Written by E Kensington - Writer/Blogger for Retox. Images by E Kensington.
Note: The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of RetoxMagazine.com
Malaga, Spain. Image by E Kensington.
I have been to Malaga before. A few times. But nothing prepared me for what this trip would bring. From heat that tickles your skin pink, to aromas of perfume worn by beautiful women, and most of all, smiles that want to make you forget where you came from. Malaga truly is a wondrous place filled with many little surprises and hidden treasures, as long as you are willing to look. Most people know Malaga for its airport as it is the main one for Costa del Sol. But what many people forget is that while they are busy on their transfers to Benalmadena or Marbella, they have totally overlooked the city of Malaga.
I started my journey same as anyone else. I booked myself into a lovely hostel where every day I was greeted by the sound of tweeting birds, sunshine pouring in through the old Spanish style balcony doors and the aroma of the bakery down the lane. As I would leave the hostel I was constantly astounded at how beautiful the old city centre was. Squares filled with palm trees and cafes bustling with the sound of busyness and life.
Left: Historical City centre square. Right: Another day spent walking on Marble streets, Malaga, Spain.
I decided that every day I would have to go somewhere new just to try and see where the best food and where the best people were. I started on my mission to try all the tapas food and although you usually get some sort of snack when you order a drink in most places, only very few can resist dipping into the menu itself. I ate and I ate. I ate until I could not eat anymore and the more places I frequented, the more I realised how friendly and hospitable the people of Malaga truly were.
My greatest discovery was to be found on a simple Andalusian night. The moon shone and there was not one cloud in the sky. The breeze was warm and the streets were busy with people enjoying themselves. As me and my travel companion decided it was time to stop exploring and stop for an evening drink, we came across a simple looking bar, La Taperia de Sybaris on Calle Alamos.
Left: La Taperia de Sybaris bar in Malaga, Spain. Right: Outside seating at La Taperia de Sybaris.
We sat outside and a nice Spanish man came out to take our order and smiled immediately. As I started to piece together a sentence of broken Spanish he jumped in and helped me straight away. He spoke some English and was full of life which inspired me to keep trying to speak the language. After taking our order, he brought out some olives and some lovely peppers that I have never had before. They were Padron peppers with sea salt. It was so good that we immediately looked at the menu. Throughout the evening, as we looked about the bar/restaurant, we realised why the food was so good. The bar itself was covered with fresh vegetables and all you could smell was the kitchen at the back. We seemed to be the only tourists there which immediately told me that this place must be good! As we returned night after night to La Taperia de Sybaris, we realised that everyone who works here truly are some of the most kind and lovely people that we have had the pleasure of meeting. They offered us drinks and tapas and the menu was extensive to cater for every taste bud one may have.
Left: A new friend made... Right: La Teperia de Sybaris Menu.
The ease of the place was so natural that you almost forgot you were still in Europe and when the African wind breezed past you, it felt as though we had travelled back in time. It seemed to us that we had ordered so much, but yet when the bill came, it was only a few euros. Throughout the week, the bar also replaced their old tables and seats in the outside seating area with beautiful new ones which showed just how much they cared about the place. Every time we walked by, even if we did not stay to order, we were greeted with smiles and waves. It almost started to feel like La Taperia de Sybaris had become an extension of our family. And on the last night, I was given a generous amount of my favourite caramel drink to have for my pleasure which showed just how kind they really were. I felt like I had arrived in heaven.
But as all trips end, so did ours. After a week of walking on marble covered streets, going to the old cathedral (called The One Armed Woman), having a saunter through the Picasso museum and lazy mornings on the beach, we left behind the sunshine coast and went home with our faces full of sun and our bellies full of great Andalusian food happily planning our next trip back to beautiful Malaga.
Teatro Romano, Malaga