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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Life Without a Car in Mijas Pueblo


I haven’t previously mentioned that I am in Mijas Pueblo, Spain without a car. Today I am going to talk about that.

You may think that basic transportation is an essential component of living. I think it comes from our American spirit of “on the go” independence. Having a car is expensive here so my primary mode of getting around the village is “self-propelled,” meaning “on foot!” Why would I need to have a car when everything I really need is a walk away? Yes, sometimes that walk may take awhile but that is good time to look at the surroundings, greet people, take photos, and contemplate. The baker, market, butcher and eating places are all at a very reasonable walking distance which, at the most, is twenty minutes. I enjoy the walks exploring the pueblo and the exercise going up and down all of the hills and steps is good for me!

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This morning I broke my usual routine and I ate breakfast in. I walked to the local bakery nearest to me and bought a small loaf of warm, fresh bread. I don’t know about you, but warm, fresh-baked bread really arouses my senses! The smell of fresh-baked bread fills the morning air and the thoughts of fresh bread makes my mouth water in anticipation of loading a chunk of it with delicious blueberry jam! I also think it feels different when you eat it!

Anyway, on my way back from the bakery I found a man selling churros (a cousin to funnel cake). I bought three for one Euro to add to my breakfast of fresh bread and jam. I ate this morning on my sunny balcony with a warm breeze coming off the Mediterranean Sea! Life is good!

I briefly mentioned exercise. I have only hiked a short distance up the mountains behind me (to the little white chapel in the photo above). Mijas Pueblo is at about 450 meters (1475 feet) above the sea on the side of a mountain in the Sierra de Mijas range. The mountain goes up to about 3600 feet and I estimate that I have been to an elevation around 1900 feet.

I made the trek up the side of the mountain a few weeks ago. On my way down, a torrential rain storm occurred. I was completely soaked and only hoped that my phone would survive! As I finally got into the village, an old woman saw me scurrying to seek shelter and beckoned me in Spanish to stand in her entrance until the rain abated. I did. This is typical of the kindness I have found where my greeting of “Buenos dias!” is often returned with a smile and sometimes “Hola, amigo.”

Old People Out-and-About!


It is interesting that there seems to be a considerable population of the elderly in Mijas Pueblo. These older men and women who are native to the pueblo, rather than the vast numbers of expats and tourists, are certainly obvious in their appearance.  I would estimate that at least 90% of the women wear dresses or skirts when out-and-about and 100% of the men wear long pants and many, hats. Many of the women, as well as men, walk with the assistance of canes. It is also encouraging to see many younger people helping their elders walk through the village.

The steps of these older people are shorter than I take. I note that I think they take two for each of mine. Possibly this is a reflection of the hyper paced nature of the culture I am from verses the local one which is certainly more laid back.

The older men have several benches in the community where they sit. I observed them a few days ago and it appears to me that their meeting is not just for their friendly banter with each other but also to watch and comment about the tourists! Maybe the expats too! It is interesting isn’t it that the Mijas tourists are here to experience the life, history, culture and food in the pueblo and many community residents are out-and-about to observe them!

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I think that there is an interesting relationship between the elderly in Mijas Pueblo, expat community and the tourists. One thing though is for certain, each is dependent on the other. Recognizing this the local government really does a great job keeping the pueblo beautiful and clean! For the most part, people are courteous of cleaning up after their pets. The village employs many people to sweep and clean the streets daily!

Everyday I see the same man sweeping the street and emptying trash cans in Barrio Santa Ana where I presently live. We always exchange hellos as I am on my way to the bakery or to breakfast. Visibly he is proud of his work and it shows! There are also people maintaining the hundreds of flowers and pots that hang on the houses and shops along the streets. They are all the same blue and are meticulously maintained

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I have attached some photos of the experiences mentioned in this blog entry and others from the market in the village. I hope you enjoy them!

From my little corner of Spain, “Hasta luego!” Senora Cessarone would be proud!

