Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Cartagena

I haven’t been spending much time on my blog lately but there is a very good reason. I’ve been entertaining overseas guests and showing them around my part of Spain. The three of us come from the same place originally and have been buddies since we were children. One is related, one isn’t, one now lives in Arizona and one in Alberta. I can´t tell you how wonderful it has been having them here in Spain with me.

So far we have explored medieval castles, cathedrals, museums, a Roman fortress, an amphitheatre, and a sanctuary built into the side of a mountain, shopped the markets, shared tapas and watched a flamenco dancer to name a few of the many fun things we’ve been doing. I’ll write more about these events and sites later but in the meantime here are a few pictures to show what we’ve been up to.

At the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Esperanza

Happy to have my friends here in Spain with me.

With a friendly sailor in Cartagena

Enjoying the amphitheatre in Cartagena

On stage at the amphitheatre ready to give a performance

A Roman Senator lost his head over us!

At the top of the castle in Guadalest

Beautiful Guadalest

We did not fight over the knight in shining armour

Someone bought a new hat at the market and is very happy!

Resting in a cute courtyard in Cordoba.

At the Alcazar in Cordoba with King Alfonso

Look who we found at the top of Santa Barbara Castle in Alicante

 

The three amigas together again, ready for adventure.

There are many more pictures and stories to share but you will have to wait.

Note – pictures from a collection taken by all three of us.

The steady beat of drums, the swift march of soldiers, animal-skin clad barbarians, painted faces, colourful shields, standard bearers, gladiator sandals, dancing maidens, priests, soothsayers and elegant senators. We find ourselves in the midst of the Romans and Carthaginians Festival, just forty minutes from where we live. This spectacle is held every year to celebrate the vibrant history of the strategic port city of Cartagena.

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Cartagena has more than 2000 years of history. The Romans and Carthaginians Festival is a remembrance of the second Punic War, beginning with the foundation of Qart Hadast, the name given to Cartagena by the Phoenicians in 228 BC, and ending with its capture by the Romans in 209 BC.

Throughout the last ten days of September, battles are re-enacted, ancient ceremonies held and troops in full battle dress march through the streets of Cartagena.  The Carthaginian and Roman armies arrive by sea in a dramatic display and then march through town to an encampment set up on the football field. We were very fortunate to witness part of this event during an evening I will never forget. The costumes and attention to historic detail are amazing as you will see from a few of the many pictures I took.

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It was as if all the citizens were in costume for the event. And like everything in Spain, the entire family was involved.

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Imagine my excitement when monks appeared leading large bulls through the narrow streets.

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This ancient High Priest gave me a big smile after I took his picture

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A serious soothsayer

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Cheerful dancing maidens happy to pose for me.

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A Nobel Senator and his good wife

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One of many standards born through the streets of Cartagena.

 

There was so much more. I hope you enjoyed a sample of this spectacular festival where history comes to life. If you ever have an opportunity to be near Cartagena, Spain around the end of September, you must take this in.

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The ultimate gladiator sandals. Now where can I buy a pair?

At the beginning of this month we were blessed with a visit from home! My Aunt (mom’s sister) and her husband from Taber, Alberta and my cousin from Parksville, BC had been visiting my uncle’s relatives in Holland and took a side trip to Spain just to see us. We packed in as much as we could in four days. Since this was the first time for all of them to visit Spain, we tried to give them a good taste of our Spanish life. We ate churros, tapas, Spanish chocolate and paella, took a bus to an historic Roman/Carthaginian city, a boat trip around the bay of Cartagena, drove into the country, walked along the Mediterranean, enjoyed a family barbecue and attended a May Fiesta. My cousin couldn’t stop taking pictures.

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Happy to be with  family and show them around my corner of Spain

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Dinner at The Nautilus overlooking the Mediterranean. Every one enjoyed their meal and first view of the Med.

We had an enjoyable visit to the two thousand year old city of Cartagena. Evidence of its rich Carthaginian and Roman history is everywhere. Still considered an important naval base and shipyard, it is now also a stop for large cruise ships.We took a boat trip around the harbour to view the old walls of the fortress. The city has amazing architecture and a lovely pedestrian shopping area with many bronze sculptures waiting to be photographed. The bit of rain didn’t dampen our spirits as we explored this interesting place only forty minutes from were we live.

My cousin meeting a friendly sailor

My cousin meeting a friendly sailor

Aunt and Uncle making a freind

Aunt and Uncle making a friend

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Croissants filed with strawberries, bananas and chocolate. Yummy!

We stopped for lunch at a Valor Coffee Shop. Valor makes the best chocolate in Spain. You may recall my visit to the Valor Chocolate Factory last fall. Here is the post if you wish to know more. Our meal was delicious and included chocolate, of course! We finished with churros dipped in what else – chocolate, a Spanish tradition which they loved.

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My outgoing cousin soon made friends with Romans wandering the streets.

 

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We also found some Roman ruins including an amphitheatre. An excellent day filled with history, architecture, the sea and chocolate!! My aunt purchased a spoon for her collection and my uncle a hat with Spain on it. Everyone returned happy.

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Another day we took a drive into the country, through traditional Spanish villages, past lemon and orange groves and the occasional flock of sheep. A trip to Spain would not be complete without trying the tradition of tapas, so that’s what we had for lunch.  The quests enjoyed the wide selection of small tasty treats. Something for everyone. That evening we had a barbecue at our place with my in-laws. A nice family gathering which included my home made paella and my mother-in-law’s trifle.

Aunt Peggy at the tapas bar.

Aunt Peggy at the tapas bar.

Their visit coincided with the Torrevieja May Fiesta, called Feria de Sevillanas. We were able to take them to enjoy this very popular fiesta featuring the traditions of Andalucia. My Canadian visitors were delighted to see women of all ages dressed in colourful, flamenco dresses and white mantillas. We strolled through the marquees and fun fair, watched paella being made and enjoyed the parade of dancers, Andalusian horses, riders and horse drawn carriages. My cousin sampled her first sangria with lunch on the esplanade.

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All ages get in the spirit of the fiesta

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My Aunt will return with a report to mom that all is well with me and my new life. She kept saying, “This is so wonderful, I’m so glad we came.” I am so glad they came as well!!

Breakfast at my home in Spain. Love my family!

Breakfast at my home in Spain. Love my family!

We´ve spent the past two weeks exploring Spain´s Mediterranean coast, travelling from Alicante to Gibraltar and discovering some pretty cool places. Here´s a snapshot of some of the more interesting places we´ve visited.

The historic and cultural port city of Cartagena dates back to Carthaginian times.

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The fishing village of Cabo de Palos with its fabulous lighthouse.

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Octopus traps

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The Port of Mazarron lined with date palms

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Estepona on the Costa del Sol

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Plazoleta Oritz

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Paul at the market with his bucket of cider

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Port of La Duquesa

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Cormorants sunning themselves

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Castillo de la Duquesa

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Next post – the mountain villages of the Costa del Sol and the Rock.

 


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