncle was a doctor in military, who helped deliver Picasso’s birth. This wealthy and art-fascinated relative sponsored Picasso when he took a career as a painter at young age. The only sad story was that this family lost Picasso’s second younger sister when he was six. Although Picasso was still a child at that time, he was impressed with this tragedy. Picasso named his first daughter after this sister, and some of his paintings representing Picasso’s thoughts about death could be tranced to this life tragedy.
When I visit the birth place of Picasso, I remember a popular saying on internet: a happy person could be cured by his or her happy childhood when encountered with unhappiness. However, an unhappy person has to cure his or her unhappy childhood for the whole life. Picasso was greatly influenced by his family life, in both pleasant and unpleasant ways.