Sebastião Salgado’s Genesis & space invaders in Málaga

A short 20-minute train ride away from Torremolinos, we find ourselves wandering around the larger city of Málaga anytime we need a change of scenery.

We happened upon a free photography exhibit in Plaza de la Constitución, right in the city centre. This exhibit included photos from Sebastião Salgado’s most recent black and white photography project, Genesis, which he describes as his “love letter to the planet.”

DSC00323-EditDSC00337-Edit

Sebastião Salgado’s photos give us a new vision of our home. His photos compel us to think carefully about our impact on the environment, as well as motivate us to take real steps to protect the people, plants, and animals that inhabit this planet.

I had not known of Sebastião Salgado prior to this exhibit. To be honest, I didn’t look into the photographer’s name while I admired the photos. I simply took note of the exhibit’s name and hoped to look into it another time.

It wasn’t until later that day when a friend on Facebook shared a TED article about the Genesis project that I realised how lucky we were to have experienced Sebastião Salgado’s photos in person.

DSC00335-EditDSC00326-Edit

Photographing other photos doesn’t make much sense to me, since photos are best seen in person, through your own eyes. I only took these photos to show you what the exhibit looked like since the rusted metal frames were pretty cool, and I couldn’t pass up this cute dachshund. 😉 Check out this gallery to see more of Sebastião Salgado’s photos in greater detail.

You can watch his inspiring Ted Talk here:

Besides pop-up photography exhibits, Málaga is home to several art spaces and museums, including the Picasso Museum and the Contemporary Art Centre, to name a few. (The Picasso Museum is free to the public on the last Sunday of every month and the CAC is free anytime it’s open.)

You’ll also come across plenty of art in the streets.

No disrespect to murals, but they don’t interest me as much as Invader’s mosaic tile installations. Invader is a prolific contemporary street artist who travels the world, invading cities with his colourful mosaic tile pieces. At this time, he’s graced 72 cities across the globe with his presence.

Luckily, we arrived in the Costa del Sol just after his first invasion of Málaga which took place in May 2017.

DSC00379-EditDSC00359-Edit

His tile mosaic installations are also known as invaders, and according to Invader’s website, 29 exist in Málaga. We’ve only come across seven, one of which I haven’t photographed since I was filming a vlog. I’d like to photograph all 29 invaders but who knows if we can find them all!

Málaga is the second largest city in Andalucia, with Seville being the first. We have our work cut out for us with this invader hunt. Can you guess where we’ll be this weekend? 😉

Advertisements

Alcazaba & Castillo de Gibralfaro

Last Sunday we decided to tour Alcazaba and Castillo de Gibralfaro, two massive Moorish fortresses located in Málaga. We heard that these offer the best views of the city so we couldn’t pass it up.

img_5966-1

Sunday is the best day to visit these sites as entry is free Sundays after 14:00. Otherwise, you need to pay €3,5 for a combined ticket to visit both.

Alcazaba is located right in the city centre and Casillo de Gibralfaro further up the hill. Entering Alcazaba is easy but once inside, the path becomes a little confusing. We wandered from section to section on our own time, taking in the views of the city as well as checking out artefacts and exhibits related to the castle.

img_5962-1

Here’s a brief summary of Alcazaba’s history according to Andalucia.com:

Constructed on the ruins of a Roman fortification during the reign of Abd-al-Rahman I, the first Emir of Cordoba, in around 756-780AD, the Alcazaba’s original purpose was as a defence against pirates, thanks its commanding position with views over the city, down to the sea and across to Africa.

The fortress was rebuilt by the Sultan of Granada, Badis Al-Ziri, from 1057-1063AD, while the fortified double walls that connect the Alcazaba to the neighbouring Castillo de Gibralfaro, over the Coracha ridge, were built by the Nasrid ruler Yusuf I in the 14th century, when most of the inner palace was also refurbished. As a palace, it was home to a number of Moorish rulers.

The Alcazaba has a distinct feel from its more famous, younger neighbours, the Alcazar of Sevilla and the Alhambra of Granada. It was already three centuries old when the others were build. After the reconquest, it fell into decay until restoration work began in 1933, and continues slowly today. Two of its original three walls remain, as well as over 100 towers and three palaces.

The views of the city and port below are stunning at Alcazaba but the view becomes even more impressive the higher you climb. The walk from Alcazaba up the hill to Castillo de Gibralfaro was quite the workout because of the steep incline, but totally worth it in the end.

Here’s some background on Castillo de Gibralfaro, also from Andalucia.com:

The castle was built in 929AD by Abd-al-Rahman III, Caliph of Cordoba, on a former Phoenician enclosure and lighthouse, from which its name was derived – gebel-faro (Arabic and Greek, meaning rock of the lighthouse). Yusef 1, Sultan of Granada, enlarged it at the beginning of the 14th century, also adding the double wall down to the Alcazaba.

The castle is famous for its three-month siege by the Catholic monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, which ended only when hunger forced the Malagueños to surrender. Afterwards Ferdinand occupied the site, while his queen took up residence in the town. Interesting historic fact: this was the first conflict in which gunpowder was used by both sides.

Neither castle was overly busy even though entry was free. Both had cafés and toilets inside, and plenty of shady places to rest.

