Spanish holidays: La Cala de Mijas
La Cala de Mijas
La Cala de Mijas is a small charming village in the Malaga Province of Spain in Andalucia. Between Malaga city and Marbella, It is still a relatively tranquil place on a coast where noise, music and tourists have taken entire villages by assault.
La Cala as it is known to local residents, is only 30 minutes drive from Malaga International airport. I have always liked La Cala beaches as they are well cared for and not as crowded as other beaches on the Costa. Fine clear sand and a clean sea with small gentle waves makes this beach a delight as you can always count on a breeze to cool you down on this side of the coast.
But if you do not enjoy solitude and like to be accompanied by beautiful people while bronzing, you can always sit at one of the "chiringitos" which are small restaurants on the beach with sun beds and a very simple menu of beer or cold red wine & soda -locally known as Tinto de verano- and grilled sardines and salads. If you are lucky you might even get one of the handsome tanned waiters to help you out applying your suntan lotion!
There is something strange about going around in La Cala. Despite having a very Spanish touch there are probably as many foreign as Spanish residents in this town. Very few fishing hamlets remain; instead they have been replaced by lovely villas by the seaside and smaller houses on the second line from the beach. You can find Estate agents, doctors, lawyers, bankers, schools, restaurants etc that can serve you in many different languages, the main ones being Spanish, English and German.
The most picturesque monument of La Cala is the Torreon: An ancient vigilance tower next to the beach. It is here also that during the summer many activities such as concerts and music festivals take place.
Nights of Moon and Beach
During July and August The Torreon becomes the place to be at nighttime as there are festivals of classical and Flamenco music every saturday night. A magical time if you can see yourself listening to live music at the foot of a 16th century tower with the moonlight reflecting on the sea and the gentle sea breeze caressing your face.
The Local Festivity
Every July La Cala de Mijas holds its local festivities. This year from the 24th to the 27th La Cala de Mijas had sporting, musical, dancing and gastronomic events all day and night long. What makes la Cala de Mijas festivities so special? It is the fact that instead of having the fair in the fair grounds only, like most local fairs, the fair comes to the sea side during the day. Just imagine listening and to some Spanish music, dancing -still wet from the sea- and eating the gastronomic specialities of the area at the sea side while you are still working on your tan. Certainly one of my dreams come true!
This is one of the most family orientated fairs on the Costa. The first day is entirely dedicated to children while the rest of the days you can always find something to do with your little ones. You can enjoy the fair ground entertainment like horse rides and a rollercoaster, take part in painting or sandcastle building contests or even try riding the fine Malaga horses. There are also parades and disguise contests and even meringue contests for the most greedy ones! To be fair, even just parading under the thousands of multicolour lights illuminating the fair grounds at night is a treat on itself. Even better...the musical attractions like dance classes and concerts are completely free and if you are lucky to be on the right place at the right time you can also enjoy some free wine and paella.
On Saturday afternoon after a swim in the sea and a tag of war between married and single on the beach -the prize was a bottle of rum for each team member- I enjoyed a free salsa dance class, and not only that but I got to dance with the most handsome and best salsa dancers on the Costa. I lost a sandal on the "dance floor" but then... it was worth the fun! When the sun was finally giving up and the weather was starting to refresh a little I joined a free aerobics session on the beach, sprinkled every now and again by a hose of fresh water.
It was eight o'clock when the fun at the beach started to move on. Everybody going back home with a smile, ready to put on their "feria clothes" to go to the night time fair ground where the party continues until the next morning when everybody says goodbye over chocolate and churros until midday when the fun at the beach starts again!
Salsa dance at la Cala de Mijas 2008 Feria
The most emblematic dish of the Coast is the Sardine, grilled slowly by the fire with nothing but coarse sea salt. The salt should be sprinkled on the sardine at least an hour before cooking to impregnate the fish which is cooked whole and speared on wooden sticks. The sardines must be fresh and the cooking slow so the fat in the fish melts, slowly dripping. The salt will allow the skin of the sardine to come out easier once the fish is cooked.
The best place to eat grilled sardines is by the beach. Most beach restaurants have an old boat filled with sand on the beach where a log fire is made in the middle, there you can see and smell the sardines grilling, it is a peculiar aroma, but one that I love and reminds me of The Costa del Sol fun days!
From the 23th to the 27th of July 2008, Tennis tournament
From the 1st to the 22nd of July Football Tournament
The 25th of July the "Most complete sports person" competition.
Saturday 26th of July Tenth Aerobeach.
19:30 h. A small fireworks display signals the official starts of the activities. 20:00 h. Parade along the streets of La Cala de Mijas. 22:30h. Official illumination of the fair place. Thousands of multicoloured lights illuminate the fair ground.
23:00h Official inauguration of the festivities with free wine for everybody. After that the fair starts with different shows and entertainment provided free of charge.
Friday 25th July
From 13:00h. to 19h. the day fair takes place by the beach. There is live music and different sports competitions. At night time on the fair ground, the fun continues with the most fashionable singers of the moment. The Venezuelan Carlos Baute is the main attraction of the night. Again the musical shows are free of charge.
Traditional fishing contest with a 300 euro prize for the biggest fish caught. Children are also catered for with diving classes and treasure hunts. Another Parade along the streets of La Cala. Painting contests. The contestants are grouped by age group.
While the men are fishing, women can enjoy "ladies' day" and while dancing the hottest hits played live they can enjoy a free paella and sangria. And if not knowing how to dance is your excuse for not joining local festivities, this is the day when free salsa classes and other latin dances are given.
Tag of war at the beach the singles against the married, fighting over a bottle of rum for each team member.
At night time you can enjoy the horse show, aerobic classes or just listening to the music and dance.
Sunday 27th July
The day starts with a sand castle contest for children, followed by a merengue dance contest. If you missed the first salsa lessons, today is the day to catch up and take advantage of the free salsa classes. Special dinner for pensioners. More live music until the early hours of the morning.
For the young, special places are provided every night with DJs playing the latest hits from midnight onwards during the whole duration of the fair.
How to get there
The nearest airport is Malaga international airport. Malaga airport is served by many international airlines offering regular scheduled services. Fares on scheduled flights to and from Spain have fallen in recent years due to increased competition. There are also numerous charter companies going to Malaga. Cheap charter flights to Malaga, are common from many European countries, particularly Britain, Germany and Scandinavia.
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