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Breakfast in Mijas Pueblo


This morning I didn’t hear the wake-up call from the village rooster. He’s there alright as I heard him a bit later in the day. It’s not that I needed to hear him or even desired to. It is that I am getting used to the slower pace. Waking at 8:00 AM is good! That also means that once I have performed the morning routine, breakfast shops will be soon opening around 9:00 or 10:00… One place is quickly becoming my favorite. Not only is the price good but the Andalucian food is too. The place is “Bella Vista,” or Beautiful View, which it is as pictured with the Mediterranean Sea and the town of Fuengirola along its coast.

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My favorite mid morning meal is the “Andaluz.” This consists of fresh squeezed orange juice, cafe con leche, and pitufa. Pitufa is a six inch long fresh, baked bread, split lengthwise, toasted and topped with a smashed fresh tomatoes spread. These are served so you can add olive oil and/or salt to taste. They are delicious and for 3.50 Euros, the price is amazing!

Of course there are plenty of other eating options, especially where you can get English breakfasts such as scones and cream tea, or tea, eggs, bacon, sausage, baked beans (or roasted tomato), toast, and blood pudding. The sausage isn’t especially pleasing to my taste and I will pass on the blood pudding. I like the generous portions but this is Spain! I will stick to the Andaluz.

I took a bus into Fuengirola yesterday. Recall the Mijas Pueblo is a village overlooking the seaside resort town. It was in the 80’s on 22 October 2014 so there were plenty of people on the beach. I went into town looking for backpacks but at 3:00 PM almost everything closed. I forgot that between 3:00 and 5:00 is quiet time. I have not heard it referred to as “siesta” but maybe it is and I will find out. Regardless, my shopping ended and I grabbed the bus for the 20 minute ride back to Mijas Pueblo.

On the bus I was talking with three elderly women who were betrayed by their accents as not being Spanish. As they were speaking English, I asked if they were from the U.K. Well, the one sternly faced lady quipped proudly that they were not from the U.K., they were from Ireland. The bus quickly arrived in Mijas!!

Below are some beautiful photos from Mijas. The narrow one-way street pictured is one of the main ways through town. The street is shared by motorists and pedestrians. When a car comes by pedestrians stop and gather along the house walls.

More next time, friends!
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What I Plan to Blog About

The last one and a half weeks has just gone by at lightening speed but yet it has been so relaxing here in Mijas Pueblo in the heart of the Costa del Sol in Spain! I have settled into my temporary abode in a small apartment that I will occupy until my more substantial residence is available beginning in November. Here in my blog I will share what I have seen, heard, tasted, learned, and, more appropriately for my blog, my impressions and feelings about my experiences.

I am writing my initial entry from the apartment balcony. It is almost 9:00 AM and other than for me and the nearby crowing rooster, there are few out and about in this small pueblo village of about 7500. I am uncertain if the population numbers include the large expat community (composed mostly of citizens from the United Kingdom). The British are everywhere as many not only are here on holiday but also have, like me, taken up a residence. The village will really start to come alive around 10 o’clock or so when shops (other than the bakery which is already open) come alive in anticipation of the arrival of the tour groups.

Mijas Pueblo has applied to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site and through my blog I will share more about it in coming entries. But the mainstay of the community now appears to be tourism. Located about 450 meters above and overlooking the Mediterranean Sea on the south coast of Spain, the pueblo attracts people from around the world. In an hour or so the busses carrying Koreans and others from numerous Asian countries will arrive. That’s when the leather and novelty shops spring into action. They aren’t the only visitors but there seem to be lots more of them than other European groups.

There are definite favorite attractions for the Korean visitors. There are horse-drawn buggy rides around a preset route through town as well as burro “taxis” that follow the same route. One can imagine a time when the burro taxis were in fact used for that specific purpose! The visitors, however, really are excited to take the buggy rides and call out a friendly “hola” to everyone they think is from here! They, like most tourists, all have cameras. But I have seen a uniqueness in many having a long metal arm attachment to the camera for taking “selfies!” Yesterday, I went to a bullfight in Mijas and I will discuss it in another blog entry. But the Koreans were there en mass and I wonder what they must be thinking about this unique Spanish sport.

That’s all for today’s entry. I hope you will return as this lone American further describes what’s happening in his experiences living in Spain.

Barry Day