Thursday, February 5, 2015

Travel Thursday to Elche, a.k.a., Elx

Thursday, 5 February, 2015:

Day 52 of living in Murcia was once again sunny, windy and cold. My options were to stay in the warm confines of La Hacienda or do more exploring of the Region of Murcia.


The Train Station in Elche/Elx

It only cost 4.40 Euros for today's round trip about an hour away to the northeast of Mucia on the Cercanía train.

A few weeks ago David "Brady" Durán suggested that the city of Elche or Elx as it is called in Valenciano, would be a good destination for one of my Travel Thursdays.

The Durán brothers, Roberto and David, have been spot-on with all of their suggestions so far the last two months, so Elche/Elx it was today!

Roundabout Art and Palm Trees

There are two things that Elche has in abundance, art and palm trees.

Elche, thanks to those pesky Moors of yesteryear and their ideas on irrigation, has been an important fruit producer for centuries. 

Red Fountain and Palm Trees

The extensive palm groves have earned Elche designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site. These groves were originally planted by the Phoenicians and help give the city a definite North African feel.

The entrance to the Parc Municipal
and its Palm Trees

 Hugging sculpture and
Palm Trees

There are an estimated 200,000 palm trees in Elche with an average life span of 250 years.

The word oasis comes to mind.

I will try to limit further mention of the palm trees.

Canopy and Shadows


Snazzy Tourist Information Center

Not near the train station as usual but I only had to ask one señora for directions and she was very precise thank goodness.

The Dama de Elche

This copy was in the Tourist Office. The original, a masterpiece of Iberian art, was unearthed in the L'Alcúdia just outside of the town center and now resides in the Madrid's National Archaeological Museum.

 Museo Arqueológico y
de Historia de Elche

It looked interesting but I passed.

Basílica de Santa Maria
de la Asunción

She is the Patron Saint of Elche and my Mother is named Asunción because she was born on this Saint's Feast Day, August 15th.

I'm not saying the year though.

 Hanging Out

 Basílica de Santa Maria
de la Asunción's entrance

A Nose Ring of Interest

Here comes the Sun

I like the Basílica's blue tiles

The Basílica was nice inside

And it was free.


 Patron Saint of Broom Pushers?

Soft Curves

Part of the Asunción Museum

Benediction Monstrance

Santa Maria de la Asunción


Nice Tailoring

Mary Death Mask

Mary's Crown has a . . .

. . . nice pearl 

Did I mention that I like blue?

I like tapas for lunch too.

This is an Oreo dessert tapa.

And SO good for me!

After lunch, it was back to exploring the city.

 Misteri D'Elx Museum

Elche has also earned UNESCO World Heritage status for its annual Misteri D'Elx play on August 14th and 15th.

This is a two act lyric drama dating from medieval times. It is performed in the Basīlica de Santa Maria de la Asunción each year.

I watched an interesting 20 minute multi-media presentation in the museum that gave me a good feel for the Misteri D'Elx play and its basis in legend.

A nearby set of murals tells the tale . . .  

One day in 1370, a casket washes
up on Elche's Mediterranean shore

Coast Guard soldier Francesc Cantó
finds the casket and inside was . . .

. . . a statue of the Virgin Mary and the Consueta, the music and libretto of a mystery play describing Mary's death, assumption into heaven and coronation.

Francesc Cantó riding to Elche
to spread the news

Declaration of the need of an
annual Fiesta to celebrate the find

We ought to parade the Virgin
around town at least

 Raise your swords caballeros,
Mary is here!

 Nice hanging grapes in the
Mercado Central

Palm Tree City Gate

We were framed!

Francesc Cantó Statue

A croc in the river bed

 Strong Silent Type

 Hard working but silent as well

 Lucha Libre comes to Elche

Beats me???

Never seen Mary like this before

El Gallo Bike Rentals

The Huerto del Cura

In the Islamic world, a garden is considered a form of heaven. These gardens bring Elche's rich Moorish past into focus. 

Dama D'Elche Fountain

Huerto del Cura palm trees and . . .

 . . . cacti

 Red Flowers too

The Tower of Babel sculpture

 King Jaime I
The Conqueror

He liberated Elche from Moorish rule in 1265 A.D.

E Pluribus Unum

There are eight palms somehow joined together with only one common palm trunk rooted in the lush earth.

How did they do that?

Palms, lots of palms and . . .

. . . a peacock too

A proud one at that!

I'd look good in Flamenco pants

It was well worth the trip to Elche/Elx today.

Did I mention the palm trees?

 Once safely back in Murcia . . .

The wonders continued!

American made sports nutrition products.

The Circus is coming!

Countdown to Laurie
in Europa continues . . .

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