Ferris Wheeler’s Day Off*

Spain - Malaga 052Down the block from our apartment, there was a strange mural painted on a wall. We are not aware of its message, but it was incredibly attention grabbing. The wall only hid a vacant lot behind it, so there was nothing there to associate Spain - Malaga 053or infer any meaning. There seems to be a genuine acceptance of graffiti in the form of murals and it is spreading worldwide.

After walking around the city, the sidewalks filled with pedestrians, we headed to the Castillo de Gibralfaro. This is on the upper part of the hill above the Alcazaba de Málaga. To Spain - Malaga 062reach it we needed to walk through a tunnel and then take the elevator to the top. Built in 929AD by Abd-al-Rahman III, it replaced a lighthouse built by the Phoenicians. At the beginning of the 14th century, Yusef 1, Sultan of Granada enlarged it by bringing the construction downSpain - Malaga 065 to the lower Alcazaba. The structure is amazing in its breadth and construction. Beautifully maintained, gorgeous gardens at varied levels delight the senses.

One historic fact is that during a siege when Catholic King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella fought to gain control of the area, this was the first time that gunpowder had been used by both feuding sides. Ferdinand stayed up on the hill, while he queen took up residence down in the city below.

Coming down was possible by stairs and offered varied spectacular views of the city as well as fountains and gardens.

The Ferris wheel captured our attention and imagination as soon as we had entered Spain - Malaga 067the city. This placed high on the ‘To Do” list. It was not a busy day, but we did have to wait for those already in motion to complete their ride, before we could board a cabin. While spinning above the cityscape three times we were talking and laughing the entire time, barely remembering to take time to appreciate the scenery below.

Our Budapest friends Sandra and Larry had suggested the Marriott rooftop for tapas and drinks. Kim checked on the price of a room while we were here. She needs to fly out of Málaga at 6:55 am on the 26th, so considered getting a room in the city the night before. Since the Marriott does not accommodate one-night reservations, they were willing to concede by giving her the special offer of €385 for the one night. She thanked them politely and left in shock. With this information, we hesitantly followed the suggestion for rooftop libations, but we were pleasantly surprised to find the prices very reasonable and again we were rewarded with outstanding cityscapes sitting outside in the sunshine.

Though it did not seem like an energetic day, we really did get plenty of exercise andSpain - Malaga 077 fresh air walking around Castillo de Gibralfaro and the city streets. Later, we returned to the apartment so Kim could rest. Jet-lag was still an issue for her. Across from our apartment, there is a graphic, which really caught my attention each time I saw it. Again, the true meaning escapes me, but there is something engaging about it anyway.

Ron and I offered to go to the supermarket a few blocks away to get some things to make dinner. As we left the apartment, we heard music down the street toward the supermarket allowing us to Spain - Malaga 079investigate without having to divert from our course. Semana Santa had begun; these are Holy Week celebrations. Groups of men carry an enormous statue of Christ on their shoulders while Spain - Malaga 084a band plays. Other men dress in capes with pointed hoods similar to but pre-dating the KKK. Male children are in similar costumes, but girls look more like little nuns. It is a fascinating show, especially if one has never seen it before.

This is not quite the scene we witnessed in Quito, at least not yet. Spain - Malaga 091There was no one flogging their own backs with whips or chains. This seems so out-of-place in the 21st century. I cannot help but wonder how many involve themselves out of customary routine, the shear pageantry, or a sincere understanding of the ritual.

 *This has been back dated due to lack of Internet connections.

After completing my Ed.D., the frustration of finding a teaching position where I was willing to live, led to Ron and I leaving the country. We intended to travel for a year before settling somewhere in MA or RI. We left the US without any credit card debt, no car payments and our house mortgage paid by renters. We had $10,000 in the bank to make our way through a year.