Almeria – Feria y Fiestas

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Dressed up for the feria

The annual Feria y Fiestas of Almeria City started last Friday night and will continue until next Sunday.

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Dressing up is not just for the young

This is one of the most famous fiestas in Andalucia and the days and nights are filled with events, parties and concerts mostly based in the historic quarter and Paseo de Almeria or the Recinto Ferial.

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A band in the paseo

We visited the city yesterday to experience La Feria del Mediodia along the Paseo de Almeria. The city was in party mood and the crowds enjoyed the street entertainment provided by bands, singers and dancers.

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The Sevillana

These dancers were performing the Sevillana.

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Entertainment for children

There was also entertainment for children.

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Villa Carmen

An interesting feature was a mock-up of a old Almerian home, Villa Carmen.

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In the kitchen

Women posing in the house wore traditional dress.

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Mimbre

Outside the house an old man demonstrated the craft of mimbre and was surrounded by articles made from esparto grass.

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Mini Coopers

At the bottom of the paseo were parked two lines of vintage cars. On one side was a row of Mini Coopers.

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Seat 600s

On the other side lined up were old Seat 600s. These were the only vehicles permitted here and the entrances to the Paseo were blocked by lorries as a security precaution after the Barcelona terrorist attack.

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Girl at the feria

We enjoyed our day out and returned home late afternoon but to take in more of the fiesta events, including the late night concerts, you need to live in the city or book into a hotel if you can find a room.

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Casas Monumentales – Terque

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Terque

The little towns and villages in the valleys of the rios Nacimiento and Andarax boast some beautiful old houses. These were mostly built during the 19th Century when the area became wealthy from the production of table grapes and oranges. I remember, 55 years ago, when my father had a greengrocer’s shop in Falmouth, his customers would eagerly await the arrival of grapes from Almeria in September. I had little idea at the time where Almeria was and never thought that I would one day live where these grapes were actually grown. Sadly, production has virtually died off with agriculture being concentrated in the massive and profitable greenhouses on the coastal plains.
The village of Terque in particular has some fine old buildings.

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Terque from the Rio Andarax

Terque is only a 20 minute walk along the banks of the Andarax from our cortijo which is just above the confluence of the Nacimiento and Andarax. Both rivers at this point carry no water so they are easy to cross and make good walking routes. This morning, we strolled up to Terque and Digby took some photos of the beautiful buildings there.

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Plaza de Constitución, Terque

In the Plaza de Constitución, where a few locals were taking an early coffee under the magificent old old elm tree, there are some attractive buildings.

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Casas Monumentales

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Up a narrow street

From the Plaza, narrow streets lead past some fine houses.

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Elaborate ironwork

Most of these houses are well-maintained which must be expensive as the ironwork and masonry is elaborate.

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Bougainvillea and jasmine

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Rincon with jasmine

Bougainvillea and jasmine are frequently found in corners and growing up walls, adding to the colour and fragrance of the village.

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Se Vende

Not all houses are in good repair. This old building in the Plaza Adelfas is waiting for a new owner but, as the telephone number on the for sale sign has faded, the wait has already been long.

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Old door

This is a typical, old wooden door which Digby thought made an interesting study of colour and texture.

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Casa monumental

This is one of the largest and finest of the old houses. Intricate iron and plaster work surround the doors and windows. The white shutter alone must be expensive and time -consuming to maintain.

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The house overlooking its walled garden

Looking back at this house you can see a beautiful large window overlooking the garden and griffons at the railings along the roof.

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Houses in a small plaza, Terque

There is a lot more to see and write about around here so keep reading.

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Semana de Cultura, Alhabia

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Concert in the square, Alhabia

For the last week there have been cultural events in the town of Alhabia. Most of the activities were for children but there were two musical events that we attended.

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The two bands

The week opened on the previous Saturday with a concert in the lovely square performed by the town band joining with another band from the town of Villanueva de Arzobispo in Jean.

