Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Festival of San Sebastion

Knowing we had plenty of time to kill in this region we decide to trundle back up the highway to Ricote for a few days peace and quiet...

Absolutely not what we ventured in to it has to be said.
Normally a very sleepy beautiful location set in lush lemon groves but for the last week and the next several days, Bedlam...

The Festival of San Sebastion, one of around a million Spanish Saints it seems, is in full swing..as in we were lucky to squeeze through narrow streets of double parked cars just to get on the Aire.
The Guardia waved us through and we entered the aire to find so many cars parked up we couldn't service the van properly for two days...

Anyway we were there (with no chance of leaving even if we wanted to)

100m from the aire these guys are setting up a bit of a show for later

Some of the 'Sparklers' for later
Amusingly there were no barriers or 'No Smoking' signs as you'd be accustomed to in Blighty

There were four other such 'Launch Sites' dotted around the small village which got plenty of use over the next two days...

In the kids playground along with a few other stalls we found this bizarre stand selling ALL things sharp and pointy....

The safe option, G & T and a wedge of homemade crisps

Sat on the street supping a brandy this tourist awaits the 'Procession of the Saint'

The first glimpse of San Sebastion..

Here he is on his steady trip round town carried by the townsfolk all taking their turn

Then its New Years Eve all over again..

Its loud, its long and it follows constant attempts to unseat the church bells from their mountings by vigorous swinging on the bell ropes

The noise (and the procession) makes it way to our end of town 

What follows is pretty impressive with a display to be proud of

Next day we were treated to Very Loud mortars going off nearby at around 6.15am and numerous further attempts throughout the next two days to deafen the populous with constant bell ringing

Next morning its 'Show Dog' time actually right on the aire. Quite amusing this as most folk received a trophy for their individual pooches and on looking around I couldn't really see two of any one breed so everyone's a winner then!

The noise, hangover and general melee had us donning boots and heading off down the valley to Ojos via the impressively tarmaced main road.
Tarmac isn't ripped up here and crushed for re use they simply lay over the old road, again and again

We are going here for Spanish Wild Goat or Ibex?

As ever the stunning scenery here leaves its mark on us

We arrive back in town to another procession, this time of floats pulled by 4 x 4s and tractors

Bless Em!

There's a generator running full tilt behind those speakers, not that you'd hear it!

The Drummers got our vote for best act..

And these 'Guys' for possessing the 'Minerals' (or perhaps not?)

Even I was shocked!

More fireworks and bell ringing next day sends us off to Mula for a thrash on Max
Lunchtime Tapa eagerly consumed..

An unfeasibly sticky highly calorific chocolatty thingy (melting in the strong sun) accompanies our first (and last) coffee Bom Boms
These are very sweet short coffees with condensed milk we think

We return to Ricote and soon San Sebastion is being reviled in yet another street procession back to back with yes, frantic bell ringing and 5 separate large firework displays around the town
Thankfully all of them were viewable from the van which was kind of pleasing. We were left pondering the cost of the displays and how the many thousands of Euros surely could have been spent elsewhere in the town. I guess when it comes to all things religious or even just Spanish folk continuing their traditions then money seems to be no object really
At around 11.30pm I ventured in to the village to see musicians parting company and wandered up to the church. It was totally rammed with village folk all praising the main guy and I left them to it

No fireworks next morning as its the first day again of normal life but thankfully the weekly market is on. This means lunch today is garlic chicken with herb basted roast potatoes from that lovely guy who runs the rotisserie van
More than enough for two and €8.00 all in..

Quiet, sunny and very peaceful....

A completely different stay for us then this time here in Ricote. Many thanks to the townsfolk and the  Ayuntamiento de la ciudad for putting it all on,

Casa Rudo & Murcia

As planned we drop in to Casa Rudo for what turns out to be a 10 day stay in glorious weather

Boots are donned and the kms stack up as we discover some unusual walking opportunities right from the site. This particular one led nowhere with three 'Mafia' looking guys in a black Merc ousting us after having passed us much earlier saying nothing...

Dates in the raw

Similarly, Artichokes

These Ex Pats turn up on site as requested to change the rear pair of trailer tyres as they are past their best and won't make it legally back to the UK

Rudy & Me discussing all things trailer related

Wifey is quite shocked one day as I order up a cocktail for her from Dorine's new flash bar for outside delivery

'Arabian Nights' looking appartments at Santa Pola

A stroll after Tapas on market day at Santa Pola

A run to Elche on Max and some locations are earmarked for the summer when Emilja & Richard fly out to join us

After a relaxing stay at Casa Rudo we bid farewell until late May and head back to Murcia and that Aire at the shopping centre

The obligatory walk in to Murcia under blue skies sees us calling again at a favourite Tapas bar just outside the city

The quite bizarre location for the Aire turns out to be a firm favourite of ours as its actually perfectly located to go drink mid morning coffee with a sticky bun sat in the lovely sunshine

This is the lower of the two centres, the other being the much larger Nuevo Condomina a kilometre's walk further on. This lies at the end of the superb Line 1 of the new tram network so is very doable for folks of all ages

Another day another coffee in the sun..­čśÄ

Having seen Castillo de Monteagudo many times when passing by on the motorway we thought it a bright idea late one afternoon to go walk to it...

The usual guy atop the rock overseeing the metropolis of Murcia

Below it a quite interesting museum given over to educating folk about the region's past

The rear entry looks quite dangerous...

Looking Northwards

A lovely sight before our long trek back to the van