Saturday, 30 January 2010


We drove out today to the village of Carratraca, located just off the A-357 Campillos- Malaga road, about 65kms and an hour or so's drive east of Olvera.
The village is historically famous for it's sulphurous and healing spa waters that have been flowing from Roman times to the present day.

It must be good stuff. These people however were filling their bottles with normal spring water.

Not far from the water outlet is the impressive Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) with fantastic views across the valley.

The tower to the left of the Ayuntamiento is now the Tourist Office but unfortunately today it was closed.

Carratraca has recently had some local political turmoil with the mayor and other dignitaries resigning their positions in protest at the proposals by the Junta de Andalucia to demolish illegal buildings in the area. Numerous banners and posters were displayed throughout the village supporting the mayor's position.

The thermal spa facilities are now located in this building, the "Hotel Villa Padierna", a 19th century building constructed over the site of the original waters.

We continued our stroll around the pretty village, saying hello to the friendly inhabitants and noticing the number of plantpots decorating many of the houses. Most were not in flower yet but it would definately be worth coming back in spring or summer for what would no doubt be a very colourful display.

After a short while we came upon the Iglesia de la Virgen de la Salud (The Church of our Lady of Health), the patron of the village who helped the sick people who came for the curing waters.
We were standing outside when a lady noticed us and unprompted popped into a house and emerged with the key to the front door. As we said previously, very friendly people here.

The current Church was the result of reformations carried out in 1802 and again in 1880 and as always was immaculate and beautiful inside.

The streets of the village were very narrow and sometimes quite steep.

The Plaza de la Constitución, centre of the village.

The Hostal de Principe, one of the largest buildings in the village, was originally an inn but now a hotel, built in 1830 on the orders of the spanish King Fernando VII and apparently has its own connecting corridor to the spa baths.

On the outskirts of the village is the Plaza de Torros, the Bull Ring, constructed in the 19th century and partly dug into the rockface, now the setting for an annual passion play performed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday by the local people and also used for other concerts and fiestas.

We liked Carratraca. A very pretty and friendly pueblo, definately worth another visit in the warmer weather when the numerous pots and plants will be in full bloom.

Friday, 29 January 2010

A fresh and sunny morning.....

....temperatures about 6°C in the shade with a lovely blue sky, warmer outside the house than in, so no reason not to get out for a stroll and enjoy the views looking over Olvera. Here, looking to the east of town.

Always a favourite spot is the view south and west from Calle Torre del Pan at the top of town.

Taken from the front of the Iglesia Parroquial de Nuestra Senora de la Encarnación, the majestic Church at the top of town, visible for many kilometres around.

Looking down Calle Calzada to Calle Llana.

Calle Pico, where the market is held each Saturday and below looking up to the castle.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Social housing

Nothing more exciting today than a walk down to our local Mercadona supermarket. Apart, of course, from the pleasure of meeting up with our friend Russ with whom we went for a coffee and seeing several other friends along the way.
Moving on towards the shop we noticed some new signage nearby advertising housing for people under 35 years old at prices from 79,000€ (£69,316 in old money). Three bedrooms, garage, storeroom and on a reasonably flat part of town.
Now, where did I see that cosmetic surgeon !!!.

It was quite a pleasant morning for a stroll, warm and about 12°C. Here looking up to the church and castle from Avenida Julian Besteiro.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Carnaval poster winner

Our congratulations go to our friend and local artist Alan Pearson whose poster pictured right was chosen from keen competition to be used as Olvera's Carnaval poster for 2010.
The poster shows what the Carnaval may have looked like at the beginning of the 20th century when local people gathered in a circle and threw a pottery jug in a game called Cancarro and also when a rope was strung between the houses to be used as a swing.
Hopefully soon, the schedule of events will be published by the Ayuntamiento for what is, in my opinion, the best fiesta of the year.

El Hundidero

Just a few pictures of the spectacular gorge at El Hundidero that we passed through on our way home after leaving Estación de Benaoján today.
At the bottom of the gorge, accessible by pathways leading down, is the entrance to the Cueva del Hundidero, a cavern that eventually emerges 4 kms away at the Cueva del Gato near to the pueblo of Benaoján.

Estación de Benaoján

After leaving the Cueva del Gato, we drove the short distance to the pueblo of "Estación de Benaoján", situated just below the main village of Benaoján.
We were hoping to find a cafe with outside seating to have a coffee but unfortunately we couldn't find anywhere so we carried on exploring.

The village was undergoing a lot of modernisation, principally with the rail track being improved and upgraded to accept the AVE high speed trains.

The fast flowing Rio Guaduares rushes through the centre of the village.

At the bottom of the village, the Rio Guaduares joins the Rio Guadiaro and the level to which the river flooded can be seen on the left of the picture.

For walkers, the bridge across the river here was the mid point of walks leading to Ronda (3 hrs 10 mins) and Jimera de Libar, the same distance. Not today though.
These lovely flowers were in abundance around us but not being very botanical I'm afraid I don't know their name. Would be grateful if anyone looking in could let us know.