Friday, September 30, 2011

Ancient Siyasa

THE REMAINS OF SIYASA CITY Cieza hospital right centre background
Yesterday we went to Cieza Market and while we were in Cieza visited the Museum and art gallery on Calle San Sebastian, they have an very interesting display of items dating as early as the Palaeolithic periods, It appears that 3 kilometres from Cieza there is the ancient city site of Siyasa with around 750 houses among which about 200 have been found to have plaster arches and porticos, the city was finally abandoned in 1266 and the inhabitants left behind thousands of tools,ceramics,ornaments and items of interest, many of these are on display in the Museum.
We decided to find the site for ourselves, we pinpointed it on Google maps and drove up to a parking area that serves access to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Success and the hilltop Arab castle, and followed the track around the side of the hill to where the city stands, it is surrounded by fencing which is understandable, but is still amazing to see, as we got closer to the site, there were many pieces of broken pottery and stoneware lying on the ground and its hard to believe they were from the 12th century. Archeology groups from several universities are investigating the site and this is still in progress.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Old Truck in Cieza

This is the vehicle one of the Cieza market stall holders transports his produce with, its got to be 50 or 60 years old! the thing is if you get stuck behind it in the road you are down to 10 mph

5 Different Things to See and Do in the Murcia Region

The sun doused region of Murcia is one of Spain’s largely undiscovered gems. Compared to the rest of the Costa Calida, it remains relatively untouched by mass tourism meaning it retains much Spanish charm. The region also boasts fantastic weather, beautiful countryside and sandy beaches all waiting to be enjoyed.
There are plenty to of things to keep you entertained here, but the expats and tourists who do venture here on holiday will find themselves too overwhelmed by guides offering the same attractions to visit with seemingly nothing different on offer. That’s where we step in; we’ve done some research and suggested 5 alternative things to see and do in the Murcia region that you may not have known about.
Wine Route
Whilst Murcia is known for some local specialities, it isn’t particularly well known for its production of wine. Wine lovers and tourists may well be pleased to learn therefore that there is an excellent 87km long circular wine route which takes you past a high concentration of vineyards growing the distinct Monastrell grape. Beginning in Jumilla, around 1 hour north of Murcia, the route then heads to Yecla and onto Pinoso.
In Jumilla, you can soak up the wondrous views of the vineyards which flank the mountainous terrain from the top of the castle here. The Case de la Ermita vineyard on the outskirts of the town is a real gem as is Bodegas Pedro Luis Martínez and Bodegas Silvano García which are more in the town centre.
Bodegas Castaño vineyard should be your first stop in Yecla – take the MU404 road across the vineyards to reach it. Each winery offers tours, walks amongst the vineyards and of course wine tasting! Anyone who likes wine should consider this “do it yourself” tour.
The Veronicas Market
Visiting a local market is always a good experience, you can really get a feel for the culture and there’s always a noisy, busy atmosphere bubbling away all around you. The Veronicas Market in Murcia is of course no different and well worth a visit for residents and visitors alike. Soak up the sights and smells and be sure to purchase some authentic Saffron – a wonderful souvenir and considerably cheaper than you’ll find it elsewhere.
If the car park opposite the market is full, just head down to the underground car park right next door. To get in, just turn around using the mini roundabout and traffic light system just opposite the gardens of Malecon a little further up.
The Mining Park at La Union
This is a great place to come to escape the searing afternoon heat and is also an individual and interesting attraction. As a visitor you will travel 80 metres underground into a 4,000 square meter old mine. You will also spy an underground lake which appears to glow orange!
Learn the fascinating history whilst clambering through underground passageways (don’t worry, they’re well lit) and be amazed. When you’re done with the tour underground, there’s plenty to see above ground, all found within 50,000 square metres of land.
Rincon del Hornillo, Aguilas
If you happen to be in Aguilas, this is the best place you can go for a refreshing drink quite simply for the building itself. Words won’t do it justice but it is simply the epitome of artistic inspiration. The small bar is hidden away in an urbanised area just behind the El Hornillo beacg in Aguilas.
One retired man is to thank for this work of art; steps, the building itself, the garden- basically everything in the surrounding area is completely decorated with small mosaic patterned tiles bringing life and colour to the area the whole year round. Whilst the bar is only open during July and August, be sure to head there at any time just to see it and get some snaps. Not to be missed!
Navidad Fort
You may have heard of the Fuerte de Navidad in Cartagena which is well worth visiting, but you may not know there is a lot more to it than just the fort. If you travel to it by car using car hire Murcia Airport, there is plenty more in store! Once you have arrived at the fort, instead of going across the bridge, why not carry straight on and be a little bit more adventurous. You’ll reach a track but don’t be deterred, keep going and you’ll be rewarded with civilisation in the form of a tiny time warped village. Whilst it isn’t glamorous it’s a wonderful small exemplary Spanish village that’s simply a real treat to see.
Have a little walk around and enjoy this small sheltered bay and then continue on the road through the village until you begin to climb into the headland. Park up at the car park and then drink in the views from the old military lookout with a small cove at the bottom. This place is a well-kept secret that you’ll be able to enjoy, most probably, completely by yourself.
Whilst the phrase hidden gem is certainly somewhat overused these days, Murcia is home to several genuine gems and with a little research, you can discover some wonderful places that may otherwise slip under your radar!
Guest post by Kerri Ware-Economy Car Hire

