Ups and downs of living in Spain

We share the highs and lows of living in a small town in rural Southern Spain. Do the Spanish celebrate New Year as we Brits do? Why is there a statue in somebody´s front room? All will be revealed here!

I’ve been enjoying the fiestas so much that I nearly forgot to post part two! Jumilla certainly knows how to put on a good party and one that people of all ages can enjoy. The next two days though are definitely aimed at the youngest members of the family.

Wednesday 15 August 11.00 to 14.00

The Feria infantil – Children’s Fair – will be taking place in the playground of IES Arzobispo Lozano and entry is free.  School was never this much fun!

There are a couple of intriguingly titled competitions on the Paseo Poeta Lorenzo Guardiola in the early evening. At 17.30 “La uva caliente” takes place and then at 18.30 “Mosto Pong”. I may go along just to see what they’re all about!

Thursday 16 August

This day has been designated the day of the child, as they are offering a 2 x 1 deal on all fairground rides, however it’s also a good day for adults, with the Cabalgata Tradicional.

Cabalgata Tradicional 20.30

Jumilla is renowned for its Gran Cabalgata with lots of wine throwing (more of that later!) but this is my favourite procession. The parade of decorated floats starts near the tourist office and slowly makes it way along Cánovas del Castillo, eventually finishing near the indoor market. I say slowly, because the participants are busy handing out sangria, wine and snacks to the spectators, as well as sampling some themselves and dancing to the music. It’s a great carnival atmosphere.

One of many decorated floats

23.30

If you feel like partying a bit longer, there is a festival of local groups in the Jardín del Rey Don Pedro. There will be free entry to the garden until it’s full, however if you can find a spare seat in one of the bars outside you can then enjoy a drink while listening to the music.

Friday 17 August 20.00

Another favourite of mine is the parade of horses and carriages, with many of the participants dressed in traditional costume. I’m hoping that some of the riders will show off their horses’ capabilities as they’ve done in previous years.  I enjoy watching horses dance as much as I enjoy watching human flamenco dancers.

23.30

I’m a bit of a fan of Al Golpe, who play flamenco style music that is bound to get the locals up on their feet. They will be playing on the Paseo Poeta Lorenzo Guardiola. If you’re lucky, you might even see me trying out my dance steps there!

Saturday 18 August 19.00

The infamous Gran Cabalgata will leave from Avenida Reyes Católicas, with plenty of wine throwing as well as wine drinking. This is for the young as well as the young in heart. One word of advice for the ladies: don’t wear your best white summer dress unless you want it to change into a pink one! The good news is that there will be showers outside the market when you reach the end of the parade. The other good news is that there will be free music at the Festival Tinto Rock, starting at 23.30. Enjoy!

Wine anyone?

Sunday 19 August 20.00

The last day of the Feria and Fiestas of Jumilla is a reminder that these are held to honour the patron saint of Jumilla, Nuestra Señora la Virgen de la Asunción.  After mass at the Parroquia Mayor de Santiago, the statue of Our Lady will be carried to the Ermita de San Agustín.

Concert 22.00

The final free concert will take place in the Jardín Rey Don Pedro, with the singer Maribel Castillo performing coplas and spanish songs. That isn’t the last act though, as at 00.30 there will be a firework display at the municipal sports stadium.

!Feliz Fiestas!

Click on the following link to see the street map of Jumilla if you are unfamiliar with the town and would like to join in our fiestas. If you would like a free guided walk around Jumilla, either during the fiestas or at a later date, please contact me via the Contact page.

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There’s always something happening in Jumilla, but during the month of August it seems to be one long party, with music, folk dancing, Moors and Christians, various sporting competitions and – not surprisingly – lots of wine!

The celebrations have already begun, with the Noche de las Antorchas and the Offering of Flowers to La Virgen de la Asunción (the Patron saint of Jumilla) both taking place last weekend. Don’t worry though as there are plenty more events for you to enjoy in Jumilla between 10 and 19 August.

Offering of Flowers

There is so much happening that I’m just going to highlight the key events, which also happen to be my favourites, and I will write two separate posts.

