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Monday, 18 February 2008

Malaga Revisited - Spain for Ever

Malaga Revisited - Spain for Ever

My wife and myself went to Malaga for four days. It was really a short trip to escape the winter gloom of Germany and visit old friends and have some nice food for a change. We went with Ryan "The Cheap Tickets" Airlines, return fare was 27 euros for one person, which was much cheaper than we would have spent on weekend shopping. Things are very expensive here.

When we left, the temperature was 15C and raining, when we reached Malaga at 20hrs., the flight took three hours and the temperature, believe it or not, was 15C and raining. The flight was OK except that at Düsseldorf Weeze airport here in Germany, a group of young rabble rousers bought six packs of beer in the airport lounge, and started drinking and singing (shouting really) Nazi songs. Nobody stopped them. With all the security personnel there, who normally will tackle you down if you breathed loud. These men boarded the bus to go to the aircraft half drunk and shouting and nobody stopped them or told them not to take alcohol on board. They settled down at the back of the aircraft and continued drinking and singing, very loudly, Nazi songs. The purser cautioned them not to drink on board but they ignored her. She complained to the captain and refused to take these five men to Malaga. However, the captain said that they should behave and after some hot discussion between the purser and the captain, we were airborne. In many passengers' view, the captain should also have refused to take them on board, and the security people should have stopped them on the ground since they were already drunk.

When we reached Malaga and landed at the airport, the purser informed the passengers that there will be some delay in leaving the aircraft as she had telephoned the Guardia Civil at Malaga to come on board and arrest three of the group who had caused so much trouble. So that was that, some Germans starting their holidays in Spanish jail. Serves them right too.

It was nice to be back in Malaga, our dear old friends Pepe and Blanca came to the airport to receive us and took us to their home. Malaga airport is at present undergoing major construction work to extend the airport buildings and landing strip, so it took us a long while to first go by bus to the temporary car parking areas and then through winding dirt roads to reach the main road. It was totally dark, no lights and steady rain. And the temperature 15C.

Pepe is the chef in his own house, he likes to cook, he is also a clean environmentalist. He does not throw away the water used for cleaning dishes, he waters his garden with it. The oil used in frying is stored and recycled to make soap. So when we settled down, he brought jamon Serrano, olives and red wine to start the evening. He had also baked fresh country bread which we had with ham and Extra Virgin Olive oil sprinkled over it. The wine was from Navarra and it had a smooth smokey taste which blends well with its aroma and flavour of oak. Pepe had also prepared pork cutlets marinated in oil, thyme and garlic which he lightly fried in olive oil in a pan. Then coffee. It was very cozy sitting and talking about other friends whom we were going to meet the next day.

Pepe and Blanca had planned for us all to go next evening to eat in a restaurant in AlhaurinElGrande, specializing in fish and seafood. However, next morning the plans were changed and it was decided to go in the afternoon and visit Maripepa, an old friend of my wife and Blanca and eat in their restaurant. Maripepa is married to alexandro, an argentinian who has settled in Malaga many years ago and has a restaurant called El Fogon Argentino. It is situated in calle Reding no.10 (Malaga) which is in the old part of the city called Malageta.

The restaurant specialisis in Argentinian beef steaks but their menu is quite extensive and boasts of a wine cellar to match any four star restaurant. We were nine persons together and after greeting Maripepa and Alexandro, settled in the dinning area around a long table. We started with red wine from Rioja and fried cheese casarol, pulpo al a gallega (boiled octopus cut in slices, heated in olive oil and sprinkled with whole salt and red pepper). It was delicious. The main course for two of us was charcoal grilled beefsteak with boiled potatoes and six others had grilled solomillo with baked potatoes. The remaining one had sea bass in garlic sauce and fried potatoes.

Maripepa and Alexandro are both known singers, they used to sing in their restaurant everyday, which brought in many clients. However, the neighbors complained and nowadays they sing only on the weekends. Maripepa sings andalucian songs and she was offered to cut a record of her songs, but she is happy singing in her restaurant for her clients.

We went there at 14hrs. and did not finish eating until 17hrs. Then every body wanted them to sing and for the sake of old friendship, defying censorship, they sang old favorites. Sentimental songs of love and friendship, about friends who have gone away and about friends who have gone away from this world. Andalucian songs about blood fueds and women pinning for lost lovers. It was 19hrs and both wanted to rest before opening in the evening. As a norm the restaurant is closed at 17hrs and reopened at 19hrs, so they had to literally push us out so that they and the staff could rest. What a fantastic evening it was.

The evening had grown cold but we decided to walk upt Calle Larios and have Churros and Chocolate. Churros are batter fried in oil which comes out like long sausages. This is the most popular and is served in bars from early morning till late at night. So we went walking through the park and Plaza dela Marina and crossed the road to reach Calle Larios and in one of the streets near the old vegetable market, in one of the oldest cafeteria, had churros and coffee and chocolate. It was a memorable evening.

Next day which was our last, we went to Pedragalejo beach front to have lunch. Pepe invited his mother and sister and her daughter and Blanca brought her mother. A nice family gathering. Pedragalejo beach in the old days was full of chiringuitos (food stalls) selling fresh fish and seafood. Nowadays new restaurants have opened and is most popular with malaguenos who love to eat outdoors. The day was bright with a shy sun peeking through clouds but there was no threat of rain. The beach was full and restaurants jam packed. However, after waiting half an hour we found a table and sat down. Every body wanted to eat "fritura malageña", so we ordered two large trays of assorted fish, calamari, shrimps and octopus and had it with green salad and tinto de verano, which is red wine mixed with sweet soda water. In the evening we took the return flight and landed late in the dark, damp and very cold night in Germany and after nearly two hours' car journey reached home. The temperature was 4C. OOoooooh!
Posted by Island Hopper at 06:36
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