Monday, April 27, 2015

Cobras Team Building BBQ

Sunday, April 26, 2015:

Cobras' stellar QB Angel Clemente had a great idea for this weekend before the start of the 2015 Serie B playoffs, a team building/re-affirmation get together of the Cobras.

All agreed that food should be
a central part of the gathering

Well, actually, at least I thought it should be.

Angel most heartily agreed.

But where to hold such a gathering for the entire Cobras Nation?

 A spot out in the mountains of
Murcia would be perfect

But where exactly?

 Of course!

The Clemente family's ancestral country home on land co-owned by Angel's family and his uncles and their families.

One of the Angel and Jesus' uncles homes
as you enter the Finca Los Clementes
The spread grew as the day progressed

Make your own Marineras

 One of about 20 Marineras
that Laurie and I shared

DAMN they were good!!!

 Angel and Jesus' Dad, Jesus

The hardest working man in the Spanish BBQ business.

The food just kept on coming
and it was all GREAT!!!

Jesus, Jesus, me, Oscar, Angel and
"El Pulpero"

El Pulpero is Jesus and Angel's uncle on his Mother's side and is famous for the way he lovingly prepares pulp, but that is for another time.

We had a lot of laughs around the BBQ pit on this fine day.

Me, Rosa and Oscar

Mi familia Murciana menos Tala.

Casta, Mariano and a former Cobra

I did not catch his name but he promised to be at the Wild Card Playoff game next Saturday.

 WR Esteve and OL Kike

Showing the love, Cobra style.

 RT Tomás

GREAT, hard working guy.

RB Omar and DE Angel Bejerano

Omar worries me a bit at times.

 Christina and Alejandro Sotomayor

Soto is the Cobras LT, DE and passionate President of the team.

 Rafa on the left with his mujer

On the right is another former Cobra and his mujer, again names unknown, who will all be at the game next Saturday.

 Micas and Jesus

Good people. How I wish that they were both still playing.

 Manu, Angel, Kiki and Kiki's brother

You know, you can have a lot of fun on a Sunday afternoon with these guys.

Kiki's Dad, Jesus and me

 Jesus and George

Of course, these are assumed names as we are both wanted by Interpol.

 Onions for another day

 Catalina and Laurie

Catalina's motto: "Have Camera, Will Travel"

Near Finca Los Clementes

Laurie, Incarna, me and Jesus

Angel and Jesus' parents are simply wonderful people and great hosts.

1-2-3 COBRAS!!!

Once back at La Hacienda,
we saw this gigantic rainbow

When our season is over and we return to California, this day will be one of the highlights of our wonderful time spent in Murcia with our beloved Cobras.

Reading Is FUNdamental

A great read, but I think that Grisham should really stick with his sport related books like Playing for Pizza and Bleachers.

I doubt that his books about law cases will ever draw much attention.

I could be wrong.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Beach Day in Alicante

Saturday, 25 April, 2015:

We had talked the last few warm Spring days about going to the beach today, but where?

I asked our Cobras Team President Alejandro Sotomayor last night on the ride home from practice for his recommendation for a beach to visit and he was quick to nominate Cabo de Palos as his playa of choice.

He also mentioned that it is usually packed on weekends.

We had narrowed our final destination choices to three places, Alicante, Cartagena and Cabo de Palos. Laurie got on her iPad's weather app and discovered that Alicante would be  the warmest of the three so that decision was made for us.

Still, with no football on Tuesday, Cabo de Palos may merit a trip, weather permitting.

 Things we LOVE about España

Before boarding the train to Alicante, we stopped at the Murcia Train Stations Café Bar for two Café con Leches, a croissant and a sugar donut.

Total cost was 5.35 Euros, about $5.75 USD.

The round trip ticket to Alicante was 6.90 Euros each, about $7.50 USD apiece.

The prices for food, drink, travel and lodging make España a tourist paradise.

After the 75 minute train ride to the Mediterranean seaport city of Alicante, it was time for at least one more café, a cortado, this time with a delicious tostada de jamon y tomate.

 They served a superb cortado

 Harbor side park

We had about a mile and a half walk to the beach from the train station.

 Missing an incisor

 Alicante's Famous Promenade

 The Promenade's Band Shell

 The yacht basin was calm

 Modernista Art

We were a bit early but that meant
a good spot was ours for the taking

Interesting Palm Species

Couple playing cards

 This sand castle took
one full day to build

The horse they added today was

After four and a half hours of basking, we packed up our belongings to come home after a great beach day.

 But first we needed a vino tinto

The quiet streets of Alicante

We also stopped for a tapas and caña at our favorite spot in Alicante, the Cerveceria Sento, on the way back to the train station.

We just had to do it.

Hot Friday

Friday, 24 April, 2015:

Alberto, Tala or Onofre
Star Junior Team WR and
My Main Man

One of the things that we have grown to love during our time in Murcia has been our lunches at the home of Oscar, Rosa and Alberto, a.k.a., Tala or Onofre.

Today was one of those days and we had another great dining experience that included fun filled conversations and Tala's non-stop entertainment.

Rosa's chicken paella was incredible!!!


As their coach, I can be no happier than to have witnessed two of our best practices of the year this week on the heels of easily the low point of our season, last Sunday's loss in Barcelona.

Today we got the great news that our game will indeed be played on the brand new artificial turf at the Campo Barnes that we highlighted in yesterday's blogpost. The game will be played at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 2nd.

Of course, it is not as easy as it sounds as the new venue means that we will have to construct a set of goal posts in the next week.

That should be fun!

Of equally good note, we will be able to practice on artificial turf fields all of next week, but we will have to travel a bit. It will be worth it, I'm sure.

Monday and Wednesday, we will practice in Orihuela about 20 minutes from downtown Murcia.

On Friday, Labor Day in Europe, we will have a morning practice in nearby Beniaján, only ten minutes from el centro.

Now, if we can just figure out a way to deal with the Las Rozas Black Demons . . .

Friday, April 24, 2015

Sleepy Thursday

Thursday, 23 April 2015:

First, and maybe foremost,

ST. GEORGE!!!      

About once every six months my body just shuts down.

Today was that day but not until the afternoon.

We started at a relatively early hour with the first stop being the Biblioteca Regional for some new DVDs to watch in the comfort of La Hacienda.

After finding four good DVDs, including two early Alfred Hitchcock thrillers, we opted to walk into la ciudad's historic center for lunch at one of our favorite spots, Los Zagales.


We stumbled across this stadium which is one of the venue possibilities for our Wild Card game next weekend.

Artificial Turf

This would be a perfect, downtown venue. I hope we can close the deal!

 A Flea Market

It was right next to the Barnes stadium and, amazingly, Laurie did not buy anything.

My vest concepts has become a 
big hit with the Murcian fashionistas
Paparajotes at Los Zagales

Another great meal served by our same friendly, energetic waitress. We ordered two paparajotes for dessert, she brought us four.

Once again with the Frequent Diner Program, YAHOO!!!!!

 Santiago Matamoros

After lunch, we entered a religious bookstore next to the Cathedral. In it we found this statue for sale of St. James the Moor Slayer.

Not the most PC trinket we've seen in Spain, especially when you consider that Murcia is holding a Three Cultures (Chirstian, Jewish and Islamic) Festival next month to try to foster understanding and tolerance.

It was HOT today

Tinto de Verano is the perfect heat beating beverage as temperatures soared into the mid-80s.

Unfortunately, the combination of heat, a big lunch and Tinto de Verano knocked me out for the rest of the day as I mentioned at the top of this post.

All in all, yet another good day Murcia!