There are a number of places to visit inland from Benalmadena. The launch point for these trips is Malaga, which itself had a number of attractions, so on our first full day we took a taxi to the centre of town.
The cathedral bell tower was visible above the shops and we headed there, stopping for a coffee on our way. The cathedral is built on the style of those that have twin towers above a central grand entrance. This cathedral only had the one, so looked to have an arm up waving. There was a reason, but it now escapes me. Inside was most of the usual cast of characters looking particularly harrowed in paintings and sculpture with some a couple of vicious Franciscans exacting retribution left and right. There was also a very odd painting of Mary washing the feet of Jesus, with unnecessary glimpses of exposed flesh and odd goings on in the background. Outside there was access to a smaller separate chapel, with an intimate holy aura and a small garden with hedging and a fountain. In the corner a man played classical guitar.
We turned to see the Picasso Museum and went in to a plain, but beautifully designed building, with a hushed atmosphere conveying a different sort of reverence. The rooms were set round an enclosed courtyard, full of potted bushes. A door of dark wood on either side of opposite corners led into the galleries. It was easy to become bewildered, especially on the upper storey. There was a complete range of Picasso’s work; painting, sculpture, pottery all dominated by a tiny monochrome projection of the man himself drawing with white paint on glass. No question what it was all about. The work was not exhibited chronologically and I found the themes hard to fathom. Most fascinating was a sketchbook displayed in a glass case, but its pages turned on an adjacent screen. There is always a feeling of being taken into the magician’s confidence in a sketchbook. I also rather liked an early portrait of a young woman with one eye saucily come hither and the other staring straight out, blank with boredom, but she was not available on a postcard. We watched a showing of a Martin Scorsese film, linking the Cubist works of Picasso and Braque with early motion pictures. Scorsese held the view that the innovation of film and it’s ability to capture time as well as space challenged and inspired the two artists. I found this riveting, especially thinking about Einstein coming up with his first Relativity theory at the same time. We emerged to find ourselves blinking up at the fort, with a Roman amphitheatre at its feet. It was well past lunchtime, even for Spanish, so we sat outside under red parasols and surveyed our next port of call.
The fort was a mere 2.20 Euros, so we were completely amazed by the extent and beauty of it. Climbing up the initial cobbled slopes we looked up at lush shrubbery and the magenta brilliance of bougainvilleas and across at views over the city. Then we came to battlements enclosing a flat piece of garden, with a fountain fed by symmetrical rills. Following the water higher we uncovered a network with further fountains and cisterns linked by the narrow line of gently running water. We passed through Moorish archways, threading in and out enclosed spaces until we were on the highest ramparts. Malaga with its busy port spread out on three sides, on the fourth more Aladdin archways gave onto two higher courtyards, flanked by symmetrical rooms. The first had matching fountains, just bubbling in shallow saucers and the second a large rectangular pool of green water. There was a further walk out along the walls at a lower level, but it looked dusty and less enticing than what we had seen, so we headed down. The exit turnstile cast a pool of shade in which a white cat lay sleeping, undisturbed by our passing through.
We headed back to the station and were able to sort out the train times to our other hoped for ports of call and to find our way back on a local train.
Wow. What a surprise. How pretty.
I know, we are now excited at the sight of all sorts of plain looking things, some of which turn out to be gorgeous others are just boring.