Friday 10 August 20.30

The inauguration ceremony of the Feria & Fiestas 2018 will start at the Town Hall. Then there will be a procession to the Folklore Monument, to the Jardín Rey Don Pedro for the inauguration of the Fuente del Vino (the photo below shows the fountain from a previous year) finishing at the Moors and Christians campsite on the Paseo Poeta Lorenzo Guardiola.

Enjoying Jumilla wine!

22.30 Jardín de La Glorieta

There will be free entry to the IX Festival Juvenil de Bandas de Música, with our two excellent local bands taking part.

Saturday 11 August 12.00

The miniferia del vino will already be in most people’s diaries, including mine! It takes place in the Jardín del Rey Don Pedro. It is an opportunity to taste some of Jumilla’s best wines, as the main bodegas will have stands in the garden. I will update this page when I have more details, however usually you pay 5€ for a wine glass that you can take home and then you can wander around the stands sampling the wines. It is advisable to either book a hotel in town that evening or arrange for your personal chauffeur or a taxi to take you home, unless you live in town like me and can just stagger home afterwards!

19.00 – 01.00 (Saturday and Sunday)

I always enjoy the Artisans Market on the Paseo Poeta Lorenzo Guardiola, as it is a chance to buy something original and also to support local artisans.

22.00

The inaugural session of the 35 National Folklore Festival will take place in the Jardín de la Glorieta and will be free.

Sunday 12 August 21.30

The main parade of the Moors and Christians will start at the Arco de San Roque, going along Cánovas del Castillo to la Plaza del Rollo (beside the tourist office). This colourful spectacle is one of my favourite events.

23.30

Folk evening in the Jardín de la Glorieta, with the group Luar na Lubre. This is another free concert and one that I definitely won’t miss, having discovered that this Galician group not only has someone playing the bagpipes but also has a soloist with a beautiful voice.

Monday 13 August 20.00

The Cabalgata Infantil de la Vendimia is always fun to watch, as the children enjoy themselves so much, the floats are impressive (as shown below) and the costumes are colourful and imaginative. It starts near my house and continues along Canovas del Castillo, turning down Avenida de la Asunción and then onto Avenida Levante, finishing at the indoor market.

22.00

The closing act of the Folklore Festival will be another free session, taking place in the Jardín de la Glorieta.

Tuesday 14 August 20.00

The Procession of the Peñas (local associations) taking part in the Ofrenda de Uvas (Offering of the Grapes) starts on the Paseo Poeta Lorenzo Guardiola and winds around the town, finishing in the Jardín de la Glorieta. Participants are dressed in traditional costumes, carrying their baskets of grapes, and accompanied by music. The evening ends with the treading of the grapes and offering the first must (freshly crushed grape juice) to the “Niño de las Uvas”. If you haven’t seen it before it’s a definite “must”!

Click on the following link to see the street map of Jumilla if you are unfamiliar with the town and would like to join in our fiestas.


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If you’ve got children or grandchildren Monday 12 August is the day to take them to Jumilla, as there is a 2 x 1 offer on fairground rides (it saves you some money too!)  Not only that, but the Cabalgata Infantil del Vino will have lots of entertaining floats for them to watch, starting at 20.30.  As it’s holiday time, you might let them stay to watch the drama between the Moors and Christians being re-enacted on the Paseo at 22.45.  Don’t let them get too close to the sword-play though as they use real swords (we’ve seen the sparks flying!)

If you enjoy witnessing Spanish traditions then Tuesday will be a good day to visit, as there is a procession of all the peñas (local associations) dressed in their traditional costumes and carrying baskets of grapes. They will start parading around town at 20.00, leaving from the Paseo and finishing in the Patio of I.E.S. Arzobispo Lozano. At 21.00 they will offer their grapes to the Niño de las Uvas followed by the grape treading ceremony.


If you are only able to visit Jumilla on one day, and if you enjoy drinking wine, Wednesday 14 August is one of the best days to visit. At 20.30 the Cabalgata Tradicional del Vino will leave the Plaza de Rollo and the colourful floats will slowly wend their way through the streets. I say slowly, because the participants are busy handing out sangria, wine and snacks to all the people eagerly lining the streets.

Thursday is the saint’s day for Jumilla’s patron, Nuestra Señora La Virgen de la Asunción. There will be a special mass for Our Lady at 12.00 in the parish church of Santiago, with the local choir Coral Canticorum, plus a solemn procession in her honour leaving the north door of the church at 20.00.


