Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean lies Mijas, Spain. We decided to take a taxi to Mijas, which brought us to the highway along the coast. The trip sort of reminded me of our drive between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara during our first vacation together. When we left the highway, we continued onto modern, winding roads, rife with roundabouts and gas stations, until suddenly before us was a whitewashed city full of historic charm. It was like when Dorothy approached Oz after her long journey on the yellow brick road – she looked up, and suddenly was just there.
And it was like nothing she could have imagined.
We arrived a day after the Mijas Fair, so there were plenty of decorations left over throughout the town, which made me love it even more.
Once again we found ourselves with no plans, we were just plopped in the middle of a strange place with nothing but cameras, wallets and our own feet to carry us. So first, we visited the tourist office for a map to get better acquainted.
One of our first stops was the Virgin of the Rock, the patron saint of Mijas. The shrine is hidden in the rock, which was built in the 16th century over the site of a Moorish castle. This place overlooks the entire town and it has a perfect view of the ocean. A bell that seems to guard the shrine’s entrance clangs and echos throughout the mountains each day, and we were there at just the right time.
While we didn’t go inside, or even witness a fight (because that’s just something I could never do), we also got to see a tiny bullfighting ring, or Plaza de Toros, which has fights on a regular basis.
We moved on to Calle San Sebastian, a narrow street that we’ve read is one of the most photographed streets in Mijas. It is lined with beautiful doorways all marked with family names. At the bottom of the street is San Sebastian Church, which is within the Plaza de la Libertad.
I think of all the sites we saw, simply taking in the streets of Mijas was most interesting to me. Every single corner held a unique neighborhood – it was like a maze. You never knew when you were going to come upon a little square with sidewalk cafes and umbrellas that always block sun, and probably never rain.
After a long walk we settled into a tapas bar that we had been dreaming of since we read about it in our guidebook. The draw for us was that our book said it attracts “crusty locals.” We found it, and then we moved onto more important things, like wine.
But I’ll save that for another post…