This week I returned to Mijas Pueblo, Spain on the Costa del Sol near the Mediterranean Sea. Last year I “wintered” in this small village that is perched on a mountainside overlooking the city of Fuengirola and the valley leading to the sea. When I left Mijas in March, I reflected that I felt like it was “home” to me.
I established several relationships with people living in the Mijas community last winter and I felt that in many aspects I became interested in things that occupy the minds of the residents. If you follow my blog you also know that I had exceptional experiences over the spring and summer months in Austria. But I am happy to return to Mijas Pueblo and on the very first day found myself comfortably fitting in!
After stopping by the rental office and retrieving a bag I had left there, I found myself reconnecting. I once again went to Bella Vista, my favorite small cafe on the Avenida de Mejico leading into the pueblo. Bruno works there and he recognized me, we greeted each other, and in Spanish asked if I wanted my usual… pitufa con tomate, zumo de narajna, y té. Of course!! And then yesterday near my favorite grocery store I found one of the black cats that was a kitten last year.
It is nice to be home for the winter months. I am planning to explore more this winter than I did last year and have been identifying places that I will venture to from my home base in Mijas. As I conduct my explorations, I will post about them here in my blog. As always, if there are things you would like me to write about in my explorations, just email me or, like Peter and Linda, plan a trip to come visit!
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 important 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 massive 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.
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.
This 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.
There 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.
I 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 http://versusblurb.wordpress.com.