Reflections as I Near the End of My Stay in Mijas, Spain

In the waning days here in the pueblo it dawned on me that I think of this as my town. I know the town doctor and the people at the Bella Vista know what I like to eat for breakfast. Alfredo, the butcher at the market knows me and shakes my hand as we meet on the street and asks me how I am. Brenda and Steve at The English Tea Room are always friendly and enjoyable to talk with. Of course, Joanne, David and Martin who rent the place I am staying, are very helpful. I even have a taxi driver and butane delivery contact in my phone!

Today I realized that I was very comfortable in the pueblo. I have answered tourist questions like I knew what I was talking about! But most IMG_0009important to me was that I have become fascinated by the tourists just as the local people are fascinated by them. I sat for a while in Constitution Plaza and watched them. As a cruise ship tour group from Japan was in town today I realized they were enjoying the very same things that have drawn me to Mijas… the beauty of the town on the mountain, the white exteriors of the buildings, the cobble stone streets, the horse-drawn carriages, the donkey taxis, the husband and wife making and selling churros, three for a Euro, at the Plaza near the bull ring and park with its old fountains

As the sun shown on the buildings, I reflected on the initial time I saw the pueblo and how lovely it is. The numerous orange trees still have oranges on them and the air wafts with the aroma of street vendors roasting nuts. Today I had my traditional pitufa con tomate breakfast as I gazed at the valley, the massiveIMG_2787 Mediterranean Sea, Fuengirola, and the beach below.

On my return to my apartment I stopped for bread just out of the oven. Like a local, I knew when it was ready and had my plastic bag ready to carry my items away, just like the local people do. In the final few days here in Mijas Pueblo I feel like I have become a local resident.

As I move to Krems, Austria in a couple of weeks I am certain to further reflect on my adventure in Mijas Pueblo on the Costa del Sol, the warm beach,, the mountains in Morocco that can be seen on a clear day, the beautiful sunsets, no snow, and many other things. It has been a wonderful place to stay.

Day Trip to Malaga

Malaga is the nearest community to Mijas Pueblo with a substantial population on the Costa del Sol in Andalusia, Spain. It is the capital of the Provence of Malaga. The city is one of the oldest in the world with a recorded history that dates into the 700’s BC. Phoenicians, Romans, and the Moors were all in Malaga at one time or another.

Malaga is a port for several cruise lines and many of the people on those cruises take day trips to Mijas Pueblo where I have been residing since October. The climate in Malaga is mild.

My day trip began with a bus ride down the mountain I live on to get to the train station in Fuengirola. Forty five minutes later I arrived in the heart of the small city of half million inhabitants.

Walking the streets of Malaga there is no doubt you are in a European city. The architecture is beautiful and the avenues are graced with old as well as newer sculptures and fountains. There are outdoor cafés everywhere and it seemed to me that if there was room for a small table, that was sufficient reason to have a place to drink some of the best coffee in the world or to stop for ice cream or chocolate.

Malaga is the birthplace of Picasso. I must admit that I find the curiosity surrounding him much more interesting than his art. That is just my taste. But Picasso is found everywhere including one of the Picasso museums that are in the area.

Some recommend that Malaga should be a destination for those wishing to avoid snow and winter. Although it is a nice city, my preference is to claim my spot on the side of the mountain overlooking  the Mediterranean Sea and the distant Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

Next week I plan to visit Mallorca, a Spanish island in the Mediterranean. I hope you will stop by my blog for one of my final entries before I move on to Austria on April 1.

For those who have asked, my hernia surgery took place three weeks ago and I am healing fine. It has taken a bit longer than I had anticipated but all is going well.

Update from Mijas Pueblo, Spain

Here’s an update on my adventure following retirement. Read about what’s happening and my plans for my next stop.

IMG_2787It has been several weeks since I blogged about my odyssey to obtain my residence card from Spain. Hopefully, when I go to the local police station to retrieve it on 16 February, everything will be found to be in order and I can be granted residency.

