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Off to Granada

Posted by naranjosjardine1 on November 29, 2014

Thursday the day started foggy but the promised rain kept away however Friday afternoon the rain came down and indoor pursuits were best.  So in that vain I decided to write about my trip to Granada.  The trip from the coast up to Granada was spectacular.  The motorway carved through the mountains which made for easy travelling.  We arrived in Granada and found the campsite with amazing ease – Sat Nav’s and a technical genius helped of course.  We stayed in a suburb of Granada called Zubia and quickly found the downside of Granada – its cold! Afternoon temperatures were around a chilly 10 oC even though the sun was shining.  Apparently it is very hot in Summer and freezing cold in Winter with not a lot in between.  One day its hot and Summer and around October/November time the weather changes rapidly and it becomes cold and Winter – more or less over night. 

Granada has a great bus service which is just as well because taking a car into the city centre will be a nightmare.  Roads start off wide and disappear into narrow lanes or open into squares packed with restaurants and bars with seemingly no way out for cars.  The bus routes are planned out by dividing the city into circles meeting in the centre of Granada with buses travelling around each circle every 10 – 15 minutes making the city easy to get around on foot and public transport.

So why visit Granada.  In 711 the Moors invaded the Iberian peninsula and occupied most of Portugal, Spain and some areas of Southern France.  They came from Morocco and were of Arab and Berber descent and Muslim.  They ruled parts of Spain for 800 years.  They were slowly pushed out of Spain by the Christians.  As they were forced out of Valencia and Andalucía they retreated to the area of Granada and it was here they left their legacy to Spain.  The Moors were scholars and introduced many scientific ideas in areas including mathematics, astronomy, geography, chemistry, physics and philosophy.  Education was available to all in Moorish Spain as compared to a 99% illiterate rate in Europe where even some kings could not read or write.  The Moorish Kings lived in comfortable, light airy palaces whilst in Europe, at the same time, some kings were living in what amounts to a barn with a hole in the ceiling to let out the smoke from the fires.   The Moorish cities of Cordoba, Cadiz, Seville and Granada were modern cities featuring many universities, paved streets and well lit streets long before any other European city could boast these aspects.  Their buildings were well constructed and richly decorated – this is why Granada and all the cities previously mentioned are worth a visit.    

The main attraction of Granada is the Alhambra Palace.  It is Spain’s number one tourist attraction, a UNESCO world heritage site and well worth a trip.  Its gardens and palaces are well preserved and quite spectacular. The number of visitors is limited so its best to buy the tickets, well in advance, on-line before you go.  Payment is accepted via a credit card and the tickets are collected at the palace on the day by inserting the credit card into special ticket machines.  Entrance to the palace and gardens costs 15 euros which includes a map plus extra for an audio guide available in most languages.  You have to book a time  to go into the Nasrid Palaces and make sure you queue at the correct time.  The queue appears long but disappears quickly.

Alhambra Palace is a collection of palaces and gardens built to house the Moorish rulers and their royal households.  Construction started on the Nasrid Palaces in 1238 by Muhammad I al-Ahmar and added to by other rulers over the Moorish occupation.  After the Moors were driven out of Spain by Isabella Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon (the parents of Catherine of Aragon that married Henry VIII)  the palaces went through major renovations, were altered and continued to be the royal household for some years.

Below is pictures of the gardens and the Garden palaces which the Moorish leaders used as summer houses or as places to go and relax. As the Gardens are high on the mountains there is always a spectacular view of Granada below.

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and inside the Nasrid Palaces and the other surrounding palaces there is plenty of stunning architecture to be seen:

The palace is situated high above the town of Granada and can be accessed by walking a steep hill or riding the little train that goes around the Moorish part of Granada – Sacromonte and Albayzin, around the Cathedral and includes Alhambra Palace as part of its circular tour.  It is a hop on, hop off with many stopping places along the way.  Its a great way to become familiar with the old parts of Granada  and costs 8 euros plus extra for an audio guide. Some of the streets of Granada are very narrow which is why the ‘little’ train is great, it gets you places difficult to access by bus or cars and saves those tired feet. 

