Málaga, birthplace of Pablo Ruiz Picasso and José Antonio Domínguez Bandera.
I chose Málaga for one of my yearly adventures mainly because of Gibraltar, which has been on my travel bucket list for years. Gibraltar is about two hour and 30 minutes from Málaga by bus. Nevertheless, I found Málaga a wonderful and beautiful city.
Since I’d arrived from Barcelona, there weren’t any additional COVID-19 protocols or tests required, which was great. I met my pre-arranged, (and pre-paid) taxi driver after picking up my luggage, and for the next 40 minutes, I enjoyed the beautiful view as we cruised along toward the Los Amigos Beach Club, my home for the next five days.
Los Amigos Beach Club is a wonderful resort in the Diamond Resorts Collection, and is located in Mijas Costa, Costa del Sol, Málaga. When making reservations, I noticed that Los Amigos isn’t as popular as the other two DRI resorts in Málaga – the Royal Oasis Club at Pueblo Quinta and the Sahara Sunset. This proved great for me since there was more availability for the dates I wanted to stay.
I arrived for check-in quite early, so my apartment wasn’t ready. Thankfully, the restaurant was open and serving food, so I had a wonderful breakfast at the resort’s on-site restaurant, Restaurante Las Casitas, while I waited for my apartment.
My apartment was ready by the time I’d finished breakfast, so I collected my key and my luggage, and headed to my accommodations. I couldn’t wait to relax for a bit before heading out to explore. Everything was going smoothly – then my electronic key didn’t work. I smiled and chuckled as I headed back to reception. The receptionist apologized, reset my key and I headed back to my apartment.
Guess what? The key still didn’t work. I again went to reception and they sent a maintenance representative to check the lock. Apparently, the electronic key and lock function perfectly. However, the receptionist forgot to reset the time limit on my key, thus it wasn’t set to open the door until 1500, not 1300 when I checked in. A small misunderstanding the staff quickly resolved and I was able to enter the apartment.
My one-bedroom apartment was beautiful, cleaned and spacious. I also had a pool-view, which I was definitely not expecting. Additionally, I was happy that my English Breakfast and Seasonal Fruits bundles were delivered on time, and the fruit was fresh.
However, the next day, I did discover an army of ants in the kitchen, but a request for ant/insect spray was quickly answered. The staff did offer to do another enhanced cleaning of the room, but the spray worked and I didn’t feel it was necessary. Nevertheless, it was reported, and I can only hope the next guests received an apartment that was extremely cleaned and disinfected.
Costa del Sol and Mijas are wonderful locations to relax. I’m not too fond of beaches, but this location was really something special. From the beautiful landscapes, beaches, food, customs and traditions, this area is filled with a gorgeous cultural heritage that offers many places to see and areas to explore.
I managed to visit Jardines y el Mirador de la Muralla during my stay. Jardines y el Mirador de la Muralla are the remnants of an old fortress where the city of Mijas was created.
I decided to grab dinner at Restaurante Las Casitas since many restaurants were still closed due to COVID restrictions.
Following a scrumptious dinner, I retired for the night and prepared to explore the city of Fuengirola.
I woke up refreshed from a very good night’s sleep, ready to explore. But before I could do that, I decided to save a bit of food money and cook my own breakfast. Heck, I bought the breakfast pack and fruit for a reason, right?
Following breakfast, I headed to the local bus stop. For a low price of €1.60, I caught the bus to Fuengirola.
Fuengirola is one of the Costa de Sol’s most popular seaside resorts, thus it is a major tourist destination. I didn’t really research this town, so I simply walked the city, took photos, and then enjoyed crepes and hot chocolate at L’Espresso Virginia. What a lovely city to just enjoy.
My day in Málaga began early, as I had to travel to Fuengirola to make the train to Málaga. Once at the train station, I tried to buy my ticket using the kiosk, but I wasn’t sure I was buying the right type of ticket. Luckily, a customer service representative was on duty and helped me get the right tickets. Unfortunately, I’d missed the 0740 train I wanted to take, but there was no need to worry because another train arrived in 20 minutes.
I grabbed a seat and enjoyed the ride.
It was still quite early when I arrived in Málaga. The train station is about a 5-10 minute walk to the city centre, so off I went, snapping photos along the way.
The Museo Picasso Málaga was the main attraction to check out for the day, but my time-stamped ticket wasn’t until 1100, so I explored the town centre before grabbing churros and hot chocolate from Café Central Málaga.
It was about 1100 when I finished, so I headed back to the museum.
The Museo Picasso Málaga collection covers almost 80 years of Pablo Picasso’s work. I’m not a Picasso fan, but some of his works have left me mesmerized, so it was quite a joy to explore the museum.
In addition to the Picasso collection, the museum featured an exhibition by Miquel Barceló, a Spanish painter and contemporary abstract artist.
My time at the museum was limited to about 90 minutes due to COVID protocols, and the long lines waiting for entry, but 90 minutes was plenty to view the collection and exhibition.
I happened upon this free exhibition as Google Maps attempted to lead me back to the train station. Held in Málaga La Plaza de Toros La Malagueta, a famous bullring, “The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones” is a photographic exhibition of images taken by British photographers Terry O’Neill and Gered Mankowitz during the groups’ early years.
O’Neill was the first to photograph the Beatles and the Rolling Stones at the start of their musical careers. Gered Mankowitz contributed to the creation of the Stones’ image with the photograph of Richards, Jones, Wyman and Watts on the cover of the iconic album Between the Buttons.
Not bad for a free exhibition, plus I got to see the inside of a bullring.
Finally, it was time to head back to the resort for more rest and relaxation.
I stopped at Restaurante Chino Gran Mundo along the way for a quick meal. I wasn’t looking for Chinese food, but a gentleman patron sitting outside said the restaurant had very good food and good prices, so I decided to give them a try. Plus, they were one of the few restaurants opened, and the others didn’t offer much selection.
Overall, it was not a good meal, and I won’t be returning. I should’ve listened to my instincts and ate at the resort’s restaurant. I didn’t and paid for it. Customer service wasn’t bad, but the food wasn’t good. The rice was clumpy and tasted as if it was leftover rice just reheated. The beef was very spongy and covered with too much sauce. Meal was served hot, but that was as good as it got.
I took a stroll along the beach to give my poor tummy a chance to digest the awful meal. Then it was time to call it a day.
The following day I headed to Gibraltar, a location that has been on my travel bucket list since elementary school.