Murcia City is the regional capital of Murcia. It has many beautiful buildings dating from the mid 1800s when its wealth was built on mining and agriculture.
The week after Easter is the Fiesta de Primaverde (spring) but also the Entierro de Sardino (The burial of the Sardine). Think of celebrating the end of winter and the start of a new agricultural year, that just about sums it up. We were there on the Thursday after Easter. On Wednesday there had been processions of the Big Fish and Mrs Sardine, lots of noise and whistles. On Thursday the Big Fish dies and his Will is read at the Town Hall. We happened to be in the Casino (not a place to gamble but a beautifully decorated club for the town's elite in a bygone era) when an almighty din started up with a troupe of drummers coming in to serenade the Sad Widows, a group of ladies dressed in black who had, by the looks of it, had a very jolly lunch with a LOT of different wines.
The Widows (that is, metaphorically, the Sardine's widows) led the drummers a merry dance outside and down the main street.
Now, by this time it was chucking it down, and the receptionist suggested we take a look at an art exhibition upstairs. Thinking this would keep us dry for a while, we went up to meet the artist. We got chatting, and he opened a bottle of very tasty red for us, explained the thought processes behind his work and showed us out onto the balcony to see the procession.
It was very wet there so we retreated inside to finish the bottle and continue our art appreciation, a very pleasant half hour later we staggered downstairs into the rain, round the corner into a cafe to wait for the procession to start at 7.30. It would pass through the city, the main streets lined with tiered seating and the side streets with plastic chairs, until it reached the town Hall at 10.30, where the Sardine's Will would be read. I'm afraid that by 9.30 we were cold & damp and gave up waiting, but the Spanish, from grannies to babies, were still out on the streets when we turned for home.
On Saturday the grand finale will see floats parade on the same route, and culminates with the burning of the Sardine and a grand firework display at 1.30am on Sunday morning.
Today's photos show some of the buildings in the city. The Bishop's palace opposite the Cathedral had superb stained glass, the Casino had a Ladies' Powder room full of baroque mirrors, and a cafe had loo doors heavily disguised behind walls of felt leaves (the plaster hands the only clue to their doors). The couple in the doorway of Cafe Martinez made a wonderful lunch, the Sangria was very sweet but potent, and I recommend eating here for anyone visiting Murcia.