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Miniferia del Vino – April 8th

Every year since moving to Jumilla in 2008 we have been to the “Miniferia de los vinos de Jumilla”, which is held  in the Plaza Rey Don Pedro on the first Saturday of Semana Santa. This year it will take place on Saturday 8 April between 12 and 3, so put it in your diaries now! Entry to the Miniferia costs only 5€ and for this princely sum you will be given a wineglass so that you can taste the best wines from the many D.O Jumilla bodegas. Your only problem will be deciding who can taste all the wines and who will have to restrict their intake as they have been nominated as the driver! John and I are fortunate as we live on the outskirts of Jumilla, so we can both walk there and stagger home afterwards.

If you would like to enjoy the drama and passion of Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Jumilla, these are some of the key dates.

Tamborada de la Burrica – April 8th

Drumming is a very important part of Semana Santa in Jumilla, with three processions. The first one starts at 19.00 at Iglesia de San Juan, going along Calle Cánovas to Plaza de Arriba.

The children’s Tamborada is on Monday 10 April, starting from Plaza de Arriba at 17.30 and finishing on the Paseo Poeta Lorenzo Guardiola. Even the youngest participants seem able to keep to the rhythm of the drums. If you like late nights, the Tamborada de Gloria on Saturday 15 April starts at 23.45 in Plaza de Arriba, marching along Calle Cánovas and then drumming until the early hours of the morning in the car park behind the Mercado de Abastos. We usually miss that one!

Domingo de Ramos – April 9th

Palm Sunday, where the local children carry palm leaves,  is one of my favourite processions. It starts at approximately 12.00 from the Iglesia de San Juan and goes along Calle Pio XII, crossing the main road (which will be closed off), then continuing along Calle Cánovas del Rollo and finishing at the Iglesia de Santiago.

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It’s very difficult to know how long the procession will take, as proud parents hand over babies and small children to have their photo taken with Jesus on his donkey, which obviously delays his journey.

Procesión del Silencio – April 11th

Another procession for those of you who like late nights and also who aren’t afraid of the dark. This procession starts at midnight from the southern door of Iglesia de Santiago and takes place in darkness (apart from bonfires in the street) and silence (apart from the drum beats and the sound of the penitents’ chains) – it’s definitely not one for the faint-hearted.

Visita a los Monumentos “Las Manolos” – April 13th.

This is a popular procession as the participants visit several monuments in Jumilla, accompanied by local bands. Members of four brotherhoods parade along Calle Cánovas, starting at Jardín del Rollo at 17.30 with others joining the procession at different places along the route. I’m always in awe at the way the señoras can walk along the cobbled streets on their staggeringly high heels!

Domingo Resurección – April 16th

The highlight of the week is on Easter Sunday, when the Resurrected Christ appears at 12.00 in Plaza del Rollo. Following this, there is a procession along Calle Cánovas, where sweets are shared out to the eagerly awaiting children in the Caramelada.

If you don’t know Jumilla and plan to come along on any of these days, you can find a street map of Jumilla by clicking on this link. If you would like to enjoy a free guided tour of Jumilla during the Easter holidays, click on the link for Walkers Tours of Jumilla at the top of this page.

Here it is folks!  The eagerly awaited event of the year in Jumilla is due to start next weekend –  and I am way behind schedule in posting the details here.  I blame (in no particular order) the Olympics, my summer cold and the difficulty of obtaining advance information about the festivities.

Don’t miss the Fuente del Vino when you visit Jumilla during the Wine Festival: yes, there really is red wine flowing from the fountain in the Jardín de la Glorieta, though I doubt if it is suitable for drinking.  Even John hasn’t tried it!  If you want to attend the inauguration of the wine fountain, it will be held at 21.30 on Friday 10 August.

For wine lovers the first event of interest is the Miniferia del Vino, which will be held in the Jardín del Rey Don Pedro from 12.00 on Saturday 11 August.  Last year we paid the princely sum of 3€ to purchase a wine glass, then wandered slowly round the stands sampling wines from some of Jumilla’s best bodegas.  Luckily each stand provided nibbles to help line our stomachs!  Fortunately we live in walking or staggering distance of the gardens, but if you are driving I suggest you agree well in advance who is to be the designated driver.

The special children’s procession, the Cabalgata Infantil, is on Tuesday 14 August, starting from the Plaza del Rollo at 20.30. It’s great fun though no wine is involved!

You can sample more wine during the Cabalgata Tradicional, which is our favourite procession and which will take place at 20.30 on Thursday 16 August.  Decorated floats parade along the main streets of Jumilla, with the participants handing out samples of wine, sangria and local snacks while dancing to the accompanying bands.  The tables outside the local bars are packed as everyone enjoys a drink while they wait for the procession to reach them.  This is the procession for those of us who like to drink our wine rather than get soaked in the stuff!

