Monday, December 29, 2014

A Placid Weekend

Saturday, 27 December:

Nothing really planned for today, so I just opted to once again stroll the mean streets of Murcia.

Churros for Breakfast?

Deep fried dough made right in front of your eyes only a two-minute walk to el Jardin de las Tres Copas from La Hacienda. Why not?

“And oh so good for you too!”

As usual, I headed to the city’s historic center to people watch and discover.

Plaza Circular

As near as I can tell from my Tourist Office map of central Murcia, this is the municipality’s biggest traffic circle.

There are many.

The Plaza Circular is beautiful with its fountain and greenery. Since tram-lines, busses, cars and pedestrians all intersect around this plaza, you can sit in a nearby sidewalk café and be entertained watching all of the near misses as people decide who has the right of way.

To be honest though, compared to traffic in Catania, Sicily, this is more like watching a ride at Disneyland.

Sicily was the home of offensive driving!

One of the Three Wise Men

It is Gaspar I believe. Hopefully it is not Santa on a bike still trying to deliver presents.

España’s #1 Department Store

This place was a madhouse on Saturday. The products for sale are of excellent quality but a bit too pricey for my simple tastes.

Speaking of pricey, I walked into a nice Levi’s store on the Gran Via near this very El Corte Inglés. A pair of new 501 jeans go for about $115 USD.

Laurie may need to hit the Camarillo Outlet Mall’s Levi’s store and bring some with her to España to help pay for our expenses.

I wondered what Mike, Vanessa
and Jacob were up to today?

San Miguel himself


Not sure who’s crest this is, perhaps it is Murcia’s?

No, not a Cuban Food Restaurant

After completing my latest tour of la ciudad, I returned to La Hacienda having struck out again at finding the proper TV cable to hook up to my TV.

Some basic home entertainment would be nice.

Since I had no TV capabilities at La Hacienda, I scoured the La Verdad newspapers to see what was playing in the local cinemas.

El Cine Rex

This plush, one-screen cinema was only about a mile and a half walk from La Hacienda and was located near the Cathedral. At 8:00 p.m. it was showing the movie version of an excellent book that I had read last summer.

Invencible, a.k.a., Unbroken

The story of the incredible life of Louis Zamperini has been made into a very good film that I highly recommend to everyone. It concentrate’s mainly on his World War II experience’s as first a downed airman set adrift on the Pacific Ocean, and then the hardship he endured as a POW in the hands of the Japanese.


On the way home after this inspirational film, I had to stop off at La Hacienda’s local watering hole to debrief myself.

Sunday, 28 December:

The Real Casino de Murcia

Construction of the eclectic Real Casino de Murcia began in
1847 and became a mix of various architectural styles along the way. Four different architects took turns leading the 45 years that it took to construct the Casino. In 1983, it was declared a National Historic Monument. The word “casino” in this context means a “social meeting place” not necessarily a place to gambling as many believe.

Although this is a private club, the ground floor is open to the public for a fee.

Today though, starting at 4:00 p.m., it was open to the public for free thus saving me the three Euros that we Senior Citizens would normally have to pay to tour the Casino.

Closing Time at La Mejillonera

I arrived at the Casino about 30 minutes before the free entrance time so I opted for some sustenance at this cozy little café-bar located next to the Cathedral on Plaza Cardenal Belluga. A caña, some patatas bravas and a Catalan bocadillo did the trick. La Mejillonera was closing at 4:00 p.m. on this cold Sunday and I was ready to see the Casino.

Colorful Entryway

I wonder what lies beyond those doors?

The Patio Arabe

WOW! I was blown away and it was only the first room. I love the Moorish architectural influence emphasizing geometric patterns throughout southern Spain. After seeing Granada’s Alhambra two years ago, I became a fan.

The Arabic writing that you see says the same thing over and over again, “Nothing Greater Than Allah.”

The Patio Arabe’s luxurious neo-Nazari style is highlighted by more than 35,000 sheets of gold leaf. Let’s take a look at more of this amazing room.


 Arch Close-Up

“Nothing Greater Than Allah”


Gold Leaf

 Blue Is My Favorite Color

 The Patio Arabe’s Dome

 The Floor Was Nice Too

 And Then There Was the Balcony

Balcony Close-Up

I guess that I needed to move on to see the rest of the Casino.

Let’s Start in the Galería Central

From here the various rooms of the Casino that we were about to visit branched off on both sides.

The Biblioteca Inglesa

So named because when built in 1913 they used the plans designed by a British firm.

 Biblioteca Desk

 Some of the 20,000 books in the
Biblioteca Inglesa’s Collection

 The Biblioteca Has Wooden Floors

The Congresillo

This is an elegant, to say the least, sitting room for the upper class to meet on social occasions.

 Salón de Baile

 Lush Ceiling of the Salón de Baile

Or the elite could just traipse into the next room for a spin on the dance floor. This Ballroom was considered to be the most important room for socializing in the entire Casino.

Hey, is she on FIRE?

Patio Pompeyano
Why not?

The Patio Azul

 It is Christmas Time afterall

Nice Yuletide Touch

 En Garde!

Four Women in the Armory

There was a time when fencing was the thing do in this room, today not so much.

All in all, the Casino was quite impressive.

Now, let’s take a look at my living accommodations, a.k.a.,
La Hacienda.

The Entryway

The Living Room

The Kitchen

The Bedroom

 The Spacious Shower

As stated previously, La Hacienda is well located within easy walking distance of shopping and most of Murcia’s main attractions.

While not quite as sumptuous as the Real Casino de Murcia, it is cozy and meets most of my needs.

The Louds, I have been remiss in not mentioning them sooner. These are my next door neighbors. The lady of the house only speaks in one mode 24/7 . . . FULL VOLUME!!!

Still, if we could just find the correct cable to hook up the TV, finally get the internet working so that I didn’t have to make the trip to the Bar-Café Gran Via each morning to use their wifi and get the heater to work, then La Hacienda would be perfect!

Speaking of trips, with no practice on Wednesday due to it being New Year’s Eve, I’ve got three straight days without any coaching duties after Monday night’s two practices.


Now I just have to figure out where to go? Valencia, España's third biggest city is just a couple of hours north of us, why not?

Reading Is FUNdamental

There is a reason that Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot is considered a classic mystery character, a fun read.

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