Walkers Tours

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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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If you fancy visiting a Bodega in or near Jumilla you are spoilt for choice, however if you are specifically looking for a tour in English that will limit your choice a bit, as Jumilla is inland and therefore many local people only speak Spanish.  This guide is intended therefore to point non-Spanish-speaking people in the right direction.

The bodegas situated within walking distance of the city centre are all very different, so this is also a resumé to help you decide which bodega is right for you.  You may of course want to visit several bodegas, however you will need a lot of stamina if you intend visiting them all on the same day!

1.  Bodegas Viña Campanero

This is the smallest  bodega in Jumilla and if you speak a bit of Spanish it is definitely not to be missed.  Pedro and his father are very welcoming: they enjoy showing people around and are very proud of their newest acquisition, a small bottling unit, which was only installed last year.    There are great views of Sierra Santa Ana from the salón, a tiny wine museum, and they also have a reasonably priced shop on their premises.  The bodega is behind BSI, so it would be good to combine a visit here with one at BSI.
 
http://www.vinacampanero.net/visitas.asp

Museum in Bodega Viña Campanero

 2.   Bodegas San Isidro (BSI)

The largest bodega in Jumilla is BSI, which is a co-operative.  Tours in English are available, but please make sure you book in advance.  They have some experimental vines on their site, however in the vendimia we see tractors queuing up with loads of grapes to deposit there, many of them from small vineyards, as well as trailers full of olives later in the year.  They also have their own wine museum and a shop on their premises.
 
http://www.bsi.es/
 
3.   Bodegas Silvano Garcia

They have two members of staff who speak good English, and they do several different tours, including a visit to their aroma room.  The visit to the aroma room costs a bit more but all our visitors have said it is worth doing, as it is not only educational but also fun. 

If you don’t normally like sweet wine (I didn’t), I recommend forgetting your prejudices and trying their award-winning dulce wines.  I am now a convert and particularly enjoy their Monastrell dulce, which is perfect with dessert at the end of a good meal.

http://www.silvanogarcia.es/es-bodegas-silvano-garcia-visitas-a-bodega.html.
 
4.  Bodegas Pedro Luis Martínez

More commonly known as Bodegas Alceño, we think that this bodega is so good because the chief winemaker is very particular about things such as the correct temperature, which is reflected in the quality of their wines.  It is the oldest bodega in Jumilla, being founded in 1870.  Some English is spoken, but remember to book in advance if you want a tour in English.  Don’t forget to buy some wine before you go!
 
http://www.alceno.com/ 

5Bodegas Bleda

We were lucky enough to be guinea pigs for their first tour of the bodega in English several months ago.  Antonio Bleda  had only been learning English for two months at the time, and we were very impressed by how good he was: by now he probably speaks perfect English!

It is worth visiting this bodega for its location alone: situated about 2 kilometres outside Jumilla on the road to Ontur, and surrounded by vineyards.  Not only that, but they have many award-winning wines, though my personal recommendation is their Castillo de Jumilla Blanco, which everybody who has tasted it rates highly – even the committed red wine drinkers! It is also very reasonably priced, so you can afford to buy several bottles to take home.

vinos@bodegasbleda.com

6.  Bodegas Carchelo

Slightly off the beaten track, but recommended for a visit because of its location in the Valley of El Carche and because at least one member of staff (Poñi) speaks good English.  My daughter Kate was impressed by their branding, and said that she would immediately spot their wines in any wine-shop because of the distinctive black and white hoops around the neck of the bottle.

export@carchelo.com

7.  Bodegas Viña Elena

Another family business, which was originally called Bodegas Pacheco after the grandfather of the current generation.  It is now named Bodegas Viña Elena after Paco’s youngest daughter Elena, who is being groomed to take over from him.  You can see the original bodega as well as the smart new installations, and don’t miss the lovely garden at the back.  The bodega is at km 52 on the N344, the main road between Jumilla and Murcia.  Tours are available in English by contacting them in advance.

visitas@vinaelena.com

The local bodegas charge from 5€ per person for a tour, including wine tasting and nibbles, though you can negotiate a reduction for a large group.  As mentioned above, it is advisable to book in advance, especially if you want a tour in English.  All of them sell wine on the premises, so even if you haven’t booked a tour of the bodega you can pop in to buy a few bottles of your favourite wine.

Other bodegas well worth a visit are Bodegas Luzón, Bodegas JM Martínez Verdú, Hacienda del Carche, Casa de la Ermita and Bodegas Finca Omblancas.  They are all out of town, which means you can see the vineyards as well as visiting the bodegas.  More details can be found on the Ruta del Vino website - you need to scroll down their page to find links to all the bodegas.

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Semana Santa Jumilla 1411 – 2011

 

Semana Santa statue

The Dominican missionary St. Vincent Ferrer was born in Valencia in 1350 and preached in many different parts of Spain.  In 1411 he visited Jumilla where, after being inspired by his sermons, the town celebrated their first Semana Santa. 

