Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Malaga revisited (and re-edited)

With the blossom-perfumed, finger-clicking, champers-popping trio of Seville, Granada and Marbella just a few miles away, it’s no wonder Malaga has been treated like the dowdy stepsister all these years. Admittedly, the city lacks the picture-box beauty of Seville, Granada's Alhambra and the millionaire magnetism of Marbella, but these things don't make the perfect holiday, they just give you a few things to tick off, don't they? Plaza de España? Check. Flamenco show? Check. Sean Connery and wife? Check. We go to these places to see things we've seen in pictures or heard about from people who've been there. We go there to say we've been there. Not wanting to get all Alain de Botton on you, but what happened to discovery? Sure, you might have an epiphany sitting in a well-recommended tablao or shuffling around the "must sees" with everyone else, but you won't see anything different to what every other punter who's just hopped on a plane with a guide book sees, will you? Go to a part of the world like the Costa de Sol that gets more slagging off in polite conversation than Robert Mugabe, however, and you'll feel like you're on a voyage of discovery. I mean, grilled sardines on the beach, tapas for under €4 a pop and one of the best botanical gardens in Europe - for me it was more like a voyage into paradise. So I tried to convey my enthusiasm for the place in a five-page city guide for the Ryanair Magazine after a brief visit (with this photographer:, and explain that Malaga's charm lies in all the things that make it different from it's neighbours. But I fear that some of my honest talk of a much-maligned, diamond-in-the-rough, city-on-the-up might have been tamed to make it sound a bit more glowing. Ah well, worth a try. (

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