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Calasparra Village Street behind the church
Yesterday we had a drive over to Calasparra, Calasparra has the remains of an Arab castle of which there is not much to see but a nice walk along walkways to it original site, there are great views over the countryside from its highest point. The town sits on the confluence of four rivers, the Segura, Quipar, Argos and Benamor which enables them to grow rice here, which incidently we saw in a shop for 7 euros a kilo. there is a pleasant square with bars and cafes, and a popular attraction is the Santuario de la Virgen de la Esperanza-The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Hope, which is worth a visit,The archealogical museum near the church is closed on Mondays but open 10.30 -13.30 other days entry is 1 Euro.

Monday, September 26, 2011

solar pool covers

Now the days are getting shorter and cooler ,we have put our solar pool cover on the swimming pool, basically it is high quality bubble wrap with a coating and seams, but it is doing an amazing job it takes just a minute to pull it over the pool where it floats on the water and the same to wind it back onto the roller, but we are finding it has lifted the water temperature by up to 8 degrees centigrade so we will still be comfortable swimming for a while yet. Last night we even had a swim after midnight.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I cant believe it

“ I cant believe it” I have just watched the man who owns the property across the campo from us throw a double bed and mattress over his wall to get rid of it. Out of sight out of mind. Now we have the prospect of la view of a red and white striped mattress until it rots away.
Actually this man is getting annoying, he does not live at the house, but visits to feed his dogs and pidgeons and water the trees. Two dogs run free, another an alsation is chained continually on a short leash, they wake us up nearly every night with their barking and howling. I think they are meant to be a deterent to someone stealing his pigeons.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bargain ferry

Have just been organising the ferry trip for our journey to the UK, now the Boulogne to Dover ferry has stopped we are going Calais to Dover, I found that there is a discount of 40% on SeaFrance ferries available through a UK company called Astus UK Ltd, basically, you phone them, you tell them your preferred date and time of booking and they book for you and you receive booking confirmation by Email.
The ferry worked out about 20 pounds cheaper than any other fare I could get.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Peugeot for Citreon

As we plan to drive up to the UK later this year we have part exchanged our Citreon Saxo for a Peugeot 306 estate, the citreon was getting a bit tired and was too small as we have items to bring back to Spain. We are very happy with the peugeot as it has lots more room, a bigger engine (2.0 HDI), and yet is as economical as the Saxo.
The company we did the deal with is Rayban Motors in Murcia, they have around 100 cars on offer, do all the paperwork, and offer a year guarantee for some vehicles. They are extremely obliging and speak some English.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Visit to Valencia and Madrid


We recently made a flying visit to Valencia and Madrid, Mary won 2 train tickets and two nights in a hotel in Madrid in a newspaper competition, the tickets were for the High speed train which runs from Valencia so we decided to drive up and explore the city at the same time. We have never been to Valencia before so we thoroughly enjoyed seeing the grand architecture and historic buildings. We parked the car at Victoria Car Parking for 4 days as driving and parking in Valencia is no fun at all, and got the very efficient metro to central Valencia where we stayed for the night before getting the AVE train around Midday. The speed the train goes is amazing, hitting 300 kilometres an hour at times and provides a comfortable and fast journey taking just 1 hour 35 minutes. Our Hotel in Madrid was on the Gran Via which is likened to Broadway and life never seems to stop, loads of people around all the time and the shops never seem to close. In our two days in Madrid, we visited the Royal Palace,the Prado Museum and the botanical gardens among other places. We did find nice Tapas bar with a terrace where with every drink was included a large tapas and found an evening meal was never needed after that. The time soon went and before long we were speeding back to Valencia to drive back to Blanca the following day.