Happy New Year everybody!
I always love taking day trips with Victor @welovemalaga when I am visiting Málaga, and this time we chose to go to Archidona after I discovered that Victor had never been there. A rare treat for me to show him something new! As Peter @svqconcierge would be arriving in town Saturday morning we decided that would be a good day for all three of us to go, though I should have done my homework better as we missed the opening time for the Virgen de Gracia convent and castle. But we went up the mountain anyhow and were treated to some spectacular views.
We also had lunch at Arxiduna Restaurant, uniquely located inside caves in the main square (also unique for being the only octagonal square in Spain). I’ll be updating their page soon. I’d let them know that I was coming back and booked a table and, well, we were treated like royalty and given a special tasting menu. But more on that later.
On the way home Victor took a detour through the beautiful Montes de Málaga, a magnificent natural park and, as always, I learned so much more about this region and its history. Victor is not only a fount of knowledge but a gifted story teller. By the time we got back to Málaga we were zonked, so Peter went to crash at his hotel and I came “home” to shower and spent a lovely evening in Netflixing. The only thing missing was Morcilla…
Peter & Victor in Plaza de la Victoria, ArchidonaRestaurante Arxiduna
This week (other than one tapas tour on Tuesday) I am on a “staycation” in Sevilla, and here’s Luna giving me a lesson in lounging. This is her favourite lounging spot in the new Casa Azahar. No doubt I’ll be spending too much time lamp hunting, but I also hope to relax before going off to Málaga next week.
It’s been a busy summer and so some “down time” is probably a good idea. I’m not actually very good at relaxing, but it’s nice having a change of routine this week, and also looking forward to seeing the sea again.
My absolutely favourite days of Semana Santa are Thursday and Friday when the women dressed in black with their magnificent lace mantillas come out in force. They are everywhere, and they are wonderful. Ostensibly they are mourning the recent death of Jesus Christ, but they are also totally into looking fabulous. I see no issue with this, though I have a preference for the more mature women who are into looking classy while they mourn (younger women doing “sexy mourning” with short tight dresses and stiletto heels leave me cold).
mantilla photo op next to my old house (on the left)
mantillas & cervecitas
Semana Santa kind of snuck up on me this year, most likely because I was away in London the week before. And by the time I got back – blam! – it was already starting to happen. I still get caught out by the “pre-Semana Santa” processions, so that means getting around town madness begins even earlier.
This year I didn’t actually make any plans to see a particular procession, other than the Borriquita on Palm Sunday. The rest of the time I was just out and about in the afternoon (usually before or after a tapas tour) and them – blam! – came across a procession. So I didn’t see any processions at night this time around.
Maybe next year I won’t do any tapas tours during Semana Santa so I can take the week to get back into it (because it does take energy and planning). I do love it, for reasons I can’t explain. I just do.
La Borriquita nazarenos returning to Salvador Church
La Borriquita paso depicts Christ entering Jerusalem on a donkey
Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, El Cerro procession
handing out estampitas during the San Bernardo procession
El Cristo de la Salud, San Bernardo procession
Jesús de la Paz, Carmen Doloroso procession
My second favourite train station in Spain (after the prettily tiled Jerez station) is Atocha in Madrid, with its fabulous tropical gardens under a soaring arched ceiling. We arrived in town at 12.30, with just enough time for a quick beer before getting to our apartment in Plaza Angel.
So of course we also had to have a famous calamar butty at Bar El Brilliante, across the street from Atocha. It was Peter’s first time there and he loved it. Then we headed off to the apartment.
It was in a great location, very clean and quiet. Only one bedroom, but the sofa bed was comfy enough for the two nights Peter was there. So we were off to a good start on this year’s first Madrid Getaway.