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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With the arrival of June and (hopefully!) a long hot summer, we can also look forward to this year’s Música entre Vinos in Jumilla, organised by La Ruta del Vino de Jumilla.

What exactly is Música entre Vinos?  Not surprisingly it involves both music and wine: most events will start with a tour of the bodega, followed by a concert – and you will of course have the opportunity to try the bodega’s best wines accompanied by a variety of local tapas. When I say tapas, I mean a lot of food, so do come with an empty stomach! I don’t eat meat, but I still manage to find plenty of food that I can enjoy. Tickets cost a reasonable 20€, the same as last year, and can be bought either direct from the bodega or from Los Chilines wine-shop at 69 Avenida Levante in Jumilla.

The organisers have made sure that there is something to suit everybody’s musical tastes with a wide variety of music from pop to flamenco, plus a bit of jazz.

Enjoying last year's event in Bodegas Viña Elena

The opening concert will be at 12.00 on Sunday June 2 in Bodegas Viña Elena, and has already sold out. The music will be provided by the “Banda de Música Asociación Musical Julián Santos”, one of Jumilla’s two local bands. Bodegas Viña Elena is a family-owned bodega, 17km from Jumilla, which was founded in 1948 by Elena’s grandfather.

The second event will start at 20.00 on Saturday June 8 in Bodegas Luzón, which is about 3km from Jumilla on the road to Calasparra. The legendary Jumillano group “Magic Bus” will be entertaining everyone with their pop-rock music. Although I don’t have any favourites, I have to say that last year’s event was one of the best organised –  and we particularly liked the welcoming drink and tapas before we even started on the tour! Unfortunately we will have to miss this year’s event as my niece is getting married in Sunderland on the same day: sometimes family has to come first!

On Saturday 15 June the concert will be hosted by Casa Canales delicatessen in the centre of Jumilla. As there won’t be a bodega tour the evening will start at 21.30, with the extraordinary duet “Alex & Cristobal” delighting us with their great versions of pop, rock and blues. This is another concert that we will be sorry to miss, as we don’t return from the UK until 17 June.

On Sunday 16 June at 12.00 “Cantos Jazz Fusión” will be in concert at Bodegas Casa de la Ermita, situated in El Carche 11.5 km from Jumilla. This talented trio will be interpreting the music of Frank Zappa, the Beatles and Miles Davis amongst others in what they describe as “Jazz Ambiental”. It will definitely be a great afternoon out for jazz fans!

We are looking forward to the event organised by Los Chilines wine shop at 21.30 on Friday 21 June, especially as we will have already missed three superb concerts. “Antuan Muñoz y Banda” will be playing Flamenco fusion music at Salones Pio XII, in an idyllic setting overlooking the town of Jumilla. Their musical style is best described as flamenco mixed with rumba, reggae, rock, pop, funky: a veritable cocktail of rhythms and styles.  Prepare to be amazed!

Bodegas Xenysel is another family-run bodega, which is based in the countryside between Jumilla and Yecla.  “Sazón Bolero”, a quintet formed of four Murciano musicians and a Jumillano singer, will be performing traditional boleros at the bodega at 20.00 on Saturday 22 June. We always get a warm welcome here, and we enjoy the concerts outside in the beautiful countryside, so we are hoping some kind person will offer us a lift there!

Concert in Bodegas Xenysel

The last event of the month will be held in Bodegas San Isidro (BSI) at 20.00 on Saturday 29 June. “Potato Head Jazz Band” will be playing “Hot Jazz”, also known as Dixieland. Their music will transport us to the New Orleans of the 20s and their show promises be a combination of music and good humour with audience participation – I can’t wait! The good news is that this bodega is close to where we live, so we can walk there easily and then stagger home afterwards.

If, unusually, you don’t enjoy good music and good wine, these aren’t the only events in Jumilla this month. The tourist office is offering free guided visits on Sundays throughout June.

On 2 and 9 June there will be guided walks to the Castle and the Old Town, starting at 10.00 from the tourist office. You are advised to book in advance as places are limited.

On 23 June the theme of the walk is religious art and again it will start from the tourist office at 10.00.

Finally on 30 June the walk will be along an urban route, leaving at 10.00 from Teatro Vico.

The walks will be conducted in Spanish, so if you think that may be too challenging for your linguistic abilities, why not book a free Walkers Tour of Jumilla in English? Send me a message via the Contact page if you would like further details.

