Torrox: Let me take you to Funky Town

Umbrellas in Torrox pueblo

You might not think of one of Andalucía’s famous white villages as being “FUNKY”, and neither did I, until yesterday morning when I went into Plaza de la Constitución in Torrox pueblo on an errand.

WOW! THAT’S PRETTY FUNKY!

A passing plane as seen through the Torrox umbrellas

Shadows from the umbrellas in Torrox, Andalucia

There are hundreds of umbrellas, in six different colours, hanging from discreet wires all around the square.

WHY?

To give much needed shade, as well as making the town (even more) attractive to visitors!

Amused by the Torrox umbrellas

Multi-coloured umbrellas in Torrox pueblo, Andalucia, Spain

They certain made ME smile :)

How cool/funky/quirky is this, huh?  Let me know what YOU think ….

Baños de Vilo: The Incredible Moorish Baths at Periana

Around three kilometres from the village of Periana is the old Moorish pool in the little hamlet of Baños de Vilo (Baths of Vilo).

During the 18th and 19th centuries this pool was considered one of the most important in Andalucía, so much so that in 1892 its waters were declared “medicinal mineral”. The magnesium, calcium and nitrogen found within the waters offered healing and therapeutic properties to those with skin complaints, and people flocked for miles around to bathe in the sulphurous-smelling pool.

Despite it’s popularity, there was much squabbling over ownership of the pool and even though some improvements were made, the facility was wrecked in 1907 when a huge storm ripped through it. Subsequently, the baths fell into disrepair.

The Town Hall (Ayuntamiento) of Periana acquired the property in the 1990s and restoration work began to recover the Baños de Vilo for tourism purposes.

Where to find Los Baños de Vilo:

Soon after you leave the village of Periana, heading north-west on the A7204, there is a split in the road. Stay on the A7204 towards Riogordo and Colmenar. A few hundred metres after the 10km road marking, look out for a tiled sign on the right-hand side of the road.   Turn here and after about 100 metres you will cross a narrow bridge over the river Vilo.

Continue up the road for a further two hundred metres, until you see a sign on a white wall on the left. I parked my car here.

It isn’t obvious where to go, but you should head through the large iron double gates into a patio area, which looks like you are going into someone’s garden – but you’re not!

Ahead of you to the right is a path covered with flowers growing over an archway. Walk through the flowering arch and you will see a little stone bridge leading you across the river, with a small construction of walls and a stone tower on the far side.

Here you will see the turquoise water shimmering in the sunlight and you’ll probably also notice the smell of the sulphur, normally associated with natural thermal pools.

Here’s a cool video of Los Baños de Vilo

It’s time to roll your trousers up!

Have you met Malaga’s sensational Phoenician Goddess?

Phoenician goddess, Malac

Allow me to introduce you …..

This is Malac, also known as Noctiluca, Goddess of the Moon, the night and of fertility.   This beautiful lady cuts a lonely figure as she stands on the promenade in Rincón de la Victoria, gazing longingly at the sea.

Phoenician goddess, Malac, looks out to sea

Her people, the Phoenicians, who were experienced sailors, navigators and traders, founded the settlement of Malaka (which later developed into the city of Málaga) at the mouth of the Guadalhorce River, around 770BC.  

Yes, Málaga’s history can be traced back more than 2,800 years, making it one of the oldest cities in the world.

Phoenician goddess, Malac in Malaga province, Spain

Málaga’s early inhabitants were mainly engaged in fishing.  They revered their great Goddess, Noctiluca, and worshipped her with offerings and sacrifices at her sanctuary in the present day Cueva del Tesoro (one of only three such marine caves in the world)in Rincón de la Victoria.  

Each year, an image of the deity would be carried in procession and immersed into the sea to provide good fishing for the fishermen.  The Phoenician influence was considerable and many traditions and customs have been bequeathed and continue thousands of years later.  

Phoenician goddess, Malac

To this day, on 16th July each year, sailors and fishermen from villages along the Spanish coast,  parade their statues of the Virgen del Carmen though the streets and introduce her to the sea to bless the waters.

Phoenician goddess, Malac in Malaga province, Spain

The statue of the Phoenician goddess, Malac (Noctiluca) is by well-known Málaga sculptor, Jaime Pimentel.

The divinities may change, but the customs continue.

Malaga: the city that gives you Moore – Henry Moore!

Henry Moore sculpture, Malaga

The Fundación ‘la Caixa’ sponsored exhibition, “Henry Moore: Arte en la Calle” (Henry Moore: Art in the Street) has brought some of Moore’s monumental bronzes to Málaga.

