Today’s destination would be a trip down memory lane. Even when Sheila and I went there some twenty-five years ago, the village was number one on the tourist trail. And seeing the number of coaches in the coach park, it undoubtedly still is. Where I was heading was the village of Mijas just inland from Torremolinos.
As I arrived, the first new thing I noticed was the multi-story car park, which like the village itself, is built into the hillside. And it’s huge. I drove to the entrance which is at the lowest level and took a ticket to raise the barrier. The parking bays are spread over no less than twelve floors however, lifts carry passengers either to the entry level or to the twelfth floor which opens on to the Plaza de la Virgen de la Peña. As I came out of the lift on the top floor, ahead of me were the horse drawn carriages waiting to take visitors on a tour of the town.
Over to my left was the rank of sleepy donkey taxis.
These Andalusian donkeys are native to the region and for centuries have been the transporters of goods and people between villages and harbours on the coast. Consequently they are well adapted to working in high temperatures. In the 18th Century they were forbidden by royal decree to be taken outside Andalusia and are now regarded as an endangered species. Their welfare and working conditions are closely monitored by the local authority.
Continuing my walk, round to a rocky out crop was La Ermita de la Virgen de la Peña.
The hermitage is a small cave-like shrine said to have been excavated into the rock during the mid-1500’s by a monk. Inside there’s a small altar with several wrought iron benches. In an adjoining room are display cases containing ecclesiastical vestments and ornaments. By the 17th Century a small monastery had been erected here. However, all traces of that have disappeared. From the balcony at the end of the promontory there are some lovely views down across the coastline.
From here, my walk took me uphill, through the village where nearly very establishment is a place to eat and drink, or to buy leather goods.
At the end of the road I entered another small plaza with more bars and restaurants, some of them occupying balconies above colonnaded walkways.
A narrow road, lined with raised gardens are decked out with bedding plants on one side and various cacti on the opposite side.
This road led me into the Plaza containing a small bull ring. I don't share the Spanish enthusiasm for bull-fighting so I didn’t go into the arena but apparently the rock formation forces the ring to be squashed to an oval with the seating arranged at the two ends.
Beyond the bull ring lies the remains of what once was the castle.
As I continued my wander I came to a second hermitage built at the end of the 17th Century - the Ermita San Sebastián.
There was a third one I hoped to visit, Ermita del Calvario, but when I saw its position………………………. Here it is in a picture.
It’s the tiny white smudge above the top of the lamp post. I felt that I’d walked enough for today so instead, I made my way back to the car park. And to my surprise! The cost of a day’s parking? One euro!
This blog may be seen with several more pictures HERE