Darlene Foster's Blog

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DSCN1021Carnival is celebrated in many parts of the world and is very popular here in Spain. We didn´t take in any large Carnival celebrations but attended  a small one in our local outdoor mall called La Zenia Boulevard. Once again the local people went all out with the costumes. Here are a few pictures to share with you.

Getting ready for the parade

Getting ready for the parade

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Children are always a part of every parade

 

After the parade we were entertained by a lively stage performance.

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Have you been to any Carnival parades?

Living in Vancouver, Chinese New Year was an important event that I looked forward to every year. When I learned that this occasion is celebrated here as well, I was very pleased. We arrived early to the local out door mall to watch the parade and stage show. I discovered  where the performers were getting ready and managed to get a few pictures.

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All ages took part

All ages took part

A terracotta warrior rushing to get into place

A terracotta warrior rushing to get into place

The parade wound its way through the streets, stopping to perform dances from time to time. Aren´t the costumes amazing!

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The parade ended up on the stage in the centre court where the participants provided wonderful dancing and photo ops. We found a perfect spot to enjoy the show.

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Of course there was a dragon!

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My favourites were the Terracotta Warriors

Gung Hay Fat Choy from Spain

 

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My last post described the amazing medieval market in Orihuela. Orihuela is an interesting city dating back to the sixth century when the foundations were laid by the Romans. It sits at the base of the Sierra de Orihuela Mountains in the province of Alicante, Spain. As much as I enjoyed the market, I was also taken by the historic buildings and managed to take a few pictures which I would like to share.

 

The Town Hall

The Town Hall

Santo Domingo Diocese College

Santo Domingo Diocese College

Salvador and Santa Maria Cathedral

Salvador and Santa Maria Cathedral

 

Bell tower

Bell tower

Cathedral courtyard

Cathedral courtyard

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Santiago Parish Church

Mosque found in a side street

Mosque found in a side street

Another interesting doorway

Another interesting doorway

ornate water fountain

ornate water fountain

original archway

original archway

I love taking pictures of interesting doorways and there were many to be found in Orihuela. There are a number of museums in the city as well which I would love to visit. I do believe I need to make another trip to explore this interesting city some more. Hope you enjoyed this glimpse.

 

 

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What started out to be a rainy, windy day, turned into an amazing experience at a Medieval Market. The historic town of Orihuela, about thirty minutes from where we live, was all decked out medieval style featuring Arabian and European cultures that have lived here over the centuries.  Numerous stalls of artisans, bakers, butchers, fishmongers, drummers, acrobats, camels, ponies and much more were scattered throughout the town. A feast for all senses, we were greeted by colourful tents, the smells of exotic spices, teas, paellas, fresh baked bread and pastries, and goat milk soap. The vendors and entertainers dressed in medieval garb adding to the ambiance. Camel rides, merry-go-rounds, puppet shows and wooden swords for the children; it was truly a family event with all ages taking in the festivities. I hope you enjoy the pictures and can imagine the fun we had. The sun came out as well!

Making fresh potato chips

Making fresh potato chips

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Preparing a huge paella

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Giant sized pastries

Giant sized pastries

Creating a sculpture

Creating a sculpture

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Colourful charcaters

 

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Entertainment in the streets

Entertainment in the streets

wood fired ovens for delicious breads sold at the market

wood fired ovens for delicious breads made at the market

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A huge variety of spices

A huge variety of spices

For the kids

For the kids

Amazing cheese selection

Amazing cheese selection

Camel rides for the children

Camel rides for the children

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Arabic coffee tent

Arabic coffee tent

We strolled aimlessly around the various tents and stalls, tempted by the food for offer until we stopped for a tea and delicious tapas. Then we wandered some more. The pictures really don´t do it justice but I hope you get the atmosphere of the event. It really was a step back in time and I was so happy I took the time to visit and savour.

It wouldn´t be a medieval fair without a witch and her cauldon

It wouldn´t be a medieval fair without a witch and her cauldon

I´ve put together a short video of our travels in 2014. Great times with great people!
Enjoy!!

Here in Spain the most important date in the Christmas season is not December 25. It is January 6, Epiphany, the day Three Kings from the east brought gifts to the infant Jesus.  Fiesta de Los Tres Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day) starts on January 5 when the Three Wise Men arrive and parade through the streets handing out candies to all the children eagerly waiting. The parade ends at a church where the Kings become part of a human nativity scene. That night the children put out their shoes and in the morning, if they have been good all year, they find gifts from the Magi. They leave out treats for the Kings and water for the camels. (Like children in North America do for Santa Claus) There are many parties and family dinners on January 6th.

We had the pleasure of experiencing this event here on the Costa Blanca. In Torrevieja, a coastal town, the Kings, Gaspar, representing frankincense, Melchior, representing gold, and Balthazar, representing myrrh, arrived by boat. They greeted all of us in Spanish and English, waving as they passed by to join the parade.

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Along with their entourage, the Kings joined the traditional Epiphany parade through town. It was quite a spectacle with a display of animals, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, Romans, Egyptians, dancers, riders and Royal pages. We enjoyed the pageantry and spirit of the evening. The excited children lined up holding out bags for the many candies they received from the participants in the parade, including the Three Kings.

Here is a sample of what we saw.

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On January 6, we attended a Kings Day party around the pool and were treated to traditional Kings Day cake called Roscón. It is a sweet, large donut-shaped bread covered in glazed cherries and sugar. A plastic toy is buried inside the mixture. He or she who finds the toy gets good luck for the next year. We didn´t find a toy but enjoyed the cake and the company.

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Another Spanish tradition for us to discover!

Of course it is also the end of the Christmas season as the trees and decorations are coming down and things are going back to regular routine after a month of celebration.

Happy Kings Day everyone!!

 

Hubby read about a horse and flamenco show in the local paper. It was to be held at a Spanish stud farm near a small place in the country called Dolores, about thirty minutes from us. In spite of a threat of rain, we decided to check it out and were very happy we did. We managed to find the stable, had a look around and settled down to watch the show. Here are a few highlights.

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Champion rider Juan Cortes entertained us with his incredible horseman skills on his Andalusian stallion.

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Emma Tytherleigh showed off her excellent equestrian skills on her horse Romero. Emma is a talented trick rider, former CAVALIA performer and devoted horse lover.

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The audience was delighted by Rocko, Emma´s incredibly cute miniature rescue pony and his playful antics.

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Manuela, Juan´s talented and lovely daughter charmed us with a flamenco dance, while Juan rode his horse around her.

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We fell in love with Emma´s Jack Russell, Rodeo Jack, who never leaves her side. He sits watching the performance wishing he could be part of it. Apparently sometimes he is.

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After the show I made friends with Emma and Rocko.

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I also met Juan and one of his gorgeous horses. He was interested to learn that my dad had been a cowboy in Canada.

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Then the huge paella, made by Juan´s wife Hermina, was brought out for all to enjoy.

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The event was a fundraiser for Dogs at Large and proved to be a fabulous way to spend a sunny Saturday in the Spanish countryside in December. The rain never did happen.

You can watch a clip of some of what we saw here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ou31fex-cE

To learn more about the performers and the horses check out the website

http://www.horseshow.es/

 


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