SOME five years ago Thomas Henry introduced me to The Leon Project – a group consisting of brothers Jesús and Paco León who collaborate with other talented musicians, such as Thomas Henry, to create some truly unique melodic experiences.
There was one track that really got to me: ‘Malaga my Love,’ perhaps because I have never been a big fan of Marbella’s capital city but loved the song. Just hearing the name usually brought back memories of being dragged there as a child to buy gold sandals in El Corte Inglés. The horrors of shopping, preceded and topped off with excruciatingly long drives in non air-conditioned taxis that would hurtle along the one and only precarious coastal road to and from Marbella was pure torture, particularly for a youngster that got car-sick under normal circumstances and who just wanted to play in the pool!
Recently however I’ve been to Malaga a few times, of my own free will. I loved it and the drive there and back (except for nearly running out of petrol in the centre of the city as all petrol stations have been removed to make way for the new underground!). The first time was for a touristic wander around the ‘old town’ with family visiting from abroad and the other to see the interactive Van Gogh exhibition. Both experiences were so unexpectedly rewarding.
The streets in the main shopping areas are clean and the pavements literally glisten in the sun. The early morning atmosphere is peaceful but by midday the bustle of shoppers is quite exhilarating and then at night time the old town bursts into one large outdoor get-together with different options to eat, drink and make merry around every crooked corner and up every narrow alleyway, all packed with people! I loved the way I could leisurely admire the sights when tired of walking from different vantage points.
The sights from the terrace of the new Hard Rock Café were a delight, particularly as it was the only place open for breakfast in the whole port area! (It was also lovely to bump into Linda from HRC Puerto Banus who has recently been moved to Malaga to help with the opening of this new venue, which sits atop the new pier at Muelle Uno). It was also entertaining watching the huge cruise liners coming and going at all times. A fabulous park separates the port and the city and makes for the most pleasant stroll amongst the lush, Mediterranean, tropical and sub-tropical flora that offers such delicious shade when most needed.
It is also mesmerising to watch it all from above, as we did from the roof top bar at the Malaga Palacios hotel, as recommended by a very friendly and helpful taxi driver we asked for directions. In fact, everyone we spoke to in the city was surprisingly helpful and charming, as was the city itself. So much so, I think Malaga may just be my new love!