Thursday, 1 December 2016

A rainy day in Bolnuevo

Thursday 1st December. I haven't posted on the blog for a month or so as we haven't been travelling. This is a travel blog rather than a diary but i thought you might be missing us so here's an update on what we've been up to recently. We rejoined a couple of walking groups when we arrived here which means we get 4 good scenic walks every month. Whilst we are here in Bolnuevo we don't have transport so we rely on our friends Dave and Francoise to ferry us to and from the start locations for the walks. This week was a two walk week and so on Monday we drove up to the Mariposa Hotel in the Espuna mountains for our first walk of the week. These are always quite strenuous walks but after a few hours we return to the hotel where we enjoy a hearty Menu del Dia. On Monday morning we arrived only to find that the walk was cancelled as they'd had four days of rain and the guide wasn't too happy with the conditions underfoot - we should have checked the website before setting off. Oh well, we had a cup of coffee and drove back. Today was another walking day, this time with the Campersol walking group. Last night it started raining at about 3am and it hasn't stopped yet. We checked our emails this morning to find that today's walk has also been cancelled! The walks with this group aren't particularly difficult and again, after the walk we have a meal at a restaurant located wherever the walk starts and finishes. The restaurant is booked in advance and although there is no walk today we still get to have the meal so we'll be setting off soon for that, every cloud etc..etc... So, no walks this week other than the usual daily stroll down the paseo or maybe a walk into Puerto de Mazarron for a bit of shopping. Whilst the rain is not much fun for us it is badly needed in this region, drought conditions were officially declared earlier this year. A lot of water is supplied via desalination plants here but higher up and further inland we have noticed that the reservoirs, irrigation canals and lakes have been very low. Maybe this rain will top them up a bit. A fortnight ago the annual pilgrimage from Mazarron to Bolnuevo took place, here's a link telling you all about the history of this event -  This year we got up early (always a struggle on a Sunday!) and took the free bus to Mazarron where we joined the procession. Hundreds and hundreds of folk of all ages follow the statue of the Virgin which is carried by strong, fit young men the seven miles or so back to Bolnuevo. There are a few stops on the way where refreshment is taken on board - hot chocolate and churros for some and cold meats, bread and wine for others. If you are unfortunate to be at the rear of the procession you have no chance of finding anything to eat or drink; we stayed near the front reckoning that we could put up with the band playing in our ears if it meant we could grab some grub. Its a sharp elbows job to get near the food but we managed to grab a few slices of meat and a chunk of bread each, the paper cups had all been used or blown away so its a swig from the bottle of wine and hope that the person before you hasn't got herpes. At the last stop before Bolnuevo we carried on down to the village and joined some friends of ours on the terrace of their villa where we were again fortified, this time with cava and hors d'ouvres, while we waited to watch the procession pass. First the statue, the band, then the hordes of followers on foot and finally the Caballeros, many in traditional dress on their beautifully groomed horses. Bolnuevo is transformed during the weekend. A funfair on the beach, stalls all along the paseo, impromptu BBQs everywhere, large marquees with music blaring out all day and most of the night and, of course, the restaurants and bars are heaving. The old fishermen's houses which are empty for most of the year are full of families sat around tables groaning with food and drink on the terraces and balconies. Its a great weekend but by Tuesday afternoon everything has been packed up and cleared away, the beach has been cleaned and you wouldn't know there had been anything happening. There was a Tapas trail the week preceding the fiesta weekend, a dozen bars and restaurants offered a tapas and drink for 4 euros. We had a card which was stamped at each establishment and then entered into a prize draw. We didn't win the raffle but it was great fun getting our card filled up! We are now approaching Christmas and the campsite is slowly being transformed into a massive grotto. The full time gardener on site has filled every available space with hundreds of Poinsettia plants and most of the motorhomers have one or two outside, bought last weekend from the local school kids to raise money for charity. Nativity scenes and decorated Christmas trees are springing up all over the place and caravans and motorhomes are slowly becoming festooned with climbing santas and coloured lights. I reckon its a bit early yet but we buy a set each year and I'll probably put ours up next weekend. A few pics for you - Our winter home.  
Sunday dancing
  The tapas trail card.
Some pics from our walk in Librilla.
  The funfair.
The procession.
 I have a few more photos to upload but I'm having issues with pictures at the moment (plus ca change eh?) so I'll put them on the next blog.   Pat  

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