Category Archives: Holidays 2016

What I love about Malaga

Malaga, my Erasmus city and definitely one of my favourite places. Why? I can go on endlessly about how great Malaga is. However, I am going to try to be concise and restrict myself to my personal top 8 of things that make Malaga so great.

1.  Big city, small and picturesque city centre

Malaga is one of the biggest cities in Spain, the 6th to be exact. But wandering through the city centre you don’t get the impression that Malaga is this big. The city centre is small, with two rather large main streets. The number of restaurants and bars and the fact that the entire centre is practically car free contribute even further to the coziness of the city centre.

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2. Clean

Malaga is a rather clean city compared to other Spanish cities. Every night all garbage is collected and the streets are cleaned with sea water. Leaving Malaga clean and shining in the morning after all the partygoers finally go home.

3.      Central location (everything is close going from sea to snow)

Malaga has a quite central location in Andalusia and from here you can easily travel around. Most important however for a sports fan like me; Malaga is right at the sea and a quick swim is always possible, during winter Sierra Nevada and its ski slopes are only two hours away and for the walkers among us be sure to visit El Chorro or El Torcal.

4.      The nicest people

During my stay in Malaga I met the nicest people. Always happy to get to know you and lend a helping hand. However, being able to speak Spanish helps a lot. Not everyone speaks English and if they do, they really appreciate your effort, it changes they entire demeanour.

 

5.      The splendid weather

Malaga actually has the second best climate of Spain next to Marbella. The sun shines nearly every day and the temperature rarely goes below 10°C. Quite a difference from rainy Belgium where weather forecasts are almost the other way around.

6.      The surrounding nature

Malaga is surrounded by splendid nature; with forests, mountains, beach settings, … . It is always nice to hike through the woods or the mountains or walk along the beach for a few hours.

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7.      Cultural abundance

As capital of the province “Malaga”, Malaga City is the cultural centre of the province, clearly noticeable by the number of museums that overcrowd Malaga. Malaga is literally filled with museums and historical monuments too much to just sum up. As home of Picasso we can naturally find the house of Picasso and the museum of Picasso here but these are not the only interesting museums. Be sure to see the CAC (Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Malaga) and the Museo Carmen Tyssen Malaga.

8.      The cultural history of the south of Spain

And last but not least. The cultural history of Andalusia, the land of three cultures. The south of Spain has been ruled by the Moors for a long period and this leaves it’s trails, contributing to a mingling of three cultures: Jewish, Islamic and Christian still visible today. The unique architecture and decorations are simply magical. The amount of craftsmanship needed for such detailed work, only imagine.

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If you are curious about the several locations I so lovingly mentioned, be sure to follow my blog the next weeks as I will blog more about wonderful Andalusia.

But what do you think of Malaga? Do you agree with me or was the city a total disappointment?

 

Terceira: enjoying nature

Terceira; like most of the Azorian Islands is very green and ideal for a nice walk. We followed one of the trails in the “Reserva Forestal” near one the old volcanoes: Pico de Gaspar . Along the trail we got magnificent views, changing environments and a trail that varied in difficulty as well. One moment you are walking around the meadows, the next you are walking in the woods or climbing on the rocky underground. And although it is quite steep we found that the detour to the top of the volcano was quite fulfilling as well. The crater itself may be a bit of a let-down, the panorama is certainly worth the climb.

The most beautiful spot on the island is definitely Algar do Carvao. This cave with its open crater is wonderful to see and certainly left an impression. But the “Gruta do Natal” is definitely worth the trip as well and a lot of fun. The tour is organized with a great deal of information about lava streams and tunnels.

 

 

Sao Miguel: Ponta Delgada

Ponta Delgada, the main city of the island is a lively city that offers more than one might think at first sight. There are several parks and gardens that are certainly worth a visit such as “Jardim Antonio Borges” and a walk through the city certainly isn’t a bad idea either.

For people interested in diving,. Açores Diving is certainly the spot. We went for the Open Water Diving Course and had a blast. The crew is really nice and helpful and our instructor Pedro was awesome. We will never forget our first wreck dive at “The Dory” or the view of the octopus on the sting ray and in the end of this course we could proudly call ourselves Open Water Divers.

