Good vibrations

Malaga is no exception when it comes to feeling uneasy and out of place

Peter Edgerton
PETER EDGERTON

Thirty (very) odd years ago, somewhere in the North of England, I walked into a pub and then walked straight out again. That's not the normal sequence of events, I can assure you. The reason for my hasty retreat was an all-pervading sense of foreboding which invaded every inch of my being, causing the hairs on the back of my neck to stand to attention and my throat to indulge in one of those comedy gulping gestures that you see on cartoons. I'm not sure where it came from - I hadn't even looked at the price list yet - but my entire body was filled with a mixture of fear and dread. I scarpered sharpish and had a lovely kebab somewhere else instead.

There's no rhyme or reason to these things but some places just give you the creeps. Málaga La Bella is no exception – there are parts of town which make me feel decidedly uneasy and I'm not just talking about outside its nightclubs at chucking-out time. One example is the Plaza de La Merced. Ever since I first arrived here in the fourth century or whenever it was, I've felt a marked uneasiness on any occasion I've found myself in that particular square. Hordes of people quite clearly disagree with me because its bar terraces are invariably rammed to the gills and many-a festival/fair has been celebrated there over the years to the joy of thousands. It gives me the heebie-jeebies though. Maybe some unspeakable atrocity occurred there long ago and the vibrations are still present all these years later. Or maybe it's the lack of shade. Who knows?

Here's a weird one – Calle Nueva. A more innocuous thoroughfare you could never wish to come across, and yet I avoid it assiduously. It's parallel neighbour, Calle San Juan, by contrast, is much less prepossessing but so much more uplifting in the sensations it provokes. This, of course, is the flip side of the coin: places which bring joy and wonder to the weariest of spirits.

My favourites in Malaga are the Paseo del Parque which, as well as being aesthetically delightful, offers wholly positive vibes whatever the time of year. A rather less obvious choice is Calle Marmoles. This is a rather run-down part of town but it always feels marvellous taking a stroll past its tired-looking facades and, again, I'm not sure why. Maybe some great act of heroism occurred there long ago and the vibrations are still present all these years later. Or maybe it's the great kebab shop halfway down. Who knows?