From the vantage point of the Palace there is a panoramic view of Granada below and the mighty Sierra Nevada Mountains above and the reason why our trip was so cold – snow capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada!

Hopefully I have given you a taste of Granada, I can’t wait to go to Cordoba.  

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Romeria de Bolnuevo (Bolnuevo Sardine Festival)

Posted by naranjosjardine1 on November 27, 2014

At the weekend along with friends we joined the Spanish and celebrated the festival giving thanks to the Virgin de la Purisima.  We were all educated the week before by Miquel of the Clover who was part of the team that was to carry the Image of the Virgin from Mazarron back home to Bolnuevo.   The Virgin de la Purisima is reputed to have saved the town of Mazarron in 1585 from Berber Pirate attack, thus the festival to remember the event and pay homage to the image of the Virgin. 

There is a detailed history account on-line in Murcia Today    

The week before the festival the Image of the Virgin is carried from her home in Bolnuevo on a 6 km journey to Mazarron by a procession of people singing, dancing and marching.  She stays in Mazarron for a week and returns, on the day of the festival, to Bolnuevo.  The  Virgin is carried through Bolnuevo’s main road, paraded along the beach then blessed in an open ceremony on the beach.

On Sunday the Image of the virgin was carried by a team of strong men, including Miguel.  Apparently they each hold the heavy base for approx. 2 minutes then swap with others and keep swapping to save their stamina.  They are encouraged by the rest of the possession singing and dancing as only the Spanish can.

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The Image of the Virgin was followed by a parade of horses.  As many as 75 horses, including horse and carts, donkeys, mules of all various sizes paraded through Bolnuevo main road,  all ridden with great skill by riders of all ages from really small children to older people.  As the parade stopped and started along the way the riders gave a display of their fantastic dressage and equestrian skills, obviously proud of their magnificent horses.  I know Spain has a heritage of horse riding but it is rare to see such a public display.

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Traditionally the parade and blessing is followed by the giving out of sardines on the beach.  Families and friends gather in groups and bbq the sardines and have a beach party Spanish style.  They have marquees, pergolas, large tents or a homemade shelter with tables, chairs full of the necessary food and drink to enjoy a BBQ on the beach.  The only night camping on the beach is allowed in Bolnuevo is the Saturday before the festival to allow preparations of the beach parties to be set up in advance of Sunday as the road is closed early on the Sunday.  On Saturday Bolnuevo beach was turned into a huge camping ground where the young took advantage of the camping and partied all night.  There was some very bleary eyed teenagers greeting older family members on Sunday morning. 

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As you can see from the picture above, if a tent or marquee is unavailable then it is ok to build your own shelter from builders fencing and plastic. 

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New Menu del Dia at the Condado Club

Posted by naranjosjardine1 on November 17, 2014















AVAILABLE FROM 12 – 3 PM  &  6 – 9 PM 


ONLY €9.95

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Travelling to Roquetas de Mar and Almerimar

Posted by naranjosjardine1 on November 14, 2014

This week the weather has changed and its definitely turned into a Spanish Winter.  If the sun is shining and if you shelter from the wind in a sunny spot it is glorious but generally the wind has turned chilly and the shorts, t-shirts and sandals for the ‘nesh’ or those who don’t like to be cold, have been replaced with longer trousers, warmer tops and fleeces along with shoes and for me the beloved boots!  We have had several days this week of rain where coats, fleeces and jeans were everywhere.  I have spent the last few days swapping the wardrobe and cupboards from summer to winter clothes – sneezing as the dust is disturbed from storage areas, particularly under the bed.  Now when I open the wardrobe its full of dark coloured clothes.  Hubby – who is one of those hardy souls who is still fighting for the right to wear shorts, t-shirts and sandals, has been out on the golf course this afternoon and when he comes back he will moan as I’ve ‘tidied’ up his wardrobe – and he hates change.  He knows that every now and again I like to get rid of the clothes that are only fit for the dustbin. He usually disagrees with me about whether an item of clothing should be in the bin or not.

