On Saturday, Ana and I took our rented car west. We mapped out three different towns that we had read about and wanted to see for different reasons. The first little town we wanted to see because it is a beautiful and known Pueblo Blanco named Frigiliana. It is full of crafts and lovely streets. The last town that we wanted to see was a town named Ronda. Know for a gorge and bridge that run through the town, the views at this place are spectacular and unlike any other place we had been before.
But the town in between is a town called Mijas Pueblo. This is the dot on the google map. I stood at the edge of a platform to see this view and looked at Google and took the screen shot. It is oriented the way we were placed so while it may seem upside down to you *we are in Spain* it is oriented the way that we were facing, toward Africa which was the main reason to visit this spot. I had read about Mijas and about how touristy it has become because of the crafts and small shops, the well known white architecture but mainly because of this view…
That is the where the point locator is on the google map. We are standing here. It is said that on a clear day you can really see Africa. For us, if we squinted we could kind of see the outline of land far off. You can’t really see it in this picture but we are convinced that we glimpsed at Africa on Sunday. While we had been walking around before, we weren’t sure about this town but after this view we were glad that we had made the trek to this location and waded through the tour buses of people even in the middle of November.
This view is right next to this church…
Also an incredible site all on its own. This is the Virgen de la Pena. According to one website….
The shrine of Our Lady the Virgin of the Rock was excavated in the rocks by a Carmelite monk in the second half of the seventeenth century. The legend says that the virgin appeared between the walls of the old castle in 1586 were it remained hidden during the 8 centuries of the Muslim domination of the Spain.
According to the legend Juan and Asunción, two young shepherds who were taking care of their herd, saw a white dove on the tower of the Castillo which transfigured into the virgin and notified the hiding place to the local authorities of Mijas.
It is said that pilgrims come to visit this place, tourists from all over the place and there is a festival that happens on Sept. 8th for this particular place.
We were glad to have stayed on the path to go to this location and see what we saw there.
But before all of this, I had an interesting encounter in Mijas. We had wandered a bit and shop owners had tried to get us to shop but we quickly found an out of the way place to eat lunch. We basically had the place all to our own because it was tucked in out of the way but had a great balcony with a view. We ordered our food and noticed a group coming in as well. I heard the accent…oh great, more Americans. It is true, there are tourist Americans who fit the stereotypes and it makes me shy away from them at times. I am one so I also own up to my privilege and view point that comes along with coming from the United States and to be fair, most US Americans that I meet on our travels are friendly and kind. But there is always this thing that happens when an American hears another American. We turn and we say, “where are you from?” If you notice the US American accent you respond which state but so often people respond…the US. Yes, I know but where? *that’s the next question* Lately, when asked this right away I have said, “we live in Berlin.” This elicits a very different response.
On this day, one of the guys from the group didn’t have enough room so I moved my chair and he tried to say he had enough room in Spanish. I responded in English. He then of course asked, “Where are you from?”
“We live in Berlin.”
“But your English is so great!” This is a new response and since I have been saying where we live, this has become more and more the response or they say, “But you sound so American.”
To which I reply, “Yes, yes I am American. I moved from Portland Oregon in May. I am from Oregon.”
This puts the interviewer back into comfortable territory. Ah, ok, my ears do not deceive and we can continue bonding on where we are from. They respond which state they are from. For this group, it was Southern California. We continued to talk about our travels and why. They wanted to shop lots, we want to explore. They are fascinated that we met on the Camino *it inevitably comes up when Ana says she is from Serbia but we live in Berlin….how? why?* They want to talk about the Camino. We are happy to talk about it. And the convo ends because our food arrives.
Ana says, “They were so friendly!” I agree. I am glad we had the conversation. This is another reason I am thankful we came to Mijas.
As I ponder though, it comes up almost on a daily basis that I am from the United States. The minute I open my mouth I say, “yes, yes I am American.” Sometimes I like the claim and other times it becomes tiresome. Why do I have to declare at all? I take pride about where I am from for the most part and I miss my homeland and yet some days I just want to continue on without having to declare who I am but perhaps those are reasons why we are on this journey, to become more comfy with who we are. Remembering what makes us us and that goes beyond nationality.
Just a thought.