Monthly Archives: March 2018

Carnivals, Cuisine and Guns of Mazarron


February seems to be the time for carnivals in Spain.  About an hour’s drive from Cartagena is the seaside resort of Aguilas.  It is the most famous carnival in the Murcia region.  It’s known for its flamboyant costumes, synchronised dance groups, glitz and feathers.  So we went along to get tickets for eight of us who had decided to go.  It was a small office which was open each evening from 5pm until 7pm.  We are in Spain so 5pm doesn’t necessarily mean 5pm and yes you guessed it, no it didn’t.  The guys arrived at 5.30pm but we got our tickets in one of the tiered stands.  Our friends John and Prim were coming out to see us so they came along and it was AMAZING.  Yes I know that’s in caps but I just had to emphasise how AMAZING it was.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  The costumes dazzled and some of them included pulling a heavily decorated frame along, which formed part of their outfit.  The thing about the costumes etc is they are only used for one year.  The photos are just a few as there were so many to choose from.


We arrived mid afternoon so we could have some lunch and get a parking space, which we did right on the sea front.  Great, however, we realised that there was no way we could get out of Aguilas until the parade was finished.  The parade lasted just over five hours so we couldn’t have left earlier if we’d wanted to.


We hadn’t realised that Cartagena was holding their carnival procession a few days before so after watching a couple of games of rugby, the Six Nations, where us sailors took over most of the bar, we walked along to find a place to watch the carnival.  There were people of all ages, very young children to the elderly taking part.  The costumes again were AMAZING.  The one thing that was different to the Aguilas carnival is that all the music was the same across the whole length of the procession.  There were big speakers set up along the route so you didn’t get that mix of different music in your ear.



We also visited the local catering college who offer set meals three times a week at lunchtime.  So 24 of us went along for them to practice their newly learned skills.  The theme was sea weed.  The food was lovely and they did very well looking after so many of us.



Another outing with some of the Sailing Crew was to the Battlements and Gun Emplacements at Castillitos and El Jorel, Cabo Tinoso (the Guns).  We had to travel down the hillside across the plain and then up the other side, much of the road was single track.

There are two battery emplacements built between 1926 and 1933.  44 elements cover every angle of attack and the batteries were built in a ring which encircled Cartagena and out along the coast as part of the Plan de Defensa of 1926.

Cabo Tinoso sits 218 metres above sea level on a rocky cliff top.  The Vickers guns, made in the UK, give a 35km firing range and measure 17 meters in length and can fire ammunition weighing up to a ton..


After walking from one cliff top to the other we had built up enough of an appetite so we visited the port of Mazzaron for a spot of lunch.  Four courses, with half a bottle of wine and a shot of something similar to Baileys all for €10.

February 2018

Madrid – 6-9 February 2018

We decided to take a trip to Madrid as you can’t spend time in Spain without going to the capital.  I’d been here twice before, for work, so hadn’t seen much of the city.  We had planned to drive but after further consideration decided on the train as parking is expensive.  So we let the train take the strain.  It was quite a long journey but that was mainly because the train didn’t go very fast for the first part of the journey.  We had left behind weather in Cartagena of about 15 degrees which is not to be sniffed at in February.  Madrid was another story.  We went through snow on the way and it was bitterly cold in Madrid.  I’m not after any sympathy, I know I’m not going to get any, with the cold weather you’ve had in the UK.

We had managed to find an apartment right in the centre of Madrid, just off from the Puerta del Sol so the sights were all easily accessible.  The square contains the famous clock whose bells mark the traditional eating of the “Twelve Grapes” and the beginning of a new year, not the easiest thing to do, we tried it when we were in Barcelona one new year.

Paseo del Arte is the art district in Madrid which consists of a number of museums, the one I think most people go to is the Prada Museum, so we decided on the  Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.  We spent a lovely warm day wandering around the museum which has paintings from Dürer, Rafael, Titian, Rubens, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Manet, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Kandinsky, Picasso, Hopper, Rothko. These are just some of the impressive list of names that make up the collection.  Once a private collection it now belongs to the people of Spain since the Spanish Government bought it.

We always think a good way to get an overview of a city is to hop on a sightseeing bus.  We had no choice but to sit up top in the open air as downstairs was rammed as it was so cold.  It was freezing.  We hopped off the bus at the Royal Palace to find that it was closed due to an official function.  So we only got to see the outside which was a shame.

C2. Royal Palace - Madrid 7.2.18.

We also paid a visit to the Museo Cerralbo which is a 19th century mansion house which preserves its original décor, giving an insight into Spanish high society.

One thing that was very noticeable was the large police presence around Madrid although there wasn’t a policeman in sight when someone slipped my purse out of my bag, thankfully I felt someone touch the back of me so I caught them with it in their hand making out I’d dropped it, amazingly (not) my money had all disappeared but at least I got my purse back with my cards.  The other thing that is odd is that even when it’s cold, just a few degrees above freezing, people still sat outside restaurants having a coffee and eating.  Mad or what!!  If I’m sitting outside I want warmth.

Madrid is definitely worth a visit but I’d suggest you go when it’s warmer.  It was lovely getting off the train in Cartagena to warm sunshine.


February 2018