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A City Break By Bus
Last week we had three nights staying at a hotel in Málaga to celebrate the latest in a long line of wedding anniversaries (but not a ‘special’ one). As pensioners in possession of “65+” cards we are entitled to half fare on intercity buses, so of course that was how we travelled. Apart from cost, this has the advantage that you don’t have to scour the city centre looking for a parking place. We had a broad plan in mind. In the past couple of years the innermost basin of Málaga Port has been completely revamped as a leisure area - gardens, bars, restaurants and shops on the wharves, leisure craft in the basin, and so we wanted to explore it. Also a couple of years ago, Baroness Carmen Von Thyssen consigned a huge part of her art collection to a new museum in Málaga, which also sounded worth a visit. Then, shortly we before we set the dates, friends told us of two more museums that we really had to see (though I have to admit that I wasn’t convinced), oh and I wanted to visit the Church of the Sacred Heart, home to the city’s Jesuit priests. A full itinerary as you can see, which is why we decided that three nights was the solution.
The port area (Muelle Uno and Muelle Dos, if you ever want to find it) was a bit ‘curate’s egg’ - good in parts, though one part, a restaurant by the name of Kaleido was impressive enough to register much more than ‘good’. The Carmen Thyssen Museum was very interesting. The part of her collection which she has loaned long-term to Málaga is devoted to Spanish artists of the 18th and 19th century, and shows a very different style to the rest of Europe. But the two highlights were the museums that I had felt lukewarm about.
The Málaga Automobile Museum is housed in the former, historic tobacco factory, a splendid building in itself. Several hundred cars are on display, arranged by era - Belle Epoque, Roaring Twenties, Art Deco, Swiniging Sixities, up to experimental vehicles of the 21st century. In each era the cars are accompanied by mannequins dressed in the styles of that era, and in addition there is a hall of hats and another of original, haute couture fashions of the whole period covered. The cars themselves have been restored to a superb standard, and to top things off, there are exhibits of what I suppose you would want to call ‘automotive art’.
The Museum of Glass and Crystal must be nigh on unique. Hidden away in a small square in the historic quarter of Málaga, it is housed in an 18th century. middle class house built on three floors around a large internal patio. The house is the home of the museum’s owner who has sought out and bought every piece on display, not just glassware and crystal, but furniture contemporary with the various exhibits, and an extensive collection of stained glass windows, beautifully mounted in heavy wooden frames, and back-lit; many have been rescued from redundant churches,due for demolition in Britain.
The museum would be fascinating just to walk round, but you are greeted by the owner and conducted on a guided visit where the history and appeal of the collection is fully explained. At times this can be a little demanding as he explains everything in English, spoken with a pronounced French accent, delivered at Spanish speed. There are many family portraits decorating the walls, as well as many family pieces of furniture. I got the impression that this gentleman of obvious wealth - one large display cabinet is full of Lalique, for instance - is indeed a gentleman at least, and seems to have links to several important European families. I am delighted not to have missed it.