Diving, however, isn’t necessary to see fish. In the bay in Sao Roque a cute village right next to Ponta Delgada you can see a ton of fishes while snorkelling.

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Finally, we also went on a dolphin and whale tour and although we didn’t see any whales we saw several schools of dolphins and couldn’t have had a better time on the Moby Dick.

Sao Miguel

Let me introduce Sao Miguel. Sao Miguel is one of the isles of the Azores, the volcanic islands in the middle of the Atlantic ocean that belong to Portugal. It is a varied and magnificent island.

There is an abundance of vegetation covering the entire island. You really can look past the countless hydrangea covering the sides of the roads and the hills or the ferns as big as a palm tree. Unless, the fog catches up on you, this happens quite often, then you can’t see anything.

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Tip: While planning, make sure to take the fog in account. On Açorescameras you get a life-feed from the area and doing so you can avoid the foggy patches.

San Miguel has something for everyone from water sports, to walking or just to relax In one of its numerous hot-springs.

This is lagoa do Fogo and not much farther we find the nearest hot springs. This location is just magical due to the warmth provided by the hotsprings we found ourselves at a waterfall in the middle of tropical vegetation.

 

Pictoresque Bari: again a lot of transport troubles

After two days in Kerkyra we set of to Bari and of course we didn’t reach it without our usual amount of transport troubles. Having a three hour delay before boarding didn’t immediately strike us as a big problem, since after our previous mishaps we were already happy it wasn’t cancelled. However, waking up in the morning with only two hours to go before we should reach Bari, I looked out of the widow and only saw land on the wrong side of the ship. We were still in Corfu!!!

And after trying to figure out what was the problem at the main desk (unfortunately they only spoke Italian) I still didn’t have a clue. At the end it appeared that during the entire night we just hadn’t moved due to the bad weather, nice to know. So, instead of arriving at Bari at 10.30 we got to sit on the ship for a few more hours and finally arrived at 17.00, long live transport.

But all things well, we arrived in Bari. I immediately fell in love with its historic centre. Its small alleys, the locals sitting on benches talking to their neighbours and the tiny squares were so cute. For dinner we didn’t get far though, since our bed and breakfast was next to a restaurant by the same owners but we didn’t regret our choice at all. At the recommendation of the waiter we got the starters menu, a collection of all kinds of appetizers made from local specialties. The food was awesome and it took us two hours just to finish our appetizers., complletely full, we then decided on leaving the main dish for another day and make an evening walk before falling asleep completely exhausted.

Tip: The restaurant we ate was called la uascezze and is definitely worth a try. However, if you wanna be certain of having a table be sure to make reservations. The restaurant is pretty popular and from the opening hour till closing time all tables are taken, there are even people waiting for a table on the street.

So, all things considered, except for our many transport troubles, we couldn’t have had a better holiday. And yes, even those troubles will stay in our minds as a funny memory, something to look back too.

Corfu: Kerkyra

After leaving Kavos behind, we went back to Kerkyra, aka Corfu-city, the capital of Corfu. Kerkyra was wonderful with its promenade, small alleys and countless charming restaurants however the most striking monument was definitely the Achilleion.

The Archileon was empress Sissi’s home away from home fa, ascinating villa built in Greek style meant as an homage to the Greek hero Achilleion. Notorious for being depressed, I can totally get why empress Sissi chose this place to live, the view from the place is absolutely spectacular.

Kavos: the party town of Corfu

When we went to Corfu we didn’t know Kavos was a party town at all and we were just planning on relaxing on the beach. These plans however quickly changed and instead of visiting Paxos and chilling on the beach we ended up doing a booze cruise and a foam party. And in the evenings naturally went to the main strip.

Personally, Kavos was not my favourite place on Corfu. Yes the parties where a lot of fun, but I prefer the good food, relaxed sphere and nice reefs of Sidari and Paleokastritsa.

TIP: when going on a booze cruise, there are several companies and on most of them the drinks aren’t free at all (actually quite expensive). Therefore, ask around, be sure to have the best deal.