You know what they say – you must get out more! And so we did. Slowly but surely we are spreading outwards – we have visited the Cabo de Gata & Nijar (twice) plus along the coast here . . .to Villaricos at least. Our drive down from Bilbao was just that a non-stop hack and little chance to stop off, so we thought we’d go back along that track a bit and see the historic town of Lorca.
It’s only 55 minutes, door-to-door, so not an ordeal to get there and with the Spanish roads so well made and so empty, it brings back the joy of driving. It was only 8 degrees on this bright but chilly December morning but we set off and followed our SatNav with its appalling pronunciation of Spanish words (we switched into Spanish for the return trip – made you concentrate more but the right words coming out does help) and arrived easily and parked pretty quickly, as we hadn’t really worked out where to stop. This did mean a long walk but at least we had a good spot – the traffic was quite heavy. Out of the sun it was very cold – still 8 degrees.
We marched on to find the tourist office and a map. Along the way Viv bought Steven his Christmas present – a man bag! At last, she can divest her bag of all Steve’s stuff . . . glasses, camera, books etc. Nice grey leather one and it doesn’t look even in the least bit camp, honest.
Lots of historic buildings here and the feel of a city rather than a large town. The main square (Plaza de Espana) was reached after asking, twice. A map gleaned from the very helpful staff there plus notice of what attractions were open and which were free. We tried to follow a set tourist route but got a bit lost but serendipitously found a small square with a statue of an old Spanish musician – someone, whom Steven holds in high regard and even saw him in concert in the naval college in Greenwich – Narciso Yepes, a guitarist, famed for his 10 stringed guitar!
Map in hand we followed the “Lorca Monumental” route, through the moorish entrance, Porche de San Antonio and round to the visitor centre. Not a brilliant exhibition, a bit of style over content but had some useful bits and then round to the museums/churches that house the fantastic embroidered garments that are worn on Holy Week processions. Quite amazing work – Viv went round this, whilst I fed the meter for a few more hours.
After all this walking we needed a tad refreshing and stopped in a delightful square (San Vicente) and a street cafe, where we had beer, more beer and an arrangement of Tapas – calamares (the best I’ve tasted), emapanadillas criollas (Spanish/Moorish pasties), croquetas (cheese and ham croquettes) and caballitos (big prawns dipped in batter).
Oink. Not much time left for more sightseeing – so we bimbled back, stopping off at a Tabac to buy some more cigars (1/10 the price here!). We’ll be back! We didn’t even get near the castle but guessed that the dog wouldn’t be welcome – another day.
Plaza de Espana & St Patrick’s church
And opposite is the town hall (different flags here as we’re in Murcia)
Steve’s hero – Narciso Yepes – so glad to have heard him play.
We aren’t really lost – Viv stops outside a convent . . . .
Moorish entrance gate . . .
Not that inspiring visitor centre (best bit were the clean toilets!) but it did show the panel below – a time when Christians, Moors & Jews all got along quite well – something to do with trade I guess
This was an odd “installation” – press a button atop of these columns and it plays the respective music, neat but why?
I may be being a tad unkind by saying the back of the visitor centre was its best face but indeed it is – this wonderful colonnaded cloister
And then on to the Museo de Bordados Paso Blanco
(Embroidery Museum of the White Brotherhood, with the mantle of the Virgin of La Amargura – the largest in Spain)
A stunning collection of “mantles”, quite a mixture – with a lot of Moorish and Jewish symbols
Personally, not too keen on all this rather artificial religiosity and I can bend your ear at great length, should you stupidly let me, at any time but putting that to one side, it is a great spectacle and if you have never seen an Easter Parade during Holy Week, you should. We saw a few in Granada and realised that these huge monoliths that take the Madonna weigh several tons and need a big team of strong lads to carry them – often requiring another team, waiting round the next corner to take over!
This is the gold dais empty (above) and in procession (below) – with the army of carriers.
Works of art indeed and housed in this magnificent chapel
A lot of walking today and so time for a break and some refrescos . . at La Parilla de Vicente
Speaks for itself – they call these little glasses El Tanque!
A lovely square – even the swans seemed real