A lot has transpired since my last update! Recently I was out for a walk and on a whim just decided to begin hiking up the 1600 meter mountain I live on (see the photo). You may recall from a previous posting that I did this once before in October and got thoroughly soaked. This time I took a different trail and went a good deal higher up the mountain than I had previously. Probably I made it half way up. You can see a picture of the white pueblo in the photo from Fuengriola, Spain. As you can see in the other photo, the views from the side of the mountain where I went to are terrific! Mijas is the white area in the lower left corner and the Mediterranean Sea is in the middle left.

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I could have gone much higher on the trail but decided to not for three reasons. Since I was really out for a stroll, I didn’t have proper shoes as the trail became more challenging. I also hadn’t brought along water (not a good idea on a hike) and I didn’t bring any protection if it rained. The getting wet part really was the clincher as the clouds became threatening and were enveloping the top of the mountain. I went back down the mountain to Mijas and it promptly began to rain. I had made a good decision to return when I did!

Other things have been happening also. One day in December I lifted a canister of butane incorrectly and developed a hernia. My tests are complete and my worldwide medical coverage is in place so I am to have surgery on Thursday to fix it. The surgeon, anesthesiologist, and staff are all women and so far the process has been very efficient. I admit though that I am more involved with the insurance company than I would be in the U.S.

Finally, my stay in Mijas will end on 31 March. I have made my next plan to move from Mijas on 1 April. My next stop then will be in Krems, Austria where I will stay for two months. I will post more about Krems in the future. It is a lovely town of about 25,000 inhabitants and is located on the Danube River about an hour by train from Vienna.Here are a couple photos.

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That’s all for now from my adventure after retirement! I don’t think about work at all!

Entrances to Mijas Pueblo Homes

The residents of Mijas Pueblo take a great deal of pride in keeping the village clean and attractive. Almost daily the women are cleaning the stoops leading to their homes. In today’s blog I want to share several of the entry ways to homes in Mijas. Sometimes the decoration is very simple but as you can see from the photos, there are times when the residents get very creative and occasionally carried away with the plant decorations. An open entrance in Mijas Pueblo  IMG_1584  IMG_2035  IMG_2607 IMG_2261 IMG_2267

My Day Trip to Gibraltar

It has been a magical time here in Andalusia, Spain reminding me why I have settled here. Snow is beginning to form on a few distant mountain tops but not in the sea-side towns that hug the Mediterranean coastline in southern Spain. Oranges are ripe on the trees that line the streets in a unique display of orange spheres hung to celebrate Christmas!

The air yesterday was warm in the middle 60’s when I visited nearby Gibraltar and today as I blog with my terrace door open. Yesterday I shed my jacket to enjoy the warm air. And last evening from my terrace I could see the mountains in northern Africa seeming to spring from nowhere across the Mediterranean Sea as the sun dropped in the western sky in a beautiful blaze of red, orange and yellow!


I enjoy traveling and have gone to several of the southern Spain communities. But recently I read a blog about Gibraltar and found a day tour for only 38 Euros. On clear days (like today) I can see Gibraltar on the distant horizon from my terrace, so yesterday I went exploring.

Although located on the Iberian Peninsula, Gibraltar isn’t Spanish but, by treaty, it is British! The language is English (and almost all of the 30,000 residents are bi-lingual) and everything is imported. They have their own currency equivalent to the English pound sterling. It is but 6 square kilometers big! The day was like being instantly teleported from one culture to another!

IMG_2549Gibraltar is famous for its iconic “Rock of Gibraltar” where the vast Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. Through the Straits of Gibraltar international shipping commerce has taken place through southern Europe, northern Africa and western Asia for centuries. With a warm sea breeze atop the rock and a clear sky, I was in awe of the strategic rock looking out at places that have been and continue to be of major importance to our civilization.IMG_2555

Gibraltar is the town at the base of the Rock. To get to it our tour bus passed through Spanish and British passport control. Gibraltar has a one-of-a-kind airport (on reclaimed land) where the road from La Linea, Spain crosses the runway! Yes, when an airplane lands or takes off, the road is closed similar to when a bridge opens to permit a boat to pass under a highway!

To the north and west of the Rock is the town of Gibraltar (pictured with La Linea and the airport runway) and to the south is Europa Point with its lighthouse, mosque, World War II tribute memorial to Sikorsky, and a memorial to Harding’s Battery originally constructed in 1869.

