Tag Archive | holidays

On Christmas Day in the Morning

When we woke up on Christmas morning, my son looked out the window and said, “It sure looks like a great day to go out.”

So we went out. We actually went out in the afternoon, because if we go out in the morning the kids don’t pay attention to anything except their stomachs the whole day long. So it’s much better to fill them up first with a hearty lunch.

Parque Alameda Malaga

First stop: Alameda Park, the major park in downtown Malaga that’s right next to the port. We snapped a pic of the lush winter foliage and then immediately, we were off to the real object of our day trip: the Moorish castle that overlooks all of Malaga, the Castle of Gibralfaro.

Climbing Gibralfaro Mountain

I took a lot of photos of Malaga looking progressively smaller and more bird’s-eye sort of view as we climbed higher and higher, but those will have to be the subject of a future post.

Flowers Gibralfaro Malaga

Yes, this is really what Malaga looks like on Christmas day. Certainly not a sight that you could ever see in cold Canada!

Flowers on the Mountain Malaga

But then again, this is southern Spain.

Walls of the Alcazaba Malaga

The first part of the climb was simply stairs and more stairs meandering through a very pleasant park with lots of plants, especially flowers. We could see Malaga shrinking below us, but other than that, it didn’t seem too different from a walk through any other urban park on a mountainside.

And then we reached the castle. This is a view of the actual walls from below, when we first came upon them. These walls are probably over a thousand years old. (I’m not too sure exactly, would have to check up in the history books, but taking into account that the Moors ruled Spain from the eighth to the fifteenth centuries, that would more or less be a rough estimate.) Formidable!

Oven Gibralfaro Malaga

My son discovered this mystery lurking in the mountainside underneath a sort of cliff wall, well hidden from sight from the main pathway. We’re not too sure what it is, but it sort of reminds me of some type of oven, perhaps.

Flowers by the Alcazaba Malaga

We wandered around the castle a bit. Moorish castles in general are known as “alcazabas”, the ultra famous Alhambra in Granada is the best-known example of a Moorish castle or “alcazaba”. However, it’s not the only one in Spain, as virtually every southern city enjoys its own. Most are run-down and not very showy, but they are all conserved as monuments and you can usually visit them. We’ve also been to the one in Almeria, not very well-known at all in the rest of the world (or even in Spain, for that matter).

Sunset Alcazaba Malaga

The sunlight glancing off the walls of this “alcazaba” reminded us that soon it would be dark. I found the colours of the almost-setting sun a striking golden-orange sort of shade against the red earthen walls.

Tunnel Gibralfaro Malaga

After admiring the setting lights we decided to check out this tunnel that runs underneath the monument.

It leads to the back of the mountain and, in fact, the castle itself is like the centre of a star and depending on where you begin your descent from the mountain, you can end up in different parts of the city, with each pathway down acting sort of like a ray that spreads outward from the centre of the star towards a different neighbourhood.

Flowered Path

But we weren’t ready to go down yet!

Steps Alcazaba Malaga

As you can see, we continued climbing UP!

Path Gibralfaro Mountain Malaga

Path in Black and White

Good exercise for the soul, and I finally realized why my son failed Physical Education!

Setting Sun Alcazaba Malaga

A last view of the sunset off the reddish-golden walls.

Malaga Cathedral by Night

I found this view of Malaga’s cathedral as we left the grounds captivating. The night air was behaving and acting especially crisp and clear today.

Bar Malaga

Of course, you can’t end a day like today without something warm and filling. So we took a different route down into the city centre so we could enjoy tapas. What a fantastic ending to a lovely Christmas day.

29M: A General Strike Or…… A Religious Procession?

Hello to all you lovely angelic beings who read this blog! Although you might have noticed I’m not much of a blogger. (The fact that I’ve got a job that gets me out around midnight most days probably doesn’t contribute very much to my “blogability”, I guess……)

But today I really felt like commenting on something curious I noticed yesterday.

Women's Trono Holy Week

Yesterday was “strike day” here in Spain, where they carried out a general day-long strike all around the country. Of course I went to work, because if they kicked me out at work for going on strike one day, do you think the strikers, the protesters and the union leaders were going to lift a finger to help me get my job back? Noooooooooooo……

Strike 29M

No, truth is, the only thing the strike did for me was make me wait three hours instead of one for a bus, because most of the drivers were on strike (all right I exaggerate, I don’t normally wait one hour for a bus either, but I did have to wait about three times longer than usual for one of those marvellous vehicles that serve for collective transportation).

