Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Dec 29 2015: Malaga Spain

Blog post # 200

Getting carried off the plane

Casa Roberto and his golf clubs

We arrived in Malaga Spain after 20 or so hours in transit. Bowie decided we all needed to play during the 11 hour long segment, so by the time we arrived at CDG for layover, he had just passed out. We were all pretty zombieish, zoning in and out through the short flight to Malaga Spain, claiming checked baggage, picking up the rental car, etc. When we got to the hotel in Fuengirola, Olga's brother Konstantin and our baby friends (Olga and Ron) were all ready to take us to dinner. We managed a quick walking tour of the cute Roman era portside town and ended up at a kitschy restaurant Casa Roberto known for winning the Guinness book of world records for displaying the most golf clubs (3000+ are suspended from the ceiling). In spite of this, the food is actually surprisingly good. The swordfish kabobs were suspended from a sword on the table, neat presentation! The bed felt very sweet as we hadn't been in one for a couple of days :)

Monday we headed to the main town of Malaga and its ancient (2800 year old) windy narrow streets and cumbersome parking. The Picasso museum is in a beautiful semi-Moorish style 16th century palace has several easy rooms of his material from various periods on loan from his family, along with an interesting basement exhibit of in-place ruins from the Phoenician, Roman, and Early Modern eras.  I found the building, the ruins, and the cafe to be worth the drive. Perhaps I was too tired to fully appreciate the art itself. I had been carrying Bowie around for a few days as the airline had temporarily misplaced his stoller (we got it back Monday night)

We've been experimenting with various pours of coffee in Spain. We started with the traditional Cafe con leche, which is espresso with a lot of milk. Then I started asking for Americano con un poco leche - it was eventually explained to me that this is called Cortado. Olga takes her coffee black so that's Cafe negro. One time we ordered all 3 for the 3 of us. The waiter brought over 3 cups: full, 2/3 full, 1/2 full. In two of them he poured the hot milk to make them all full. That's the easiest way to visualize the difference between Cortado and Con Leche. In case you were wondering! Side note: apparently the cortado is available in fancy coffee shops of San Francisco under the name Gibraltar.

Ice Cream like a delicate flower

Star Wars sand castle on the beach

Tuesday Kostya came to meet for breakfast, only to find us all still asleep at 11:30. He had brought Churros con chocolate - which we all enjoyed while making a giant mess in the room. The churros were essentially a giant ring of funnel cake without any sugar topping. We packed up quickly and drove to the town of Marbella to go scuba diving. It was his first dive and my 35th. I was glad to have the company and an opportunity to take a refresher course. After a quick introductory dive, we took a speed boat to Marbella Tower to dive the wreck of the iron ore ship loading crane, which collapsed in the 1960s. It's a great wreck because it was only 10 meters deep, the lighting was good, and even Kostya could dive it without any certification. We saw octopi, nudibranchs, a couple of moray eels hiding in the tower walls (you can only see the tips of their faces), large starfish, and many schools of fish. Afterwards we treated ourselves to helado (gelato) that is meticulously scooped to look like a flower. You can choose as many flavors as you want at any size cone/cup and they will work it into their signature design. Remarkable!!

Getting ready for the first dive

After ascending from The Tower