Tag Archives: Malaga

Carnivals, Museum & “Pareeee”

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So, once again, I was caught up in things going on during my year abroad that my blog became a little neglected.  But how do I summarise the last, pretty excellent month?

Well, beginning around the 18th February 2012, Rebekah, Emma and I headed to the CADIZ CARNIVAL.  And capitalised it should be – this huge event fills the city of Cadiz with people from all over the world who come together, dressed up in admirable fancy dress outfits, to celebrate the culture of the carnival, chill in the streets and have a memorable trip!  Although there are carnivals all over the country in February, Cadiz has a reputation of being the biggest and the best, and we were not let down.  I link now to Rebekah’s guest blog for Andalucia.com, who captures the craziness of Cadiz Carnival perfectly.

Celebrations in Cadiz Carnival!

I can’t say it’s been all play… we do work here too!  I’ve found myself visiting museums again – one in particular I have visited three times now!  In early March, the Carmen Thyssen Museum in Malaga hosted a press release for their new temporary exhibition, in time for the celebrations of their first birthday.  During the guided tour around the Museum, by a professor from the University of Malaga, I found myself becoming a little art lover [as I type this, Mum is hysterical with laughter at the thought of a cultured daughter].  He went around explaining the details of the Baroness’ collection of works, describing the traits and the feelings of the paintings and the artists’ intentions.  It was all very interesting and I found myself taking in everything he said, so much so that he could have said something completely random, and I probably would have still nodded in agreement.  Anyway, when writing my guest blog for Andalucia.com, I quite enjoyed my exploration into Spanish culture through art, which is exactly what you can experience at the Carmen Thyssen Museum in Malaga.

And saving the best until last, PARIS!  One of the best things about International Business at the University of Warwick is the compulsory three-day seminar held in Disneyland Paris.  Held between Monday and Thursday, I made the most of the opportunity for a weekend in city of Paris!  A first time visitor, and complete tourist, I had my heart set on visiting the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre and Notre-dame… in one day.  And, in fact, I was pleasantly surprised by the ease with which you can get around the city.  Anisha and I managed to see the Arc de Triomphe and walk down the lavish Champs-Elysses following our touch-down in Paris.  On my student budget, and frankly not being a millionaire, it was an afternoon of window shopping as I compiled my wish list for fancy cars, Cartier diamonds and…. a taste of every burger from the all-burger restaurant (and exciting prospect for me!)

The following day was a whirlwind of walking, monuments… and rain!  I didn’t quite picture my first Eiffel Tower experience wrapped in my coat, and still freezing, and gripping onto my umbrella for dear life.  But, despite all of that, I couldn’t help but enjoy the wonder of Notre-Dame and the Louvre, the relaxed charm of the Latin Quarter, the beautiful places we came across and the romance of the city.

Notre Dame, and even more amazing inside.

Eiffel Tower on a grey Paris day

Eiffel Tower on a grey Paris day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of this was made better by the croissants, pain au chocolat and, for the child in me, the build up to Disneyland Paris.  The last time I visited Disneyland, I was an excitable toddler who loved the magic of it all, and dangerously my expectations of Disneyland were based on the memories of that toddler.  Needless to say, things had changed slightly.  Firstly, I was the same height as the characters, if not taller.  I could see the human face inside Goofy’s mouth, and Goofy was a little too friendly in a whole other way!  The magic was wearing thin slightly through my adult eyes.

Goofy playing up for us during a buffet at the Disneyland Hotel

Though, I’m sure my classmates can vouch for the fact that I clung onto the magic as hard as I could, and soon enough it became effortless.  I smiled and excitedly waved at my favourite Disney characters as they passed by me on their floats during the Disney parade, I waited patiently to have my photo taken with each character and I queued up for the rides.  Be it flying over the Peter Pan story, spinning in the tea cup, being frightened in the haunted mansion, and my personal ‘favourite’, learning all about the different cultures of the world from manic, smiling dolls, alongside the soundtrack of “It’s a small world”.  An experience I will never forget.

My moment with Aladdin, complete with a wink and wave in my direction. Disneyland - where dreams come true!!

There was quite a deal of work involved in this three-day seminar: early starts, presentations, group work, reading – but all a lot more enjoyable in Disneyland!  In fact, maybe fourth year lectures could be held in Disneyland… that’d be nice.

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Weekend in Malaga

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A weekend trip to Malaga was an awesome experience of Spanish culture.  Emma and I went for business (a client’s anniversary party) but also had the chance to explore one of the best cities in Andalucia.  It was such a good weekend – it’s definitely blog-worthy!  So here are some of the highlights:

Tapas

When it comes to Spanish food, tapas are the best way to go about it.  Tapas are little portions of Spanish delicacies – lots of seafood, chorizo and ‘other things’.  My favourite was gambas pil pil – prawns in chilli and garlic.  With the spicy and with garlic kick, it was the closest thing to Mum’s cooking in two months, yum!  The ‘other things’ included rabbit and (I quote) “two little birds”, which didn’t sound all that appetising to me and I couldn’t bring myself to try.  Especially with the pigeons flying around (a reminder of England when I usually see seagulls all day) and little birds (oh god, now I really wouldn’t be able to eat it!)

Some advice: tapas places usually have people sitting around large barrels and these barrels are the standard decor – but don’t always go to the big places.  The small places down a little side street have the most rica food

Museums

Malaga is now promoting itself as ‘the city of museums’.  As we walked around the cobbled streets of Malaga we did see that there were museums and other places rich in culture in every corner as we got lost in the city!  We first ventured into the Carmen Thyssen Museum.  Opened recently it holds a large collection of paintings from different periods and of different themes.  The best thing about the collection was the images of traditional life in Andalucia.  There were lots of paintings of women dancing flamenco, people wandering around in the narrow streets of the now ‘old towns’ and a general enjoyment of life.  Though seeing the painting of Estepona ‘back in the day’, there didn’t seem to be much going on here, which didn’t surprise us!

The Beach at Estepona with a View of the Rock of Gibraltar (1855)

As part of the business part of the trip, we also visited the Felix Revello del Toro museum.  Revello del Toro is a Malaga-born painter who has a talent and appreciation for portraits and the female figure.  The museum and the paintings were amazing, and it was brilliant to see the work of someone who can capture the essence of a person in a painting when the height of my artistic ability is drawing a stick man!

Sumida en el Sueno (1989)

Mojito

The 40th anniversary of a language school was the event that we attended for work, and they know how to celebrate in Spain.  With another open bar, delicious canapés and all set in a pretty good-looking language school – it was a great celebration.  And brilliant that I finally got to try a good mojito!  Other than waiting in the queue for a good 30-45 minutes, there was just the right amount of crushed ice and sugar to make a perfect Mojito.  If only I can pronounce it the proper Spanish way now!

Night life

Malaga not only is a city, but a university city!  And with lots of young people come lots of bars.  Since the Spanish night out doesn’t start until a ridiculous 3am, when we arrived in Malaga city centre, there were people milling around trying to attract us into the very empty bars.  And the ‘attraction’ came in the form of a free drink per bar.  Lovely!  Unfortunately, I can’t add so many positive comments about the Spanish music.  I find this quite odd because I’ve heard some good Spanish music, which seems to disappear in bars etc. and is instead replaced with a) not-so-great Spanish music b) retro 80s pop and rock or c) mainstream English/American music.  However, an advantage of this was discovering that the Spanish do pronounce ‘Lady Gaga’ in the best way!

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