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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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The excitement is building up in Jumilla as people spot the posters advertising the first live performance of the Johnny Pugh Band in Bodegas Alceño.  Johnny and his wife Jane only moved here in January this year but already they have made many Spanish and British friends, who can’t wait to hear him sing and play the saxophone with his new line-up.

Johnny was the lead singer with the Climax Blues Band for five years, as well as playing the saxophone and harmonica with them.  He has an impressive CV, having also worked as a session musician with the likes of  Rose Royce, the Four Tops, Ben E. King, Martha Reeves and the Real Thing, to mention just a few.

Click on this link to hear Johnny and the Climax Blues Band at the Rock & Blues Festival 2011: youtube video.

Tickets for the concert cost 14€ including tapas and wine, with the chance to try the new Alceño Rosado 2012.  You can buy your tickets at the bodega at Calle Barrio Iglesias no 55 in Jumilla, or in Los Chilines wine shop at Avenida Levante no 69,  Jumilla.  Tickets are also on sale in Get I.T. Connected in Pinoso, tel: 966 192 953.  The date to put in your diary is Saturday 27 October at 21.00.

To listen to more music from Johnny, click on this link: this is from a gig a few years ago.

If you would like more information about the concert or about the Johnny Pugh Band, please contact Jane at:  jojanepugh@yahoo.com.

Finally, this is the poster to look out for.  I am proud of the fact that my talented friend José María decided to use one of my photos, though he is responsible for the brilliant design!

Poster for concert in Bodegas Alceño.

I can promise you a great night out – hope to see you at Johnny’s gig on 27 October!

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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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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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The magnificent Patio de los Arrayanes

I was prepared to be disappointed by Granada, and ready to say that it was over-hyped, but I have a confession to make: I fell in love with Granada and my only regret was that we couldn’t stay longer.  Two nights there is barely enough time to wander around the Alhambra, never mind explore every corner of this fascinating Spanish city.  I should have entitled this post “Glorious Granada – part one” as we intend to return at the first opportunity, to see the many places on my list that we didn’t manage to see this time.

Planning your trip in advance is essential, particularly if you want to see the Alhambra (who doesn’t?!).  If you intend driving there, as we did, you need to research the hotels as well, as the streets of Granada can be very narrow and once you are in the one-way system you may never escape!  We booked two rooms in the Hotel Reino de Granada: partly because it is centrally located and also easily accessible from the ring road; partly because of the reasonable price for travellers on a budget; and partly because of the free WIFI, a bonus for budget travellers.

Our hotel in Granada

My advice would  be to park in the 24 hour car park, even though the hotel is easy to find, because we were unable to park near enough to the hotel to ask them where their parking was.  Shortly after taking the exit to Recogidas we spotted the car park on the left-hand side, and from there it was an easy walk to the hotel.

Another reasonably priced hotel, which is near to the Alhambra and which is also recommended, is Hotel Guadalupe.  Of course you could stay within the grounds of the Alhambra in the Parador, but that is definitely not one for the budget conscious.  The charming Hotel América is also in the grounds of the Alhambra – and slightly cheaper if you want to treat yourself to a night there – especially welcome if you have booked an early morning ticket for the Palace Nazaries.

If you are going to Granada I suspect that you will be planning to visit the Alhambra, but be warned that it is very popular even in November, so make sure that you have booked your tickets well in advance.  Many hotels will be able to reserve your tickets, however our hotel didn’t have any tickets left for the day we had chosen, so we decided to book them on-line on the Servicaixa Alhambra website.  Once I had booked our tickets I went to my local branch of La Caixa, inserted the card I had used to make the payment, and our tickets were printed off.  Easy!

Our hotel informed us that we could get a bus up to the Alhambra, but we decided that we would appreciate it more if we walked up through the woods, apart from saving us the bus fare.

The Alhambra - straight up that hill

Having read about the importance of being there on time, we made sure that we arrived at the entrance to the Palace Nazaries fifteen minutes early. People were being let through, however they had an earlier time slot and it was made clear to us that we would have to wait until 10, so we checked the latest time that we could arrive, which was 10.15.  We had half an hour, which proved to be just enough time for walking around the Alcazabar and admiring the views of the city from there.  As we waited to go through the gates into the Palace on our return, we spotted an unfortunate Japanese woman desperately trying to persuade the staff to let her through but to no avail.  You have been warned!

