Monday, 19 December 2016

Centre Pompidou Malaga

The Centre Pomidou Malaga, located in Malaga's Cubo area, is an offshoot of the Centre Pompidou in Paris. It hosts a selection of works by 20th and 21st century artists from across the world arranged in five sections titles 'Metamorphoses', 'Self Portraits', 'The Man Without a Face', 'The Political Body' and 'Body in Pieces'. The exhibitions are powerful, thought-provoking and, at times, a little bit controversial.

There are some very unusual and interesting pieces in this gallery. Some made me stop to think and some just confused me. Perhaps I'm not the one to judge since I am no art critic. On the other hand, art should be for everyone to appreciate and to make their own conclusions. So, with that in mind, I think there were perhaps only 2 or 3 pieces that I would choose to have in my own home. Not that I have a home while I'm travelling long term but maybe one day!

I took my time looking around the permanent exhibitions and it only took me 45 minutes. I feel like €7 was a bit expensive for the amount there was to see but I did enjoy it. I would probably allow up to 1 hour to see both the permanent and temporary exhibitions which currently costs €9 for both.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Onward to new adventures!

Being useful at Finca La Maroma
As my time at Finca La Maroma comes to an end I look back on it with mixed feelings. We've managed to get a lot of useful things done for the owners, and they've looked after us extremely well, but I've found that the peace and quiet of the mountains has allowed me a bit too much time to think my thoughts. Mostly this has been positive; thoughts about where to go, what to write about and how to learn more Spanish. However, some days have been more difficult as I've found myself dwelling on what was, what is and what will be.

But enough of that!

I have my next helpx host at a small hostal (not a hostel - I'll explain that another time) in Marbella starting on Saturday but first I've got three nights off in Málaga. I started to make a list of the things I want to do whilst there:

  • Catedral de Málaga - apparently one must visit cathedrals even if they all look the same
  • Mercado Atarazanas - to buy food because it doesn't feel proper to go to the supermarket
  • Alcazba - a castle because coming from Scotland I've not seen enough castles
  • Museo Picasso Málaga - I think he may have been born there... in a museum?
  • Centre Pompidou Málaga - worked for Paris didn't it?
  • Castillo de Gibralfaro - again with the castles
  • Tapas at La Cosmopolita - when in Rome, do Roman stuff. When in Spain, eat tapas and drink wine!
  • A language exchange - I saw it advertised on Couchsurfing with the promise of more wine
That should keep me pretty busy but do let me know if you think I've missed something important. 

A new line of though has been forming in the last few days (something about all this peace and quiet) which is to somehow get involved with Cruz Roja Española (Spanish Red Cross). I worked and volunteered with the British Red Cross for three years and with planning to be in the country for at least a year I'm sure I could make some contribution here as a volunteer and it would be great for improving my Spanish. It also occurs to me that there is potential for something a bit bigger; there are currently 190 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world, with more being formed. Now wouldn't that be an interesting and unique way to see the world?

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Travel blog of the week

I thought there were hundreds of travel blogs out there but according to one very comprehensive list, there are over 7000 - that they know of!

Recently I've been reading and studying lots of travel blogs to get inspiration for places to visit and to get ideas for my own blog. I've got a long way to go to catch up with some of the well-established ones but it's very motivating to see what is possible. 

One of my favourites this week, or perhaps even of the last few months, is Nomadic Matt's Travel Site -

Matt's been at the blogging thing since 2008 and is now a published author. He has a lot of great advice on his site to help other aspiring bloggers. inspiring tales about his travels and his photography is absolutely stunning. I'll definitely be coming back to his blog again and again.

What do you think makes a great travel blog? Got any favourites? 

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Granada's Secret Sacromonte

When most people consider a visit to the Spanish city of Granada their biggest concern is getting tickets for Alhambra. Of course, they have good reason for this as, built in 1333, it made the list of twenty-one finalists for the New 7 Wonders of the World. It is a beautiful and breathtaking place to visit but Granada has some other gems that you don't want to miss.

One of these is Sacromonte, high on the hill outside the city walls and with possibly the best views of the city and Alhambra. It is best known for the cave houses, whitewashed homes which are built into the side of the hill, and is home to the Granadian gypsies that settled there after the Christian conquest of the city in 1492. Today it is occupied by a mix of gypsies, hippies and people just passing through.

The local authorities have largely left the area untouched which means there is little in the way of facilities such as running water and electricity. There are no rents to pay and no planning permission required. Anyone that can find an empty cave or space of land is free to occupy that land and make a home for themselves.

When walking through the area during the day you will find it to be quiet and peaceful as a lot of the residents will be in the city trying to sell their handcrafted goods and busking with their traditional music and flamenco dancing. Come back in the evening and it is a bit more lively with the warming sight of open fires, the smells of cooking, the sounds of music and a welcoming atmosphere of friendliness.

One of the best ways of finding out about the history of the area and really understanding the culture is to take a walking tour. There is only one company (Walk In Granada) that does tours to Sacromonte and even they don't go there every day. This is not due to lack of demand but because this is an area where people live and it would be intrusive to have large groups of people traipsing through several times a day.

So, when you visit Granada and you've been to Alhambra, don't forget to also check out Sacromonte  for the best views and to see a different side of the city and its culture.

P.S. When you do go I'd love to have some pictures to use on the blog post. For some reason, I have lost the ones I took from that day. Gutted! Your help would be much appreciated.