In my personal and most humble opinion, I think that strikes only serve the interests of people who have the most to lose, because they already have a lot anyways, such as the wealthy, public servants, etc. At any rate, all people who can afford to buy a car.

However, I do have to note that I was pleasantly surprised to observe that, at least here in Malaga, there was a lot more religious zeal than political zest. Because around here, instead of going off to protest marches, most people went to…… religious processions!

Women Bearing Trono Holy Week

As you can see, it was a “women’s procession”, where the women were the protagonists and they carried the trono, thus demonstrating to the world that women are every bit as strong and capable as men, and can do what men do.

Float at Night Holy Week Procession

In truth, I would bet that here in deep south Malaga religion and Catholic fervour have done more for women and equal rights than any political act or protest march.

Women's Trono Holy Week

It was a really lovely ending to a tiring day of answering telephones at work while the rest of the city (mostly public servants, probably) protested in the streets.

Light Bearers Holy Week Processions

Although I doubt that there was a great deal of protesting going on here in the languid south, where most people were too busy attending the religious processions anyways. And if anyone did protest, it was probably because their mug of beer with tapas in the local tapas bar was taking too long to arrive at the table……

And now on to another subject, if you’ve got your own blog would you like to do a blog exchange? A blog exchange is when I publish the avatar of your blog with a link to your blog here on my blog, and you do the same for me.

It’s a great way of getting more people to get to know and read your blog, and move out of your habitual circles. Apparently it’s something that Google bloggers do all the time, at least here in Spain (but I haven’t seen it in WordPress…… yet.) If you’re interested, click here on Blog Exchange to read more and find out how we can exchange blogs.

Sweet dreams everyone!

Holy Week Processions

Kings’ Day Parades

Well a little time has passed since Kings’ Day and its very particular Kings’ Day parades. But then again, quite a bit more than a little time has passed as well since I last posted, I think. So, better late than never I guess.

Well, first, a little bit of history, because I imagine that in the greater part of the world you do not celebrate Kings’ Day, do you?

Big Doll Float

Kings’ Day is actually what in many places is referred to as the “Twelfth Day of Christmas”, as in: “On the Twelfth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me……..” (I don’t know what her true love gave to her). It is also known as Epiphany and in some religious circles, Christmas is actually celebrated on this day, and not on Dec. 25. The reason why there are twelve days is, I suppose, because that was how long it took the Three Kings of Orient to cross the immense desert and travel to Bethlehem, hence the name Kings’ Day.

Pink Castle Float

The Three Kings brought gifts for the baby, so now do they also bring gifts for every little Spanish girl and boy.

Kings’ Day is a very festive occasion, perhaps a Spanish equivalent, I suppose, to Thanksgiving, seeing as Thanksgiving doesn’t exist in Spain. Families gather together and have a great meal with lots of fun and laughter. Of course sharing in the “roscón de Reyes”, a lovely cake which unfortunately it didn’t occur to me to make a photo of, is fundamental in this family meal.

Smurf Float

Well, supposedly the Three Kings arrive in Spain on the eve of Kings’ Day, also known as Twelfth Night, as in Shakespeare’s play. I guess traditionally they might have arrived by camel, but nowadays they make use of every modern gadget such as arriving by boat, airplane and helicopter, bearing gifts to all.

On this very important Twelfth Night, or the eve of Kings’ Day, there are grand parades everywhere. All at night, of course. Sort of like the Rose Parade, but in the dark of the night.

Illuminated Float

As the floats pass on by, the people who are riding on the floats toss out candies and caramels to the crowd, and all the children (and some adults too) scramble to fill their baggies with as many of these caramels as possible. We used to do that too, but we hate candies and caramels and never eat them. I used to hang them up behind the kitchen door, thinking maybe one day I could put them to good use, until one day I discovered them all melted into one big sloshy sugary mess. That’s Malaga summers for you!

Religious Float

You can tell that this is Malaga, home of Holy Week processions. Even in an event geared to children, the religious floats have a place for themselves.

From these photos, it might look like it’s a relaxed and comfortable, spacious sort of atmosphere. A few spectators present, of course, as might be expected in a parade. But for the most part, nice and easy, right? Well look again:

Parade Ambience