Thursday, 30 June 2011

En busca de los girasoles

In search of sunflowers. Not a difficult task at this time of year as taking a drive in any direction from Olvera will almost certainly bring you to field upon field of bright yellow flowers.

So, this morning on a warm but slightly overcast day, I headed out west on the A-384 in the direction of Villamartin before taking a minor road out into the campo.

Caracoles anyone!. Snails, a popular tapas dish here in Andalucia.

A white egret, as advised by friend Russ in Canada, resting in a tree.

A strangely shaped old tree....the imagination could wander just looking at it.
Perhaps it comes to life as the mist descends, darkness falls and the owls start to hoot...........!!

Camera shy sunflowers.....looking at the great views.

Sadly, the growing season is coming to an end and heads start to droop until next year.

A familiar point along the A-384 between Olvera and Algodonales is this farm building, an "aiming" point and landing area for the paragliders who regularly jump off the Sierra de Lijar above the pueblo of Algodonales.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Corpus Christi

Yesterday was the day when some of the streets in the older part of Olvera were decorated with palms, greenery and flowers for the annual celebration of Corpus Christi.

The residents of each street were awake early decorating windows and doors and creating beautiful shrines.

Calle Llana.

The shrine in Calle Pozo.

These little angels were happy to pose for a picture.

Calle Jesús.

Calle José Chico.

A procession through the decorated streets started from the Iglesia Parroquial at just after 8pm.

Here, the view looking down on Calle Azuaga from our terrace.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Ginny's visit

It's always a pleasure to welcome my sister-in-law Ginny here and this short visit was no exception.

The temperatures have stayed in the low to mid forties centigrade, very hot during the day but a little cooler in the evening.

Of course, we made good use of the excellent bars and restaurants that Olvera has to offer and Calcetines came too of's far to hot to leave her in the house.

We are so fortunate to have friends with a pool so it was great to take advantage of their hospitality on a couple of occasions and cool down.

My touring hat, usually kept in the car boot and only brought out when the heat is excessive......and you can no doubt see why it doesn't make many appearances!!.

Brenda and Larry

On a busy night at Bar Valentinos, it was lovely to bump into Brenda and Larry, visiting Olvera from the USA.

Brenda is a regular reader of our blog so it was nice to catch up and have a chat.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

A pleasant and unexpected surprise

While Anne was busy with the house, I headed out this morning to the 16th century Convento de Caño Santos, that sits on a hillside about 20 minutes drive east of Olvera, on the road to the pueblo of Alcalá del Valle.

Apart from being in a beautiful location, I was interested to see whether any further restoration work had been undertaken since my last visit about eighteen months ago.
See here an article from 2007 that detailed the plans.

I did notice that the entrances to the grottos were now padlocked shut. On previous visits, they were open and accessible.

Candles and flowers at the entrance to one of the grottos.

The views from the grounds are stunning.

The building was closed to the public and as I was trying to look through the windows, a group of people arrived who introduced themselves and kindly invited me to join them on a tour of the inside.

Pictured here are Hans, Antonio, Miranda and Angela, all residents of nearby Alcalá.

Hans and Miranda have recently opened their restored cortijo "El Guarda", offering comfortable and relaxed accommodation in traditional Andalucian style near to Alcalá.
Antonio and Angela were friends who had obtained the keys to the building and were happy to also show me around.
What a rare and fantastic opportunity and one I was extremely grateful to accept.

Inside, there was clear evidence that extensive restorations had taken place to convert the convent into a hotel although Antonio explained that work had stopped a few years ago due to funding problems.

The central atreum was very impressive.

Many of the rooms were near completion and clearly a lot of money had been spent.
Sadly however, it was also clear that the years of neglect were taking its toll on the building with broken windows, peeling paint and some evidence of vandalism.

Antonio was the perfect guide and showed us every aspect of the building including the bell tower. Here, the entrance to the stairs leading to the tower.

It was a pleasure to meet Miranda and Hans, a very friendly couple, and I wish them every success in their new and exciting venture.

And also to Angela and Antonio of course for being very informative and pleasant hosts and for giving me the opportunity to look at yet another of the treasures that Andalucia has to offer.