Bewitched in Málaga


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Hola amigos,

The text below is an article I recently wrote for a writing scholarship and it captures my experience visiting Málaga for the 1st time with my friend Tasja a couple weeks ago. I finished my application for renewal next year as an auxiliar in Spain, but when I came back from this trip, I changed my location to Málaga as my top choice because I fell in love with the place. 

Close your eyes and imagine a summer getaway paradise—a sparkling turquoise ocean with a curvy coastline bordering a variety of elegant and historical buildings, a charming and vivacious city, streets lined with palm trees and vibrant flowers, ensconced by majestic mountains…Welcome to Málaga.

A couple weekends ago, my friend and I embarked on our first trip to Málaga. We were looking for a place with charisma, warm weather, and a beach. Málaga, an Andalusian city in the south of Spain, seemed like the perfect place for our weekend escape.

From my travel adventures thus far, I have noticed that each place has its own unique rhythm—the culture, language, natural landscape, architecture, history, cuisine, and local people all come together to create a heartbeat that can only be traced to that particular city or town.

Málaga’s heartbeat sings a song of serenity and overflows your senses with a feeling of pure bliss. The sunlight dancing along the ocean, the sparkling and flowing water, the smell of the sea, the cool ocean breeze; you can feel the release of tension in your body and just all at once feel your mind and body relax and switch into a lighter way of being.

In addition to the local people or malagueños, Málaga had many Germans and other international people visiting to enjoy this delightful city. My friend and I were also lucky to be visiting during the time of Carnival, which is a popular festival that takes place before the Lenten season. Carnival is an exuberant celebration that usually consists of parades, dressing up, and partying in the streets. One evening, there were groups of people in costume singing downtown while small crowds gathered around to watch and sing along. There was also a party in the downtown plaza with music, dancing, lights, and people dressed in costume.

One thing that stood out to me about this place was its diversity of elements. No matter where your interests lie, there is something for you in Málaga. The beach and mountains offer a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking and paddleboarding. The downtown area is filled with delicious restaurants, ice cream parlors, shops, museums, and magnificent architecture. Málaga also happens to be the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and is home to one of his famous museums. It truly is a city that honors its history, but also embraces its future and you can clearly see that blend as you immerse yourself in this city.

Another lovely quality about Málaga is that it has beautiful neighboring towns and beach cities that you can easily visit using public transportation. My friend and I were able to take a day trip to Marbella and we absolutely loved it! The rolling hills, lush plant life, white Spanish buildings, and of course the beach completely bewitched us.

One of the highlights of our time in Málaga was visiting the Alcazaba and Castle of Gibralfaro. It was breathtaking to marvel at the architecture of the fortress walls and structure, the panoramic views of the city, and the gardens and flora. We spent about four hours wandering there and you can easily spend half your day walking the castle grounds. I couldn’t help but stare. My eyes were drinking in every inch of this charming city. It seemed like after every corner and down every street, my eyes grew wide with wonder and my jaw dropped in amazement. Never have I ever felt so smitten by a place and I know that this will not be my last time in Málaga.

I hope one day you have the pleasure of experiencing the enchantment of Málaga. Paradise awaits you.



An Open Picture- We all have this vision for ourselves, our goals for the future. It could be our dream car, dream job, dream partner, dream anything…I’m not saying it’s bad to have goals or know what you want, but I think it’s important in life to leave some cushion or space for mystery, for the hand of God or the Universe to guide you. Sometimes no matter how much we want something or work towards a specific goal, it doesn’t manifest to reality. I can think of a myriad of occasions in my life where I didn’t get what I wanted and sometimes I would get so caught up in sadness or frustration that I missed the miracle of the other opportunities that came to life because my initial dream didn’t work out. 

My friend Jackie told me this quote that encapsulates this idea…”Rejection is God’s protection”. It can hurt when we don’t get what we want want, especially when we have put so much of our time and energy into achieving it, but that doesn’t mean that we have failed by any means. Abundance, prosperity, success, and joy are available to all of us, but these gifts might come in a form we hadn’t expected and that is A-okay. Sometimes an ending to something or experiencing rejection is life’s way of re-directing you to something greater. 

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

One thought on “Bewitched in Málaga

  1. Angela Zuidema

    Hola Manders, Wow, amazing photos! Thank you for encapsulating the wondrous city of Malaga and sharing your travel experience with your friend Tasja. I can see why you are smitten and loving Malaga. I wish for you to get the assignment in Malaga so I can visit and be enchanted too. Lovingly yours always, Mommy


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