Set high on the hillside on the Costa del Sol, Spain, is the tiny township of Mijas. It is a typical white Andalucian conurbation, with narrow streets, flower-bedecked houses and brightly coloured ceramics adorning walls, window-ledges and steps. Colorful cafes, independent shops and restaurants line the streets.
We last visited Mijas in January 2014, when it was as ever it had been when we visited before – it’s the sort of place people tend to go back to time and again. We were somewhat surprised to find that in the short time to November 2016, the main square has undergone a transformation which renders the town at first sight, as unrecognisable. We thought we had taken a wrong turn somewhere….
Gone is the roadway that ran round the central square. It’s now an open pedestrianised walkway. Gone is the uneven footpath. There’s now smooth paving, with the course of the old road still apparent through the use of different coloured paving slabs. The horse-drawn carriages are still there with their colourful reins and hoods, but gone is the dung that littered the street – the horses wear poo-bags, as do the donkeys ( the Mijas mascots)!
Overall the improvements are good and I anticipate in summer the extra space is much appreciated, but in late autumn it hard the look of hard and rather bland landscaping. The cafes and restaurants with their outdoor seating remain. The little shops with their racks of colourful clothing, leather bags and belts, are still there. But the expanse of open space felt a bit ‘heartless’ and…cold….though it was a warm and sunny day.
The tiny backstreets of Mijas are also undergoing a makeover. As the ancient drainage system is being upgraded, the authorities are taking the opportunity to improve the roadways. Gone is the uneven surface. There’s now a uniform layout to decorative paving on every street.
This year, we ‘discovered’ the chocolate factory just off the main square and its retail outlet – Macun Monkey – in the backstreets of the old part of Mijas. Apparently it’s been there for ‘donkeys ears’ or at least 8 years, but we’ve never noticed it before. The chocolate beans used are from Peru and….forgotten where else!
The handmade chocolates, thick Spanish drinking chocolate and cakes served at Macon Monkey, are not to be missed. I’ll certainly be going for my chocolate fix next time we visit Mijas…because we will, of that I’m sure.