Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Our busy little town

Ghost Viking Ship - no crew

Alcalá la Real is a busy, bustling little town. The streets are rarely empty, apart from the all important siesta 'hour' between 3 and 5 every day. Mornings see children and parents making their ways to school, older folks taking a morning constitutional and buying their bread en route, shopkeepers sweeping the streets outside their shops and preparing to open up for the morning.

It's nice to feel we are amongst the local folk as we too walk the ten minutes or so Ruy and Romy's school - Mateo sets off half an hour earlier - and I become one of the bread buyers on the return journey (OK, it's not just the oldies that buy bread in the mornings.) And I enjoy that little end bit as I cross the road and reach our apartment.

When we first arrived, the mornings were one long drone of traffic as the trucks, land rovers, jeeps and old vans set off to go and collect the olives, whilst the day was still dark. Now there is still a lot of traffic in the town - who knows who going who knows where. I do know that I could quite happily take pot-shots at the noisy, rasping motorbikes that whizz backwards and forwards incessantly from about 10pm until the early hours. But so far, in six months, I have only once heard the squeal of brakes and there are more zebra crossings within eyeshot of our apartment than I saw in the whole of many places in England. Pedestrians definitely rule here - so much so that I am relatively happy to let the children go out on their own to the 'chuchería' to buy a few sweets from time to time, even though they have several roads to cross. It is safe enough to do that - which I think is pretty safe.

I fail to understand why the truck that empties rubbish has to come round at midnight - making a heck of a row - unless it's because most Spaniards (and their children) are still wide awake at this time and so not in danger of being woken up!

So it was quite a surprise that when we went recently to visit the fair - set up for just four days of fiesta - that on our arrival, it was pretty quiet. Where were all the good people of Alcala? Surely they were just the sort of folk to enjoy a fairground? Was this 'el crisis'?  No.

We'd gone at 8pm. Far too early.

Just the usual suspects sitting around the fountain
But it soon started to liven up.

Always a favourite - coches de choque - bumper cars!

Or bikes in this case.

Romy was very keen for a go in the water ball and had a great time.

From the blowing up part - where blasts of air were sent into the balloon to inflate it..

To the moment before the 'launch' to the series of ups and downs that followed.

Finding her sea legs.

We went three times over the four days of fiesta - mainly to walk around, take in the atmosphere, say hello to the people we knew - and there were lots! - and try our luck at a few stalls. We didn't have much luck but one of the stallholders took pity on us and gave us a free packet of biscuits, which was very nice of him. I think Cesar also won a packet of turron which we have so far resisted the temptation of opening - far too sweet for this time of year, in my opinion.

On Sunday, we were just finishing a late breakfast when there was a commotion outside and, on investigating, we saw a lot of vintage and classic cars passing by. I missed catching them when they were in a neat convoy but couldn't resist capturing a few as they came passed a while later at a rather quicker pace and more strung-out.

A bit of a weird angle as I hung out over our balcony. I have definitely become more accustomed to fifth floor living as the months have worn on.

Instead of expecting the handrail to give way if I touch it, I now expect it to hold....

I love the Deux Chevaux, 2CV, and used to have one called Pru...

Oh look, managed to catch two together here!

I am wondering what the next few weeks will bring - when Alcala really starts to come to life, when the children finish school and preparations are made for the medieval market at La Mota - and when the now famous Etnosur festival gets under way. This year, there's an African theme to the music. So my guess is there'll be lots of drumming - and I love drumming.

It's going to be amazing.

And we'll be here in the middle of it all, though moving at the end of the month - more to follow!
Now, who has southern Spain on their holiday itinerary? Do drop in if you have and I don't just mean virtually!


  1. Hello Annie:
    The 'water balls' are absolutely amazing. We saw them quite recently on Brighton beach and were mesmerised by them. With hindsight we felt that they were an excellent activity to wear children out as just trying to stay upright in one seemed to be a feat of Hercules.

    And yes, how wonderful to be in Spain as the summer season gets into full swing. Summer in Spain we imagine to be similar to life here in Budapest. Everything goes slow and the children are the focus of so many of the special events. Enjoy!!

  2. Hi Jane and Lance - the fair has now gone; it's the cherry festival this weekend; can't say life is slow but I do seem to be the only one who rushes about...I still have a lot to learn!
    And we came here so the children could really 'have their time'. We're enjoying - thank you. Ax

  3. I want a water bubble! Alcala looks a lovely town and it looks like you're settling in well. I have a few houses to look at in that area when I finally make it over and it's brilliant to read about the town like this, bloggers do a great job of telling people about their area. K xxx

  4. Hi Karen, thanks for your comments - if or when you're over this way make sure to let me know, won't you! Axx


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