If like me you enjoy watching horses and carriages, don’t miss the procession at 20.00 on Friday. This will be followed by a free fiesta flamenca on the Paseo at 22.30.

Saturday is the day for the young and young at heart (particularly those with a lot of stamina!). The infamous Gran Cabalgata del Vino attracts thousands of visitors to Jumilla, all aiming to get soaked in red wine. Many people wear white – all the better to show off the wine stains – and they revel in dancing through the streets while wine is poured over them.  Personally I prefer to drink my red wine, but no doubt that is showing my age!

Sunday 18 August will be the last day of this year’s Feria. Mass will be held in Santiago church at 20.00 after which the statue of Our Lady will be carried to the Ermita de San Agustín. This year’s festivities will be finished off in style with a firework display over Jumilla Castle at 24.00. I suspect that after several late nights I will be watching it from our bedroom window!

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If there is a perfect time to visit Jumilla, it has to be during the Feria and Fiestas of August.  There is something to suit everyone: whether you like drinking good wine;  prefer listening to traditional music; love watching colourful processions or, like us,  enjoy all of these activities.  I have included the programme up to and including the first weekend of the festivies.


As you can see Friday is going to be a busy day with the official launch of the fiestas, including firing a rocket from the Town Hall balcony and the inauguration of the fountain of wine. If you don’t mind late nights, there is free entry to the Folklore Festival, which starts at midnight.


Wine lovers should put Saturday 10 August in their diaries now! The popular miniferia del vino will take place between 12.00 and 15.00 in the Jardín del Rey Don Pedro.  Last year all we paid was 3€ for a wine glass, then we strolled around the many wine stands tasting the best wines from Jumilla. What’s not to like? Also on Saturday, there will be a parade around town of all the groups taking part in the Folklore Festival, starting at 21.00, followed by a performance in the Patio I.E.S. Arzibispo Lozano at the more civilised time of 22.00.

Culture buffs shouldn’t miss the Moors and Christians procession starting at 21.00 on Sunday 11 August. Grab a table on Calle Cánovas de Castillo (there will be a charge) so you can enjoy a drink while watching, or bring your own chair and fight for a space along the processional route. Music, dancing, drama: the Gran Desfile de Moros y Cristianos has it all.

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Semana Santa (Holy Week) is celebrated throughout Spain, but is especially significant for the people of Jumilla, as their Semana Santa is the oldest one in the region of Murcia and considered to be of National Touristic Interest. Semana Santa lasts for more than a week.  I don’t know whether this is generally the case in Spain or a Jumillano trait, but most events referred to as occurring over a “week” are 10 days or more!.  It is one of the highlights of the year for Jumillanos, who are justly proud of their tradition.

The first Semana Santa celebrations in Jumilla were held in 1411, inspired by the preaching of St Vincent Ferrer in the old church of Santa Maria de Gracia, which was situated in the original town of Jumilla, beside the Castle.  A new church Santa María de Rabal was subsequently built on the remains of an Islam necropolis, between the years 1430 and 1500, when the population living in the shelter of the castle moved down to the plain.  The founding of this church is said to have been inspired by the visit of St. Vincent too. All that remains today however are the main entrance and the church tower.

The first cofradía, or brotherhood, was the cofradía of Vera Cruz y Santo Sepulcro, which originated in 1609. There are now a total of 19 cofradías in Jumilla, with more than 4,500 members, who organise the numerous Semana Santa processions.

Semana Santa starts on Viernes de Dolores (the Friday before Palm Sunday) and finishes on Easter Sunday and on most days there is at least one procession to watch.

Both old and young Jumillanos take part, dressed in traditional costume, either helping to carry one of the countless religious statues, playing in one of the many bands or handing out sweets to the eagerly watching children.

The main “Caramelada” is on Domingo de Resurrección, where Spanish children scramble for the sweets that are thrown on the street, rather than over indulging themselves with chocolate Easter eggs.  However in recent years we have spotted Easter eggs on sale in our local Aldi, so we suspect that some children will have the best of both worlds. If you head to Plaza del Rollo for 12 noon on Easter Sunday you will witness the meeting of Jesus and the Virgin Mary there, before the parade down Calle Canovas in front of the eagerly awaiting children clutching their plastic bags.

