This is the fabulous view of Jebel Musa, part of the Rif Mountain chain on the Moroccan side of the Strait of Gibraltar….generally identified as the southern Pillar of Hercules (Gibraltar being the northern Pillar), that we saw returning from a fascinating visit to Baelo Claudia (considered to be the most complete Roman town ruins uncovered in Spain) at the end of July this year.
The 2nd century Roman town at Bolonia, near Tarifa was founded as a result of trade with North Africa. Tuna fishing, salting and garum production made it and an important economic centre. Remains of monuments such as a basilica, theatre, market and temple of Isis in this spectacular setting and a rather stunning contemporary (& free to citizens of the EU) visitors centre make it an interesting and stunning place to visit.
1.30hrs drive from Gaucin, we set off early to have completed our tour of the ruins and were enjoying a glass of wine and delicious tapas in a beach side chiringuito before the lunch time crowds arrived, there was then time to walk to the top of the huge sand dune and admire the 3.8k beach below.
Sadly for me there are no remaining mosaic floors and the Roman town went into decline hastened by earthquakes and multiple attacks by Barbary pirates and was finally abandoned by the 6th century. Stop off at the “Mirador del Estrecho” (google for directions) on the return journey to see the magnificent view of the Straits and have an ice cream!
From mid July the Gaucín town hall arranged a week of cultural events for various age groups in and around the village followed by the wonderful “Flamenco Festival” in celebration of the Genal valley cork forest. A free event in the square on the last Saturday in July. We throughly enjoyed the evening. The music began quietly, gradually building up to a crescendo of vigorous, rhythmic flamenco, marvellous hand clapping and percussive footwork typical of the flamenco style. The dancing involves intricate hand, arm and body movements - see our little film here.
The annual Gaucín Feria (Fair in English) started on Thursday 1st August with a marvellous procession in honour of the 2019 Feria queen and her maids. Starting at 10.30pm at the Convento, at the top of the village and making it’s way to the fairground right outside Casa Mosaica; lead by the Mayor and many locals in traditional Andalucian costumes, the village band “Villa de Gaucín” and the horse riders of the Peña Caballista “El Potro”. The Mayor inaugurates the Feria by switching on the lights and crowning the queen...The 4 day Feria begins...
A huge variety of entertainments take place all day and all night on Friday and Saturday and then on Sunday, after competitions and races the horse riders gather at the fairground where a trophy is presented for the best dressed horse and rider, attracting much competition, followed by the “Rociero” where everyone is invited to attend in traditional costume for free sherry, paella and more music. It’s a wonderful event that Ruffi, Raffa and all their family attended until 04.00am!
We have got used to the fun and the noise over the years, and love the Andalusian traditions, although not very keen on the Festival of bull running which was introduced on the Saturday of Feria as well as at Easter this year.
Sadly we dare not rent Casa Mosaica at this time of year, so I hope you enjoy the photos, and of course there are ferias and carnivals all over Andalusia throughout the year which you can check out on andalucia.com
By Monday evening the dodgems have gone and Casa Mosaica is starting to get back to normal and we can enjoy the pool…
If you know anyone who would like to receive this newsletter please ask them to subscribe on casamosaica.com or follow Casa Mosaica on Facebook or Instagram.
Best wishes to all Casa Mosaica guests and friends, enjoy the rest of the summer and we hope to see or hear from you soon.
From all the CM team, Kevin & Geoffrey and...
Emma V. Cornish