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Enjoying the concert

The young musicians performed brilliantly in front of an appreciative audience on a beautiful summer night.

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Sensi Falán

Last night, the week closed with a concert by the singer from Almeria, Sensi Falán in the municipal theatre of Alhabia.

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Sensiu Falán

Her performance was titled “Las Mujeres de La Chanca” and she recited anecdotes of the women from this old barrio of Almeria City in between singing traditional songs, such as ‘Los Cuatro Muleros’ by Federico Garcia Lorca.

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Sensi with her props

Her only props were a table, a chair and a basket filled with objects relating to the different characters she portrayed.

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We have moved

The house

Our new home

Last week we finally moved from our villa in Las Negras to a little cortijo near Alhabia in the Alpujarra Almeriense about 30km inland from Almeria City.  The villa in Las Negras was too large for us.. Too much housework and too expensive to run with high rates, electricity and water charges plus  a mortgage. Besides our previous properties were cortijos and we wanted to get back to rural life.

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Entrance to the house

Naturally we have been very busy over the last few weeks preparing the move and settling in so there have not been many posts on this blog recently but now we can start again with some photos of our new home.

Front terrace right

Front terrace right

Front terrace left

Front terrace left

The move was traumatic. The hired a large van with driver from Almeria city which was late turning up but at least the pair of strong young men to do all the lifting, our neighbour Gilberto and a hippy friend of his Daniel turned up on time on time at 0830. All the large stuff was accommodated in the big van and the rest in a medium size VW  van we borrowed from another neighbour, Davide with Gilberto as driver. There was still some stuff left over after we had filled both vans, including Digby’s ancient, battered, squeaky wheelbarrow which he insisted on taking. Daniel who lives in a tiny caravan in the municipal carpark went home to fetch his van which turned out to be an antiquated little Citroen, painted pink and white, in the very last stages of terminal decrepitude. Everything went in and the wheelbarrow was tied on to the roof., where it reposed in splendour. Meanwhile we loaded our three cats ,who were creating in their baskets, and the four dogs into our car. The cat baskets were on the back seat, big old Rubi stretched along the floor in front of the seat and the three smaller dogs, Blanquita, Daisy and Bobby jumped into the hatchback.

Pool to our olive groves

Swimming pool towards our olive groves

Shady corner between house and pookl

Shady spot between house and pool

Eventually we set off, in a slow-moving convoy, and must have made a strange sight on the motorway, with everyone overtaking. When we came off the motorway and reached the winding mountain road, we had a queue of impatient drivers behind us. It took a little over an hour to reach our new home and we had the vans unloaded buy 1430.

Living room 1

Living room

Main bedroom 1

Bedroom

Daniel turned out to be a real treasure and volunteered to return the next day to sort out the positioning of furniture, etc. He did so well that there was even time to get the pictures up so that everything looked nice and homely after just 24 hours.

Annexe

Annexe

Chicken and peacock house

Chicken run

The cortijo in Alhabia comprises the main cottage which is 85 square metres and has 2 bedrooms, living area and bathroom, an annexe of 30 square metres, large tool shed, greenhouse and chicken run. The chicken house came complete with 5 hens, a cockerel and 2 peacocks.

Orange and olive groves

Oranges and olives

Gardens and terraces surround the house and annexe and there is a decent swimming pool. The rest of the land is planted with olive trees and all manner of fruit trees.

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Fruit from today

Here is some fruit from today – green figs, black figs, grapes, mulberries, a strange fruit that seems to be a cross between an apple and pear and almonds.

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Peppers

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Tomatoes

We also have peppers and tomatoes from the greenhouse.

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Genoveses – Pitas and Grasses

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El Molino

Yesterday we walked the length of Genoveses beach, San Jose. We parked near the old windmill and followed the track down to the bay.

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Fields of dry grasses

The landscape is changing as summer advances.The greens of the fresh grasses and the colours of the wild flowers have been replaced by the yellows and browns of drying vegetation.

