2018.12.10 An endless story

A friend asked the other day if we could get used to the new house. Making me realize we didn’t have to get used here at all. From the first moment the house was perfect for us. Isn’t that great?!

We left Holland at December 11 last year. Making today exactly 365 days since. And making this the last blogpost in our 365Project.

It was fun to pick just one topic a day to write about. At times this choice was hard. But to be honest there were also days we didn’t know where to write about because nothing had happened that day. All in all an interesting project.

And especially nice to look back. Because we tend to forget a lot and now we have a record of what happened when.

^hm

2018.12.05 Día de la Constitución

At almost the end of October, when I wrote about Santa Eulalia de Mérida, no one knew we would come to live in Totana. What a way to celebrate our arrival in this very Spanish city.

For the next month there will be festivities about every weekend, except for Christmas. Most festivities are of a religious kind. Which is logical since Eulalia is a Saint. But there is also a large fair and a market.

And if this wasn’t enough, tomorrow is the Día de la Constitución (the Day of the Constitution). On the 6th of December 1978 the Spanish people, with an overwhelming majority of 93%, voted in favor of the new constitution which was written after Franco died. From 1983 forward this day is commemorated in Spain. All Spaniards have a day off.

To be honest, I am more thrilled by the commemoration of the constitution, than by Eulalia. Although many a Spaniard in Totana will disagree with me, considering all the posters of her that are exposed in the shops.

^tvo

2018.10.25 Tostada con tomate

This is the Iglesia de Santiago on the Plaza de la Constitución in Totana. The church was build in the 16th century. The tower was added in the beginning of the 17th century.

Under the olive tree and the artificial grass is a parking. The square looks modern but matches with the church.

But again the secret of the picture is in what you can not see. In front of the church is one of the main through roads of Totana. Most cars that enter the city this way, also have to go out by it.

Fortunately, when you sit in the sun at the terrace on this plaza with a cup of Americano, a Manzanila, and a tostada con tomate you hardly notice the traffic.

^tvo

2018.10.22 Santa Eulalia de Mérida

This is the Santuario de Santa Eulalia de Mérida. Already since 1644 Eulalia is the patrona (patroness) of Totana, a small village that lies at the end of a winding road of some seven kilometers.

The santuario (sanctuary) looks brand new, but it was finalized at the end of the sixteenth century. The devotion to Eulalia already started in the thirteenth century when the Military Order of Santiago was granted this piece of land by Alfonso X the Wise. They first build a small church and cloister there, which subsequently was replaced by this red chunk of bricks. The color very much resembles the colors of the earth you find around here in abundance.

How come a military order of Santiago winds up with Eulalia at the foot of the Sierra de Espuña? It’s very simple: Eulalia is from Mérida, as was the master of the military order – Pelay Perréz Correa – in the time Alfonso the Wise surrendered the land to the order.

The santuario is very popular. When we visited it, we couldn’t enter the church because there was a bola, a wedding. Everybody in fancy dress. But there is also a hotel. Which you cann’t book for saturdays and sundays because the guests of parties and bolas probably occupy it. And from this spot there are some hikes into the sierra.

^tvo

2018.06.08 Snake alert

One of our regular walks is from the house through the surrounding hills to the via verde. The via verde is a cycle path from Mazarrón to Totana and Cartagena. When we arrive at the via verde we can either go to the left in the direction of the urbanization Country Club, or to the right in the direction of Mazarrón.

Today we went to the right because to the left is a pigsty and there are too many flies. We had the wind right in our faces. First we passed the factory where wooden pallets are produced. Only a hundred meters from there is a house which appears to be abandoned. The garden isn’t kept, there is a lot of rubbish arround the house and we haven’t noticed anybody yet.

All of a sudden we heard a loud hissing sound to our right on the ground, through the shrubbery, just along the small wall that surrounds the abandoned house. The wall is about 30 centimeters high and made of concrete. In no time just a couple of meters to our right, a black snake, about a meter long and as thick as the tire of a mountainbike, speeded through the thicket, crossed the small wall into the garden and was gone. We were both startled but continued our walk.

Another hundred meters beyond, is another small house which is as abandoned. To our surprise some 25 meters ahead of us on the ground in the middle of the via verde we saw another big black snake. As soon as we made a few steps forward this snake disappeared in the shrubbery with as much speed as its family member we saw just a few seconds before. This was enough wildlife for a day.

One lesson we learned though, never to put your arms or legs in a thicket as you can see on the picture. You might never know what’s inside. Did you ever encouter any snakes and knew what to do?

^tvo