Last week we headed off in our motor home.  I love it – home from home – which reminds me I have never blogged about our summer adventures but I’ll save that for another day. We travelled down the A7 to a small coastal place just passed Almeria called Roquetas de Mar.  The landscape around Almeria is agricultural but a lot more commercial than Alhama’s surrounding farmland and the fields are covered with plastic.  Fields and fields of covered plastic.  I know that people have to make a living but sheets of plastic everywhere is so ugly and messy.  The old plastic seems to be dumped on a spare piece of land and left to blow away into ravines, holes and attach itself to trees.  Thus, I found the landscape messy and disappointing but the town of Roquetas de Mar wasn’t.  It is a modern town with a beach and lots of quality built apartment blocks and villas. The really great thing about this town is the availability of tapas.  Most of the town’s numerous bars holds with the tradition of buy a drink and have a free tapas.  So it was really cheap to eat out and enjoyable to choose tapas from menus or sample tapas of the day or often make the simple choice of meat or fish.  Great way to spend an evening.

We then travelled further along the coast on the A7 to Almerimar.  Almerimar boasts a modern, purpose built marina with bars and restaurants all around the quay-side.  There is nothing old, charming or quaint here but the marina is interesting with a variety of boats to peruse, a fantastic beach, boutique shops and lots of bars, restaurants and yet more delicious tapas.


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There is a motor home parking area right on the marina, sandwiched between the quayside and the beach.  Idyllic on a sunny summers afternoon but not on a blustery Autumn night with the rain pouring down and the wind hitting gale force straight off the med.  Feeling the wind buffeting and rocking the van in the dead of night is a little unnerving.  Suffice to say we were up early in the morning and off thinking the weather would be a little calmer if we headed inland but alas no, it took till lunchtime to escape the driving wind and rain.  In hindsight it would have been better to stay and wait for the rain to stop, have breakfast and stay put but no, we decided to move off away from the blustery wind. Unfortunately the wind and rain came with us for a couple of hours.

Driving rain and gale force winds, on a motorway are bad enough but when the motorway stopped and we joined an ‘A’ road it became even more scary.  The single carriage road lay between cliffs on one side and a shear drop to the sea on the other. The numerous ramblers were full, water cascading down the mountains and all the rubbish and plastic were washing down with the water towards the rough, brown sea far below. In parts, the roadside ditches were blocked with debris so the water and rubbish flowed on to the road. Have you ever seen those signs near mountains – triangular ones with a red border, white background with a picture of a cliff with rocks falling down and wondered what exactly would happen if any rocks fell, well they fall on the road. Only small ones thankfully, but enough to worry about. Coming around a bend became a mystery, would it be water, rubbish or rock that lay on the road, add in – can’t see very much through the windscreen and disaster seem imminent. Did we end up in trouble? No! we did the only sensible thing to do and stopped for a long pit stop of coffee, tea and tostadas until the rain finally stopped.  We then travelled on to Granada – which I’ll tell you about in a few days time.


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Urgent call for Responders.

Posted by lesley tann on November 10, 2014

responders needed poster

CPR has been running its emergency medical service, 24 hours, 7 days a week for a year now but at present we only have 5 responders so we cannot maintain this service.  From the beginning of November, we have reduced the 24 hour call out service to a limited number of days and run a telephone advice service when responders are not available.  The reduced service will remain until we can train more volunteers and as yet we do not have enough responders to run a training course.  For information the responder rota will be published on the CPR website each week.

We desperately need volunteers to train as responders.  We have the money to pay for volunteers to be trained as Responders as Condado owners are very generous.  If you value the CPR service, especially if you are a resident, it is time to come forward and volunteer so that we can return to the emergency call out service 24/7.  If we don’t receive any more volunteers we won’t be able to offer any service in the summer.  The more volunteers we have the less of a burden it becomes.

So please, seriously consider our plea. If you are interested in becoming a Responder or help with CPR please contact Eliza at or the CPR secretary at

More than ever . . . . .CPR needs you!

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