Dress Down Friday

Señor Moreno is away.

I post so infrequently that no-one is going to notice when I’m on holiday, so given you’re not going to ask, I’m telling you now that I’ve just come back from holiday.

We spent a week in Almeria, a south-eastern corner of Andalucía, officially the sunniest and driest province in Europe. It’s where Sergio Leone filmed his Spaghetti Westerns (there’s a mini-Hollywood in the Alemria desert where you can relive the Cowboy experience and take part in your own gun-fights, etc.). We were based in Mojácar (where some claim Walt Disney was born), or Muxacra as it was known in Moorish times. Rather, we were based in Mojácar Playa and not the spectacular pueblo sitting half-way up a mountain.

The views on the drive from Almeria airport to Mojacar are stunning. This can be a distraction for a Brit whose only experience of driving on the right is in automatics with SatNav. My wife is still shaking.

Mojácar is invaded by discerning Castillians in July and August, when the temperature can reach 40 centigrade and beyond. In May/June, it is a mixture of locals, pensioners from all over Europe and fortunate Brits who have discovered the delights of this Arabian corner of Europe before it goes the way of Torremolinos…….as the ever-present building work that stretches the full length of the coast from Carboneras to Vera suggests it inevitably will.

Anyway, if you like sun, paella, rioja and think really, really skinny cats are funny, give it a whirl before the Paseo Del Meditarraneo reverberates to the sound of “England till I Die” and you’re more likely to see a Bolton Wanderers shirt than a Sevilla, Betis or Murcia equivalent. Not that there’s anything wrong with Bolton.

My only regret is that I’m not there this week instead of last week…..Mojácar, not Bolton. The Moors and Christians festival begins tomorrow, and whereas in most other regions this is a celebration of the Reconquista, in Mojácar village the emphasis is on the centuries long, overridingly peaceful coexistence of the two cultures. The pueblo even has a Jewish quarter.

It’s multiculturalism gone maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaddddddddd………

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A view from a cafe terrace in the pueblo, with Close Encounters of the Third Kind prop in the background.

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Another view from another terrace, this time with the playa in the distance. You can make out the Christian broadsword and Saracen sword illuminations on the mountian side in preparation for the Moors and Christians festival celebrations.

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The hustle and bustle of pueblo life was sometimes too much.

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The bleached-white pueblo from half-way back to the playa.

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A view of the Sierra Cabrera mountains (I think?) from the roof terrace.

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Another shot from the roof. Note the domes characeristic of a Moorish settlement.

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My five-year old daughter who specializes in KKK impressions. How she expects to make it onto Big Brother with an attitude like that, is anyone’s guess. Her pigeon Spanish – courtesy of Dora the Explorer – came in handy.

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