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3rd November, 2015

Malaga, Spain

I received a call from our Chief Officer George on the Bridge in the early hours of Monday morning. The wind had been forecast to increase during the night - this it had done, however much more than had initially been predicted, so much so in fact that Valencia harbour was to remain closed until further notice.

We set the wheels in motion, working closely with our Spanish ground agents and Head Office in Folkestone, to find a suitable alternative. My first priority was to head south and then west to get away from the worst of the weather, which we duly did, and so by lunchtime, with the weather improving all the time, we had made the decision to remain at sea and call into Malaga on Tuesday. A fantastic team effort, particularly given that Monday was a national holiday in Spain.

And so it was on Tuesday morning that we made our approaches towards Malaga harbour. As you sail in you can’t help but notice what an idyllic setting the city has on the famous Costa del Sol and what a marvellous contrast the city presents. To the east of the capital, the coast along the region of La Axarqua is scattered with villages and sleepy fishing hamlets, the epitome of traditional rural Spain. To the west is a bustling metropolis that has helped the area become famous and easily recognisable as the Costa del Sol.

Jacquie, our Shore Excurions Manager, had worked her magic and put together two tours to offer to our passengers in Malaga today, the first to go ashore was the ‘El Torcal’ tour. El Torcal is a natural park and a fantastic world of limestone formations, flower filled valleys, rugged canyons and fragrant pine forests. Millions of years ago, this part of the country was under sea and the fossils of many marine animals have been found here and are still being found here with each passing year. It is a magnificent spot for nature, with over seven hundred recorded plant species, as well as large populations of mountain goats, wild cats and Iberian foxes, in addition to snakes and lizards. The area has been designated as a special zone for bird protection on account of the numerous species that nest here and the unusual stones and vegetation are a sight to behold.

The second tour departed shortly after. This one was the ‘Malaga Highlights and Flamenco Show’. Flamenco goes back to the 16th century and is thought to have developed from local gypsies who performed the dance around their campfires as a form of entertainment. Our passengers had the opportunity to enjoy refreshments while watching one of the most traditional and exotic pastimes that combines dance, song and music with exciting movements and colourful costumes.

We now continue our journey yet further west, as we make the short hop along the coast to Gibraltar.

Captain Wesley Dunlop

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.