Thursday, June 12, 2014

Rainy day activities: Malaga, Spain

After spending three days in Seville, we took a short train ride to Malaga, which is on the Southern tip of Spain, on the Mediterranean Sea.

Although Malaga is one of the oldest cities in the world, (evidence dating back to the eighth century BC) it only recently has become tourist destination. The implementation of the high speed train connecting Madrid to Malaga in the 1960's put Malaga and the rest of the Costa del Sol on the map.

Being that we were on the "Coast of the Sun", Brett and I were expecting to soak up the rays and enjoy the rare opportunity to do nothing!

But ironically enough, it was rainy and cold the first two days we were on the "Coast of the Sun". And it wasn't just sprinkling. We get that type of rain every day in London. It was pouring! Which made it difficult to just toughen it out.

So what did we do when it rained on vacation?

Wine Tour
I honestly can't think of a better way to spend a rainy day on vacation, than drinking and eating Spanish tapas all day on beautiful vineyards! 

We hired a semi private tour guide/ car hire to drive us the 60 minutes from Malaga up the winding mountain to the Rhonda region. Only one other couple joined us on our tour, so the tour was still very intimate.
We went to three vineyards:

Bodegas Garcia Hidalgo:

Our favourite of the three vineyards, this winery is 100% owned and operated by as a family business. We were greeted for a private tour by the owner and winemaker himself (apologies, but I forget his name). The winery produces a very small amount of wine each year, and it is evident as all of their barrels and current stock fit in a storage room no bigger than a household basement. The owner does everything from trim the vines, to making the wine, bottling and labelling. The only time of year he requires assistance is during harvest.

While the four of us and the owner split three bottles of different varieties, the owner's wife, Isabel, continuously brought out homemade tapas: Iberico Chorizo and Manchego, tortilla (potato omelette), Mini Chorizo sliders (probably called something more romantic in Spanish). Guys, this was the best food I have even eaten in my life! Well that might be a stretch, but the atmosphere, the people and the wine all made the food taste even better.

We bought three bottles of wine to take with us back to London- all under 10 euro, which is remarkably cheap if you compare that to a bottle from a vineyard in Napa.

We bought two bottles of the Zabel, a full bodied red wine similar to that of a Zinfandel or a Cabernet. In his broken English he explain that he named the bottle after his wife, Isabel (pictured above), as a romantic gesture for his love for her (queue the awes and tears). Break my heart!

Here are the other two vineyards that we went to that we also very nice, small and quaint. However on a 10 hour boozing wine tour, the last vineyard is never going to be your favourite. By the last vineyard I was probably 2 bottles in for the day, so my memory isn't very good and the wine was going down like water.

Arab Bath House/ Massage 
On the second day it rained in Malaga, we tried to toughen it out and make it around the touristy spots, however, our 3 euro ponchos, mixed with torrential downpour and cold weather made the efforts not worth it.

So we cut our losses and decided to spend the day "at the spa", which we quickly learned was not like any spa we had been to in the States.

A Bath House, whether it be Roman, Arab ect., is similar to a sauna or steam room at the gym, where the room or rooms are super humid, and you just bake for an hour at a time. Contrary to what I thought... there is no pool or Jacuzzi, to which I was severely let down to find out.

So we signed up for an hour in the bath house and then an hour couples massage. What was quite different than our spa experiences in the States was that, although there are plenty of signs that tell you to keep your towel on, this practice is not always applied. Considering that the baths were coed, Brett and I got quite the "show", as we were the only ones who kept their towels on.  There are a few images I will never be able to erase from my brain (shivers). 

But overall it was a really fun way to spend a rainy day in Malaga, and I am glad we have that experience to add to our European travels list. 


Although we would have preferred an all sunny time in Malaga, our rainy day activities actually were some of my favorite/ most interesting parts of our vakay.

Also the world cup starts today, and England is super pumped about it. And Wimbledon is coming up as well! Exciting stuff on the horizons for London Summer!


1 comment:

  1. There's a bath house a few blocks from my apartment--it's one of my favorite things to do on a cold day (which, as you know, we had plenty of last winter!).