Picasso and Pouring Rain
Trip Start Jan 15, 2011
18Trip End Jun 27, 2011
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This entry is going to be the first in a series that documents our tour of Andalucia, the southern most region of Spain. We traveled through the same international student network, ESN, that we went to the zoo and aquarium with in Valencia.
Our journey began at 2:30am on a Thursday morning with us waiting in front of the university for our coach bus to arrive. There were approximately sixty students signed up for the trip; a mix of American, French, German, Turkish, Italian, Spanish, and other international students from UPV. The tour would include stops in Malaga, Gibraltar, Chipiona, Jerez, and finally Cadiz. We were tired and not looking forward to the >10 hour bus ride from Valencia to our first stop in Malaga, but once the coach arrived late, we jumped on, did a quick roll call, and were on our way
Despite some grumbling, everyone got off the bus into the rain and followed our coordinators to the first point of interest on our trip, la Fundación Picasso. The apartment building in one of Malaga's main plazas was the birthplace and childhood home of Pablo Picasso. After a brief tour of the museum without being able to take photos, we headed back out into the rain. We proceeded to unload the bus and moved our backpacks to the hostel we would call home for that night. The hostel was nothing special, but it was probably for the better since we essentially flooded the entire place in the first 10 minutes with our wet clothes and shoes. Luckily, I decided to pack heavier than usual and had plenty of extra socks. After getting settled and drying off a bit, we ate some lunch and headed back out into the elements...
That evening, we took a short tour of Malaga, stopping at the church where Picasso was baptized, various plazas, and a Moorish castle perched on top of a hill in the center of the city called the Alcazaba
After the tour, we had the opportunity to go home and change out of our water logged clothes and planned to meet up for a group dinner later that night. We received more rain on the way to dinner and after soaking another pair of shoes, we finally got to the restaurant, but were shocked to see we were seated outside! Luckily, they had tents with heaters set up for us, but the rain was determined to ruin our day and would periodically dump out of the make-shift gutter joining the two tents and pour onto the tables of unsuspecting diners. It actually made for some good laughs because on multiple occasions a girl would scream, kick her chair back, and watch as a small waterfall poured onto the table in front of her. The waiters would then run over to fix the gutter (which by the way, was just a garbage bag close-pinned in between the two tents), which failed, and someone else would get a lap full of water after a few minutes. Nevertheless, we eventually received our three course meal of tapas, pasta, and dessert, which put everyone in a better mood
After socializing at dinner for a while, we were free to explore Malaga's night life. Almost everyone ended up at the local international bar, where we met Malagan students of many nationalities, including some Americans from Virginia who convinced us to play some Foosball. My friend Phil and I proceeded to win seven games straight, destroying all competition, until one team of clearly practiced Spaniards showed up, toyed with us, and shut us out, sending us away with only the scraps of dignity we could salvage. We called it an early night since we would embark on the next leg of our Andalucia adventure the following morning.
Despite the uncooperative weather, we were still able to enjoy ourselves, and ended up having a great time in Malaga. Through the rain we could still see that Malaga was a beautiful coastal city with polished granite plazas, amazing views of the Mediterranean, and a quaint unique feel despite being the sixth largest city in Spain. Sometimes we just have to take a step back and realize that we're in Spain! How can we complain about a little rain? Next stop, Gibraltar!