After the gorgeous weather we have enjoyed, it was a bit of a shock to see rain and temperatures in the low 60º's here on the Costa del Sol (Sun Coast). We had a half day city tour in the bus on the schedule with a stop at the Picasso Museum so we were able to dodge some of the worst of it. Picasso was born here, although he spent much of his productive and lengthy life in France, because he boycotted the lengthy rule of Generalissimo Franco, the notorious dictator of Spain. Of course, there is a museum of Picasso's works here, but there are many other art museums as well, even a branch of the Pompidou from Paris. Those who know us know that art museums are wasted on us. We left early the museum and wandered around, enjoying yet another local market loaded with fresh fish and huge, beefy tomatoes, with tons of meat and hardly any juice. Vendors are free with samples; you could easily do as much grazing here as you can at Costco.
Right in the middle of town we saw the ruins of a colossal Roman amphitheater. It would have been less ruined if many of its stones hadn't been used to build a fortress above the town. Known as the one-armed lady (because the second tower was never finished), the Malaga Cathedral dominates the center of the city. Like most Spanish cathedrals, it's huge, with lots of elaborate side altars. Baroque art and decoration dominate, and some of the stained-glass windows are spectacular. Funds for the second tower were sent to the United States to help us gain our independence from Britain. I imagine it was more to poke a finger in England's eye than because they liked us so much. We were wowed by the huge silver and gold platforms that carry statues of Mary and the crucified Christ through the streets every Easter week stored under roof the rest of the year. Local boy made good Antonio Banderas comes every year to assist with the procession. A sudden downpour punctuated our tour so we headed inside to El Pimpi for sweet fortified Malaga wine and ham and cheese. Even though we are well fed cruisers, our tour leaders find a reason every day to feed us something special and local. We appreciate their knowledge and relish the chance to try new things without hesitation.
We didn't feel too much pressure to see it all, because we will be here again in less than two weeks as we sail from Barcelona back to Miami. As we left the harbor in our little cruise ship, we speculated exactly where the mega liner will dock.