Friday, September 30, 2011

Restaurant El Patio

El Patio is one of those bars/restarurants that are just different and distinctive. And beautiful! I will admit that esthetically beautiful restaurants and bars catch my attention faster than the more ”cutre” ones. (A new word I have learned and don’t even know how to translate, shabby I guess) 

And this one is just that. I love when barrels are used as part of the decoration, and you can see that many places in Málaga, normally in the form of tables or stools. Here, the whole menu is even written out on barrels!

A little selection: Arroz Banda, Arroz Iberico,
Paella con Pato y Caracoles, Arroz con Bacalao.

What fascinates me is the amount of different Arrozes/Paellas they have, and some combinations I am not sure I would appreciate. 
Paella with Duck and Snails, anyone? Or what about goose-liver and ham?
The tables are also barrels (cool!) and the walls inside and outside are filled with images from Easter procession and Feria de Malaga.

Love it! The wine is deilcious and they always throw in a free plate of olives, like many other bars here.

Can be found at C/GRANADA

Last day in Málaga!

So it’s really coming to an end. The exam today went well, I don’t have the result yet, but I feel confident I have done well, it wasn’t that difficult. (Well, I also have been a good girl doing my homework!) After the exam we said our goodbyes at school (weird!) and I headed home with the guys. We are sacredly going to spend the last day together, in Málaga centre.
By the way, the beach party yesterday was a big hit! So nice! Someone brought a guitar and we were singing and enjoying the warm night until- responsible as we are- we all headed to our respective homes to get some good hours of sleep before the exam. (Which luckily started a few hours later than the normal school-days!) 

Tonight, El Pimpi is on the program for sure, and El Patio too. Actually El Patio deserves it's own post, I will write it "en un plis". Then we'll see what more the night brings. I can't quite believe that I have already been here for one month and that I am moving to Barcelona tomorrow!

Last night with this in the background

Thursday, September 29, 2011

95 hours of Spanish course done!

Since it’s the last day at the university tomorrow and we had the last day of class today (tomorrow is Exam-day) there’s a get-together at the beach for all the students tonight. We have wine cooling in the fridge and are now getting ready to go.

I've already done 4 weeks of intensive Spanish-studies. I have learned a lot and that feels really good. But I have a long way to go, Spanish is a "big" language and I am far from being able to say "I speak Spanish", like many might think. (There seem to be a perception that it's really quick, fast and quite easy to learn a new language. I can hereby confirm that it's not. Nor for me anyway.) 

Apart from cramming and studying I’ve been busy out and about these last few days. It’s funny how things change when you get an expiry date. Suddenly different things get more interesting, the things that you had no rush doing before, because it was always gonna be there to be done later. (It will still be there, it’s just that I won’t.) Barcelona is awaiting me, and I am very excited!

So I have been wandering around the city, been to the different beaches, gotten to know the old town better, taken more pictures, been to some amazing special bars and restaurants, all in the company of the lovely two that I am realizing I am gonna miss like crazy when we say goodbye on Saturday! Lucas is going straight back to Poland to continue his Philosophy-studies, and Brad will stay on here, far south, learning Spanish for the whole academic year. We’ve had so much fun, and have spent so much time together and it will be strange not having them around. I couldn’t have gotten better flatmates, so thank you Universe for not giving me any Spanish girls at all!

It’s all about enjoying the last few days and now we’ll head out for the beach party!

A little Spanish lesson at Mesón "Lo Güeno"

First thing fist. A little lesson in Spanish language.

Normally when in a word, there is a G+U followed by E or I, you don’t pronounce the U.
  • For instance the word Guerra (war), pronouns gerra. (With Spanish sounds obviously. Would be something like “gehrrah” with English sounds)     
  • The word Águila (eagle) pronouns ágila.
When what follows the G+U is A or O, you do pronounce the U. 
  • For instance agua (water).

But if you want the U between the G and E to sound, you put to little points on top of the U, and voila you have bypassed the rule and got yourself a new word/sound!
  • Like in güiskey (whiskey), güao (wow), pingüino (penguin).
….or güeno like in the name of this restaurant/tapas-bar. Which is slang for good/great/well. Basically it’s the same as saying “weno” which is slang for “bueno” (the root). The all sound the same basically.

Still following me?

