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Paul & Luiza´s World Tour

Spanish Summer 2018 - Múrcia

SPAIN | Sunday, 1 July 2018 | Views [42]

Cartagena

Cartagena

Spain, Múrcia - Blanca, Cieza, Abaran, Torre de La Horadada, La Manga y Mar Menor, Cartagena & Caravaca de la Cruz - Yeah, now we totally get the concept of siesta time -

 It's time to hit the road again. This time we'll be spending summer in Múrcia and Andalusia in the south of Spain. We know it's going to be super hot but we are saving up for a trip later on this year, so we'll have to make the most of it as we always do. We leave home at 6am and 11 hours later, we arrive in Blanca where we have a flat booked for 6 weeks. The flat is very small but cozy and the English owner is very helpful and accommodating. We settle in, and the next morning, while looking for the bakery, a local lady makes us as the lost tourists and says, "the castle is up this way". As we don't want to disappoint her, we make our way up to the castle with our tummies empty. After a very uphill climb, we get to the small castle with a lovely view of the town and the river running through it - Rio Segura.  Blanca is situated in a valley and we go for a run every morning along the river, before it gets too hot. We walk around a lot, we enjoy going to the local weekly market and we also use the time to get to know the region. We visit lovely Cieza, fast Abaran and the gorgeous city of Cartagena. We also catch up with friends in both Torre de la Horadada and La Manga, having a fabulous time. In La Manga, we also see the Mar Menor - a sort of inland sea/saltlake.  As it's getting hotter, we decide to make a move and spend only 4 weeks in Blanca. We look for another flat, this time near Granada and negotiate an early departure with the owner of the flat in Blanca. All good and have to say how impressed we were with the Air B&B mediation services. Booking.com has a lot to learn about customer service.

Meanwhile, we find our local pub - El Chalet - where we can have a litre of ice cold Estrella de Levante beer for 3 euros and a glass of the local wine for 50 cents not to mention a good selection of tapas for about 1.25-1.50 euros, not complaining at all. Folks start drinking here early in the morning sometimes even at about 8 in the morning…  Our sweet next door neighbour, Dona Rosario, brings us fresh fruit from her huerta (small family garden with fruit and veggies, very common all around the Múrcia region). We have long conversations but we miss most of what she says as she speaks so fast. One day, she turns up to show us a beautiful black & white photo of herself when she was young and proudly tells us she's 81, really incredible as she's so active and fit. She also feeds and gives water to all the stray cats on the street. Very cool cats, with loads of attitude (obviously we nicknamed them all).  On a Sunday we go out for a walk and meet a group of uniformed local male hikers who invite us to walk with them and of course we say, yes. We found ourselves going back up to the castle and finish by climbing all the way up to the statue of the Virgin of Blanca, with a quick stop to plant a Spanish flag along the way, and all that before having breakfast, what an amazing feat!         

As it's Spain and we're tourists, people try to take us for a ride twice. Once when we're having tapas and beer with a local friend and they think we're paying the bill. And the bill was almost 100 Euros. Our friend fights and gets a discount. He pays for the bill as he's invited us but it's all a bit uncomfortable. The second time is, after asking how much the glass of wine is at our local, 50 cents, the waiter comes and tells us, now it's 70 cents. Well, it's certainly not the 20 cents for sure, it's the principle. We talk to the other waiter and she says, it's 50 cents, so we won this one!

The heat is sometimes hypnotizing - days and days of 36-39 degrees - and we wander the huge shopping centres in Múrcia in the middle of the afternoon, like everybody else, for a bit of relief.  Another option is the local municipal swimming pool, huge and only 2 euros per person for the day and 1 euro for a cold beer, also get to see the locals up close so why not? Somehow, we masterfully survive our 4 weeks in Blanca, Múrcia.  Now we totally get the concept of siesta, with the extreme heat, from 1 to 7pm, there's nothing much you can do really.  All the shops and business are closed and the streets deserted, people have long lunches and rest until it's humanly possible to go out again.

On our way to Andalusia, we stop to visit Caravaca de la Cruz. It's an amazing city, incredibly beautiful and surrounded by mysticism, one of the 5 holiest cities in the Christian world. We walk around and learn about the fascinating history and the influence of the Moros & Cristianos (Moors & Christians) in the region, what an amazing city. Next stop, Andalusia.

 

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