We arrived in Málaga early last Wednesday afternoon and started peeling off layers and switching back to more summery clothes to enjoy the 25C sunny weather of the coast!

Making the most of a half-day in Málaga

We had lunch in a tapas restaurant called El Piyayo (recommended by the guidebook – pretty good) before heading out to our chosen attraction for the afternoon: The Museum of Glass and Crystal, a relative newcomer on Málaga’s museum scene. The entry cost 5 Euros and was by tour only. We got a French speaking guide who was quite entertaining. The private collection included not only glass pieces going as far back as the Roman Empire, but also antique furniture and stained glass windows.

We quickly toured the small historical centre on foot gawking at the huge cathedral and ruins of a Roman amphitheatre. It would have been nice to have a couple more days to visit the sights, as Málaga turned out to have lots of attractions. With half a million inhabitants, it is a port city, but felt a lot more pleasant than I had anticipated. (You can read more about Málaga here.)

Unfortunately my friend had to leave very early the following morning, and I had made plans to go to Nerja, 56 kilometers to the east, for some rest and relaxation by the sea. I was also dealing with an increasingly swollen and itchy hand, the result of the bug bite from Capileira. On Thursday morning I went to a pharmacy where they gave me a cream and told me to go to a clinic if things didn’t improve by the following day. (Things did improve fortunately.)

Nerja on the Costa Tropical

I had heard for years about the “horrors” of the Costa del Sol, a string of built-up resorts full of British vacationers and all the trappings catering to them. Nerja, on the somewhat less developed Oriental Costa del Sol (also called “Costa Tropical” or “Tropical Coast”) sounded like the most promising of the bunch. I also got an extremely good deal through Booking.com for a small hotel called Casa Manuel (45 Euros for 3 nights). The staff seemed to consist of a single guy, but he was very nice and helpful, and I had very few complaints about the room (the main one being that the WiFi didn’t reach my room most of the time and I had to go downstairs to work).

Since there is little to do in Nerja but eat, drink, and spend time on the beach, I was able to rest and write without feeling the need to rush around visiting attractions. Nevertheless, when I first ventured into town on Thursday afternoon, I was shocked by the number of tourists, many of them very unhealthy looking British retirees, milling around the Balcón de Europa and adjoining plaza. If I hadn’t known I was in Spain, I could have been convinced that I was visiting a British colony. There were also families and some younger couples, including Germans and Japanese. Touristy looking restaurants were everywhere and my guidebook’s warning “…most (are) geared toward undiscerning tourists” meant that I agonized every time I had to pick a place to eat, worried that I would get mediocre food and lousy service.

I eliminated any restaurant that showed pictures of the dishes, had touts, or loud crowds sitting on their patios. I ended up with reasonable food (nothing special) in a couple of small places, and a very nice Indian meal at A taste of India on quiet Carabeo street.

You will see a lot of beaches on the photos. Although they looked good from a distance, the sand was typical of Mediterranean beaches: grey, full of pebbles, and strewn with cigarette butts. The water looked inviting (especially a Playa Burriana) but was way too cold for my taste.

In summary: Nerja is a nice sunny town, but still has WAY too many tourists!

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