We started the day with light rain falling as we got off of the ship and onto the bus for our excursion in Málaga. That rain would keep up for most of the day, so my biggest job was to keep my camera equipment dry. So, when I was not taking pictures, I zipped my 35mm Canon EOS camera under my rain jacket. That was much easier than removing the telephoto lens and packing the lens and camera back into my camera bag.
The first stop on the tour was at Plaze de toros de La Málagueta (Plaze of the Bulls). This arena was built between 1874 and 1876 and has now been designated a cultural asset of Spain. The arena is used for bullfights each summer. On this day in early spring, the building is usually closed in the morning and opened in the afternoon for access to the small bull fighting museum located below the stands. The operators of the arena were kind enough to open the museum early for our tour in hopes that the weather would improve for later stops where we would be outside.
There was a short respite of the rain so I was able to get a few shots of the inside of the bull ring.
After this short photo session, we were shown into the museum. I took a few pictures of the heads of bulls (usually missing one or both ears depending on how good the bullfight was, with two ears missing indicating a very exciting fight between man and beast, two ears and a tail (solely at the discretion of the presidente in charge of the ring) for an exceptional job by both matador and bull.
The museum guide pointed out how many of the elaborate costumes were made, what the special shoes were like (mostly like tight fitting black slippers) so that the matadors did not slip on the sandy surface of the ring. There were also actual colored lances used in the bullfights by picadores mounted on horses to place in the neck muscles of the bull to both let out some blood and reduce the power of the bull’s neck thrusts during the final part of the bullfight. By the way, bulls are color blind. The red capes were specifically colored red to make it harder to see how much blood was being spilled from the bull by the lances.
Just as we were exiting the arena, I noticed some beautiful roof tops along the street outside. Even with the cloudy grey sky in the background, it is hard not to appreciate the craftsmanship of the Spanish builders in this beautiful city.
From the arena, we got back on our bus and were driven to the castle on top of the highest hill in Malaga. It was raining so hard at this point, that I was unable to get many pictures. I got one shot of our cruise ship from the ramparts that gives you a good idea of what the conditions were like.
From the castle, we were driven back down to the city and dropped off in a commercial district full of restaurants, cafes, and shops. We followed a serpentine route, in and out of buildings, to our next destination, the Flamenco Museum. Here we were ushered downstairs into a cabaret type room with tables surrounding a center stage. On each table were several plates of sliced meats, cheeses, crackers, chips, Spanish olives, and glasses of sherry. Here are a few pictures of the outside of the museum, taken as we left after the rain had ceased and the sun decided to make an appearance:
Next, I am going to share a short excerpt from the 40 minute show we were given by extremely skilled Flamenco performers. There was an excellent guitarist, a singer, and a male and a female dancer. Their boots are red and made to resound against the flooring of the stage. The performances were better than I could have hoped (not to be missed if you ever visit Malaga).