Saturday, 31 May 2008

Museo de Olvera

One of the gems of Olvera and certainly one that I should have included in the blog before now, is the Museum of Olvera opened in 1999.
Located in the courtyard next to the Tourist Office in the Plaza de la Iglesia, it contains many exhibits, pictures and a mass of information on the origins of Olvera from the 6th century through to the present day.
Unfortunately, though quite rightly, all of the information is in Spanish but it would be helpful, particularly as it is a tourist attraction, to have a brief description of the exhibits in English. That being said, it in no way detracts from the quality of the exhibits and is certainly worth a visit.

A depiction of a medieval merchants house.

The Christians storming the castle and defeating the Moors in the 14th century.

The view from the courtyard outside the Tourist Office.
If you get the opportunity, take a while to visit the museum as it will certainly enhance your understanding of the rich history of this lovely place.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Corpus Christi in Olvera

The feast of Corpus Christi took place today in Olvera, as it did in many other towns and villages throughout Andalucia.
The festival is thought to have started in the 13th century when a Belgian nun Saint Juliana of Mount Cornillon started the annual celebration in honour of the victory of Resurrection over death.
Ever since the festival has become a major cultural and tourist event.

Throughout the old historic part of town, the streets and houses were decorated with flowers and rushes and reeds from the countryside.

The pictures above and right show the start of preparations in Calle Azuaca.

Each street had one or more beautifully decorated shrines, each with a statue of Christ or the Virgin Mary, an open bible and bread and wine.
We walked around all of the area, admiring and appreciating the tremendous effort put in by all the residents of each street.

The shrine at the entrance to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento.

A procession, led by local children, leaves the church at 8pm and proceeds to visit each shrine throughout the old town.

Linked posts:
Corpus Christi

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Cadiz City

We last came to Cadiz City in July 2007 to start the process of changing our UK driving licences to Spanish licences. Having heard nothing further since, we along with our near neighbours and friends Ray and Geraldine who were in the same position, together with our trusty translator Elma took the 90 minute trip to try to resolve things.
We arrived about 10.45, parked the cars and walked the short distance to the Traffic Department office. After a brief wait we sat down and to cut a long story short we were all issued with provisional Spanish licences with the full licence to be sent to us by post within the month.

We had to hand over our UK licences which I must admit felt a bit strange as apart from our passports it was our last physical tie to the UK. But hey, we are now residents of Spain so it was the right thing to do.
We came out of the office at midday and went for a walkabout towards the old historic centre of Cadiz.The picture right shows the walk along the Atlantic seafront with the Telefonica Tower in the centre. I thought I had read somewhere that it was open to the public. However, when Ray and I walked into the foyer to ask if we could go up the receptionist gave us a firm but polite no.

This picture is of our ultimate destination, the Cathedral in the old historic area of the city.

Looking south, back towards the Telefonica Tower.

After a pleasant stroll we arrived at the Plaza de la Catedral. The picture right is apparently of the old baroque Cathedral, built in 1633, as advised by a chap who noticed me taking a picture.

The Plaza was busy, mainly with tourists, so we stopped at one of the many cafes to take in the scene and have some refreshments.

This is the Cathedral which was open to the long as you paid the 5 euros entrance fee (£4 UKP). We declined to do so as I am not a believer in paying to enter churches, either here in Spain,the UK or anywhere.

We left the Plaza via one of several exits and after a short walk came into the Plaza San Juan de Dias. At one end was the impressive Ayuntamiento and at the other was the port area where a cruise ship was moored. Again throughout the Plaza there were a variety of busy cafes and bars.

It didn't take much imagination, walking through the narrow side streets, to transport yourself back three or four hundred years to the age of Columbus and other seafarers departing from here to discover America, to imagine drunken sailors and wenches staggering out of dimly lit bars and other establishments of ill repute. And later, standing in defiance of Napoleon's troops. Enough, me minds gone a wanderin'.....back to the present.
Each turn led us to yet another Plaza, this time to the aptly named Plaza de las Flores which held the flower market.

Leaving the flower market we came across an indoor market selling fruit, meat and a superb collection of fresh fish.

The imposing facade of the Correos (Post Office) in the Plaza de las Flores.

Just a few pictures of the narrow streets.

This is the main thoroughfare through the centre of Cadiz, the Avenida de Andalucia, that stretches from the south end of the city, eventually leading into the historic old town through the old city walls pictured below.

This work of art was dedicated to the signing of the Spanish Constitution, which took place in Cadiz in 1978.

In three hours of strolling around we barely touched the surface of Cadiz. At every turn there was another pleasant square to sit in or another narrow cobbled street to explore. There is so much more to see so a return visit is a must.

Linked posts:
Cadiz....again !

More information on Cadiz can be found in the following link: