Friday night. I'd arranged to meet my friend Jude at jewel-box bar El Palco, across the plaza from Teatro Cervantes. I hadn't counted on meeting another 300 or so revellers packing the square around a newly sprouted mini-forest of scarlet poinsettias , nor the 70-strong choir swaying to their own jolly villancico carol rhythms on the steps of the Teatro.
Taking me by surprise, a single joyful moment, the sparkling promise of Christmas before the spending and scheduling and jaded feelings set in.
El Palco is a handsome little bar and Borja, the owner, is a handsome little man. (Sorry Borja, I will sacrifice anyone for a neat line).
Get there before 10.00 pm and bag the first-floor table in front of the long windows. From there, you can see the sparkly lights and hear the jaleo of Málaga life in the plaza below. Guaranteed to restore your Christmas cheer. (And the mushroom risotto will make you happy too).