There will be three “tamboradas” this year for those of you who enjoy listening to drums. The main drumming sessions will be on Saturday 23 and Saturday 30 March, with the drummers marching from Plaza de Arriba to the parking area behind the indoor market.  Friends of ours who live near there usually ask to visit us for the night rather than try to sleep with drums being banged enthusiastically outside their apartment until the early hours of the morning!

The children’s tamborada will take place on Monday 25 March at 17.00 and the children will march from Plaza de Arriba to the Paseo Lorenzo Guardiola.  Needless to say the children don’t drum through the night, though many children can be seen still beating their drums as they walk back home!

Wine always features in Jumilla´s Semana Santa, as well as during other fiestas. This year the popular Miniferia del Vino will be held between 12 and 3 on Saturday 23 March in the Jardin del Rey Don Pedro.  For a nominal sum you can purchase a wine glass and then wander around the stands sampling some of Jumilla’s best wines, with nibbles of cheese, ham, bread etc to accompany your wine.

Other highlights during Semana Santa include the following:

Palm Sunday. This is the occasion where Jesus rides through the streets of Jumilla on a donkey, only stopping when proud parents pass their babies to him for photos: inevitably this means that this is the slowest procession!  The procession leaves St John the Baptist Church at 12 noon approximately.

The Procession of Silence.  This is held late at night and all the lights in the old town are switched off, with only a few bonfires to light the way for the penitents, some of whom have bare feet as they drag chains behind them. The procession will leave Santiago Church at midnight on Tuesday 26 March.

“El Prendimiento” This dramatic re-enactment of the taking of Jesus includes scenes of the devil tempting Christ and the angels singing encouragement to him.  Although the angels were sweet, the devil had the best lines and was loudly applauded!  The drama takes place in Plaza Arriba at 17.30 on Wednesday 27 March.

The visit to the Monuments, popularly known as Las Manolas.  The señoras parade in their finery, wearing traditional mantillas and staggeringly high heels, accompanied by the señors from the cofradías dressed in their robes or their smartest suits. They will be parading down Calle Canovas, near the tourist office, from 17.30 on Thursday 28 March.

I will be updating this post next Thursday with further details of days, times and other events, so please return then!

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Sometimes you just can’t translate something into English!  The title of this post rhymes in Spanish but is far more prosaic in English: “Wine and Cheese Tastes like a Kiss” doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?

This is the fourth year of Jumilla’s popular wine and tapas promotion, which will run from 1 February until 3 March.  It is organised by the award-winning local cheese company, Central Quesera Montesinos, in conjuction with Bodegas Carchelo.  Not surprisingly the tapas must be cheese-based however, judging on previous years’ experiences, they will all be innovative and include much more that just a slice of cheese, as the local chefs compete to produce the best tapa.

You can enjoy a glass of Carchelo wine with your tapa for a reasonable 2.50€, and don’t forget to ask for your free scratch card with each tapa as there will be more than 10,000 prizes to be won.  Last year we ended up with a fridge full of cheeses and had to invite our friends round for a cheese and wine evening to get rid of them!

If you plan to visit a minimum of twelve establishments, split between the pink and blue zones, make sure that you pick up a leaflet and get it stamped in each bar or restaurant that you visit. There will be a prize draw at the end of the promotion with various prizes to be won including spa holidays, cash, cheeses and wines.  If you succeed in visiting all twenty-two bars and restaurants, your stamina will be rewarded with a guaranteed prize from the organisers.  I’ll have my fingers firmly crossed, as I fancy a spa break!

If you would like to combine the tapas trail with a free guided walk around Jumilla, please contact me using the form on the contact page.  You may also want to fit in a tour of one of Jumilla’s local bodegas, several of which will be open at weekends during February.

Click on this link for more details: Bodegas open at weekends.

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Yes it’s that time of the year again – when all the bodegas in Jumilla are alive with the sound of music!  When we first moved to Jumilla we thought that the idea of listening to a concert in a bodega was really cool.  Four years later and we haven’t changed our minds.

Starting on Saturday May 12 in Bodegas San Isidro, there will be a concert in Jumilla every weekend until 28 July.  On the programme there is music to suit all tastes: a string quartet, a choir, pop rock, jazz, our favourite flamenco group Al Golpe and many more.