Words can’t do justice to the ethereal beauty of the Palace Nazaries, and even photos fail to capture the magic of this place.  Every time we turned a corner, I would spot a delicate carving or some colourful tiles that I just had to take a photo of: we spent nearly two hours wandering around and I took over one hundred photos, which has to be a record.  The link below is to a small selection of my favourite shots:

Walking round the Alhambra: Palace Nazaries

The courtyard in Hotel América

By the time we emerged, almost dizzy from experiencing the delights of the Palace, we were more than ready for a cup of tea and a seat in the café in Hotel América!  Suitably refreshed, we then headed to the Generalife, where my overworked camera was soon busy taking yet more photos.  This time I only took 90 photos, however we visited in November, when clearly the gardens weren’t at their best.  Having said that we still thought the gardens were lovely and we would definitely like to return in the Spring when the flowers will be in full bloom.  Even better, I would love to be there for a concert during Granada’s Music and Dance Festival.  Click the link before for a glimpse of the Generalife:

Walking around the Generalife

Generalife

Luckily it was a lot easier walking down from the Alhambra than walking there – we had been on our feet for hours, and our minds were all focused on lunch. We didn’t have too far to walk before we stumbled upon a suitable place. From the outside Barenostrum didn’t look very prepossessing, and to be honest the main reason we went in was their reasonably priced menú del día, however once we were inside we realised it was a fortuitous choice.  The menú del día was an affordable 9.95€, the food was very good, the staff were friendly and we liked the funky interior.  We will definitely return there on our next trip to Granada.

Fortified by our lunch, and feeling the need for more exercise after our filling meal, we decided to see more of the sights of Granada.  We had a long list of recommended sights, but we soon ran out of time.  We enjoyed looking round the Cathedral, which had a lovely light interior, but unfortunately there were large signs forbidding the use of cameras so I couldn’t take any photos to share with you, apart from exterior shots.

Exterior of Granada Cathedral

We enjoyed wandering around the back streets and eventually stumbled on the Jardín Botánico, so strolled around the tranquil gardens before continuing our walk.  If you like gardens, our friend Penny recommends Parque Carmen de Los Martires as well as San Jeronimo Cloisters: read her blog for more information about Granada generally.  On our next trip we also plan to  see the Alhambra at night from the Mirador de San Nicolas, to experience Los Baños Arabes, and visit the Lorca family’s summer house in Parque Garcia Lorca. We will of course eat a tapa or two as well: Granada is a great city for those who like to go out for tapas  – “ir de tapeo”.

Botanical Garden

If you are on a budget, our hottest tip for eating out in Granada is to have a menú del día at lunchtime and go out for a drink in the evening: just order a glass of wine and you will be given a tapa with each drink.  We even found a lovely restaurant near our hotel where we could choose which tapa we wanted from their menu to go with our drinks : Restaurante Duque de Medinaceli on Calle Cristo De Medinaceli.  We all enjoyed our tapas, prices were reasonable, our waitress was lovely, and so we will definitely be heading there on our next trip.

The most expensive bar that we went into was the trendy Puerta del Carmen, where John and I were horrified by the price of the wine (3.60 € for a glass of wine, with a tiny bit of jamón) though John’s niece Fiona, being used to UK prices, thought it was very reasonable.

One of Granada's many lovely plazas

We then decided to find a bar that had been recommended on several websites: Antigua Bodegas Castaneda.  This was a bit cheaper, plus we had generous portions  of typical Spanish tapas.  I never eat meat and the first tapas were meat-based, so I ordered cheese for myself (3€ for a large plate of cheese plus bread), explaining that I don’t like meat. When we ordered another glass of wine the waiter brought us ensaladilla rusa, which I was able to enjoy too, so full marks to him for being attentive to my needs.

Finally we went for a nightcap in Mesón La Cueva, on Calle Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, which was a ham-lovers paradise. Not the best recommendation in my view, however I had to admit that it was atmospheric.  Luckily it was close enough to our hotel to be able to stagger back quite quickly, as by now it was after midnight and temperatures had dropped dramatically.

We wandered into many other bars while exploring the city and we weren’t disappointed by any of them.  If you have any recommendations for your own favourite budget eating and drinking places in Granada, please leave the details here for others to read and so that we can investigate them on our next visit.  Hasta pronto Granada!

Essential viewing in Granada!

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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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