Apart from spending an embarrassing amount of time perusing my Snapstory (Daily Mail, Food Network, Refinery 29…..please don’t judge me), I also indulge in looking up flight deals even when I really shouldn’t. Having the luxury of pressing the “I’m flexible!” or “take me anywhere!” buttons feel amazing, especially since the tickets turn out to be ridiculously cheap. Do I really want to go to Mongolia from Nottingham in the cold of winter? Ideally no, but when the tickets are under $200 for that great of a distance, then yeah, I let myself fantasize about being able to just go off on multiple back-to-back journeys.
Anyway, a month ago, I happened to find a dirt cheap ticket to Málaga and decided to go for it. Not sure how, but I mistakenly thought that Malaga was Majorca (I KNOW) so up until about a week before the flight, I was thinking of tropical weather. But nope, Málaga’s temperatures were still in the 50-60F (10-20C) range, not exactly the island weather I was dreaming of. Even so, I was looking forward to the sunny skies and light jacket days ahead.
It was convenient that we were able to fly out of East Midlands Airport straight to Málaga. The flight was around 2 hours, and upon landing, we found the subway stop easily (2 minute walk from the Arrivals entrance!). Quick notes: 1. The ticket machines would not accept cards, weirdly; 2. The train arrival times were not accurate (it kept changing from 5 minute ETA to 10, etc.- we were hungry while waiting, so this was a bit torturous for us); and 3. You have to make sure you sit where you can hear the train announcement (or where you can see the platform name) because you will not be able to determine what stop you are at, otherwise!
We walked straight to our hostel (this was a budget holiday!) and honestly, I was immediately impressed by the city. It was clean with bins everywhere (with recycling options! I have been to many cities where finding a bin is a miracle), the cobbled streets made me feel fancy walking down along it, and the architecture was impressive. Plus, cost of food was not expensive! As a foodie, that pretty much converted me into a Málaga fan.
So before I go any further, I will say the one downer from this trip was the hostel (Hostel Málaga City). While the building itself was beautifully decorated, neither the room nor the bathroom were clean. The doors and walls were painfully flimsy, so that we heard EVERY noise produced by every human being in the building. We also found a stack of ham wedged behind a painting in our room. Be wary of what the pictures show online!
We quickly decided to book a room at a hotel (Ibis Budget Málaga Centro) instead (no longer a budget holiday). Gah, having a nice place to stay makes such a difference in your holiday!
Three things I loved:
1. I was a sucker for the European architecture and the street art.
2. I loved the orange and palm trees that dotted the streets. Apparently the oranges from the sidewalks are not meant for eating due to insufficient lack of sunlight? Shame.
I wish fresh oranges and OJ juicers were available here in the UK!
3. I loved the history of the city and the views. I opted not to lug my DSLR for this trip, but I think my OnePlus3 camera did just fine ;). We hiked up Castillo de Gibralfaro, enjoyed the view, and had a picnic of chorizo sandwiches & fresh orange juice.
4. I loved the variety of food offered- even in grocery stores. The Aldi and Lidl in Málaga had fresh seafood, fruit, and all kinds of cool snacks for almost nothing….
What I appreciated the most was that the locals spoke to us in Spanish first, therefore not assuming that we couldn’t speak the language. I was a bit rusty getting into it but I really loved the opportunity to practice! Málaga is such a hidden gem of a city.