Earth Day: Andalusian town’s gift

Southern Spain faced a terrible economic crisis in 2009, one part of which involved admitting  to years of chaotic construction. A major problem had been unauthorized building. Much of it came to a sudden halt as local governments put the brakes on; as a result large and ugly shells of houses and apartment blocks remain – anyone who wants to buy a project or the land generally has to pay off the old bad debt first.

La Cala meadow1_220418In some places the government said “enough” and building is now banned. Such was the case in La Cala de Mijas, a lovely old fishing town in Andalusia where at least one such patch of land now has signs saying this is a protected nature area, no buildings permitted. The abandoned bricks and pipes are gradually disappearing under meadows that have taken over in the past 8-9 years. A winter of frequent rain has been welcome in this coastal stretch that has seen years of drought, and the flowers in the meadow are showing their gratitude.

A walk through the meadow today was proof that dozens of varieties of birds and bees have found a new home, and they will probably be better caretakers than the people who left the rubbish of their greedy dreams behind.

The flowers: the main flower is the white and yellow chrysanthemum coronarium, whose popular name is apparently chrysanthemum garland. Queen Anne’s lace is putting on a multi-hued show and scores of other flowers are tucked in among them. Join me for a short walk towards the sea (the house in the distance is actually one of the abandoned shells, while the ones on the right were built with permission).

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