We had very strange weather while visiting Andalucía in Spain this year – every second day was rainy and cold, and every other day had clear blue skies and mild temperatures. As luck would have it, the day we spent in the shopper’s paradise that is Mijas Pueblo turned out to be one of the rainy ones.
Having parked our car in a parking lot, we braved the drizzle and set out to explore the postcard-perfect white village, which is built up against a mountain and, like most little towns in the south of Spain, seemed to consist of a maze of winding white-washed alleyways. The rain didn’t deter any of the shopkeepers either, most of whom stood in their doorways trying to entice us in with promises of up to 50% discount on all of their goods. They must have seen us coming – their ploy worked well on us. Having asked where we were from, some of them even had a further “special discount” for their friends from Africa. We didn’t complain, we took full advantage of prices that were actually very good and came home with loads of leather goods, from jackets to belts to handbags to cuddly slippers.
We spent the day getting thoroughly soaked, but had fun exploring all the goods the town had to offer. Leather items were the most abundant, but there were other products that also caught our eye: the vibrantly-painted pottery, colourful clay tiles, local wines and gold jewellery. Be prepared to spend lots of money when you visit Mijas.
Unfortunately, because of the wet weather, we didn’t get to see much other than the shops. Flamenco performances are held in the main square at noon on Wednesdays (but, because of the rain, not the Wednesday when we visited). The town is also home to the Museo Taurino, where visitors can learn more about the history of bullfighting, but which was sadly closed when we went. And because the town is built on the slopes of the mountain, I imagine the view must be very pretty on days when the mist doesn’t obscure it.
After we’d had lunch in a beautifully decorated restaurant just off the main square, we bid farewell to Mijas. The town we experienced was more a tourist trap than anything else, but I’m sure had we come on a sunnier day, we might have seen the more authentic side of it.
For more posts in the Spain 2010 series, click here.
What are your thoughts about little towns that are mainly shopping centres? Do you support local craftsmanship by taking souvenirs home, or are pictures and memories your only souvenirs?