Most events will be held on a Saturday evening or a Sunday lunchtime and will start with a tour of the bodega followed by the concert and, to round thing off in style, there will be a chance to sample some excellent wines accompanied by local dishes.

The exception to this will be on Friday 3 June, where our favourite Vinotería Los Chilines will be hosting the concert.  Chilin (aka José María) always organises great events, so we have already reserved our tickets and are looking forward to music from Cantos Jazz Fusión and the usual mouthwatering food, washed down with some of the best Jumilla wines.

Because of the crisis the amount of sponsorship has gone down in recent years, which means the price of tickets has had to be increased.  Having said that I still think that the ticket price of 20€ is a bargain, considering that you get to listen to great music,  taste lots of Jumilla wines and sample delicious local food.  I wonder how far £20 would go on a night out in London nowadays?!

These events are always very popular, so I would advise you to reserve your tickets either by phone or by email before they sell out.

The programme is copied below, but if you want more details or have any queries you can contact me via the Contact page on this website.

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Jumilla is renowned for its wine – tipped by the American wine guru Robert Parker to be one of the stars of the wine world by 2015, outselling both Rioja and Ribera del Duero – so stock up now!

However Jumilla is also becoming well-known locally for its gastronomy, which is why, during last year’s Semana Gastronómica, so many people travelled from places like Murcia, Orihuela and Alicante to enjoy a gastronomic feast in Jumilla’s restaurants.

This year the 6th  Semana Gastronómica takes place from Saturday 5th November until Sunday 13th November, giving you plenty of opportunities to visit Jumilla for a special meal in one of the nine participating restaurants for an inflation-proofed 30€ (the same as last year), which you will be pleased to hear includes your drinks.  You can also enter the prize draw to win a weekend for two in the Balneario Vichy Catalan near Girona: I have my fingers firmly crossed!

Many of the restaurants will be featuring local specialities, which tend to be meat-based, so you might want to check out the menus before making your reservation if you are a pescatarian like me.  Click on the link below to see the leaflet, which includes all the menus at the individual restaurants, as well as a list of establishments on the tapas route.

FOLLETO S. GASTRONOMICA

We plan to go to Restaurante Monasterio as six of their seven starters include fish or vegetables, and the good news is that you share the seven starters between you.  I just hope that I have enough room for my main course and dessert!

If your budget doesn’t stretch to a meal out, why not come along and take part in the Ruta de las Tapas?  You can try a tapa and a glass of Jumilla wine for just 2€, and there are eleven different bars and restaurants to visit, though preferably not on the same day – especially if you are the driver!  If you go to four different venues, make sure that you get your leaflet stamped at each one so that you can participate in a prize draw to win a meal in one of Jumilla’s  fine restaurants.  We are hoping to visit at least eight of them – obviously on different days – which will give us two entries.

Other activities that will be happening during the Gastronomic Week are as follows:

For early risers who drive a 4×4, there is a guided route around the area on Sunday 6th November, leaving Bodegas BSI at 8 a.m. and finishing in Bodegas Viña Elena.  Not having a 4×4, I won’t be there – at least, that’s my excuse! For more information, please contact:  693758933 (movil).

The tourist office is offering guided walks around Jumilla on Sunday 6th and Sunday 13th November.  Contact them for further details at: oficinaturismo@jumilla.org.  Please note that the guided walk will be in Spanish, though there are information boards in both Spanish and English outside the main sites.  However, if you would like a personalised tour in English, you can contact John and me via the Walkers Tours of Jumilla page on this website.

Sunday 13th is the European Day of Wine Tourism, and where better to celebrate it than Jumilla?  All of the bodegas on the Ruta del Vino will be open. Click on the links for each bodega on the Ruta del Vino website to get more information.

Finally, also on Sunday 13th November, there will be an artisans’ market in Plaza de Arriba, which sadly we will have to miss as we are running the Race for Life (Carrera de la Vida) in Los Alcazares on the same day.  If you don’t know Jumilla, there is a street plan on the Jumilla official website to help you find your way to the Plaza, as well as all the bars and restaurants.  However don’t worry if you do get lost – there will be plenty to see and do in Jumilla during the Semana Gastronómica and you are guaranteed a warm welcome in any bar or restaurant that you stumble upon.

