Postcard from the future: I long for Andalucía’s villages and views

It’s a beautiful place of mountains, deep valleys, white villages and groves of olive and almond trees. Those old spies like a good east-west divide.West of Málaga are Marbella, Torremolinos, Ronda, golf courses, bars and ceramics shops; east is a quieter, less-developed, secret land. At over 700 metres above sea level, it’s reached via a slaloming alpine road (which was briefly featured at the end of Coogan and Brydon’s Trip to Spain: that’s as much fame as the Axarquía has enjoyed, apart from the occasional segment in A Place in the Sun). We stood at the village summit, where Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans and Arabs once surveyed their territory, near the ant-hilly structure which is all that remains of the fort. The panorama below is a landscape painter’s dream: clouds and light scudding across the Sierra Tejeda, topped with peaks of pale-grey limestone; oaks, olive trees and dots of white buildings punctuatinglayer upon layer of hills, lakes and lonely roads. Yoga retreats, mountain restaurants and art shops open and close – the tourism business here is as precarious as the cliffs on which the village is perched. The local authorities have a talent for raising money for capital projects: every year there seem to be new paths and viewpoints.