Thursday, January 8, 2015

Travel Thursday, Destination: LORCA

Thursday, 8 January, 2015:

The news about the massacre of a dozen people and wounding of eleven more in Paris yesterday by Islamic terrorists is just heartbreaking.

A newspaper here in Spain reported today that it was the largest non-war related mass murder in France since 1835. In America, it would have been reported as the biggest mass murder since Saturday.

This week's Travel Thursday destination was the City of Lorca.

My timing today was simply GREAT!

My bus to Murcia's train station arrived three minutes after I got to the bus stop.

Then, the train from Murcia to Lorca left two minutes after I bought my ticket at the train station.

Lorca is just a 50 minute
train ride southwest of Murcia

Lorca is a city with a population of 93,000 souls. It features a 13th century castle and hosts, according to my Lonely Planet guidebook "Spain's most flamboyant Semana Santa celebrations."

In 2011, an earthquake devastated Lorca, killing nine people, injuring many others and leaving many families homeless.

Lorca is still trying to rebuild it's old city center to this day.

They have political views in Lorca too

Hammer Time?

Never thought that I would see
this anywhere in Europe

One thing that I have noted in Murcia, Cartagena, Valencia and now Lorca. The Visitor's Center are no where near the train stations in any of these towns.

That means that you need to do some serious dead reckoning and be ready to ask several people for help in finding a ciudad's Tourist Information Center if you do not want to wander about aimlessly all day.

While I was on my Visitors Center quest, I stumbled upon one of Lorca's Semana Santana highlights.

Holy Week in Spain sounds like a tremendous cultural event than can not be missed.

They raved about the parade of the penitents when I was in Cartagena and the people in Murcia are equally proud of their Semana Santa doings.

Lorca's two main penitent groups are Paso Blancos (whites) and the Paso Azuls (blues).

The Paso Blanco Museum

This was a thoroughly modern museum attached to a church, thus satisfying my "One Museum/One Church per Day" rule in the first 15 minutes that I was in Lorca.

The Paso Blanco Museum did a great job of displaying their elaborately hand-embroidered silk robes that are up to five meters long and are worn in the Holy Week Processions.


Biblical Motifs

I like purple

Ah, the Romans

The Paso Blanco Church . . .

. . . with a Golden Altar

Amazing Embroidery

Grateful Dead Robe?

Paso Blanco Penitent Garb


Jesus has a robe too

Truly works of art, I left impressed at the incredible talent and patience that it must take to make these ceremonial robes by hand.

Lorca Visitors Center

It is still dealing with its 2011 earthquake issues.

Nice Art Work

The Cupola of  Iglesia de San Mateo

"Sober But Elegant"

That is the way that this Jesuit Church's interior is described on the Tourist Information sign outside the church.

A Group of "Tios" just hanging out

Post 2011 Earthquake
Compassion Sculpture

Big Fish

Face Me!

I liked the contrast

My Maternal Grandparent's
last name was del Cueto

Checking out the Paso Azul Museum

They deserved equal time with their Paso Blanco rivals I believed.

This museum was no where near as glitzy as the Paso Blanco's. Instead it had a wonderful hostess named Carmen who guided me about the quaint three story museum in which embroiderers were hard at work.

Egyptian Theme

Such detail

Paso Azul Garb

Embroiderers Hard at Work

Laborious Art Work to be sure

Cleopatra with Julius Caesar
and Marc Anthony


The Resurrection

A 2015 Robe in progress

Each robe takes so many hours to create, teams of two to six women work in 12 hour shifts to get the new robes ready for the 2015 Semana Santa Processions on April 2-3.

Both museums were worthwhile but Carmen made the Paso Azul's a better experience.

I hope to bring Laurie with me to Lorca for the Holy Thursday Procession.

Nice Old Street Light

King Alfonso X
"El Sabio"

King Alfonso X, known as "The Wise," is extremely popular all over the Region of Murcia. He ruled as King of Castile, León and Galicia from 1252 A.D. to 1284 A.D.

A Tower of La Colegiata
de San Patricio

Man with a Club on the
Plaza de España

The Court Building

In old western movies, the bad guys were sent to the "hoosegow." I'm guessing that term came from the Spanish word "juzgado" meaning a judicial court.

Next up was a long, uphill walk to Lorca's 13th century castle and Parador hotel.

The walk did afford me some great
views of the countryside

Paradors are NICE hotels

They are often renovated, former historic buildings or in this case, a new hotel atop a historic sight next to the castle.

$75 a night

I had lunch in the Parador and it is a spectacular hotel with amazing vistas. A FOUR STAR hotel for only $75 USD per night . . . AMAZING!!!

Lorca's Castle

The Castle's Torre del Espolón

A Siege Catapult

A BIG Sword

The La Fortaleza Del Sol Castle was OK, not great. Of course, I may be a bit jaded after having visited God knows how many European castles over my six EuroBall coaching seasons.

I passed

Lorca's Plaza de Toros

It was not open, but it is another nearby bull ring to see depending on who is fighting and/or if Miura bulls will be taking up the challenge.

The Shady Side of the Plaza
offers the expensive seating

All in all, Lorca was a good get-away destination, lots to see, friendly people and, of course, good food.

My timing in Lorca was again spot on as I bought my return ticket about two minutes before the train left for Murcia. Once safely in Murcia, I only had to wait a minute before my bus arrived for my triumphant return to La Hacienda.


Reading Is FUNdamental

This is the fourth book in Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano mystery series that I have read.

Equal parts mystery and Sicilian lifestyle/culture, these books bring back some good memories of our two years living on that paradise of an island.


David said...

So if you can't get a suit of lights as your coaching garb, maybe you can go with one of those robes.

George said...

Or both.

George said...

Better yet the Penitent's pointy headed outfit!