Europe,  Travel

Malaga, Spain

Okay, now we’re going to get into the good stuff about our honeymoon cruise. If you missed the nitty gritty about what it means to win a honeymoon check that out here. To recap, we won a cruise that left from Malaga, Spain and ended in the Canary Islands on a sail powered cruise line. I’m going to break our trip down into a few posts so it doesn’t get too crazy to read all at once. In this post I’m just going to cover Malaga, Spain and the cruise ship itself, since that’s where it all started. Then I’ll do the actual sailing & Morocco and finally, the Canary Islands. 

Malaga, Spain

Our cruise left from Malaga, Spain on Halloween, but we got in a few days early so we could adjust to the dramatic time change and see a bit of Spain before sailing off. We have had great experiences with AirBnb and Malaga was no different. We didn’t have cell phone service while we were traveling, so I had to work out plans with meeting our hosts while we were on WiFi, which sort of worked. We barely missed the train leaving the airport, so we were about 30 minutes later than I told our host we would be. Then we got a bit turned around getting to the apartment with no google maps. But luckily our host got hungry and was walking to get some food and ran into us on the street. I thought we were pretty lucky that he recognized us, but later I realized we were the only people with luggage roaming the streets so we were probably pretty obvious to spot. Our host was super nice and helpful, but honestly meeting him was a blur. We had been traveling for about 30 hours by the time we got there and we were exhausted. It was only about 2 in the afternoon, but we crashed. Hard. I woke up around 8, hoping to go get some food but there was no way I was getting Mauricio up. So I watched Property Brothers in Spanish until I fell asleep again. Basically, we totally wasted the first “day” we had in Spain.

The next day was much better. This was our only full day in Malaga and we wanted to make the most of it. Malaga itself is pretty sizable, but the area around the port has a lot to see and is very walkable, so we spent our time there. The main thing we visited was Alcazaba. We weren’t exactly sure what it was when we came up to it, but it was relatively cheap to get in and looked like an old fort of some sort, so we went with it thinking we could learn a bit about Malaga history. To be honest, the whole time we were there we had no idea what it was. I mean obviously it was some sort of castle or fort, but there were absolutely no signs with descriptions of when/why/who built it. Nothing. So we roamed around the partial ruins and took in the beautiful views as we climbed higher above the city. The views were great and if you’re looking for a walk in Malaga, I’d recommend it, even though I’m still not exactly sure what it is. 

We spent the rest of the day wandering the streets of Malaga, stopping for tapas every now and then. I love experiencing new foods while we travel, which is good because I almost never got what I expected when I ordered. Maybe I’m not good at understanding menus? Maybe I should ask more questions before I order? Or maybe I should just keep doing what I do, because even though my food was almost never what I expected, I always liked it. I’m sorry I can’t give you all delicious food tips, I’ll just say order what sounds good but be willing to try new things.

Look closely on the left and you’ll see the espetos cooking.

The one thing that I do know about food in Malaga is sardines or espetos as they say. Our host did mention that we needed to try them before we left and since Mauricio loves sardines, it was a must try. They cooked 6 sardines on a sick over an open fire right on the beach and Mauricio was in heaven. I tried a few, even though I’m not a huge sardine fan. But I will say as far as sardines go, they were pretty darn good and I did eat 2 whole sardines. Woo. 

The one thing I really missed out on in Malaga was sangria. I saw these delicious looking pitchers of sangria at almost every meal and they always made my pregnant mouth water. I felt like I could drink a whole pitcher on my own and the fact that I couldn’t even have a glass killed me! They say the sangria in Spain is to die for, but I couldn’t tell you. Note to self: don’t be pregnant the next time I go to Spain.

Catedral de la Encarnación de Málaga tucked into the streets

Our second full day in Malaga was the day we were getting on the ship. We didn’t sail out until the evening, so we had most of the day to wander Malaga some more before heading out. Malaga is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, and while he didn’t grow up there, they really play into that and there are a lot of Picasso museums around the city. We didn’t indulge in them but if you’re interested in art then Malaga has got you covered. Like any good catholic city, Malaga has a nice cathedral and we did a self guided tour. While we aren’t religious, visiting religious buildings like this is still a treat. The architecture and details of cathedrals always amazes me and this was actually Mauricios first real visit to one. 

Our first real view of our ship from the ferris wheel

After exploring the city a bit, we went down to the pier to see if our ship was there, and it was! We oohed and ahhed at it and it started getting really real that we were going to be sailing soon! We rode the ferris wheel that is right by the water (which as I’m doing research I see is now permanently closed) and got some even more amazing views of the ship and the city of Malaga. We spent the rest of our time in the city lounging on the beach, snacking on espetos and enjoying the Mediteranean sea. As the day led on, it was time to board the ship and we were in for the start of an amazing week aboard the Star Flyer. 

Cruising Star Clippers

Our cruise with Star Clippers on the Star Flyer was our first cruise and I must say the bar has been set VERY high for our expectations of what a cruise should be. Star Clippers is absolutely amazing and I highly recommend them. I will say this, don’t go on a Star Clippers cruise if you’re looking for 24 hour buffets and Vegas style shows on board. Do go on a Star Clippers cruise if you’re looking for amazing food 5 times a day and climbing the mast of a tall ship or laying in a net on the bow while it cruises to your next small port city. So many people on the cruise were return customers, but we were also BY FAR the youngest people on the cruise. It was definitely an older, fancier crowd, but everyone was so nice and very curious about us since we were young and had won our trip. I had done lots of looking online before we set sail, and I could tell that it wasn’t going to exactly be our crowd onboard and I was right. Our cruise was about half and half with Germans and British couples, with a few American couples mixed in there. There were also three solo travelers. The fact that I know exactly how many solo travelers there were should give you an idea of how small of a group we really were

We were greeted with drinks and were shown to our room. It’s hard to really describe how nice the ship was. Pictures don’t do it justice, but if you’re curious you can check out the Star Clippers website and take some virtual tours.

As everyone got boarded we set sail. Sailing out is a big deal, you get to see them pull the sails up while they play this really dramatic music. It was an amazing experience sailing out on Halloween night like that. Once we were actually on our way, I looked at Mauricio, we were both still a little bit amazed that we were actually here, and just took in the reality of this amazing opportunity we were experiencing. We explored the ship a little more and watched as Malaga got smaller and smaller. Then we went to bed because we’d been walking all day and we were dog tired. 

Sailing away from Malaga on Halloween night

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