By Paul Whitelock
FIRST discovered Montejaque ten years ago this week, while on a tour of Andalucía with my then wife.
As we drove from Ronda through the stunning scenery of the Guadiaro valley, calling at the Cueva del Gato on our way, we crossed the river, turned up the hill and suddenly we saw our first ever pueblo blanco, Benaoján, clinging precariously to the mountainside above us.
After squeezing our hire car through its narrow but pretty streets, we drove on up the hill towards our second white village, Montejaque. This was even more impressive. The square, with the pretty town hall, the church and the old hotel and, at that time three thriving bars, left an indelible mark upon us.
Despite visiting countless other enchanting white villages during that fortnight, such as Grazalema, Zahara de la Sierra, Arcos de la Frontera and Olvera, we liked Montejaque the best.
We decided to look for a property there and made several return visits to the area over the next few months. In the end we bought a place in Ronda in 2001, but my thoughts kept returning to the tiny village tucked in beneath el Hacho mountain.
Seven years later, at the very end of 2008, I came to live in the village. By this time divorced, I’d met a new lady, now my second wife, and I joined her there.
My Montejaque is waking each morning beside the woman I love and watching the sun rise through our window, listening to the early morning chattering of the birds in the olive tree next door, nattering with our Spanish neighbours about the weather and the cost of living, being treated with kindness, respect and trust by the locals, being known as the guiri that speaks good Spanish, going foraging for firewood up the mountain, not having to wear socks from April to October, going for a paseo in the early evening and then for tapas with friends before going home to dinner.
We’re shortly moving house, but only down the road. We’re staying put in the village we love – Montejaque. My Montejaque.
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