The main event for many people, especially the youngsters, is the Gran Cabalgata del Vino, which starts at 19.00 on Saturday 18 August.  My only advice is to wear your oldest clothes, which traditionally should be white, and have a change of clothing for afterwards!  As mentioned earlier, red wine is poured or thrown over the participants, who party through the night.  You will need to have plenty of stamina if you decide to join in the fun!

Click on the following link if  you want to see the full programme for the Fiesta de la Vendimia.  It includes such quirky events as Gran Prix, Jumilla’s own version of “It’s a Knockout”; the launching of the rocket from the town hall balcony to open the Fiesta; the popular grape-spitting competition, a gachamiga-making contest and many more.

Below is a small selection of photos from previous years’ festivities.

Children's procession

Fuente del Vino 2011

Gran Cabalgata - soaked in wine!

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View of the Mediterranean from the balcony of our hotel room

In Spain there are many advantages to being “mayores”,which can mean either grown-ups or elderly and sounds far better than the English equivalents of “OAP” or “elderly”!  One of the plus points if you are of retirement age and live in Spain is the various deals for cheap holidays. 

John´s bank Cajamurcia was doing a special offer for mayores of 55+, and if you shared a room only one of you had to be over 55. You could stay for 5 nights in a 4-star hotel at La Manga de Mar Menor, with full board and use of most of its facilities, for only 165€ per person plus a discount of 5% for all Cajamurcia customers.  We decided to try it out, and can thoroughly recommend the deal.

Our holiday started on Sunday night when, after checking in, we went down for dinner, our first meal in the hotel.  Dinner wasn´t exactly an unqualified success as we had arrived just before the start of the second sitting, and by the time we helped ourselves to fish, meat and vegetables the food was only lukewarm.  John was starting to mutter about having to go out for dinner if we wanted a decent meal, and I had to agree with him.  The salad that we had helped ourselves to for starters was good and all the desserts were cold anyway, so the rest of the meal was enjoyable, but the main courses left a lot to be desired.  The highlight had to be the bottle of wine that was left on our table, which was from Bodegas San Isidro in Jumilla, the nearest bodega to our home there!

There were no complaints about breakfast, where there was a wide range to choose from: breakfast cereals, yoghourts, fruit, cold meat and cheeses, croissants and pastries, eggs and bacon or sausages, bread for toasting (with olive oil and chopped tomatoes beside the toaster for their Spanish guests), plus juices and hot drinks.  This helped to make up for dinner the previous night, so we decided that we would try out lunch later on, after exploring our surroundings.

View of La Manga strip from Cabo de Palos

We decided to head for Cabo de Palos and have a look at its lighthouse, which we had seen from our balcony.  Cabo de Palos is a Spanish fishing village although being on the coast it is also popular with holiday makers. 

If you take the shortest route, it is just over 3km from Hotel Entremares to the Cabo de Palos Faro, so we decided to take the short route there and the longer route back.  It wasn´t just that we wanted to increase the distance of our walk: by going the long way round we would also see the fishing port!

A pleasant stroll up to the Faro

It was a lovely March day, so we enjoyed our stroll beside the blue Mediterranean and then through the gardens leading up to the lighthouse.  We weren´t the only ones enjoying the views - though unfortunately we couldn´t go inside the lighthouse - and everybody else was busy taking photos too.   

We then headed towards the Puerto, glancing at the many restaurants overlooking the harbour: lovely views and lovely prices to match!  We decided to have a coffee, which cost us 2.60€ for a café solo and café cortado: not exactly extortionate, but more than the 2€ we paid elsewhere at La Manga.  The cheapest menú del día that we saw was 15€, so we agreed that we would try the buffet lunch at our hotel and head for the hot buffet first in the hope that the food would still be hot!

Fisherman mending his nets at Cabo de Palos Puerto

Our strategy proved successful, so after that we made sure that we went for dinner early on and had the hot course before having soup or salad.  The food definitely tasted better by being freshly cooked, so we will remember that in future if we go to a hotel with buffet meals!

Being on the coast we noticed that there were a lot more British bars than inland, where we live.  If you are on a budget you are better going to the Spanish bars, where they may very well speak English anyway.  We paid 2€ for a glass of wine in Paddywacks and 2.50€ for a glass of wine in Nobby´s Cantina, whereas the most we paid in Spanish bars was 1.50€, including free tapas such as olives or nuts.  Not surprisingly, the British bars were full of English speaking customers, though apparently Paddywacks is popular with Spanish people too.

On our second day we took the bus to the end of La Manga.  Although we enjoy walking it was over 18k to the end of the strip, plus it cost 1.05€ no matter how far you went on the local bus so we wanted to get value for money!

In actual fact the bus doesn´t quite go to the end and we discovered why when we reached the bridge a bit further down:

The bridge is just as steep on the other side!