Santa Maria

Island Wanderer
Peter and Avril Brookes
Sun 2 Oct 2011 16:07
Forgot to mention in last blog, we think we saw a shark....
Last year, our attempts to find the centre of the nearest town, Santa Maria, were unsuccessful despite several trips in by bike or on foot. This year, after scrutinising Google maps we headed off in what we thought was  the right direction. Having spent the morning washing and doing some of the never ending minor repairs, we fancied some time ashore.
The Levante wind has been blowing solidly for the last seven days at a fairly constant 25-30 knots, from an easterly direction. As we neared the beach, we noticed that the wind had carried a significant amount of sand onto adjacent footpaths and roads. The car park was covered in mini sand dunes and as we walked past we could feel the sand blasting bare skin and getting into our teeth and hair. The beach was, not surprisingly, almost deserted despite full sunshine and temperatures in the mid 30’s.
From the beach we walked through the pine forest until we came to the town. We soon found what we were looking for and felt rewarded for our perseverance. The first historic building we came across was the enormous bullring. The sport is still very much alive in Spain. Local newspapers have been full of the triumphant bull which has seen off 3 bullfighters this season. (Seen off in the terminal sense) Such has been the notoriety of the bull that there is a large fee for any bull fighter brave or stupid enough to challenge it. The  bull ring here was unfortunately closed for repairs which meant we couldn’t go inside and have a look round. Nevertheless, the outside was very impressive and gave you some idea of the scale of the thing.
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Entrance to the bullring                                                                   This was a huge building
We carried on through narrow streets which were almost empty, it being a Sunday afternoon during the siesta. The further we went, the more ornate the streets became as we approached the historic centre of the town. The streets were only two or three stories high, but each building had beautiful balconies with elaborate iron work which were often filled with flowers. The windows and doors were all unique and highly decorative. As we turned into a side street, we came across an area crammed with locals enjoying Sunday lunch in the open air restaurants. The tables spilled out onto the pavements and families were eating typical Spanish food, much of it fish, some barbequed on demand! We settled for an icecream, but regretted it as I suspect they were well past their sell by date!
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We walked back to the Marina along the river and then Avril managed to persuade Pete to walk the final few hundred yards along the beach. The wind had, for the first time in days dropped slightly and the pristine beach with barely a footprint on it was irresistible. Peter regrettably dislikes sand and getting wet, but managed the challenge unscathed.The sea was warm and full of oyster shells brought in by the tide.
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Do I have to?.........                                                                             This is more like it!...