Well, me as a learner in Spanish thought it was fun when I myself realized the word-play in the name of this restaurant. So much that I had to sit down and try it.

Mesón lo güeno, basically means the tavern with the good stuff. And it is.

"Hacemos de las tapas un arte desde 1967" = We have made tapas as art since 1967

It's located in a quiet side street to the busy main street, and it's lovely to sit at one of the tables outside, in the shadow, enjoying a few delicious tapas, some chilled drinks and just watch life pass by.

Can be found at C/ MARÍN GARCÍA 9.More info on their web

Teatro Romano & Alcazaba by night

The Roman Amphitheatre and The Alcazaba are such beautiful decorations to the city, and even more so at night. They deserve some night-shots!

 They're just lying there, looking stunningly beautiful, in the middle of tapas-bars, plazas and restaurants.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Grilled fresh fish at the beach

The other day at the beach I saw this: curious to what was going on so I went a little closer...

...and saw that something was burning or something in that old rowing boat!

Turns out one of the chiringuitos (sort of "mobile" beach bars) had a man down at the beach grilling fresh fish. I had just had lunch so I didn't try it, but it smelled and looked fantastic!

Spanish guitar

The other day I had one of my favourite moments thus far in Málaga. 

I was walking around in the old town, and my instinct told me to turn left at some narrow little street. After a few meters I could hear some guitar music being played a little further in and it was enchantingly beautiful. As I came closer I saw that they were sitting at a table at a Tetería (place to drink teas) and I hurried to grab the only free table outside, just a few meters from the musicians. The two of them were playing so beautifully, so effortless, and completely in sync, it was so obvious that they loved what they were doing. And I loved it too.

It was magical, really. It might sound cheesy but I felt that time stood still and I forgot about everything else. (Again- the effect good music has on me...) I wanted to stay for hours listening to these talented guitar players. The best part was that they were not putting on a show, it was more like they were just there rehearsing or something, by chance sitting at the tetería with their guitars. And they were so humble to the reactions of the people around. (Let's just say I wasn't the only one loving it!) They were playing boleros, rumbos… flamenco music. So very Spanish. After a couple hours they left however, and well so did I, with a big smile on my face!

Loved loved loved this afternoon!

Ah, and the tetería was great too! They had such a big variety of teas, served in  cute tereras (teapots), different kinds depending on what kind of tea you ordered. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Looking for language schools in Barcelona

Been looking up schools in Barcelona today. The “problem” of such a big city is the immense offer of probably anything, but at least language schools. 

Which one to choose? 

I am not doing it through the agency this time. I found out that commission they charge might better be lovely pocket money for me, and then rather do the job myself. I would still recommend to use an agency in the beginning though, cause it’s really hard to figure it all out on your own when you don’t really know neither the language nor the country.

Lucas has recommended me a school that he has heard good things about and I am thinking to just go for that one, since I have no clue of my own. It’s a big organization with language schools all over Spain and also south-America, so that should indicate some seriousness at least. At this one you can start every monday all through the year (not just at the beginning of every month) I have decided to let one week pass from arrival to course-start so I can have some time to get settled. That means I will start on Monday the 10th October. 

On a side-note.. Today, I was visiting a friend from school, and I fell in love with the roof terrace of their neighbours!

So beautiful, I want to be a painter and have such a roof terrace with beautiful views over the old town!

The best napolitana in town? Try La canasta.

I am weak for sweets. I guess I am what one can call a chocoholic, and cakes are another of my weaknesses. Here cakes are different from back home though, it’s much more about croissants and things similar instead of what we call cakes. But I am not complaining, I adjust fiiiiine to this too! Haha, I love them. Especially I have gotten to love the Napolitanas, the ones with chocolate are heavenly if made right. And I think I am ready to announce the best place for the best Napolitana in Málaga! (Surprisingly) it’s on the main street, it’s called “La Canasta” which means, the basket

Coffee is very popular here, everyone drinks it (even small kids) and at all hours. It’s either café solo, which is an espresso, a cortado which is an espresso with a liiiittle bit of milk, or café con leche which is coffee with a lot of milk, or simply americano, black coffe (not very usual). I might be wrong, but as long as the place has a proper espresso-machine you get good coffee anywhere. But the napolitana at this place definitely stands out.
See, they heat it up before it’s served (or it comes straight from the oven?) making the chocolate inside all melty and delicious at the same time as the cake itself is so fresh and soft. 

