The name of Alan Boardman will be familiar to many residents of the Costa del Sol. The 64-year-old Mancunian has been involved with several associations and charity platforms since arriving in Mijas in 2004. He has also helped raise thousands of euros for different causes throughout the pandemic.
A former board member of the Salón Varietés Theatre and co-founder of the Simply Surviving group, Alan also founded Mijas Walking Tours in 2016. He has now decided to use his street tours of Mijas as another means of raising funds for worthy causes. The tours take place several times a week and Alan selects a different charity each month. In February, he raised 545 euros for the Salón Varieté's appeal, while this month's walks have so far raised 175 euros for the Donkey Dreamland sanctuary in La Cala de Mijas.
The tours, which are conducted in English, are free, but Alan suggests a donation of five euros. The tour is limited to groups of nine people, which, as Alan points out, enables him to offer "an intimate guide to the history of the village and its fascinating stories."
The two-hour walk involves a tour of the lesser-known areas of the village, and Alan offers his vast knowledge concerning the Spanish Civil War and its effect on Mijas. One of his points of interest is the house of Manuel Cortés, the Mijas mayor who spent 30 years hiding in a secret room of his home to avoid arrest during Franco's dictatorship. As well, the walk includes the route to the secluded chapel perched on the mountain overlooking Mijas. Alan also sets up a WhatsApp group with links to topics discussed during the tour.
"We have lived in the village for a long time and it suddenly occurred to me that there was not a walking tour of Mijas. There are many lovely things to see here, but the aim is to get under the obvious and take visitors into the real Mijas," Alan explains to SUR in English.
Alan, who owns a small shop in Mijas, is also hoping to help local businesses survive the effects of the pandemic. Because of the current regulations, the tours are only attracting locals, but Alan hopes that when restrictions are lifted, and the tourists return, he will be able to help more causes.
"The idea is to try to get people interested in Mijas, because it is like a ghost town. I want to do my bit to help fellow business owners because the situation is so bad. There are also many charities that have really been under pressure because of the pandemic, so we are concentrating on helping them," he says.
He already has seven tours planned for April and reservations can be made by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone 6105 22605. For information about times and availability, see the Mijas Walking Tours Facebook page.