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monday, july 6, 2015 the castle
Café con leche and churros were on the menu this morning, and as I was walking the streets in search of breakfast this morning, I found them both in this really cool restaurant called Tejeringos. I ordered two churros, because I knew they were somewhat small and I wasn't feeling too hungry. However, I wasn't able to finish them both. I was watching how other customers were eating them, and some were dipping the churros in their coffee, which seemed like a genius idea to me. So I followed suit by breaking off pieces of my churros and soaking them in the café con leche—best idea ever. It was really, really good!

My main goal with today's adventure in Málaga was to visit the Gibralfaro Castle and the Alcazaba, both of which sit upon Mount Gibralfaro. It wasn't a long walk to reach the base of Mount Gibralfaro, but the climb up to the entrance of the castle was steep. The pathway zig-zagged up the side of the mountain, and I felt my calves getting a great workout. I certainly picked a great time to start climbing, because it was getting hotter with each step. Thankfully I had some bottled water on me! And I took my time climbing to the top, because as I climbed higher and higher, the views of Málaga got better. I took a lot of pictures looking out over the port and city—it was too beautiful of a view not to take multiple pictures!

Once I reached the top, I proceeded into Castillo de Gibralfaro. I grabbed a brochure in Spanish and found a bench under a tree where I sat and read about the site I was visiting. As I looked around the interior walls of the castle, there really wasn't a lot to see. I think the main attraction of Castillo de Gibralfaro were the walls that can be climbed and walked. There were some great views from various points of the castle, and I had to pause a couple of times to enjoy these views for just a little longer. So after walking the outer walls of the castle, I did some brief exploring of the inner portion. There is a museum in the center that had some interesting information and artifacts, one of which was the clothes that would have been worn by those in the castle. It reminded me of something you'd see one of the Musketeers wear, and I can't imagine wearing that kind of clothes in this heat—and I don't want to.

The Alcazaba was just a little ways down the hill from the Castillo de Gibralfaro, and I found this site to be much more interesting. I felt like I was walking through someone's home when at the Alcazaba, as there were rooms to go into and gardens to explore. It felt a little like the Alhambra in Granada, and while the Alcazaba is much smaller, it's still fairly ornate. At some points it reminded me of the movie "Labyrinth"—I almost expected to see David Bowie standing on a turret with a small, crystal ball in his hand. Thankfully that didn't happen. There was a little eating area in one of the gardens, so I found that a great place to have a Coke Zero and enjoy the view overlooking Málaga. Definitely trying to take it all in!

I left the Alcazaba just in time for lunch, as I was starting to feel hungry. Thankfully there was a nice tapas restaurant right in front of the base of the Alcazaba that had tapas going for 2,50 € a piece. Of course, the portion sizes were rather small, but I liked that I could pick and choose which ones I wanted to eat. So I got queso manchego (cheese and bread) and patatas picantes (see picture). It was all very good, and I could have easily eaten a few more tapas, but I wanted to get something dessert-like instead. I headed back to my apartment and passed through Plaza de la Constitución and saw Costa Coffee. It seems that this coffee chain is pretty popular in Spain, and I hadn't been yet, so this was to be my first experience. I ordered a caramel coffee chiller, which is basically a Starbucks frappuccino, and WOW. This was probably the best iced coffee drink I've had in Europe, and it definitely hit the spot on an increasingly hot afternoon.

It was time for a siesta, and I probably took a longer one than I needed to. But after a good rest in the apartment, I headed back out to the pier to grab some dinner, gelato, and a quick walk around the city once again. I like being here and doing what I want at my own pace. It's been working out well so far! Tomorrow I plan to check out the cathedral and the Picasso Museum, and then I'm chilling on the beach all afternoon. I mean, how could I not take a few hours to enjoy the beach!?

views of/around Málaga
Castillo de Gibralfaro
La Alcazaba

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