DISCOVERING THE SPANISH TOWN OF COIN
Ann Evans catches up with friends who have moved to Coin in Malaga, Spain.
The Andalusian region of Spain is always a popular spot for holidaymakers with its Mediterranean beach resorts such as Malaga, Marbella and Torremolinos along the Costa del Sol. But if you’re looking to explore deeper into the Andalusian culture and see more of their traditional way of life, then head inland and visit the little town of Coin.
Coin is situated in the valley of the Rio Grande and is steeped in history. It boasts links with the Emperor Hadrian who was born nearby and is also linked to Christopher Columbus who was involved in a Christian reconquest siege of the town in 1485. It’s more recent claim to fame being the setting for the BBC soap opera, Eldorado.
With a population of around 22,000, its economy is based around agriculture, marble mining and ceramics. It’s a town that combines the old and traditional with the modern. Beneath its mountainous backdrop you’ll discover shops, bars and restaurants sitting comfortably alongside historic buildings, statues, fountains and churches.
Wander away from its main streets and you’ll soon be lost within its narrow, cobbled paths and roads, discovering shady squares where you can sit and relax; cafes with tables and chairs set out in the sunshine, and unexpected beauty at every turn.
The town is very family orientated. There are playgrounds dotted here and there, so youngsters can play while mum and dad enjoy a coffee at an adjacent cafe. It’s not unusual to find a play area equipped with a stone monument filled with books – an impromptu library for the kids or parents. In the evenings the town comes alive with families enjoying time together, very often accompanied by music in the bandstand and Flamenco dancing.
Ex Pats Dave and Karen Spicer live just outside Coin having taken the plunge to move from England to Spain two years ago. Karen, who is an author of romance novels and children’s books said, “Coin is a working town, but it’s also a pretty town. There’s lots of shops – big supermarkets, fashion stores; lots of facilities such as health centres and schools. It’s off the tourist track and there’s a big Ex Pat community here of people who want to embrace the Spanish way of life and culture in a traditional Spanish town. The locals are very friendly especially if you make the effort to try their own culture and show an interest. – we love it.”
Dave is a retired shopkeeper and former policeman, he added, “Coin is one of our favourite towns. Every town has its own different Bank Holidays and festivals where you have spectacular processions and parades through the streets. In August there’s the Romeria in honour of the Virgin Fuensanta, patron saint of the town, with a huge procession of decorated floats drawn by gleaming tractors or horses, mules and bulls, all beautifully decorated. Everyone is in traditional Spanish costume, the women in Flamenco dresses, the men on horseback, there’s music and dancing, it’s wonderful!”
Coin does love its festivals, and you’ll find posters advertising the next event as you stroll around the town. Amongst the larger events is the Spring Festival celebrated in late April or early May which includes the procession of Santo Cristo del Perdón and Veracruz and the Day of the Cross. Also, in May is the Orange Festival dedicated to the promotion of food products of the town. New Year’s Eve sees the whole town celebrating in fancy dress and in early January comes the Three Kings festival, when three kings ride through the town on camels, throwing sweets to all the children.
There are many excellent restaurants to dine at in Coin, but one which Dave and Karen particularly enjoy going to is the Bohemia, a traditionally styled large Andalusian house with a beautiful white-walled courtyard, at the centre of which grows an ancient olive tree. The food is delicious, the service friendly, but this restaurant has something a little different. The manager, Pedro Trillo makes amazing woven 3-dimensioinal tapestries and wall hangings, which he is only too pleased to show diners, should they ask.
Discover more about Coin, Malaga, Spain here: http://www.andalucia.com/province/malaga/coin