The [Moorish] Doors

Some of my favorite doors on the narrow streets of the Moorish District of Frigiliana.

(Click for a closer look.)

Check out the open door on left, second row from top.
That first step would make me think twice about breaking on through (to the other side).

The Watercolorist

After reaching the heights of the Moorish District of Frigiliana on Monday (see yesterday’s post), we came upon an artist’s studio. Above the door was a sign that read “Acuarelas” (Watercolors). The works displayed outside were so intriguing that we decided to go in for a closer look. (Click the images for the color enlargements.)

KLAUS HINKEL.

We were greeted by a charming man who turned out to be the artist, Klaus Hinkel (check out his website here). Klaus has had his studio in Frigiliana for 20 years. During our entire visit, I kept thinking how much My Mother The Watercolorist Dowager Duchess would have loved Klaus and his work. This was a day I would have enjoyed sharing with her.

San Geraldo and I very quickly fell in love with a large, framed, fine-art giclee print. Klaus painted the original during one of many trips to Morocco. The original painting now hangs in Boston, Massachusetts, where San Geraldo and I first met.

Judyshannonstreetwhat chose three small, unframed Frigiliana street scenes.

When Judy wondered aloud how she would get a large framed painting home to Seattle, Klaus said, “Oh, it rolls.”

We all looked perplexed and imagined attaching wheels to the bottom of the frame.

Judy followed with, “And then what, it would just fit under my seat on the plane?”

Klaus laughed and said, “I mean, I take it out of the frame and it rolls [up] in a cardboard tube.”

“PACIENCIA” (PATIENCE). 75 X 63 CM (30 X 25 INCHES).
PROUDLY DISPLAYED IN OUR LIVING ROOM.

Klaus and I initially began to converse in Spanish and he asked where I was from. When I told him I was American, he was surprised. I’ve been told at times I speak Spanish with an Italian accent. But Klaus, originally from Germany, told me he thought I was either Swedish or German. Ach du lieber and Swedish meatballs! Swedish or German? Italian and Spanish are at least both Romance languages!

These are called “panqueques” in Spanish. Or, as I pronounce it, Flappen Jacken Hooten…

Frigiliana

Many non-Spaniards pronounce the name incorrectly.

I told Judyshannonstreetwhat to say “Frigid-lee-AH-nah” and then make the “g” softly gutteral and drop the “d.” She had an hour in the car to practice on our drive to “Frigiliana,” the Pueblo Blanco (White Village) we visited Monday.

This is one of the most beautiful of the White Villages of Southern Spain — so-called because they are constructed of white-stucco and not, as some have wondered, because only white people are allowed to live in them.

As a matter of fact, Frigiliana prides itself on its enlightenment and respect for diversity. The central plaza is called “Plaza de las Tres Culturas” (Plaza of the Three Cultures) and includes symbols of the three major religions, the Star of David, the Christian Cross, and the Crescent of Islam. Every year in late August, Frigiliana hosts the “Festival of the Three Cultures.”

Beyond that welcome, the village is historic and breathtaking. San Geraldo led the way up through the winding streets of the old Moorish-Mudejar district. Every so often, we’d lose sight of him only to see him peek back around a corner in glee waiting for us to see what was next. We climbed and climbed to the very top of the city, discovering magic all along the way.

(Click the images to see the magic for yourself.)

ALMOST BACK DOWN TO THE PLAZA DE LAS TRES CULTURAS
BEFORE HEADING OFF INTO THE SUNSET.

Unrenewed. Next Stop, Columbus.

Our experience at the Foreigners Office this morning was a pleasure. But we needed copies of our passports that expired last year and the US consulate did not return them when they sent us our new passports. So, now, in lieu of those passports, we have to go back within 10 days with documentation that shows we were living here for the seven months not covered between the last copy of our old passports and the start of our current passports — utility bills, monthly payments, etc. If we had our old passports, this would be a breeze. Now it’s just a bit of searching, downloading, and copying. The requirement is that, in our first 5 years here, we may not have been out of the country for more than 3 months at any one time or for a total of 10 months over the entire 5 years. We haven’t. Now we just have to document what’s missing. Still, I have tremendous appreciation for Málaga’s Oficina de Extranjeros! Even the security guards were kind and professional.

THE TOMB OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
IN SEVILLA CATHEDRAL.

Colomares Castle in Benalmádena was begun in 1987 and completed in 1994. It was built by a retired American, Esteban Martín Martín, to honor Christopher Columbus.

Martín claimed to be disappointed by the lack of homage paid to Columbus.

I wonder, did he not read his history books?

I had never heard of the castle and discovered it (kind of like Columbus discovered America), when admiring the view from up above in Benalmádena Pueblo. It wasn’t until I got home that I learned what it actually was.

Promoters of the castle claim that it contains the Guinness Book of World Records’ smallest church. The church is said to be 1.96 square meters (6.43 square feet). However, I cannot substantiate their claim anywhere other than in information provided by the promoters of Colomares Castle.

Alongside what is probably not the world’s smallest church is an empty mausoleum in which, I’ve read, Martín hoped Columbus’s remains would one day be re-laid to rest. Not likely.

In addition to his apparent adoration of Columbus, Martín was a huge admirer of the late Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. I don’t think I’ll be investing my 2 euros to visit this castle (of which you can only see the exterior).

MY FIRST SIGHTING. WHAT IS THAT?
WORKING MY WAY AROUND FOR A MORE COMPLETE VIEW. 
THIS IS PROBABLY AS CLOSE AS I’LL EVER GET.
(UNLESS I GET A BETTER ZOOM LENS.)

Mijas Pueblo: A White Village

Andalusia is noted for, among so many things, its Pueblos Blancos (White Villages). There is a series of famed pueblos blancos along a recommended route through the northern parts of Cádiz and Málaga provinces. The villages are characterized by whitewashed walls and traditional red/brown tile roofs. Some were settled in prehistoric times and the cave paintings can still be seen. Roman ruins, ancient defensive walls, charm, and amazing vistas.

We have our own beautiful example here in the south just 7 kilometres away in the mountains and it’s called Mijas Pueblo. It’s a 10 minute car, bus, or taxi ride and it’s taken me more than three years to get there. Judyshannonstreetwhat and I visited Mijas Pueblo Monday. From the top, we could see our home in Fuengirola, which seemed ages away.

And there was great shopping and seriously good food, too!  Food photos are still to come.


(Click the images for grander views.)