Saturday, September 24, 2011

Madrid to Malaga

Flying along the track at 269 kilometers per hour doesn't make for good photo opportunities, but it was a real thrill!  We made the trip from Madrid to Malaga-about 340 miles-in less than three hours.

The trains in Spain were a pleasant surprise - on time, fast, well-connected, and covering the entire country.  Public transportation is a huge priority here.  In fact, there is a strong emphasis on all things "green."

The photos I did take all focus on intensive agriculture and the mountains that fell into my view finder as we approached the Costa del Sol. 
The town of Malaga is delightful:  interesting architecture, plazas, fountains, curious little shops, tucked away churches, and narrow little lanes - tiled for the pedestrian and blocked from any car traffic.  A walker's paradise!

A one-armed lady crowns the city.  The cathedral proudly lifts one tower to the sky.  The second was planned, but never built.  Outside, the gardens feature many artifacts from early church days.

Inside, the architectural detail is stunning.

The art is breath-taking,

 . . . and the organ and chior is amazing!

Back outside . . . 
. . . up the hill, we found the Alcazaba.  Built between 1057 and 1063, this is probably the most important military fortification remaining from the Hispanic-Arabic period.  Older than the Arabic fortress is the Roman theatre discovered in the midst of a road excavation and still under study.

Through the tunnel and on up a very steep hill, we found the Castillo de Gibralfaro.  This fortification has roots from a time long before the Romans.  The location was so perfect that each new ruling regime added to it, using it for protection against the new invaders.

Inside the interpretation center, we found this scale model of the city in by-gone days.

This collage features some views of the city today as well as two happy climbers at the top of the hill.  
And still more views!
It was quite a hike, but in the constant battle between calories and exercise, it was worth an extra glass of wine and another serving of pasta.

Bar flies!  These two ladies regaled us with tales of their lives split between Manchester, England and rural Spain.  What a delight they were!  The small pictures in the collage are a couple of dashing Spaniards I photographed in the interpretation center.  I'll bet these two gals could have given either one of them a run for their money.