Malaga, the Cathedral and Picasso

September 7, 2017 - Málaga, Spain

We didn’t get up very early this morning on account of thinking we deserved a bit of a rest, so it was after 9 by the time we went down to breakfast. This was in the same restaurant where we had our dinner last night, and it provided quite an extensive buffet breakfast. The restaurant was quite crowded even at that time, but we had a pleasant table by the window.

After breakfast we wandered up through some of the streets we had discovered with Kevan last time, and enjoyed the warm sunny morning. We made our way around to the Cathedral which I had said I wanted to see. The Cathedral of the Annunciation was built between 1530 and the end of the C17 but was never finished. Legend has it that money set aside in C18 to finish the south tower was used instead to support the Americans in their War of Independence against England, but more likely it was used to upgrade a local road. Tout ca change…... Anyway, the good citizens of Malaga are now rather proud of La Manquita (one armed lady) in that it sets their Cathedral off from others.

It is rather a shame that modern buildings, notably some pretty ordinary high rise hotels, have encroached on its space so it’s hard to get a good idea of the whole building although there are some lovely vistas of Gothic turrets, columns and decorations. We walked around the whole building before finding the entrance beside a formal garden opening into a little entrance kind of square pleasantly shaded by trees. We got as far as the door but blocking our way was a long table behind which sat a man collecting entrance money. A quick consultation resulted in our decision not to go in. I said to Max that I would prefer to nurture the very short attention span he has for Gothic Cathedrals to spend at Toledo.

Armed with a small map and an excellent sense of direction, Max led us around the few blocks to the Picasso Museum. Right outside it, in what is effectively a narrow alleyway, are two souvenir shops at one of which I bought, on our last visit, a Picasso print each for Zack and Olly. (Don’t know whether they liked them or not.)

The Museum was opened in 2003 in a restored classical-looking building with a lovely central atrium surrounded by cloisters. There are 12 galleries on two levels. Malaga is Picasso’s birthplace and he and his family lived here until he was about 10. Today there was an exhibition of paintings by The London School of the early C20 such as Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon who were influenced, and in some cases actually taught, by Picasso. We had been going to go to the Picasso galleries only but because we are oldies we were entitled to a concession ticket that took in the other exhibition as well.

There are some very early Picassos in the style I remarked on earlier in the Gallery at Montserrat, quite a few cubist ones and a number done in the last few years of his life. There are also a number of drawings, sculptures and ceramic pieces. (One of my favourites was a bronze owl, and I also liked a ceramic white and black one.) There was virtually nothing of his most famous styles. We enjoyed a video made by the photographer David Duncan of the time he spent with Picasso at his estate, Villa La Californie, in Cannes, photographing his paintings.

At the risk of outing us as the Philistines we are, I have to say we didn’t much like the London School, with the exception of a few by Frank Auerbach.

Max left a bit before I did, so I had to find my own way back to the hotel, which luckily didn’t take much skill. After a bit of a rest and some photo editing or writing we went up to the rooftop for a beer, and then walked around to La Taberna Pintxos. This is where Kevan took us for lunch in 2015 and we enjoyed it so much we had to go back. Although it was about quarter to 8, there were very few people at the tables set up in the Calle. We ordered a red wine and a beer, and then chose our tapas from the extensive array in the cabinets – the fact that everything is there to choose from was one of the aspects of this café we specially liked. We were surprised there weren’t any hot dishes as last time the waiters came around with trays of them to choose from, kind of like a yum cha restaurant. However, we chose some slices of French bread – well, Spanish I guess – laden with: avocado and prawn; sardine and anchovy with some kind of tomato salsa; various roasted vegetables. Each 'sandwich' is secured with a little plastic skewer of varying design indicating the price. Just total up the skewers and glasses for the end result.

By the time we were leaving the tables were filling up and the hot food was beginning to circulate. Never mind, we had enjoyed our tapas.


La Manquita

1 Comment

Judy Crewe:
September 14, 2017
Lovely, I'm getting itchy feet (already!).
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