Restaurante San Agustín, where you can enjoy a gastronomic meal as well as tapas y vino!

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Vineyards at Bodegas Martínez Verdu

The Vendimia is in full swing in Jumilla – we can tell as soon as we leave the house and sniff the air!  There is no mistaking the heady aroma of fermenting grapes, which will no doubt end up in a bottle of wine in a supermarket near you.  We are lucky, as we can walk down the road to buy our wine from the local bodegas, which saves us a bit of money as well as being very convenient.

In some parts of Spain they are celebrating the Fiesta de la Vendimia right now, however we think Jumilla has made a wise decision in celebrating its Fiesta in August before the hard work begins, especially as the beginning of the harvest is a moveable date, rather like the Fall in New England.

Jumillanos always enjoy a good party,  so I am sure they will find another excuse to celebrate once the Vendimia is over for another year.  After all, where else do you find people celebrating their saint’s day as well as their actual birthday?

The Vendimia in Jumilla started a couple of weeks earlier than it did in 2010.  We soon spotted the tractors and trailers heading down the road beside our house, and we also read about it on Facebook.  I am a Facebook friend of many of Jumilla’s best bodegas, including Viña Campanero, Hacienda del Carche, Silvano Garcia, Martínez Verdu and BSI: it helps to keep in touch!

Which way to the bodega?

This year we have noticed lots of lorries carrying grapes, as well as tractors and trailers of varying sizes.  We have also spotted several cars pulling smaller trailers full of grapes.

We were worried when we had some heavy rain recently, but fortunately it did not damage the crops as we had feared and it actually helped in the process of maturing the grapes.

You can tell that I am no wine expert when it comes to the technical details, in spite of having had several tours around local bodegas – but I do know a good wine when I taste it!  We are lucky to be living in Jumilla, with so many excellent bodegas around us.  The American wine guru Robert Parker consistently rates Jumilla’s wines highly, with many wines achieving over 90 points, and in particular for their excellent price to quality ratio.

Initial reports for 2011 sound very promising.  The volume of grapes is down 20% but we have heard from several sources that the quality of the grapes is good and expectations are high that this will be another very good vintage.

We will report back once we have tried this year’s wines, although sadly the Tinto Joven 2011 won’t be available until 2012, so we will have to make do with the rosados and blancos until then. On the whole we didn’t find last year’s wines as good as those from 2009, however – from what we’ve heard on the grapevine – 2011 should be a winner.  ¡Salud!

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Official launch of La Fiesta de la Vendimia, with the Niño de las Uvas

 August is an exhausting month for those of us who live in Jumilla, even if we are only spectating.  We met a couple of people last week who live near Pinoso, who said they were “all fiesta-ed out” after their own fiestas, and we knew exactly what they meant.

The programme for the Feria y Fiestas de Agosto shows 10 days of celebrations: at the time of starting this post we were only into day 7 and I was already flagging a bit and seriously considering having a siesta, which may have been the only sane way to survive all the partying.

Although there are activities throughout the day, most of the main events are held at an hour when many of our compatriots would be considering retiring for the night. Not only that, but you usually have to add at least thirty minutes to the official start time.  The Noche de las Antorchas was held in the castle, and with such an atmospheric setting we weren’t worried about the lateness of the hour.

The night of the torches in Jumilla castle

 We were fortunate to get tickets for the Gran Fiesta de la Exaltacíón del Vino held in the gardens of Salones Pio XII, which kicked off the proceedings for the 40th Fiesta de la Vendimia.  Our first year in Jumilla we had joined the queue outside the Ayuntamiento to buy tickets, but they had sold out before we reached the head of the queue.  The following year we queued outside the Roque Baños centre for several hours and this time we succeeded in getting tickets, presumably because they had limited everyone to a maximum of two tickets.  This year we used our contacts and reserved our two tickets in advance: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know……!!

Apparently there were over 1,000 people at the Gran Exultación, and we soon realised that it was the place to go to and to be seen at.  In our slightly biased view it wasn’t as enjoyable an evening as La Gran Cata, however with all our favourite bodegas being present, allowing us to wander around with wine glass in hand and ask for a taste of their best wines, plus plates of food constantly appearing, it was still a pretty damned good night out.  Being a child at heart, I absolutely loved the firework display at the end!

