Malaga was our last port of call in Spain. Literally and figuratively.

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 8.10.11 PM IMG_1805 Spain 2014 map

We arrived there from Gibraltar in early evening. Our hotel was about a 20 minute-walk from the harbor and the city center. We used a chance to stretch our legs.  We walked, had a nice dinner, and went to bed early.

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During dinner, we also recapped our Tour of Spain. What were our three most favorite sights, we asked each other.

IMG_1814For Elizabeth, they were: 1. Gibraltar; 2. Cordoba; 3. Avila (walled city)

For me, they were: 1. El Escorial (Grand Finale and Morning After); 2. Cordoba; 3. Zaragoza (Evening – Part 1, Morning – Part 2)

Both Elizabeth and I thought the Madrid Soccer Madness scene was also worth extra credit and  special mention.  It revealed so much about the people’s extraordinary love of soccer and the (friendly) passions that are unknown on the American sporting scene (see our video Soccer Madness in Madrid, May 24, 2014).

The next morning, May 28, our last day in Spain, we went out again for a leisurely walk through the streets of Malaga.  We considered driving up to Granada to see its famous Alhambra (see below). It was on our original tentative plan.

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But we decided “enough is enough.”  We’ve seen enough cathedrals, castles, museums, art galleries, and beautiful architectural creations to last us a lifetime.

After all, Malaga was our 18th Spanish city in 7 days. We had been on the road for 2,400 km (1,500 miles). So we decided to take it easy at the end. And although it was doable to drive up to Granada and return to Malaga before our 3PM flight to Brussels and London, it would have been just too much.

So another important requirement for How to Ensure Every Trip Is a Great Experience is KNOWING WHEN TO STOP.

And how, here are some pictures from our morning walk through Malaga.

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Notice a change of outfits Elizabeth is wearing in these two pictures? Yes, she went shopping in Malaga. Last port of all – last chance to shop in Spain. 🙂

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Ditto in the above two pictures of Elizabeth next to these gorgeous Malaga flower columns.

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And then it was time to say goodbye to Malaga and to Spain. Here’s our farewell picture of it, taken at Malaga’s Plaza Mayor with Elizabeth modeling her new dress.  She was my Malaguena for a day.

IMG_1823 Flamenco Malaguena

The inspiration for this famous tune by Ernesto Lecuona first came to me in September 2009. So that’s how long the Spirits have been preparing us for this Tour of Spain trip. I only became aware of it after we had come home and I recorded these two new improvisations on the Malaguena theme.

By the way, Malaguena means a “woman from Malaga,” in case you did not know.  So this beautiful melody is a fitting farewell song for and from our last port of call in Spain.

Improvisations on the Theme of Malaguena: Steinway Version

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Improvisations on the Theme of Malaguena: Andalusia Flamenco Version

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And now, here’s our video epilogue set to my latest recording of Variation 1 of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on the Theme of Paganini. This pop version is only 100 seconds long.  But it leaves you breathless because of its breakneck speed, both in piano and violin versions.

This is the music that actually first came to me in dreamtime on our last day in Malaga. But I had to wait a couple of weeks till we got to Maui to learn to play it and eventually record it as my 2014 Birthday Song. (recorded June 10).

So this latest July 4 version is another crank of my wheel of music evolution.  It is a pop version of this famous Rachmaninoff’s piece.

Whirlwind Snapshot of Tour of Spain: 18 cities in 7 days in 100 seconds

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