Everyone likes Màlaga. This southern city of Spain is a favorite getaway of people in Spain and Europe wanting to escape the winter blues and bask in the Mediterranean beaches. The city is also a haven of arts and culture, having produced Pablo Picasso and Antonio Banderas, among others. Its main shopping street, Calle Larios, was built in 1891 and had the distinction of being the most elegant street in Spain. Today, the street still commands one of the most eye-wateringly expensive rents in the country. The facades of the buildings have retained its elegant and distinctive architectural designs. The street is off-limits to cars.
Yes, we like the city too. So much so that we were back for the second time; We were here in 2015 for the city’s marathon.
We took the 6:30 AM Ryanair flight from Brussels Charleroi Airport on Saturday, December 9, 2017. By 9:20 AM, we were getting off the plane and walking out of the terminal. We took an expensive 20€ five-kilometer taxi ride to pick up my bib at Palacio de Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena. We had to wait for half an hour since we were there a tad too early. The Zurich Màlaga Marathon 2017 expo did not open until 10:00 AM. We should have taken the local Bus A, gotten off at Avenida de Velàsquez, walked the kilometer to the stadium, and still make it in time for the opening of the expo.
The 60€ registration included the finisher shirt, a box of soup, a collapsible water bottle, a sachet of massage cream, reusable shopping bag, and the Distance Running magazine.
We took Bus 16 to Paseo del Parque to take us to our hotel. After 36 minutes, we got off the Alameda Principal stop, right in front of Calle Larios.
We stayed at Hotel Petit Palace Plaza Malaga, a boutique hotel located on a side street parallel to Calle Larios. The hotel provided us with a complimentary bottle of wine.
We had a view of the Malaga Cathedral from our balcony to the left, and Calle Larios to the right.
We rested a bit and went out to have a late lunch of grilled octopus, soup, and salad.
Energized by the meal, we set off to see some sights in the city. We first paid a visit to the Catedral de la Encarnación de Màlaga.
We walked a bit further to hike up the Alcazaba where Richard took photos of the beautiful coastal view.
All the walking soon made us hungry again. We found a cafe right in front of the cathedral and had paella negro for dinner.
We returned to Calle Larios to find the place packed. The pedestrian lights to come alive every evening to loud music and cheers.
We were up early the next morning to have breakfast and walk to the start line at Paseo del Parque. The race started at 9:00 AM with a six-hour time limit.
The course was not totally flat, although running with the view of the Mediterranean sea for the most part was breathtaking, literally and figuratively. The aid stations had water, sports drink, oranges, and bananas. They also had tons of race marshals on bicycles, cycling back and forth to check on runners, especially those like us at the back of the pack.
It was windier than the last time I ran it, and finished a so-so 18 minutes slower (5:30). Richard, my inspiration and support, patiently waited for me at the finish line. Finishers received bottled water and non-alcoholic San Miguel beer.
We walked back to the hotel where Richard ran me a Jacuzzi bath to relax and soothe away the aches. Even though we’ve stayed in jacuzzi rooms before, this was my first time to actually use one in a hotel. Hmmm. . . I could get used to this, especially when I don’t have time to get a massage afterwards.
We stayed one more night in Malaga before getting on the Aeroporto bus at the Alameda Principal stop to catch our flight back to Brussels early Monday morning.