Entrance of the Christians

The first procession of the August Feria was the Entrada Cristiana on Saturday night, where we saw the first Christians approaching us at about 20.45.  As they were due to start at 20.00, we calculated that they probably left the Plaza del Rollo at 20.30, with the customary half hour delay.  Not that we worried as we were sitting with friends at a table outside Bar California, which was a prime viewing spot, enjoying some Jumilla wine. 

I have to say that I was impressed by the Gran Entrada Mora (the Moors) on Sunday night.  We went to watch the start at a spot conveniently close to Nuestro Bar, where we saw a group of splendidly dressed Moros enjoying tapas and drinks outside, while two of the bands had congregated inside the bar, with only ten minutes to go before the scheduled start time.  We decided to have some of the aptly named delicias de bacalao and a cold drink, as it didn’t looks as if the participants were about to go anywhere soon.  Much to our amazement, the Gran Entrada Mora set off barely ten minutes late. 

Although there are separate processions for the Moors and Christians, it’s all very civilised (apart from the fighting, that is) so lots of Moros appeared in the Cristianos procession and vice versa.  I do think that it is a bit unfair that the Moors have the most sumptous costumes, though the Christians looked impressive too.

Entrance of the Moors

If one fiesta wasn’t enough, we also enjoyed the National Folklore Festival last weekend.  The inaugural event was on Saturday night after the Entrada Cristiana, starting at 22.00.  The Jardín de la Glorieta was packed as we witnessed Los Armaos marching onto the stage for the traditional “el Caracol” before we watched several folk groups playing music, singing and dancing.

Impressive though it was, I think we preferred the more intimate atmosphere on Monday in the barrio of San Antón.  After performing several lively dances, the Grupo de Folklore Caramancho de Badajoz responded to the cries of “Otras” by persuading several onlookers to join in.  Luckily John and I were hiding in the shadows!

The neighbours joined in the dancing

If we had had the stamina there were dozens of events that we could have enjoyed, however we decided to limit ourselves as we were due to go away the following weekend – and we needed to conserve our energy for that.  We still managed to enjoy several folk dancing events, the Artisans´Market, the Solemn Procession in honour of la Patrona, Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, the Children’s Cabalgata and the finale of the Moros y Cristianos Fiesta.  The dramatic re-enactment of the Ambassadors and Parliament took place on the Paseo.  This event involved lots of fighting and bodies falling to the ground, the clashing of heavy swords with sparks flying and a large horse charging towards the Moros.  Spendid stuff!

Waiting to charge at the Moors

Of course most people associate August in Jumilla with the Fiesta de la Vendimia, and so we had two groups of British visitors on Thursday who wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  We showed them around Jumilla in the morning, stopping only to enjoy the Feria de Día (a glass of wine and special tapa for 2€) in a couple of good bars.  We had also booked a visit to Bodegas Silvano Garcia to keep them occupied in the afternoon. 

 The visitors had opted for the Cabalgata Tradicional (the one that doesn’t involve getting drenched in red wine) so we all met up again at 20.30, having booked a couple of tables across the road from Nuestro Bar.  Everybody ordered drinks and tapas, though once the procession reached us we were being handed tiny plastic glasses of wine and sangria, plus tastings of food, so we weren’t in any danger of becoming thirsty or hungry.

Cabalgata Tradicional - wine anyone?

I nearly forgot to mention the Miniferia del Vino that took place on the first Saturday of the fiestas.  3€ for a wine glass that you can take home, then a stroll through the gardens, where we tasted wine at the many stands representing some of Jumilla’s best bodegas and snacked on cheese, ham, nuts etc.  Not surprisingly we were there - as we have been for the last three years - tasting our favourite wines. 

An honourable mention too for the Ofrenda de Uvas to the Niño de las Uvas, which is one of the most popular processions.  We sat outside the ice-cream parlour enjoying home-made ice-cream (as you do) while watching men, women and children dressed in traditional costumes carrying their baskets of grapes into the Jardín.

Offering of the grapes and first must

 An amazing ten days of celebrations in Jumilla – now we have to catch up the many hours of sleep that we missed!

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