Mi Madrid #7: Al-Andalus

Andalusia is one of the most famous provinces in Spain. Here you can try unusual dishes, swim in the sea and admire the mixed architecture, which came under the influence of the Moors who once inhabited the region.

For us, the trip to Andalusia was not planned until the very last day. So we went there, with one ticket in our pocket and two backpacks behind our backs.

And that’s what came of it …


In the city, called in the eighth century Ilbiroi, we arrived in the afternoon. There was not a cloud in the sky. We walked past the bullring of the second category in Spain (like all the arenas in the provincial capitals). After lunch, the road led us to the Alhambra – the place where the rulers of the Moors sat. It was this castle that was the last stronghold of the ruler of Boabdil, when he surrendered and thus ended the Reconquista process. We were eager to stroll through the castle and look at the Generalife gardens, famous outside of Spain and so beautiful on the postcards. But, unfortunately, the complex closed before we got to the entrance. Had to be content with a walk in the vicinity.

By evening, it had suddenly got colder, and we had to wear jackets while descending to the Darro river and the Arab baths. On the square lights were burning near restaurants, people were walking. We would like to stay, but a bad outlook for tomorrow and high housing prices have repelled interest in returning to the once Mauritanian possessions.

We drove on


The port city, the second largest in the region after Seville, with access to the Alboran Sea. It was to the sea that we went the first night, staying with a woman from Moscow. Despite the late hour, near the water was much warmer than in Granada, and the almost complete absence of people created an atmosphere of tranquility and solitude.

The next day we returned to the beach with the sole purpose of sunbathing. What else can you do in early March, being at the sea at +25 degrees? So it happened that we caught the sun rays until the evening, after which we slept a bit and went to the Old Town.

I remembered about March 8, only when we got to an organized rally on Constitution Square. A crowd of women in lilac shirt-fronts and with placards occupied the space from the Henova fountain all the way to the end of the street Marquez Larios. A little later, we came to the initiation of Catholics who carried the throne through the narrow streets.

What Malaga is and why people in Andalusia wear thrones a day later we were explained by the guide during a free walking tour. We visited places such as the unfinished (and all you can built up) Catholic Cathedral of Malaga, the Picasso Museum, Teatro Romano, Alcazabu. We were shown a huge, weighing 6 tons, silver throne of the Holy Virgin Mary of one of the 46 brotherhoods located in Malaga, and explained that the procession can last up to 12 hours, and for one such throne, 220 people are needed. Each brotherhood passes with a throne on the main street, and watching the procession from the balconies is a popular entertainment. So, every year the corner balcony near the Constitution Square is occupied by Antonio Banderas. I’m not sure that I would stand such a procession under the scorching sun.


Deciding that we looked in the heart of Malaga enough, we went to the orange kingdom – Cordoba, founded before our era, but became a city during the reign of Rome. I wrote about traveling to this city earlier, and therefore I would just add that it was once again pleasant to see Alcazar, the Mezquita, and Tendias.

We did not linger in Cordoba for similar reasons that left Granada – housing prices. It remains incomprehensible to me why in such small cities to spend the night at least twice as much as in Madrid. There may be a problem in the dates of the reservation, and perhaps in the luxury of the Mauritanian rulers.


Andalusia is a region consisting of 8 provinces. For several days we managed to drive around three of them, meet fellow countrymen, sunbathe and try the real jamon in Cordoba. There are not many left in the “To-Do” list: Seville, Cadiz and … Gibraltar. Yes, it is definitely worth a trip to the peninsula, if it turned out to be in the south of Spain.

Adventure does not end there!

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