Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Picture-perfect village of Mijas, near Malaga, Spain

Flowers in blue pots provide exquisite decoration
for white houses of Mijas, Spain.
Perfectly coordinated blue flower pots line the walkways and walls of buildings in Mijas, Spain. Filled with colorful geraniums and oleanders, these pots make a dazzling display against the white houses with their red tile roofs. Decorative grills and balconies echo the colorful scenes in this charming town.

Could there be a more idyllic Mediterranean village than this? Perched high on a mountainside, Mijas is delightful. Walking on twisting, cobbled streets, we visited several of the village’s prominent attractions, including impeccably decorated Church de La Immaculada.
Every town, no matter how small, has an abundance of churches.
Our ship on the Mystic Mediterranean cruise with Oceania had docked at Malaga, the second most populous city in Andalusia and the sixth largest city in Spain.  Malaga, is the southernmost large city of Europe and capital of Costa del Col (Coast of the Sun). It is located about 62 miles east of the Strait of Gibraltar and 78 miles north of Africa. Because of its mountains, Malaga has a subtropical climate and among the warmest winters in Europe. In fact, summer lasts eight months!
Beautiful purple blossoms of the
jaranda tree lined the streets.
Malaga’s history spans 2,800 years, making it one of the oldest cities in the world. Its history and cultural diversity are similar to other Mediterranean destinations: Founded by Phoenicians, ruled by the Roman Republic and Empire, under Islamic domination, then under Christian rule. Today it’s the main economic and financial center of southern Spain.

So we passed through Malaga and continued on to Mijas, a thoroughly Mediterranean mountainside town . Purple flowers of jaranda trees and large ficus trees (brought from America in the 1900s) lined the avenues. Donkeys decked out with colorfully woven blankets are everywhere, especially pulling carts for visitors to sightsee around the town, although it’s very walkable.
Overview of Mijas from lookout point above the town.
To get a better view of the town, we walked up to Mirador, a lookout point at 1400 feet elevation.  After visiting a church (yes, there are plenty of churches here), photographing the lighthouse, and scanning a landscape filled with white buildings (white is cooler in this tropical climate), we walked to the lower level to see what the shops had to offer.
Carts drawn by donkeys provided fun sight-seeing opportunities
for tourists.
Bountiful shops on the winding, stone streets of Mijas entice visitors, and I fell under the spell. High quality leather goods are a specialty, so I couldn’t resist purchasing a beautiful red leather jacket. After that, I decided thwart temptation and skip shops filled with fine porcelain and jewelry.
Brown sand beach of Malaga leads into turquoise ocean water.
After our return to Malaga, Larry and I walked about 20 minutes from the ship to the beach. The sand is dark brown and very hot (don’t walk barefoot), but refreshing waves splashing onto the shore provided a playground for many locals. There we learned a bit of interesting information: All beaches in Spain are public and topless.

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

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