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Gibraltar has numerous statues to honor its place in military history and the heritage from Spain, the Moors, Romans, and British. Monuments include a cemetery for those that died in Gibraltar from the 1803 Battle of Trafalgar in the Napoleonic Wars as well as monuments to the Corps of Royal Engineers (the Royal Engineers were formed as a military entity at Gibraltar in 1772) and to those who fought in World War I.

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The town streets have a definite British feel with stores like Marks and Spenser and pubs with names like The Angry Friar. This is definitely not Spain!

The Rock is over 400 meters high which is taller that the Empire State Building or the Eifel Tower. Inside are more that 50 km of tunnels large enough for trucks! A highlight of the day came at Saint Michael’s Cave (also known as the Entrance to Hades). The cave has beautiful formations BUT for me, the presence of numerous monkeys is particularly interesting. In all, it was a wonderful, splendid day!

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Visits to Fuengirola, Andalucia, Spain

Hello, Friends!


On December 5 I received my Non-lucrative Residence Visa from the Spanish Government! Obtaining the visa was quite the challenge with two in-person visits to the Spanish Consulate in New York City and numerous forms, letters, documents, translations, photos, and certifications. In total I presented about 1 inch of documentation and paid several fees to get the visa which is good for 90 days (in addition to the 90 days permitted by the normal tourist visa). Within that time, I have to complete two additional forms, pay 15.30 Euros for taxes, get finger printed, register as a Mijas Pueblo resident and obtain a residency card that will permit me to stay for a year.

IMG_2058This morning I went to Fuengirola to the local Policia Nacional to get moving on the application process for the residency card. Fuengirola is the sea-side resort town which is about 7 kilometers down the mountain from Mijas Pueblo. I have been there several times since October and am today posting photos taken on various trips to town and one looking up the mountain at Mijas Pueblo.

In Summer Fuengirola has a large number of tourists mainly from all over Europe. On my first trip to the town in September it was quite hot in the 90’s and even today it is balmy in the low 60’s. Pictured is a woman getting a beach massage in October for 10 Euros. For those curious about the photo, all beaches in Spain are top-optional for women and approximately 20% choose the option.

IMG_1978There are several statues in Fuengirola and included is a photo of one taken at the port and one of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella (of Columbus fame). Currently oranges are now ripe and several streets in Fuengirola are lined with beautiful orange trees, mixed with Christmas decorations.

liebster-award2I am planning to visit Gibraltar this week and will be posting another blog after doing so. Also, I want to thank Marigold for nominating my blog for the Liebster Award. I have not met Marigold but enjoy her blog and I will post more later about the nomination. Meanwhile, please visit Marigold’s blog at

Traffic Jam and Optimism in Mijas!

IMG_1683Today is cool in Mijas Pueblo, Spain with the temperature in the fifties (Farenheit). It has been raining on and off for the past two days BUT I am thankful there is no snow. Yes, living in a place where there is no snow is something to be thankful for. I will be able to see snow in the mountains all around me this Winter but the weather now is likely as bad as it will get until Spring. In living in Mijas I think about my family and friends and the stark weather contrast with the Northeast US. For me the last two Winters put me over the edge with snow and was a motivator to find places to live where it would be by choice to be in it! It will be nice to enjoy snow-capped mountains at a distance!

As I said, there has been a lot of rain the past two days. People just take it in stride. I have noticed among all the people here (natives, expats and visitors) a sense of optimism. In between it raining today I took a walk and I saw a woman putting her wash out to dry (no driers here). That’s being really optimistic as it could rain more! I also watched people optimistically dealing with a traffic jam today!

In a town that has few one-way cobblestone streets, a traffic jam must be a rarity! Well, today I saw one. It occurred were a single lane, one-way road (going south to north) merges for 20 feet with a single lane, one-way road (going north to south) so people traveling either direction can take a westerly road which is in the middle of the merge area.  The merge area is large enough for only one vehicle. A delivery was being made to a produce shop at the intersection of these three roads. The truck blocked others going any direction.

How did everyone cope with the situation? They knew there was no other choice for a way to go. They knew that it was good to have that shop there selling produce. They knew that it would eventually get sorted out. And it did! I can imagine how this scenario could have played out elsewhere! Today’s picture is of the street going in the westerly direction where the Mijas six car and one truck traffic jam occurred. The pictured road is key to get though the village. It is one-way, cobblestone, and always shared by vehicles and pedestrians.

