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The Spanish Fly - Travels in Spain

The Spanish Fly is a nom de plume of Paul Whitelock who first visited Spain at the age of 20. Now more than 50 years later, he has been to most parts of the country, including nine of the 12 islands. He has owned property in Andalucia since 2001 and has lived in the region for the last 15 years. This blog is a Travelogue about some of the places he has visited.

Magnificent, under-rated Málaga
Thursday, October 26, 2023 @ 6:46 PM

Málaga [Photo:]


Wow! We just spent three days in Málaga City and what a revelation!

OK, there are lots of roadworks and building sites in the centre of the city, which are a bit of a nuisance. But they will no doubt turn out to be a good thing in the longer term.

No, the area around Plaza de La Merced, just north of the Casco Antiguo, is a delight. There were lots of tourists, even in late October, and it was expensive to eat and drink, but, hey, shit happens – look at Ronda, where we live. During the day full of coachloads of tourists from all over the world, but early and late in the day, still a dream.

We found an affordable hotel near this central square, so everything was set for a relaxed couple of days.

Then, disaster struck - l realised I’d left my wallet behind, at home (I hope!) All I had on me was a little cash and no cards.

Rita to the rescue …..


Málaga for two

We opted to arrive a day early, on the Monday. After check-in at the Homeabout La Merced apartments and parking the car, we went out to investigate. We grabbed a drink at the emblematic El Pimpi before grabbing a bite to eat in a delightful little restaurant in a side street. Name of Santa Monica. A shared salad and a couple of tapas each did the trick.

                           Calamares [Photo: Paul Whitelock]

                                                                                                                              Teryaki de atun [Photo: Paul Whitelock]


Then it was off for a wander around the Old Part before a short siesta back at our hotel.

In the evening, we went to the Trip Advisor-recommended El Cortijo de Pepe. We started off sitting on the terrace, but the waitress advised us to move inside when it started to rain.

We ate well: calamar relleno de cerdo, and two tapas to share. Delicious. Our waiter, Saul, a young man from Teba, not far from Ronda, was very friendly and talkative. A great end to the day.


The Port of Málaga

This down-on-its-luck former industrial port has recently had a make-over. Compare Barcelona, Bilbao, Bristol, Hamburg, Liverpool, London, Salford, Valencia. All have had tourism-boosting upgrades.

Within walking distance of our apartment, we spent a good hour in the morning wandering around the souvenir stalls, restaurants and boutiques, eyes on stalks at the prices!

We spotted a branch of one of our favourite café chains, Granier, and resolved to return for breakfast there on our last morning.



                           Málaga port [Photo: Paul Whitelock]


At the far end we landed on one of Málaga’s town beaches, La Malagueta. We had a pre-prandial beer in the eponymous chiringuito set on the beach, in order to rest our weary legs before heading back into town.

Later I had my hair cut. I’d been wearing it long for a year or so and had even grown a bit of a ponytail, but it was time for me to get it cut, so that’s what I did. Rita was delighted.
















The Spanish Fly with hairdresser Lorena [Photos: selfies]


Picasso, son of Málaga

Members of the Costa Press Club and guests posing with Pablo Picasso [Photo: Karl Smallman]


Pablo Ruiz Picasso, born in the city in 1881, is arguably Málaga’s most famous son, although he lived most of his 80-something years in France.

He is the reason we were in Málaga. I’m a member of the Club de Prensa Costa del Sol, the Costa Press Club. This association of journalists, writers, and media folk from all over the world meets approximately once a month for an “activity” and a meal. The association celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2022.

We move around for our meetings: Fuengirola, Málaga, Marbella, Mijas, Puerto Banus, and dine in a good restaurant each time. Before the meal we usually have a speaker on some topic related to our field of activity, but for the October 2023 meeting, we started off with a guided tour of the small Picasso Museum in Plaza de La Merced, 50 steps from his Casa Natal, his birth house, also a museum.

Entitled “La Imagen de Picasso”, this new exhibition focused on his relationship with the media, film, photography, books, newspapers, etc. With photographs, some never seen before, and film and documentary extracts, this was a fascinating insight into the life of one of Spain’s most popular and controversial artists.

A known womaniser, this tiny, but charismatic little man, was always in the news. His output was prolific and his body of work represents a number styles during different periods of his life. Some of his stuff was not to everyone’s taste, but his contribution to 20th Century art is undeniable.

My favourite is Guernica. I’ve seen the original and I had a great poster copy from when I was a student. When my first marriage broke up nearly 20 years ago, it disappeared. I re-discovered it years later on the wall of my daughter’s flat in London. She still has it.

But I unearthed a much smaller framed copy in a junk shop in Ronda a couple of years ago, and I’m happy with that.


Eme de Mariano

A short walk from the museum brought us to our restaurant in the Old Part.

We were 23 members and guests, and we had our own private area.

The meal was mainly a shared buffet of delights, including croquetas, ensaladilla rusa, salchichón, and tartare de atún, but we had individual portions of gazpachuela and arroz con chistorra or arroz negro con pescado y mariscos. By the time the postre came we were well stuffed! All washed down with two glasses of wine, beer or un refresco, included in the price.

The staff were friendly, polite and efficient. The girls were beautiful, especially Rocío, my favourite.

In fact, we found all restaurant staff to be pleasant throughout our mini-break.

The walk back to the hotel was hard. Apart from having full stomachs, I was wearing brand new shoes. Silly boy!


Breakfast at Tiffany’s Granier

Granier is a chain of bakers-cum-cafés with great bread and brilliant breakfasts. Not cheap, but a nice treat from time to time.







We used to have a Granier in Ronda, but, inexplicably, it closed down. Down here on the coast, there are Graniers all over the place – Fuengirola, Los Boliches, Málaga, Marbella, San Pedro de Alcántara.

We chose the branch in the Port of Málaga, that we had discovered the previous day.

After checking out of the hotel, we walked there. It was busy, but no problem. We had a great breakfast, and a large cup of coffee for around 20€. Quite expensive, but delish!


Then we walked back to the hotel, picked up the car and hit the road back home to Ronda.



We had a great three days: explored the old part of Málaga a bit more; ate good food; enjoyed the new exhibition devoted to Picasso; and re-acquainted ourselves with other members of the Costa Press Club, among them a German, an Argentinian and sundry British folk. I was somewhat alarmed to find that I was the oldest man present. Fortunately, Rita was not the oldest lady.


© The Spanish Fly



All unacknowledged photos by The Spanish Fly



Casa Natal, Costa Press Club, Eme de Mariano, Fuengirola, Granier, Karl Smallman, Los Boliches, Málaga, Marbella, Mijas, Pablo Ruiz Picasso, Paul Whitelock, Picasso, Plaza de la Merced, San Pedro de Alcántara, Spanish Fly


Like 3


roberto123 said:
Saturday, October 28, 2023 @ 7:13 PM

Do not forget the Motor Museum, well worth a visit. And the drive over the mountailn from Ronda is a trip inb itself.

PablodeRonda said:
Sunday, October 29, 2023 @ 7:48 PM

Hi, roberto123
Thanks for reading my article. The Motor Museum is on my list for next time.
There are two routes between Ronda and Malaga: inland via Ardales and the mountain road via San Pedro and then along the coast.
I like both, but prefer the Ardales route. The A7 along the coast is always busy (Did you know it's the road in Spain that has the most accidents? I'm not surprised!)

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