600 years after St. Vincent Ferrer’s visit, Jumilla is preparing for some extraordinary celebrations to commemorate the 600th anniversary of Semana Santa and is hoping that many visitors will join them to share in the passion, colour, music and pageantry of this momentous occasion.

Children’s Semana Santa

Children's Tamborada

The following events are specifically organised for the children, although many children will also take part in the main processions, plus some parents will be seen carrying babies dressed in traditional costumes.

Thursday 14 April

17.00. 3rd Tamborada Infantil at Plaza de Arriba.  Children under the age of 12 will take part in this procession, playing their drums with much enthusiasm – and skill too!  The event is being organised in collaboration with Caritas, who will be accepting donations of non perishable foods and household products. The procession will start in Plaza de Arriba and end outside Teatro Vico.

Sunday 24 April

12.00 Easter Sunday and the traditional meeting between Jesús Resucitado and the Virgen Gloriosa in Plaza del Rollo.  Lots of excited children will be waiting along Calle Cánovas, because after the procession comes the traditional Caramelada, where the children will be scrambling to grab handfuls of sweets.

Children scrambling for sweets

 

Main Semana Santa processions

Friday 15 April

Semana Santa will officially begin on Viernes de Dolores, the Friday before Palm Sunday, with a procession at 21.30 from the Iglesia de Santiago. 

Sunday 17 April

12.00  Procession of the Palms  In this procession, a group representing Jesus riding on a donkey with the Apostles around him will be accompanied by children dressed as Hebrews.  The procession leaves from Iglesia de San Juan and continues to the parish church of Santiago via Plaza del Rollo and Calle Cánovas, with Jesús declaiming his prophesy about the destruction of Jerusalem.

Palm Sunday procession

21.00  In previous years the statue of “Christ tied to the column”, made by the renowned Murcian sculptor Francisco Salzillo, was brought down from the Monastery of Santa Ana in solitary splendour.  This year, as part of the 600th Anniversary, the Franciscans have agreed for the statue of “Abuela Santa Ana” to be brought down to Jumilla at the same time.  The procession through the streets of Jumilla will be from the Ermita de San Agustín to the Iglesia Mayor de Santiago, and I imagine the streets will be lined with both young and old for this historic event.

Cristo Amarrado a la Columna by Francisco Salzillo

Tuesday 19 April

23.30 Celebración Penitencial  This is held in Iglesia de Santiago, followed by the Procession of Silence where the penitents, all dressed in black, and many of them with bare feet and dragging chains behind them, walk through the dark streets of the old town.  All the street lights are switched off during the procession, and the only light comes from bonfires lit in the streets.

Procesión del Silencio

Wednesday 20 April 

17.30 Re-enactment of the Capture of Christ, in Plaza de Arriba, with 18 actors taking part.  “Los Armaos”, the Roman soldiers, will also be participating in this act.

21.30 Procession of “Jesús Prendido”, plus other statues representing Peter’s denial, Judas’ Kiss, St John the Apostle – ten in total – from Iglesia de El Salvador.

Thursday 21 April

17.30  Visit to the monuments  This is one of my favourite processions, where the lovely señoras in their mantillas and lace dresses parade with proud señors (also dressed in their finery) as they visit the monuments in Jumilla, accompanied by local bands.

Señoras wearing their best mantillas

 

21.30 Procession of the Virgen de la Amargura  The procession leaves the Iglesia de Santa María, going through the streets of the old town, and finishes in Iglesía del Salvador.

Friday 22 April

09.30 Procession “Antigua” This is the first of two extraordinary processions to commemorate the 600th Anniversary.  Starting at the Iglesía de Santa María, ten of the oldest Semana Santa statues (pre 20th century) will be carried through Jumilla’s old town.

11.00 Procession of the Calvary  One of the largest processions takes place on Good Friday.  Sixteen statues are carried from the Iglesía del Salvador around the steep and winding streets of Jumilla, then along Calle Cánovas and up to Calle Canalejas before returning to the church.

Saturday 23 April

19.00 “Magno Entierro”  The second extraordinary procession for the 600th Semana Santa. If you only watch one procession this year, this is the one to watch, with 35 statues being carried through the streets of Jumilla.  The procession leaves from Iglesia de Santa María and finishes at the Jardín del Rollo, next to the tourist office.

Sunday 24 April

Easter Sunday procession

12.00 Procession of “Jesús Resucitado”.  As mentioned above, this is the final event where the “Risen Jesus” meets the “Glorious Virgin” in the Plaza del Rollo.  After this the procession departs from the Plaza and goes along Calle Cánovas, with sweets being thrown to the eager children, clutching the plastic bags that they hope to fill to the brim with sweets.

Semana Santa Mini-feria del Vino

Many people will know about Jumilla from drinking the wine produced by the many bodegas in and around the town.  There will be the perfect opportunity to sample some of the best Jumilla wines on Saturday 16th April, when the Mini-feria del Vino is being held in Jardín del Rey Don Pedro between 12.00 and 15.00.  Entry will cost 3€, which is a bargain when you consider around 20 bodegas will be offering you the chance to try their wines.  Hope to see you there!