Forever thankful that it isn’t snowing here in Mijas Pueblo.


La Cucaracha (The Cockroach)

imageSome services are delivered in Mijas Pueblo in ways that are interesting to me. As a child I recall bread and milk being delivered to our house so it really should have been no surprise to see home delivery of some services in the village.

Bakeries have contracts to deliver fresh rolls and bread to restaurants and some individuals. I am uncertain how early these deliveries occur but I have at times gone walking before 7:00am and have seen bread hanging on doors as pictured here. This photo was taken at a house so can you imagine a large plastic bag of rolls and bread delivered to a restaurant also hanging on the door? Fresh bread is really important in this Spanish community.

Another experience I have had is the reason for the title of this blog entry. You see, the homes and businesses use butane to provide heat for cooking, hot water, and to warm the house. It is delivered in orange canisters that are similar to propane tanks in the US. One enterprise goes through town in a truck filled with butane canisters and residents come out to exchange empty tanks for full ones. The residents know he is there because he has wired his truck horn to loudly blast the tune La Cucaracha! It is just a unique way for the villagers to know that if they need butane to get it then!

That’s today’s blog entry. If there are topics you would like me to describe or reflect on during my adventure in Spain, please let me know.

Toros y Matadores

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Last month I went to a bullfight in Mijas Pueblo. They are held each Sunday at the Plaza de Toros located in the Parque de Muralla. As someone has since observed… “It isn’t really a fight because the bull doesn’t stand a chance.” Actually, the observation is correct. As soon as the bull enters the ring, he is doomed to eventually be worn down and die. That sounds awful but I also don’t want to detract from the bravery and skill that the young matador demonstrate in the ring. If you are like me, I am sure you wouldn’t want to be face-to-face with and inches away from an angry bull, pawing his hoofs and anxious to gore you with his horns!

As  pictured, the Plaza de Toros was built in 1900. It is different from other bull rings in that it is an oval outside with the circular bullring inside. Seating is at two ends, “Sol y Sombra”  (Sun and Shade). As it was quite hot when I went, I chose sombra even through it was a bit more expensive. The seats are concrete and stone. It does have a livestock odor to it. The ring has places for the matador’s assistants as well as the band (like a small pep band) that I will describe later.

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I am not going to include the gory parts of the fight in these notes. It is bloody and, in my opinion, cruel at times. Bullfighting is close to being a national sport. Futbol (a.k.a. soccer) certainly is the national sport, however! Recently I was in Ronda which is the home of bullfighting for almost 400 years. There you will find monuments outside the city bullring dedicated to the most famous toreros including Pedro Romero Martinez who allegedly fought 5558 bulls without being seriously injured! Across Spain are 30 foot high monuments to bulls and the sport.

I am enclosing a few photos taken during and after the bullfight. The pricey event was an hour and a half long. This included flamingo dancing as well as two fights. It also was interesting that a small high school band was at the bullfight and added music to the various activities such as the matadors entry, and bull entering the ring, building excitement throughout the bullfight, and finally the dead bull being dragged around the ring after being killed, the bull’s ears given to the matador, and the matador being carried off on the shoulders of others as a hero!

Until next time, “Ole!”

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Parque La Muralla

ApartmentI am enclosing a photo of the exterior of my apartment on Calle Cantara in Mijas Pueblo. My apartment is the top floor with the terrace and part of the floor just below it, also with a terrace (and a grill). In total there are two bedrooms, 2 and a half baths, a kitchen and a nice dining area, and a living room.

While the view of the Mediterranean Sea and the valley leading to the sea is stunning, on one side of the building there is a huge rock wall often frequented by rock climbers! Four were there today!. Atop the rock wall sits the Parque La Muralla, a beautiful, well maintained park which draws visitors from throughout the world. There are remnants of medieval structures found here but the park is known for the views and the well maintained gardens. A beautiful old church is in the park as well as the bull ring and numerous fountains. On a clear day you can see all the way to Gibraltar and Morocco!

So, in today’s visual blog I am inviting you to see the beauty of Parque La Muralla in my village, Mijas Pueblo!

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