Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Perfect puente

This is a holiday weekend. El día de Andalucía is 28th February and in honour of this occasion, school children have not only the Tuesday off but Monday too - described as a 'bridge' day as it bridges the gap between the weekend and the actual holiday. The day commemorates the date when Andalucia gained the status of an autonomous region over thirty years ago and is one of the rare civil holidays - as opposed to the many religious-based holidays.

As the actual day is a holiday from school, most Andalucian school children are treated to a special celebration on the Friday before - a delicious concoction of bread, olive oil and chocolate - yes...chocolate and olive oil is a wonderful combination and I will be working on some special chocolatey ideas as soon as I get back into production!

Romy has come home full of information about the specialities of each province in Andalucia, which I repeat here without checking her facts - Jaén is known for it´s olives; Almería for ceramics and pottery; Granada for it´s mountains, Málaga for it´s seafood; Sevilla for it´s oranges; Cadíz for it´s grapes, Huelva for copper...and she couldn´t remember what Córdoba´s speciality was but let´s say historical sites are a bit of speciality - as, according to UNESCO, Cordoba has the most historical heritages in the world (OK, that was in 1984 but surely nowhere can gain historical sites..?)

And, as it's a holiday from school, we thought we'd go to the beach for the day. Although the weather has been bright and sunny here in Alcala la Real, it's been chilly out of the sun, so we weren't sure quite how it would be on the coast and went with many layers of clothing on.

We needn't have worried - it was lovely, reaching 23 degrees C in the afternoon on the promenade. There was quite a breeze on the beach though and sea itself was far too cold to do more than test it with one toe but we really enjoyed our first picnic on the beach of the year.
This is the beach at La Herradura - a perfect place to visit at this time of year - small and friendly with excellent ice cream. Horribly busy in the summer months though.

With the spirit of holiday upon us, when we got home last night, FR prepared some pork ribs in a rich, paprika adobado which this afternoon, we took, together with a few bits and pieces up to a nearby hill to eat cooked over the brasas of a real fire. The place we went is a piece of land just 2kms away from home where the views are spectacular and which is owned by the friend of a friend who gave us free rein to go there and have a barbecue whenever we wanted. It has to be one of the most perfect places on earth - or at least this part of Jaen!

Wild iris out in flower
One of the many atalayas - or watch towers - in the area

Not clearly visible today due to heat haze but through that gap is the wonderful Sierra Nevada
Almond trees just coming into blossom
Filling the air with honeyed scent - gorgeous

FR put his boyscout skills to the test by building a barbecue - none of this portable stuff for us! The children and I went foraging for wood to fuel the fire.

And within an hour or so, we were munching on the most delicious spare ribs ever cooked, delicately flavoured with rosemary and thyme.

A glorious sight!

Now we're back home, watching a Superman film in a kind of relaxed and tired torpor - a good kind - but I think we might stay at home tomorrow...


  1. Oh my word, you live in the most amazing place.

    I have been trying to persuade my other half that retiring to rural Spain is a good idea - not that we're close to retiring, but friends have retired there - and hubby is not too keen on my other option, moving to be near friends on Shetland, so Spain seemed like a good idea. But he reckons I'll have to live at the top of a mountain to cope with the heat!

    Looks like you are having a wonderful spring break xxx

  2. A glorious day Annie... and the photo of the meat with the hillside in the background is to die for....view and the food.
    I am particularly delighted to see the almonds in blossom.....and hoping that a little further north, my almond trees will be blossoming when I next get to see them. Glad it was such a good day.

  3. Hi there,
    I just discovered your lovely blog. Your pics are so beautiful. I am looking forward to seeing more. Have a great week. Greetings from the US...Heidi

  4. Wonderful post. Am thinking of now adding your part of the world onto my travel bucket list which up to now has been

  5. What a truly lovely family weekend, Annie! You live in the most amazing area - those views.... Interesting that Spain does the 'faire le pont' thing like France. much more fun than those boring Bank Holiday Mondays in the UK:-) As for trying your chocolate and olive oil combination, that will have to wait until Lent is over. Sigh....

    PS It took me the usual several goes to get two word verification words i could decipher. Ho hum....

  6. PS I forgot to ask, did you have an unusually dry winter this year? The soil and vegetation on the hill look desperately dry and parched.

  7. Thank you all for your lovely comments!

    Annie - come to Spain! (It is pretty hot in the summer but it's a dry heat and it doesn't bother me in the slightest. None of that sweaty, humid, sapping heat that you get nearer the coast - or in England...sometimes!)

    Janice - I can't tell you how wonderful the scent of the almond was...truly honeyed. We're surrounded by almond trees and they're all coming out just now which is wonderful. I'm sure your's will be out soon.

    Welcome Heidi and Carole. Am popping over to see your blogs too. Thanks for visiting - hope you'll come back!

    And Perpetua - isn't it lovely! We are so lucky and the photos don't really do justice to actually being here. I won't mention chocolate again for a while! And yes, it has hardly rained at all since the one time it rained in November. Very dry - we could have problems later in the year as a result.

  8. Annie, I've just spent a few minutes finding Alcala La Real on the map. I had no idea you were so far south in Spain. No wonder it looks so dry. All this winter's bad weather skimmed past you to the north.


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