Mini-feria del Vino

 

Vino y Cuaresma

If you are visiting Jumilla on Friday 15 April, why not visit one of the ten bars and restaurants offering a tapa and glass of Carchelo wine for 2€?  On Saturday 16 April, the same establishments will be offering dinner for 15 to 30 euros, which includes a bottle of Carchelo wine between 2 people.  Finally, Sunday lunch on 17 April will cost you from 22 to 30 euros, including a 500ml bottle of Vino Canalizo per person.

Look for the distinctive posters outside participating restaurants!

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Fiesta de la Vendimia, Jumilla.

During August Jumilla has not just one but four fiestas to look forward to.  There is the renowned Fiesta de la Vendimia, the 29th National Folklore Festival, the XXIV Fiesta de Moros y Cristianos and the Fiesta of the Virgen de la Asunción, the patroness of Jumilla. Yes, it’s party time in Jumilla – and the wine is flowing!

On Saturday night, the opening event of the Fiestas de Moros y Cristianos was held at the newly opened “Roque Baños” Cultural Centre.  We sat outside, enjoying a couple of bottles of good Jumilla wine and some tasty tapas with our friends, while watching the proceedings.  Afterwards we listened to a concert by AJAM (Asociación Jumillana Amigos de la Música), playing several Moors and Christians marches as well as a couple of pasodobles.

The next event in the Fiesta de Moros y Cristianos will be on Saturday 7th August: La Noche de las Antorchas.  This is the first time we have been in Jumilla to watch the torchlight procession up to the Castle, so we are looking forward to it.  We are also hoping to get invitations to the concert in the castle after the procession: Musici Mundi by Jésus Parra.

On Sunday 8th August, Jumilla celebrates the Offering of Flowers to the Virgen de la Asunción.  At 20.00 the procession will leave the Jardín del Rollo, going along Calle Canovas del Castillo to the Church of Santiago.

The Fiesta de la Vendimia will kick off on Thursday 12th August, with the Gran Fiesta de Exaltación del Vino at Salones Pio XII.  Last year we queued up outside the Ayuntamiento, hoping to get tickets, but were disappointed.  If we are luckier this year, I will definitely post some photos on here!  The Gran Fiesta includes lots of good wine, local gastronomic delicacies, music and fireworks: all the ingredients of a great party (or gran fiesta!)  Our fingers are definitely crossed.

In my next post I will tell you more about upcoming events in the Fiesta de la Vendimia as well as the National Folklore Festival.  If you want a copy of our “What’s on in Jumilla” newsletter, fill out the form on the Contact page.

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Sue and John Walker – your guides to Jumilla

 

John and I have lived in Jumilla for nearly two years, and we love showing friends and family around the town.  We have been on the excellent guided visits organised by the local Tourist Office, but we know some people can find them a bit daunting as they are all in Spanish, so we came up with the idea of Walkers Tours of Jumilla in English.

If you come on a Walkers Tour of Jumilla, your guides will both speak fluent English, as I am English and John is Scottish (OK, John’s fluent English may be debatable!) 

We are also happy to tailor the tour to suit your needs.  If you love looking around museums, we can time it to allow you to indulge yourself wandering around the Archeological Museum, the Semana Santa (Holy Week) museum, and the new Museo Jesus Nazareno.  With enough notice we can even arrange for you to visit the private wine museum, which is a fascinating experience even if you aren’t a wine lover. 

If you prefer gardens and plazas to museums, a walk out to the Botanical Gardens can be included as well as a stroll to see the many lovely gardens and squares around the town.

A popular option at the end of the walk is a visit to one of Jumilla’s many bodegas: after the tour of the bodega you can indulge yourself with wine-tasting and nibbles.

Prices are very reasonable.  Depending on the size of your group and what options are included, you can have a guided walk around Jumilla, a visit to the bodega plus wine-tasting for less than 10 euros.

Please contact us through this website if you want to book a tour or for further information.

Comments from Kathy and Tony (San Pedro del Pinatar) after their Walkers Tour of Jumilla:

“John and Sue took us to all the local historic buildings carefully explaining about each point, last of which was the wonderful castle with views of the town and surrounding areas, absolutely breathtaking. These guys were good, their knowledge of the town second to none , and good fun to be with. 

Thank you so much Sue and John, for giving us a truly memorable and enjoyable weekend with fantastic hospitality, and a guided tour not to be forgotten,  far beyond what we expected and recommended to all.”

STOP PRESS: If you wish to receive our regular newsletter “What’s on in Jumilla”, please send us a message via the Contact page.

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The Castillo overlooking Jumilla.

 

They say one picture is worth one thousand words – well I´m a writer not a photographer, but I hope my photos will encourage you to discover more of this fascinating and beautiful country and take your own (no doubt much more professional!) photos.

The photos below are of Jumilla, where John and I now live.

Approaching the Castillo

 

Casa Modernista

 

Teatro Vico

 

El Cason: Roman funerary and National monument

 

Monasterio Santa Ana

 

View of Jumilla from the Monasterio

 

Charco del Zorro