By Veronica

Woman at work

S stopped to talk to a couple of French women outside this shop; they were squealing in delight at the sight of all the ham. "Are you hungry?" he asked. No, they replied, they just liked looking at food.

A day in Málaga because the Salobreña international club organised a coach for 12 euros return. They hadn't arranged anything specific but suggested people visit the immersive Klimt exhibition (same principle as the Van Gogh one which I think many blippers have visited). We'd bought timed tickets for midday online; the coach arrived so early that we thought we'd have time to visit the nearby Pompidou centre first. This was a letdown; the permanent exhibition space was closed while they changed it, and the temporary exhibit of ink drawings was not worth the four euros each we spent on it or the five minutes it took to go round it. We spent longer in the shop, where, ahem, I bought a cookbook (Fiona Dunlop's Andaluz, which I've had my eye on for a while).

We needn't have bothered buying the Klimt tickets; no-one was checking them, and you could wander in and out as you chose, sitting on beanbags on the floor while the art was projected around you. I wasn't sure what to make of it; it was pleasant enough and made you notice details and motifs used in different ways in different works. I wouldn't have made a long trip to see it though. I wonder what Klimt would have made of his art being repurposed in this way. Or indeed printed on mugs, bags, T-shirts, and nail files.

After that ... lunch, at Mesón Mariano which we enjoyed so much last time we were in Málaga. This time we booked and sat at a table. We were wise enough to do our usual order of one starter and one main course. "Only one roast leg of kid between you?" asked the waiter, looking concerned. "That won't be enough." We stood our ground, and while we were eating our large plate of grilled vegetables watched the two men at the next table digging into the massive pile of meat advertised as the two-person serving at 36 euros. Our patita with chips was the perfect size for us, and left room for dessert, at which point I rediscovered long-forgotten treat sorbete de limón, which in Spain is a champagne flute of blended cava and lemon sorbet. Lovely!

We still had a couple of hours to spare so we walked to the Thyssen museum and visited the Fantasía árabe exhibition, which was really worthwhile. Spanish artists taking a romantic western view of North Africa and Moorish Spain (see extra). I'd never heard of any of the artists, but I particularly liked works by Mariano Fortuny and Francisco Lameyer. The one on the right of the extra, by Francesc Masriera (many of the artists were Catalan for some reason) was beautifully painted and we spent quite a while admiring it: the translucent amber beads, the glittering earrings, and subtle sparkle in the jacket.

Back to the bus and the driver whizzed us back to Salobreña in an impressive one hour and four minutes. As we were leaving the house this morning, a WhatsApp from one of S's French walking mates popped up on his phone. "I'm staying with a friend in Almuñecar for a couple of days. Are you anywhere near there?" Amazing coincidence! So back home and a quick turnaround to meet them in, where else, the Backstop. I seem to practically live there these days. A good evening of chat in French, the most we've spoken it for months. It was nice to meet her friend C who like us has spent the last three winters in Almuñecar; I'm sure we'll bump into her again.

Altogether an exhausting and over-stimulating day ...

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