Six of British Surrealist artist, Henry Moore‘s bronze sculptures can be seen on Calle Alcazabilla, in the midst of some of Málaga’s most popular tourist attractions, near to the Alcazaba fortress, the Roman amphitheatre and the old Customs House.

 

Henry Moore sculpture, Malaga

It’s a joy to see these modern pieces against such a historical background.

You only have another two weeks (until June 28th) to view the sculptures in Málaga, before the exhibition moves to other Spanish cities including Santander, Burgos and Pamplona.

Henry Moore sculpture, Malaga

Henry Moore sculpture, Malaga

Henry Moore sculpture, Malaga

Henry Moore would have been delighted that his sculptures are displayed on the streets of Málaga, as he once famously stated: “Sculpture is an art of the open air. I would rather have a piece of my sculpture put in a landscape, almost any landscape, than in, or on, the most beautiful building I know.”

Which is YOUR favourite?

Centre Pompidou – Málaga’s newest artistic masterpiece

Entrance to the Centre Pompidou, Malaga

Málaga is leading the way with a new concept dubbed the “Pop-up Pompidou”, where the general public is offered a selection of around 90 masterpieces from the famous Centre Pompidou’s collection.

Becoming the first outside of France, the Centre Pompidou, Málaga will initially be a city feature for five years, but with an option to extend for a further five years.

The museum also features a programme of exhibitions and workshops aimed at families and younger audiences, making today’s art accessible to the widest possible audience.

Centre Pompidou, Malaga - inside out

We’ve become used to seeing the steel and glass cube (El Cubo) at one end of Muelle Uno (Quay 1), Málaga’s new port and shopping area. What was unclear until now, was that this cube was really a skylight, casting it’s sunlit magic into what has now become the cavernous museum below.

New-look Pompidou Centre, Malaga

Sporting a new look, El Cubo has itself become a piece of art, adorned with coloured panels by artist Daniel Buren, entitled “Incubé”.

I was fortunate to be one of the first people to visit the new Centre Pompidou, Málaga during it’s opening weekend, at the end of March 2015.

Entrance to the Centre Pompidou, Malaga

After entering the Centre Pompidou, the stairs lead you down to the surprisingly large exhibition space inside, where you are taken on a journey through “The Collection”, featuring art of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The works on “human representation” are divided into five galleries, some larger and some smaller, exploring such themes as “Metamophoses”, “Self-Portraits”, “The Man without a Face”, “The Political Body” and “The Body in Pieces”.

Within each gallery the art is represented in the form of sculptures, paintings, installations, films and videos.

Displayed on the walls through the museum are works by Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Georg Baselitz, Joan Miró, Francis Bacon, Antoni Tàpies, Max Ernst, Marc Chagall, Constantin Brancusi and many others.

Ghost by Kader Attia at Centre Pompidou, Malaga

Centre Pompidou, Malaga

Without a doubt, my favourite piece was within the “The Body in Pieces” gallery, by Algerian artist, Kader Attia. “Ghost” is an installation of more than 140 hollow figures, kneeling in straight rows and all facing in the same direction. Each empty figure is made entirely of aluminum foil and alludes to be an anonymous Middle Eastern woman, covered from head to toe by her chador, bowed in prayer.

Ghost by Kader Attia at Centre Pompidou, Malaga

These fragile forms convey a powerful statement.

The installation could be described as vaguely sinister, yet I felt myself both respecting the figures’ privacy of worship, as well as being curiously drawn to inspect the hollow shells further.

 Interactive art at Centre Pompidou, Malaga

I was able to seize the opportunity to become part of two of the interactive exhibits – the first, unknowingly, as I queued with the crowd outside the entrance to the museum, where the moving image is displayed on a wall inside, as a piece of art.

Hidden Faces at Centre Pompidou, Malaga

Later, in “The Man Without A Face” gallery I was encouraged to become an “anonymous witness” by hiding behind a white mask to observe how other visitors react to the artworks (and to me hiding behind the mask!)

Two or three temporary exhibitions are scheduled each year at the Centre Pompidou, Málaga. There is a cafe, auditorium and children’s inter-active play area.

Leaflets are available at the entrance (in several languages, including Spanish and English) suggesting various self-guided routes through the exhibits, depending on the amount of time you have available.

OPENING HOURS:

16th June to 15th September: 11.00am to 10.00pm
16th September to 15th June: 9.30am to 8.00pm

Closed on Tuesdays, January 1st and December 25th.

ENTRY FEES:

Permanent collection: €7, concessions €4
Temporary exhibition: €4, concessions €2.50
Permanent collection + temporary exhibition: €9, concessions €5.50

MY INSIDER TIP: FREE ENTRY after 4pm every Sunday 

WEBSITE: centrepompidou-malaga.es