Malaga: Orange Blossom, Incense and Art

Orange blossom in Andalucia

It’s an exciting time to be in Málaga.

To add to the heavenly scent of the orange blossom (also known as “azahar”), this weekend sees the beginning of Holy Week - with incense wafting into the heady mix.

Easter week in Malaga, Spain

Easter week in Malaga, Spain

Easter week in Malaga, Spain

Semana Santa features seven days of religious passion and spectacle – not only in Málaga city, of course, but in every town and small village throughout Andalucía.

Plus, one of Málaga’s famous sons returns each year to take part -YES, ladies, Antonio Banderas is in town!

Málaga already has a well established art scene with its Picasso museum, Contemporary Art Centre and Baroness Carmen Thyssen museum, but this week has seen the city’s credentials as an Art Hub extending further, with the opening of the Russian State Art Museum from St. Petersburg.

The Russian museum is housed in the beautifully restored Tobacco factory (Tabacalera) to the west of the city centre, near to the already popular Automobile Museum.

And today, Málaga extends it’s cultural connections still further, with the opening of the Málaga branch of the Pompidou Centre – the first outside of France.

Dubbed the Pop-Up Pompidou, the museum is housed underneath El Cubo, a huge glass cube in Muelle Uno – the city’s fabulous port area.

Which museum will YOU visit first?

 

Parking Blues in a white Andalucian village

Blue parking zones in Torrox

Look out for these street signs!

It’s the same the world over!

Finding a parking space is getting more and more difficult, no matter where you live. You might have thought it would be an easy matter to park your car in any one of the pretty white villages in the Axarquía but, in some of them, it’s almost impossible.

The difficulty seems to arise because there is no time restriction. Once you’ve parked your vehicle, you can stay as long as you like – which is all very well when you can actually find a space in the first place!

Two years ago, to try to alleviate this problem, the town hall in Torrox introduced Blue Parking Zones (Zona Azul) around the centre of the village.  This means that during certain times of the day, if you park where there are blue lines painted on the ground, you need to display a parking disc with the time correctly set to coincide with your arrival time.

Buy one these parking discs for €1, from local shops

Buy one these parking discs for €1, from local shops

The reusable parking discs can be purchased from most of the shops in the village for a one-off payment of €1. Once you have your disc, each time you park in the Blue Zone during ‘working hours’ (Monday to Friday, 9am – 2pm & 5pm – 8pm) you need to set the time on your disc to your time of arrival and the gap on the disc will indicate when you need to leave. You must display your disc, clearly visible, on the dashboard of your vehicle.

Within Torrox village, you are restricted to ONE hour of free parking.  Outside of these times, including weekends, there is no restriction. This means that if you arrive at 1.30pm on any weekday afternoon, you can safely park until 5.30pm without a problem.

Of course, if you overstay your allotted time, or fail to display a disc, you will be faced with a hefty financial penalty.

All pretty straightforward you might think.

Blue zone parking

Parking within the blue parking zone

The Blue Parking restrictions were extended to certain areas of the coastal area of Torrox Costa, last summer. On the coast, parking is restricted Monday to Friday, 10am – 10pm and on Saturdays between 10am and 2pm. The scheme apparently works the same way as in the village, with the difference being that on the coast you are entitled to park for TWO hours free, instead of one.

This means, I presume, that you will need to purchase a different parking disc for €1 from a shop in Torrox Costa, as the gap indicating your allotted parking time (two hours) on the disc would be different from the one you can use in Torrox village (one hour).

With me so far?

Blue Zone parking signs at Torrox Costa

Different Blue Zone parking signs at Torrox Costa

What is confusing (to me, at least) is the extra part at the bottom of the sign that indicates that during July and August the maximum time for parking is two hours. Does this mean outside of the restricted hours, too? Or that you are only allowed to park once (for two hours) and then you have to clear off?

Confused?  I know I am!

Of course, there have been some disgruntled drivers who object to the timed parking restrictions but, from a personal point of view I think the Blue Zone parking scheme works very well within Torrox village, as I really appreciate being able to always find a parking space since the system was introduced.  However, the scheme down on the coast at Torrox Costa is pretty confusing.