Delish café con leche & napolitana de chocolate

Playa de Pedregalejo & decision made!

I used the weekend and the last few days well. Worked on my tan and my future. I love the beach. Can’t help it, I’m from Norway for crying out loud! The weather here really is gorgeous! It’s the end of September and it’s so warm and nice. My brother told me that they are currently waking up to having to scrape car windows for ice in the morning… Need I say more?

But I thought it was time to check out something else than Malagueta (the city beach), so we got on a bus and went to Pedregalejo, which is a residential area a little outside the city centre. 

The feel of this area is completely different. It reminded me of a small beachy touristy village, but it was cute and the beach nicer and less crowded. 

And in the meantime of all this tanning I was thinking quite a lot about my next move. When then, like I told you yesterday, I found out that there's no way I can stay on in the flat, I just made the decision. About time you might say, and I kind of agree!

At 14:15 Saturday afternoon a plane will take off from Málaga with me and my belongings in it, headed 
for . . . BARCELONA! I am super excited! 
See, I always wanted to go to Barcelona. But then people kept warning me and saying I most definitely should not go to Barcelona to learn Spanish, since it’s a bilingual city and the mix of catalan and Spanish is really confusing for a language student. It made sense so I took the advice, and sat down with the map of Spain to decide where to go

(Quick sum-up: Barcelona was out of question. And basically all of the east coast which is also bilingual (Catalan and Valencian)- all the way from the French border in the north to Murcia in the south. Madrid was also out of the question, cause if I was gonna live in Spain I was damn well gonna live by the sea! And please add that it needed to be a warm and sunny place too! So that ruled out the north-coast, which is quite rainy and cold (enough of that in Norway!)
So I was left with The Sunny Coast, Costa del Sol. And Málaga being the biggest city made the decision easy)

Good, so that is why I ended up in Málaga. But I never quite shook off the curiosity of Barcelona and now will be the moment! If I don’t find my place there either, or if it’s too complicated with the Catalan on top of the Spanish, well then I will just move on again. No worries!I can even come back to Málaga if I want that. I am free as a bird, and I love it!

So the decision is made, and now I just need to get everything else sorted… it being a place to stay and a Spanish course to continue with.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pablo Ruíz Picasso

If you thought you’d get an answer to my little situation regarding having or not a house key and a place to call “home” in just a few days time, well then unfortunately you were wrong. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have something to tell!

Mr. Picasso himself was born in this city and of course his childhood home is now a museum. (Casa Natal de Picasso)

I’ve never really been a big fan of Picassos work, but the guys got me convinced that we sort of had to visit this museum, so we did and I was surprised. In a good way. I do like Picasso’s work! I seriously should have given this guy more of a chance before. 

It’s a beautiful house, on Plaza de la Merced in the middle of the historical area of the city and has three floors with different exhibitions and information about the artist and his life. 

Plaza de la Merced
 The entrance fee is the grand total of 1 euro and students enter…for free! 

There's also another Picasso museum, but I haven't been there.

5 days left

Yes, that’s it. Suddenly it got serious. Friday of this week I will have my exam in Spanish and then on Saturday morning I need to be out of the flat. 

I went to the agency after school today just to ask if I could stay on if I wanted to, but my room is booked up by someone new from Saturday 1st October. So at 12 o’clock that day I need to deliver the key and be out of there. That’s suddenly very soon!

Brad is staying cause he’s booked a whole year of Spanish studies, but his room is the smallest bedroom I have ever seen and there’s no way there’s room for more than one person in there at the same time. He’s got about 50cm to move on from where his bed stops till the wall on the opposite side of the room. Lucas is going home to Poland on Saturday morning (like the reasonable person he is, he has it all booked and ready) and basically I am the only one without a plan. 

Let’s say I decided to stay on in Malaga. I would have to find a new place to live (hassle!) and try to see if I could continue the Spanish course, cause I am in no way ready for a job-hunt yet. 

Or what if I just packed my bags and left town in search for more adventures somewhere else? Well, I still have a few days to decide don’t I? 

In the meantime I will just enjoy the sun, the beach, lovely tapas and wine! It’s not so bad after all! No stress, I think the very calm lifestyle here has caught up with me! Mañana, mañana!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cervecería 100 montaditos while reflecting and thinking about my future we wanted to check out this franchise called Cervecería 100 montaditos, apparently all over Spain.

