When I arrived here on Monday I very soon learned that it was fiesta time and that the climax would be this weekend. Fantastic …
Then I was told that it was the sardine fiesta and I’ve spent the whole week giggling to myself because the images that immediately came to mind, and will not budge, are of Cleese, Palin, Teddington lock and the fish slapping dance.
It is of course a religious festival. According to legend pirates came to the town to pillage, rape and kill; they got to the church to grab the goodies there but the statue of the Virgin Mary started to weep, so they took fright and ran away leaving the town and its inhabitants pretty much unscathed and I believe that the fishermen then donated sardines as a token of thanks. Tomorrow the final parade of the Virgin’s statue for this year’s festival is due to be held.
This morning this hibernating little town woke up, rolled out the sidewalks and started partying. There’s a fair on the beach, the promenade is lined with food and toy stalls and the bars and restaurants are doing a roaring trade. Commercialism rules so I offer no apologies for my Pythonesque humour.
The fair on the beach
Excuse me I must try to hunt down Cleese and Palin, word has spread that they’re here to slap a couple of sardines around …
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Yesterdays forced march for LWD was the 6 mile round trip into Puerto Mazarrón …
Port and beaches of Mazarrón
Mainly along the beach …
Nothing to write home about …
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(No, I’ve not become a Kiwi and it wasn’t really Wednesday, it was Monday, but that didn’t make for a catchy title …)
I decided I didn’t want to stay more than the weekend at La Manga, pretty tho’ the beach area was and great as the amenities were. The pitches were each surrounded on three sides by 7-8 ft high hedges, not good for catching the low autumn rays and rather claustrophobic. So I headed for the alternative destination first thing Monday morning – well what counts as first thing when one is retired!
Overnight a rather stiff northerly breeze had sprung up, tho’ not a cloud in a bright blue sky. The route demanded a straight westerly drive through flat countryside which I’m sure under normal circumstances offers long distance views to the horizon; not, however when you have a stiff (I may be understating the case here) northerly breeze stirring up vast clouds of dust. Add to that the sudden appearance of whole bushes bowling along the carriageway of the autovia and R0X1’s rocking in the side
swipes winds increased each time I had to swerve. My shoulders ached a bit when we arrived here and I’d only been driving (slowly) an hour and a bit.
Here is Bolnuevo, next door to Mazarrón, a place I’ve visited, and liked, already but a new campsite. Not as pretty, pretty as the postcard place but it’s beachside, has great walks for the LWD and not a hedge in sight.
Oh, and it has these rather beautiful limestone natural “sculptures” …
4 million windsdays for this to be created.
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(select your own)
Weather is warm and sunny. Having a lovely time. Wish you were here!
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When I began this adventure one of the many must have photographic destinations was in Castille La Mancha. Consuegra and the windmills of Don Quixote fame. I didn’t make it on my first long trip to Spain – but I have now. It didn’t disappoint tho’ I did try to get other perspectives as well as “the ridge” cliché.
When I arrived there was a party of secondary school kids visiting. They were obviously having the “full monty” tour as there were two actors playing The Don and Sancho (no sign of the horse or donkey) and using, I presume, Cervantes’ words. Colour me amazed; they had the kids in the palms of their hands. Anyone who can do that to teenage kids on a school trip about a 400 year old novel, has my admiration.
I really must read the book …
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It was one of those days that didn’t quite go right. I left Segovia and put the co-ordinates for Avila in the sat-nag. Garmina, bless her independent thinking, decided what I really wanted was to go back to Salamanca. Unfortunately Garmina never tells me where she’s headed, she just accepts the co-ordinates and heads for them. I became suspicious when I saw the kilometerage, and then realised by the position of the sun that we were headed north – no way José, too cold back that way. Off the autovia I came, re-entered the co-ordinates and we were finally on our way to the correct destination.
I’m sorry to report that Avila was a bit of a disappointment for me. It took forever to park, they don’t mention height restrictions until you actually get to the car park and then when you do find a car park that accepts vehicles up to 3 meters, the bloody thing’s closed. After going round and round for 20 minutes or so I was just beginning to think of going, then I found a recently vacated large spot on the street. The walls of the walled city were lovely, and there were some interesting buildings inside but there was also a lot of mediocre turn of the 19th century stuff and no real atmosphere inside those walls; I’ve been spoilt by Aigues-Mortes in the Carmargue, France which has oodles of atmosphere and is much more discreetly commercialised. Add to that, the staff at the cafe that I tried to have lunch at decided I was the invisible woman; I gave them 15 minutes to take my order and then left in disgust.
The walled city of Avila
There being no aire, thankfully I hadn’t planned to overnight in Avila so continued on my way to the planned night stop. I was bit low on diesel and stopped at a fuel station on the side of the rather lovely road that took me over the high Castillian plains; reminded me a lot of Dartmoor tho’ at over 1,400 meters in places, somewhat higher.
Dartmoor but with fences = no livestock on road!
The Spanish are very fond of having attendants at their fuel stations and this one was no exception; my tank was filled for me. I gave the chap my card and it was declined 3 times. I knew I had sufficient funds, and the card had worked earlier when I got out some cash – unfortunately not enough to cover the fuel bill. The cashier phoned his bank who informed him my card must be at fault. I said no way and phoned my bank in England. The customer service advisor was very helpful and reassured me there were sufficient funds and there was nothing wrong with my card. I remarked on her rather familiar accent and asked if she was Spanish. Would you Adam and Eve it – she was, and it turned out that her home is in the province of Castille y Leon; guess where I was? Anyway she spoke to the garage attendant for me and assured him I wasn’t attempting a con. I gave him all the cash that I had, left my phone with him and drove a few k’s to the nearest town, withdrew cash and returned to pay the balance. He returned my phone apologising profusely for the inconvenience caused to me and refused to let me pay for an ice cream. Dear of him!
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The altitude at our current aire, the car park of the Bull Ring, (I hasten to add that by parking here I’m not displaying any support for what I consider a barbaric form of entertainment) is 3,377 ft. The early morning temperature was 0℃ but with the chill factor from a stiff easterly wind, it felt colder; at least the sun put in an appearance. I fancy it won’t be long before the mountains to the east are sprinkled with a drop of the white stuff. I layered up, donned hat and scarf and ventured out, but not until late morning.
Unsurprisingly, the shops in Segovia appeared to be doing a brisk trade in gloves, hats and scarves to the ill prepared grockles. Just to be different, this particular grockle bought slippers, – yes family, you heard it from my own computer; not only did I purchase slippers, they are currently being worn!
Once more – from the top!
Having spent yesterday’s forced march mainly around the aqueduct and close environs, LWD was delighted that we walked further today, saw different sights and she even had a play off lead in a park. The views from this hilltop town are stunning.
Sierra de Guadarrama
The Alcazar (palace, bottom left) is undergoing restoration . For me, like Carcassonne, it’s a bit too Disneyfied and over-restored. I prefer old buildings to have less clean lines and “prettiness”, leave them their wonky walls, ragged roofs and faded beauty. Patch the roofs, deal with the leaks, prop ‘em up, make ‘em safe and let them tell their tales via their blemishes.
Just saying …
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