Olives being harvested in Cartagena. We had some local olives the other week from the local fruit/veg/fish market and they were fabulous. I find the idea of the olive harvest quite romantic. Probably tied to the fact that I associate them with the med, sunshine, wine, sea ........
Easter – Crafting – Holiday – Visitors
I’ve not managed to get myself back into my routine of morning walks since I returned from the UK. If I hit the target of 10,000 steps it has been through luck rather than any planning on my part. I’ve also not returned to writing my journal. Two things I must get back to soon.
In the meantime, Neil has painted the galley and I have some oilcloth (brought from UK by Mum) to make new fronts for my lower shelves. In order to protect the new seat cushions from marks, I have made some slip covers from cheap throws. This does strike me as the same as leaving on the plastic covers but I have decided that cheap throws will be easier to clean and cheaper to replace if necessary rather than the bespoke covers. I’ve also made a slip cover for the helm seat. Even though we were given this cushion for free, I still want to keep it nice and we tend to use the helm seat as a bit of a work bench. I managed to get a cheap throw in the same burgundy colour as the deck pod sides and the sails. In keeping with my crafting spirit, the second Little Box of Crochet project was for a scarf which, after a very rocky start, who knew just 49 stitches could cause so much strife, I managed to finish. I love the colours and open design. We have also bought 12m of fabric to increase the size of our deck canopy. I have already sewn the two side pieces and we just need to add the eyelets and fixings.
Easter – Holy Week – Semana Santa (Faith and Passion Week) is one of the biggest Easter events in Spain and celebrations in Cartagena have been designated as being of international interest. The events go on for 10 days. Neil has written a post on www.thegledaproject.com and put in a slideshow of photos. It is however hard to describe with words and pictures. It does really have to be experienced. The logistics of such an event are mind boggling. Thousands of people are involved from different brotherhoods and all have their costumes and staffs, lanterns etc. The tronos (thrones) that are carried depicting the Easter story are decorated with thousands of flowers and are renewed for each daily parade. Storage for the tronos between parades is needed as there are about 30 of them. Chairs line the route of the parades, thousands of them, and they are different to the chairs used for Romans and Carthaginians, 3 Kings and Carnival parades. These chairs are put out and then stacked up after a parade until the next one.
The first day coincided with the Feast Day to Virgen de la Caridad, Cartagena’s saint and hundreds dressed in traditional costume and processed from the City Hall to the Church of Virgen de la Caridad to lay flowers.
Seeing my first ‘Tronos” carried by 100 women, watching a procession in a city without street lights and in silence, listening to the ‘Saeta’ (an evocative song sung ‘a capella’) at 5am were among the highlights for me.
This link (click here) gives some of the history, and why the celebrations in Cartagena are different to the rest of Spain along with the list of events over the 10 days.
We spent a day with friends at the villa they had been renting during the winter. While Lorraine and Chris were working on their boat in the yard they had been staying at a villa in the La Manga Golf Resort and had invited us and some others over for the day before people left for summer sailing. We had a fabulous day. Lorraine put on a great lunch and we had a couple of hours by, and in, the pool. An unheated pool it has to be said. It was a little holiday for the day and we really enjoyed the break away from the marina with friends.
A lot of the winter liveaboard community have now moved on. Over the same weekend we saw Pat and Duncan leave on Samji, Ian and Mel on Jigsaw, Chris and David on Spindrift and Anne and Peter on Sacre Bleu. The week before Laurie and Matt left on Stardust with YoYo (the dog) and today Bridget and Axel have left on Matakari. We are now seeing new faces and boats coming in just for one or two nights. A pattern for the summer season.
Neil had a job to do at the top of the mast so following advice from Cate on Keoloha he purchased a climbing harness and using prusik knots to assist his climb slowly climbed the mast. I was managing his safety line and lowered him back down. As he didn’t use my assistance at all in the climb, he was extremely tired and muscles he didn’t know he had started aching over the next couple of days. However job was done and now when it comes to climbing the other mast, we know that I can take his weight via the winch and assist with the climb.
We have just had the May Crosses Festival. It is actually more than a festival – it is also a contest, with Catholic hermandades (brotherhoods) and neighbourhood associations competing for prizes for the best-decorated cross from the Ayuntamiento (town hall). Each Catholic brotherhood or neighbourhood association sets up a bar next to its cross to serve drinks and tapas. Many local women danced in their gypsy dresses and there were live performances of local flamenco singers and groups and music bands. The different brotherhood or neighbourhood association have different styles; most very traditional others more contemporary. As we came back from dinner on Saturday night through San Francisco square we stood and watched some of the dancers on stage. Then on a small stage of one of the side streets was a band banging out Staying Alive.
Mum and Bry were visiting for a week and they had fabulous weather and plenty to see. On the day they arrived there was a military event going on on the sea front with what looked like all members of the armed forces being presented with medals/awards. Lots of dignitaries and all in dress uniforms.
We went out for our first sail since we arrived in Cartagena on 1st September last year. Neil spent hours getting the boat ready to sail and we pootled around the bay in little wind and 1.5m swell for about an hour. Not nice conditions for a pleasure sail. We had a lovely week, time flies so fast.
Just after Mum and Bry left, x-colleagues from the War Graves Commission came to visit off the cruise ship Ventura. Ventura was in for a day and Val and Tony came to the boat then we took them for a brief trip of the city. Great to see them, it has been nearly 3 years since we last saw each other. We stood on our respective decks and waved towels – the distance equivalent of waving a handkerchief!
Ventura was the 30th cruise ship in this year so far. Ventura was also here on 13th March but did not actually dock, she stayed at anchor out in the bay for a few hours. We have had a few days where 2 ships have been in at the same time. Adds quite a few people to the city streets. Good for the economy although some ships are smellier, noisier and more polluting than others.
Yesterday and today have been cooler, 20degrees, but feels cooler still as it has been quite windy. I think Tony and Val would have had quite a lumpy trip to Gibraltar and across Biscay on the way home. Night time temperatures have not dropped below 18degrees the past few nights.
Despite the cooler temperature, I’m still in shorts and t-shirt and looking forward to the wind dropping tomorrow and blue skies returning.