Are Blue Parking zones appearing in a white village near you? What do you think about them?

 

Andalucían Space Shuttle: Ready for launch!

Concrete factory at La Arana

You might not have thought that Andalucía has it’s own Space Programme, but that’s what I always tell our visitors as we head along the motorway from Málaga airport towards our home in the Axarquia. It sounds so much much better than telling them that what they can see in the distance is the concrete factory at La Araña.

Until recently, I had never really thought of La Araña as being anything other than “the place where the monstrous concrete factory is” – apart from the Andalucían Space Shuttle, of course!

How wrong was I!

El Peñon del Cuervo, La Arana

On the Mediterranean side of the road artery to-and-from Málaga and forming part of the GR-92 (Sendero Litoral Este de Málaga) coastal walkway, lies a beautiful stretch of coastline, popular with walkers and mountain bikers, which is well worth a visit.

El Torre del las Palomas,  La Arana

If you park in the village of La Araña and head in the general direction of Málaga, you will first come across El Torre del las Palomas (Tower of the Pigeons), one of the many watchtowers dotting the Axarquían coastline, at one time used to help in defending the area from invaders.

From here, as you walk towards Málaga, you will see the iconic El Peñon del Cuervo (Raven’s Rock), with a tunnel nearby, which once formed part of the coastal railway, linking Torre del Mar with the city of Málaga.

The palm-tree lined walkway widens out to a lovely beach area, popular with locals during the summer months. There is a parking area and BBQs available for public use.

Next time you are on your way to Málaga, surprise yourself like I did, and spend an hour strolling along this scenic but hidden stretch of coastline.

Celebrating the Malaga Blues

Today, bringing a whole new meaning to the winter blues, on my East of Malaga Facebook page we are celebrating the “Málaga Blues”.

This is a series of photographs taken around Málaga province, showing skies, sea and doors in various shades of blue.

Rio Chillar, Nerja

Part of the river walk of the Rio Chillar, Nerja

One of the best ways to cool down on a hot summer´s day is to take a walk along the Rio Chillar from Nerja.  Unusually for Andalucía, this route is suitable for walking during June, July and August, as there is plenty of shade, plus the river to keep you cool.

Casa Antonio, El Acebuchal

Blue door and sky in El Acebuchal

Closer to Frigiliana in terms of distance, this mountain hamlet is a world away from the hoards of holiday-makers visiting the Costa del Sol.  You can discover this delightful blue door in the Lost Village of El Acebuchal.

Entrance to Calle Marquis de Larios, Malaga

Entrance to Calle Marquis de Larios, Malaga

Held every year in August, the Málaga feria is one of the largest fairs in Spain with millions of people joining the fun throughout the week.

Zafarraya Pass, Spain

Zafarraya Pass

In 1979, a cave was discovered near to the Zafarraya Pass, with a subsequent archaeological dig unearthing the best preserved remains of Neanderthal man (radiometrically dating back 30000 years) ever found in Western Europe.

Stairway to Heaven

Could this be Frigiliana’s own “Stairway to Heaven”?

This house with it’s heavenly views can be found in the upper part of the white village of Frigiliana.  There is no motor vehicle access up the steep streets to this part of the village, which remains largely how it must have looked hundreds of years ago, when the village was occupied by the Moors.

Catamarans at Torre del Mar, Spain

Weekend sailing festival in Torre del Mar

Last summer I had fun photographing the colourful sails of the catamarans at the sailing club in Torre del Mar.

Canillas de Aceituno

View across Canillas de Aceituno towards Lake Viñuela

Lying in the shadow of the largest mountain in the Axarquía region, there has been a settlement on the site of  Canillas de Aceituno since the Moorish occupation in the 8th century, when the main industry was the growing of mulberry trees for silk production.

Balcony blue - Cómpeta, Spain

Balcony blues in Cómpeta

My final image is from my home village of Cómpeta, showing a pretty balcony, filled with flowers, against the deep blue painted windows as their background.

Head over to Facebook,  join in with the fun – and post your own Malaga Blues onto the page, if you have any!