Saturday, 5 March 2016

Spain 2016 - Saturday in Ayamonte.

Mum and Dad wanted to return to the Marismas de Odiele Nature Reserve and as I wasn't interested in another day of birding, I had them drop me in Ayamonte for the day.
The Saturday market in Ayamonte is held opposite the bus station and is predominantly clothing.
Acres and acres of strawberries are grown here, under low plastic greenhouses. They are quite ugly but we do love the fruit and they have become a staple in our frig. A kiligram costs about 2.50 Euro ($3.75) and lasts us for days of breakfasts and supper desserts.
The market is like an open air Walmart - aside from the clothing stalls (far the majority) there's fabric,
shoes, purses, jewelry, linens and towels and kitchen implements. There is some shouting out of the deals by the vendors but none of the joyful chaos that we experienced in the Castro Marim market (its on again next weekend).
I checked the bus schedule and discovered that it runs out to Punta del Moral every hour, but not between 2 and 5pm.
Painted tile at the bus station.
With no particular agenda or destination I just wandered the streets of Ayamonte.
A small square named after a poet with a sculpture illustrating one of his poems.
An impressive house through a huge wrought iron gate and an avenue of orange trees.
A pretty little tiled courtyard entrance of a far more modest home.
A section of fortification near the central church.
I walked around the pedestrian shopping area, into the market building, into the main square. It was all bustling with shoppers and families just out for a walk, stopping for a coffee or an ice cream along the way.
Inside the church men were bringing out of storage and assembling the big frames to be used to carry the statues through the streets during the week before Easter.
Semana Santa is celebrated elaborately in Andalucia with parades through the streets involving the various "brotherhoods" that Catholic families may belong to.
"........ every brotherhood carries magnificent "Pasos" or floats with sculptures that depict different scenes from the gospels related to the Passion of Christ or the Sorrows of Virgin Mary. Many of these floats are art pieces created by Spanish artists such as Gregorio Fernandez, Juan de Mesa, Martínez Montañés or Mariano Benlliure. Brotherhoods have owned and preserved these "pasos" for centuries in some cases." From Wikipedia.
Some of the "pasos" were being cleaned, most were covered to protect the elaborate carved gold and silver.
This one looks like it may have a number of figures and animals on it.
Continuing past the church and square I came across this building that I had noticed when driving by.
I am curious about anything labelled "Museo" so pushed on the door and it was open. One of the 3 men standing together inside turned and said it was closed. I apologized and went to leave and he said "no, you can look".
He walked with me to the glass case around their "paso" and explained that the top is entirely gold, its very heavy and 50 of them carry it through the streets, no wheels on it. I asked permission to take the picture.
Next door was the Iglesia de San Francisco  with this paso ready to transport the Virgin complete with her long cloak.
A plaque outside noted the mudejar architecture, the mix of Muslim and Christian Architecture that we also saw in the Alcazar in Seville.
I continued to walk through town knowing that I would soon reach the outskirts.
Completely clad in green tiles, though getting a little run down in places.
Finally at the end of town and there was ...
this sign showing towns, roads and walking paths. There was one path starting at this point and going along the Guadiana River.
I walked the path, Camino de Guadiana, for about 20 minutes and then turned back towards town. This shows Ayamonte on the left and Villa Real de San Antonio, Portugal, on the right

These brilliant blue flowers were growing out of the sidewalk.
I walked back along the riverside, past warehouses, ship yards, fishing docks and
some sad abandoned old boats.
Past the ferry terminal, through the downtown square and finally to Plaza de la Ribera.
Here I sat on one of the tiled benches and sketched, one of the tiled benches.
It started to rain so that gave me a good excuse to find a bar and order a glass of wine and a tapas of calamari. By then it was 3pm. I could wait for the bus at 5pm or start walking. I walked for about 15 minutes through a relatively modern residential area then
across the bridge to Isla Canela and
past the sculpture at the first round about
when Mum and Dad picked me up as they were driving by, sparing me from having to walk about 10km to get back home. We stopped at Sonrisa on the beach for a glass of wine in the sun.
This morning, from the terrace, I saw a boat go out that had a rigging system for about 10 flags. It looked like a race committee boat to me.
Sitting at Sonrisa we could see this fleet of about 30 little sailboats, out in the Atlantic, racing around bright orange tetrahedrons. It was a long day for that committee boat.

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