Their idea is to offer small tasty sandwiches (montaditos), a kind of tapas, with Mediterranean fillings starting at one euro, and a total of 100 different ones to choose from. Cheap & delicious.
Notice the reflexion in the window, I just loooove palm trees and blue skies haha!
So, you grab the menu, have a look at what you want...

 ...write down you whole order (love how playful they’ve made the order sheet), place & pay it at the counter...

...and the lovely little montaditos are brought to your table.

Here I got one of number 1 (Clasico, de Jamon Iberico con aceite de oliva = Iberian ham with olive oil), and one of number 89 (Gourmet, de Jamon Iberico con lomo al ajillo, queso iberico y tomate natural = Iberian ham, pork loin made in garlic, Iberian cheese and tomato.) And free chips on the side.  (Me very proud to understand what I was ordering!)

What to do next?

So, here I am. Three weeks into my new adventure. And with only 6 days left of known future. Like I said I am not a good planner, I like taking things a little bit as they come along. But I realized today that I damn well better make a decision about what to do when in 6 days I will be homeless and courseless. I booked this course with accommodation for 4 weeks. I don’t even know if I could stay on in the flat in the case that I would want to. From being all unconcerned and happy adventurous, this weekend I suddenly felt the stress starting to reach out for me. Just a little bit though.

So will I stay on or will I go somewhere else? The only thing I am sure about is that I will not go back to Norway just yet. I am really enjoying Malaga, I think it probably has all one could desire. 

It’s got beaches (note the plural!)... many tapas bars your heart desire... possibilities you can only dream of in Norway...

...and even historic sites and old beautiful buildings...

And more, more, more.

And at the same time my feet are itching to see more of this country. I’ve heard that both culture and ways of living change quite a lot depending on where you are, and it makes me curious to see other places too.

Everyone I have gotten to know, apart from Brad, are moving away. (No offence, Brad, you’re the greatest but it’s a little depressing that almost everyone I have gotten to know will disappear in just a week!)
I seriously need to disconnect a little from the lovely bubble of carefree enjoyment and do some thinking!

Salsa in Málaga

First of all, I have no salsa dancing friends here (and the guys I live with would rather be seen dead than entering a salsa club) and I wasn’t so sure about going alone. I did my research anyway although I didn’t really find a big salsa-scene, I did find a couple of salsa-bars. 

Saturday night, when the guys wanted to go for a bar to watch football I put my dance shoes on and went with them. After a couple glasses of wine I got up and announced that I would be heading out to “Asúcar” for a little dose of my favourite drug. They immediately got all worried and wouldn’t let me go but I insisted and headed off into the streets towards this bar I had read about online. 

I entered and got myself a drink for company and sat down at a stool watching people dance. 
I would love to say I had the most amazing time...and danced my ass off...but after about an hour I found my way back to the bar and the guys. No one had asked me to dance, no one had even smiled to me or said hi. The group of salseros was so closed and obviously not interested in welcoming another salsera into their family. 

I’ll have to try my luck some other time, and some other place!
But although I didn't get to dance myself, I enjoyed watching the others, and listening to the music. 
Algo es algo! (An expression I've learnt, means something like "something is something.." Doesn't really work in English now does it?)

If someone would like to give it a shot, Asúcar can be found at C/ Juan de Padilla, Plaza Mitjana.

I'll throw in a few night-shots of the city too. 

Random street in old town

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friday is excursion day, part 2: Alcazaba de Málaga

Looking up to the hill from the amphitheatre you will see the Moorish castle, Alcazaba, a huge fortress/castle built in the 11th century and used by Muslim governors (See picture from post about amphitheatre) . 
So, when we were at it with the amphitheatre, we also went to see the Alcazaba too, with a guide…in SPANISH, of course! Haha. Think possibly I understood some more this week, compared to last Friday at the cathedral and that’s a nice feeling! By the way, the entrance fee is soo cheap. 2 euros for adults, but only 0,60 for students! Ridiculous! (However, the school paid this time too!)

It’s absolutely beautiful, and apart from spectacular architecture and beautifully decorated rooms it includes different exhibitions, and stunningly landscaped gardens.

I will let the pictures speak for themselves, it’s truly beautiful! 


I love the Arab influence you can see in the architecture various places in the city!