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...