Mary n Mel’s Adventures travel blog

Caratgena fields

Its spring in Spain

No time to get to church, pray at your local shrine

This building protected by Wookies

The ceiling of the Salon de Senoras at the casio

Flamingo's in the Casio's library

Waiting for the bride and groom to come out

First stop in Spain is Cartagena and Murcia. The port city, Cartagena is an agricultural center with its flat plains and mild weather. Murcia is 50 KM inland, up in the hills. The drive is 30 minutes through irrigated fields of artichokes, oranges and olives.

The city of Murcia is lovely with plazas, fountains, narrow clean streets. Lots of shops with meat pies and fancy pastries. On the main street of most neighborhoods is a window display of a saint or Virgin Mary. Guide explains that in case you can’t make it to church, you can say a prayer at these mini-window shrines instead. The Moorish influence can be seen in the tile work, building decorations and statues. Many buildings have scrolls, shields or stonework on the facades. Shaggy looking creatures were on a couple of buildings and a church. They looked a lot like Wookies. May be we found the church for Andy.

Highlight of the trip was a tour of the Casino of Murcia, built in 1847 as a gentleman’s club. The casino had neither slot machines or strippers. It was a social club with salons, ballrooms, library, billiard room, fencing room. Still in use, it has been beautifully restored. I loved the Salon de Senoras which was where the women would hang out to take a break or get their makeup refreshed. The ceiling was painted with women and cherubs as butterflies, representing the four seasons. Woodwork in the library included flamingos as the stairway brackets.

Next was the Cathedral of Murcia, built in 1394 over an old Arab mosque. That might explain why the interior structure looks like a church within a church. Maybe the interior/main church is the original mosque footprint and all the private side chapels added on later as new additions. The outside is very fortress looking, but inside is definitely church.

Had time to get a latte, but no pastry before heading back to Cartagena. Stopped by the Virgin of Fuensanta cathedral which stands at the site of two streams coming out the side of the mountain. Still has a monastery and convent with the nuns selling candied nuts. We tried to buy some but they were already sold out for the day. A wedding was going on as it’s a very picturesque place overlooking the city below.

Really surprised at how much we liked Spain, at least this area. Peaceful, nice happy looking people, with a bit of spice all its own, especially with the Arab influences. Would like to come back and spend more time.

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