It’s worth mentioning that there isn’t a direct path from the inside of Alcazaba to the other Castillo. After several failed attempts to find our way to Castillo de Gibralfaro, we had to exit Alcazaba completely and follow the signs directing us up the hill.

img_5976-1

After visiting both castles, we figured we’d wander around the city centre a bit and find something to eat. However, we forgot that nearly all grocery stores are closed on Sundays, so we had trouble finding any open shop selling fruit or anything remotely healthy. Restaurants were open but we didn’t want to eat out. (It’s too expensive for the amount of food received, plus we were craving sweet juicy fruit.) We spent an hour or so walking through the city thanks to incorrect opening hours on Google Maps. 😛 In the end, we found a Carrefour Express that happened to be open, but it didn’t have much in the way of fruit so we settled on some fruit juice instead.

Now we know to bring food with us if we plan to be away from our flat on a Sunday. At least we had a nice walking tour of Málaga. We even found more Invader! 🙂

Feel free to check out my vlog if you’d like to see more of Alcazaba and Castillo de Gibralfaro. 🙂


Our first week on Costa del Sol

We’ve been in Torremolinos just over a week now and I really like it! I feel like Kuba and I are on holiday because our work schedule is casual, we’re eating as much fresh, ripe fruit as we care for, and we walk along the beach almost every evening. 🙂

We’ll be based in Torremolinos for three months. Last summer, I hopped around Europe every couple of weeks or so. I much prefer this slower pace since we have time to relax and we’re not pressured into seeing all the sites in one go. We can take it easy and enjoy life just like the locals.

The beaches here are clean and surprisingly, they’re never too busy during the week. Calle Peligro, a winding path lined with shops and cafes, leads us to the beach from the city centre. (It’s a dangerous street, indeed, with all the stairs!) From there, we stroll along the beachfront promenade until we reach our preferred section of the beach, a bit further away from the end of Calle Peligro, since it’s always empty and perfect for frisbee. 😉

IMG_1179-EditIMG_1199-Edit

We lucked out with the location of our flat because it’s conveniently located. We’re staying in a studio flat in a residential area next to the city centre. Walking to the beach takes us only 15-20 minutes. This flat is spacious and well-lit with a balcony. The sun shines through the window in the early morning but the flat stays nice and cool during the rest of the day.

I give you a little tour of our flat in my first Torremolinos vlog. 🙂

fruterías are life

The best part about living in our flat is that we have a little fruit shop down the street. We’ve been purchasing all of our produce from this shop because it’s much cheaper than produce at big-box stores like Mercadona. It’s also better quality and delicious. Lucky us!

Even though we’ve been eating as much fresh produce and whole foods as we like, we still have only managed to spend around €106 on food in our first week. This has to be one of the best perks of living in Spain. Keep in mind we only ate out once that week with two scoops of vegan ice cream on our way to the beach. (Couldn’t resist.) Focusing on whole plant-based foods and cooking at home means our food costs are half of what they were in the UK.

In my latest video, I explain our food expenses and what we’ve been eating during our first week in Spain. I also offer some money-saving tips to help you keep your food budget low while travelling.

Jardin Botanico Molino de Inca

We visited the botanical gardens here since they are listed as one of the “must see” attractions in Torremolinos. It only cost €1 to enter and is located a short walk from our flat. The gardens were nice, full of palm trees, and even include a small Japanese garden. Sadly, they also have wild birds in cages on display in one area of the gardens. We weren’t aware of this prior to entering, otherwise, we’d have skipped it. Just beware of that if you’re considering visiting it.

Check out Kuba’s vlog for a sneak peek of the gardens.

Parque de la Batería

We also scoped out Parque de la Batería the other day since it’s close to Carrefour, a massive supermarket full of international foods. I shopped at Carrefour when I stayed in Barcelona last summer, so I hoped we could explore the Mexican and Asian food options there. We found cheaper tortillas for our burrito bowl lunches and delicious vegan dark chocolate in their organic section. Score!

Anyways, back to the park. 😛 Parque de la Batería is the largest green space in Torremolinos so we had to visit it. We found plenty of shady park benches, water fountains, and even some California palm trees! We visited the park in the early afternoon and it was practically empty. Good for us, bad for our photos since we like to photograph people. At any rate, it was a beautiful sunny day for a walk in the park.

IMG_1293-Edit

We climbed the tower (which also comes equipped with a lift) for a nice view of the beach and city down below.

IMG_1295-EditIMG_1299-Edit

a quick trip to Málaga

Málaga is a short train ride away so we ventured there this past Friday. I needed to buy some new hiking shoes (my other barefoot shoes were defective!) so we figured why not explore a new city. Our flight from London put us in Málaga but since we arrived late in the evening, we didn’t have time to walk around before heading into Torremolinos.

Málaga is a port city similar to Torremolinos with its sandy beaches and resorts. However, with a population of roughly 569,000, it’s much larger than Torremolinos by 500k.

After securing new Merrell hiking shoes at Corte Ingles, we wandered through Málaga’s Old Town and strolled through Paseo España, a shady palm-lined garden along the water. We continued on the Promenade of Pablo Ruiz Picasso and ate cherries at La Playa de Malagueta.

We also noticed several pieces by French artist Invader. The first time I saw one of his pieces in person was when I visited Ljubljana last summer. Now I keep an eye out for them. 😉

I think I prefer the smaller city vibes of Torremolinos since the beaches here are never that busy. Still, we’ll need to revisit Málaga again before we leave this part of Spain. Fortunately, we have until the end of August.

Spain was one of my favourite destinations last summer and it still is. I could definitely see us settling down in Spain someday! Not anytime soon though, we have van plans starting next year. 😉

IMG_1177-Edit-Edit

Have you visited Spain’s Costa del Sol before?

What sites do you recommend?