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Pitas lining the path

The pitas lining the path appear healthy. In much of the Cabo de Gata they have been destroyed by the black beetle (picudo negro).

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Pitas and grasses

This photo shows young pitas sticking up through the long, dry grass. After the winter rains, the spring vegetation was very lush and these grasses are now withering after a prolonged dry spell with plenty of sunshine.

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Eucalyptus trees behind the beach

This grove of eucalyptus trees behind the beach always makes a dramatic photo in the morning light.

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Running dogs and driftwood

At the moment, the vast beach has few visitors and the dogs have plenty of space to run around without causing a nuisance. From the 1st June until 30 September dogs are not allowed on the beaches and traffic is restricted so the only way to visit these beaches will be to catch the bus from San Jose, walk or cycle.

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Genoveses Bay

This view looking back from near the end of the beach takes in the curve of Genoveses Bay.

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The return path

From the end of the beach we took the inland path back which runs through the dunes parallel with the beach.

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More pitas and grass

The path passes through more of the long, dry grass and pitas.

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Relaxing on the beach

Back near the beginning of the beach and people have started to arrive to enjoy a sunny Sunday.

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Pitas and sea

Finally another dramatic view with pitas before we walked back up the hill to the windmill.

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Caldera de Majada Redonda

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Rambla de Bajada Redonda

Yesterday we walked from Presillas Bajas to the Caldera de Majada Redonda.

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The footpath alongside the rambla

From the edge of the village we followed the Rambla de Bajada Redonda.

The route is well marked and there is a footpath that runs alongside the rambla which avoids some of the more difficult stretches.

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Grasses and flowers

As you can see from the photos the countryside is still green and, although the long grasses are beginning to turn colour, there are still wild flowers in abundance.

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Umbellifers

In this field alongside the rambla, tall umbellifers grow in profusion.

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Here is a lovely example of an orobanche.

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The path into the Caldera

The turning to the Caldera is up a path to the right which is signposted..

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Daisy and Bobby beside the abandoned car

Beside the path lies this old, abandoned car. How it got there is a mystery and also why has it been filled and covered with stones?

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When the Caldera is reached there is a board describing the formation of this vast volcanic crater.

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Pita by the path

We continued along the path through the Caldera and passed this sprouting pita. The stem will produce clusters of yellow flowers. These agaves, so symbolic of Almeria, will soon disappear thanks to a beetle, called a picudo, which nests in the heart of the plant and carries vegetable matter containing bacterias which destroy the pita. This example seems healthy but is probably infected.

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Towards the CalderaEnter a caption

The day was was warm with soft sunlight which enhanced some of the views like this scene looking back at the Caldera with an olive tree in the foreground.

Daisy and Bobby on the path


Our two Bodegueros, Daisy and son Bobby, enjoyed the walk and Kept appearing in the photos.

Presillas and the mountains above Los Escullos


On the way back we took a higher bath bro Presillas  from which there were excellent views towards the village and the coastal mountains.

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Barranco de las Agüillas

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Barranco de las Agüillas

Here are some photos taken yesterday when we walked along the Barranco de las Agüillas in Las Negras.

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Fig trees and flowers

The countryside around us is still looking beautiful with the spring flowers in profusion, fig trees in full leaf and the hillsides covered in greenery.

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Thistles, flowers and figs

The weather has been warm and sunny and is set fine for the rest of the week so visitors here for Semana Santa will be able to enjoy the countryside of the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata as its best.

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Thistle flower with beetles

The thistles are coming into flower. Here is an interesting photo of two beetles investigating an intense yellow flower.

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Poppies and daisies

Poppies and yellow daisies form colourful groups along the banks of the barranco.

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Looking back to Las Negras through grasses and flowers

In a few weeks all this vegetation will have dried out and the countryside will take on its parched, summer hues.

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Enjoy the countryside

Enjoy it now!

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