Saturday, 27 December 2008

Happy Birthday Gerry

Last night we gathered at "El Rincon, a restaurant in Olvera, to celebrate the coming of age of our good and dear friend Gerry.

Anne and I arrived at about 8pm and were welcomed by the restaurant owner Bernardo, directing us to our table, and laying out a couple of tapas of olives and whole garlic cloves.....delicious.

By the time Gerry and everyone else arrived, we were banished to a corner table......only joking!!

Mel with partner Anne.

Kevin and Jennifer.

The garlic crunchers......note how far away Jennifer and Kevin are sitting.
The picture was taken by Gerry with full zoom!!.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Christmas Eve

We left the house at just after eight to walk down to the Plaza de la Concordia. As we walked down Calle Llana, festive songs were playing from the wall mounted speakers in the street adding to the atmosphere.

Quite a few shops were still open. Traditionally, tonight is when a lot of spanish families sit down together for a festive meal, which perhaps explained why the town was quiet and quite deserted.

At the Plaza de la Concordia, we had hoped to see a display of Christmas lights but sadly we were a little disappointed.
Last year, the Centro de Adultos, where we attend our spanish language classes, was draped in a cascade of lights but this year....... nada (nothing). Perhaps it's the credit crunch !!.

So we headed back up to Bar Pepe Rayas where we were shortly joined by our friends Ray and Geraldine, Elma, Russ and Eileen.
Spontaneous entertainment was provided by Miguel on guitar, ably playing a varied selection of flamenco and well known hits from the past.

We left at just before midnight with Miguel still taking requests.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Sabado mañana

Saturday morning and it's a beautiful day. The sun is shining and temperatures have risen to about 12°C so definately a reason to get out of the house and go a wanderin'.
First stop is the outdoor market.

We have a fetish at the moment for liquorice and the best place to get it is a stall run by a lovely lady from Setenil where you can "pick n' mix" whatever you want.
They also do a fantastic variety of spices and olives.

The castle, viewed from Calle Mercado.

Leaving the market, we decided to head up to the castle courtyard, "La Cilla", to see that elusive photographic exhibition, that you are no doubt bored of reading about now but after several previous attempts somehow we felt confident of success this morning.
The Church viewed from Calle Calzada.

On the way up we had been passed by several well dressed people and arriving in the Plaza de la Iglesia we saw why.
We were just in time to witness a bride arriving for her wedding ceremony that was taking place in the Casa de "La Cilla".......... which of course is the venue for the photo exhibition. I give up now!.

Feeling slightly under dressed we decided that it was best not to proceed any further and were happy to watch the assembled guests before heading home.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Feliz Navidad

Olvera is starting to decorate itself for the coming festivities, so just a few pics of perhaps the most popular type of decoration - climbing Santa's.

A couple of Santa's hanging precariously by their fingertips.

The Three Kings, deliverer's of the gifts to the baby Jesus, are also a popular decoration.
Three Kings Night, on the 5th January, is the traditional time in Spain for the giving of gifts.

No doubt, more pics will follow over the festive period but we would like to take this opportunity to wish "Feliz Navidad y prospero Año Nuevo" to all who have been kind enough to write to us and everyone who has taken the time to look at the blog. Seasons greetings to you all.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Castillo de las Aguzaderas

Driving south of El Coronil for about 3kms, you cannot fail to notice the old Arab castle on the right side of the road.
Unusually, it is built in a depression in the ground, lower than the surrounding hills. This is because the castle was constructed in the 15th century specifically to protect the Aguzaderas spring water source which was vitally important to the local farmers.

As usual, entrance is free and although some restoration work appears to have been undertaken, it is in a remarkable state of preservation.
Looking into the inner courtyard.

The tallest remaining tower is open and with care, you can climb to the top via two quite dark stone staircases.

If you are ever passing by, the castle is definately well worth a visit.

El Coronil

On a cold, frosty morning (see picture of Nellie), I set off on the road to El Coronil, a small town of approximately 5000 inhabitants, about 40kms northwest of Olvera.
We had passed El Coronil a couple of times on the way to other places so I thought it might be worth a visit.

The view of the town from the main A-375 road, now bathed in sunshine. In contrast to Olvera, the landscape here is quite flat with gentle rolling hills. Still very picturesque though.

I parked the car in one of the sidestreets and walked in the general direction of the Church spire which could be seen in the near distance.
This is Calle San Roque, one of the prettier streets that I came across.

A pretty fountain in the street.

The Ayuntamiento in the Plaza de la Constitución.

An unusual plaque on the wall of the Ayuntamiento. Not sure if it is an award for excellence or a self proclamation of the excellence of service provided!.

View of the Plaza de la Constitución.

Looking towards the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Consolación (Church of Our Lady of Consolation).

The town and castle, currently undergoing restoration, date from the 14th century.

After about an hour or so, I started to walk back to the car.
I wouldn't describe El Coronil as the prettiest place I have been to but then it was only a short visit and I only covered a small area. Still quite pleasant just to wander around though.