Friday, 24 January 2014

Estepa, a pictorial tour for Dee...and anyone else who'd like to tag along!!

After Wednesdays rainy photos, it was a pleasure to see the sunshine again yesterday and today, both outside AND on my laptop, where I have loads of photos stored of our town!

At Dees request, I'm sharing some of these photos, and hope you'll enjoy!  I have so many different ones that I might do an 'Estepa or Spain' theme now and again if anyone is interested!

This is a view from the convent above our town, it's actually situated at the top of our street.  The tower below is called Torre de la Victoria and at it's base are some attractive walled 'ruins' which are often used these days for weddings when the couple don't want to have a church wedding.  You can just see these to the left of the base of the tower.

This is the usual colour of the sky here, a deep and beautiful blue.

This is the top of the town, taken at dusk, and includes the Convent of Santa Clara, a silent order (The Poor Claires), The Monastery of San Fransisco, as well as the old cemetry, and was once surrounded by a protective wall....remnants of the wall can still be seen.   In the bottom right hand corner hidden in the pine trees is the municipal swimming pool, open from late June until early September and the building  in the middle with the red doors is the Fire station, which is manned by volunteers.

The local goats (and sheep) keep the grass down on public land and are regularly herded through the town.  It is not unusual to be held up in the street by the goatherd and his very large herd.

Looking across the olive groves towards Cordoba and beyond!

I couldn't resist adding this photo of the lemons on our tree, it is so packed with fruit at this time of year!

Looking from outside the Convent de Santa you can see parts of the old wall and here is the same area although looking up from below:

The tower below is part of the monastery of San Francisco

The white arch/gates were apparently once part of the old cemetary

Looking down over the town from above:

Photos taken early on a January morning, looking down the hill from outside my house

And looking up towards the Convent - the road and pavement have since been 'tiled' with cobblestones, which kept the road closed for several months while the work was done!!! (Yes, think shopping and having to drag bags of heavy groceries all the way up the hill!!!)

And finally for today, it is a tradition here that when a couple get married, their parents or friends might hire a local group of minstrels to come and serenade one or both of them,  during the early hours on the actual day of the wedding!!  I was lying in bed at about 4am one night and heard the most beautiful voices and music being played, looked out the window to see this group outside my neighbours window.  Until then, I wasn't aware of this tradition, but several neighbours were in the street in their nightclothes, so when another neighbour called me down, I joined in too, grabbing my camera on the way of course!  The group played for about half an hour, then the mother of the bride to be brought out trays of 'dulces' (sweet little cakes made locally) and Anis (aniseed flavoured liquor) which was passed around the singers and the neighbours!!!

And I have to say that even after all this activity during the night, the bride, Rosana, still looked beautiful at her wedding later the same day!

The bride to be, Rosana, and her future husband!

I hope you've enjoyed this brief 'tour' of Estepa, el corazon de Andalucia (the heart of Andalucia) and will join me another day!! 


  1. Wonderful pictures Sharon - I think you'll have us all green with envy, especially after the dismal weather and views we've had recently - and as for your lemon tree - wow! Lemon drizzle cake, fresh lemonade and a refreshing g and t all made with lemons still warm from the garden......sigh. Are there any downsides to retiring to Spain!!

    1. Thanks so much Jude, I'm glad you enjoyed them! I have to say that we are very lucky with the weather, yes, when it rains, so it rains very heavily but it never really lasts and lasts....usually later the same day or the next, so it's lovely again. Even in winter when it gets cold, and it does get cold here as we are high up, it is still very sunny so find a sheltered spot and you're laughing!
      I love having the lemons growing in the garden, and even after almost 10 years here it is a real novelty! I must admit though that I'm very lazy in what I do with them!!!!!
      As for downsides, well I thought and thought and couldn't think of anything that would make me want to leave. There is a lot of paperwork for things but then that's not a big deal, and sometimes things are slow to happen, but if you just laugh and say "oh well, this is Spain!" then it doesn't seem to matter in the end! I'm very happy here I have to say!

    2. PS I just wanted to let you know that although I don't go out to work...I've a while to go until retirement age!!!!
      Phew, cleared that up pretty darn quick!!! ;)

  2. T h a n k s Sharon, that was really interesting!
    I love he photo 'looking from outside the convent' -great view!
    And I'm always happy watching people living contented with their traditions.
    I think, this time is much to technocratic - earning and spending money could not be the only meaning of life.

    1. Thanks so much Anna (please forgive me if I'm wrong but you are 'Anna' aren't you?) I'm glad you enjoyed the photos.
      And yes I know exactly what you mean. It was a refreshing change when we came here that there was such a relaxed attitude to things like new cars and new things. I admit that I still like new things, but I'm very much more relaxed about them nowadays!

  3. Thank you Sharon. :) So lovely to see the beautiful place you live and what a steep road you live on! You must be very fit after dragging all those shopping bags up while the road was closed!.
    What a lovely tradition to have beautiful music and singing outside your house on the morning of a wedding!
    I look forward to seeing any other photo's you may want to share of the place you live.
    big hugs Dee x

    1. You're more than welcome Dee, I'm just glad you enjoyed them!
      Yes, those months of having the road closed were a nightmare. I shall never forget me and Brendan carrying a 42" tv up the hill in a very precarious box......not an experience I'd like to repeat in a hurry!!!

  4. Fantastic pictures - the scenery is just perfect and I am so envious!
    How did you find such a perfect spot to move to?

    1. Thanks Rosie, I'm glad you liked them!
      We found it purely by accident. We'd looked in several towns nearer to the coast but the estate agents said that they'd just got notification of a house that wasn't yet on the market, would we like to look at it? We decided to see it and at first I was a bit perturbed that it was about an hour inland from the coast, but as soon as we walked in, despite it's damp walls, and the fact that it'd been empty for more than a year, I knew immediately that it was the one for me. Luckily my hubby felt the same!!! And the great thing was, the lady who owned it was happy to wait from September through till the April when we finally sold our house in the UK!

  5. Great to see 'how the other half live!' I like traditions so was peased to hear about this Spanish matrimonial serenading.... though not too sure of the actual timing so early in the morning!

    Interesting to see the dominance of the monastery and convent over the town. Are most people Catholics or Roman Catholics?

    Rather gathered from yesterday's wet post that you lived on a hill. Super views. Do most or many people like you living out there have a second home on or near the coast.

    Can I ask what was the original reason why you moved out there to live? Marriage? Job? Lifestyle? Weather? (You can reply to this privately if you prefer.)

    Thanks.... and more please.

    1. LOL yes, the serenading!!! I have to say though that the singing was beautiful....I thought I was dreaming! A bit early yes, but the Spanish are not ones for worrying about late nights or early mornings to be honest!!
      The churches (there are 14 I think it is in this town!!!) really did used to have a big place in the lives of Spain in the past, but their 'hold' over their parishoners is 'loosening' with every new generation. I think that having something practically ruling your lives can have a detrimental affect in the end and I think this is the case here. The majority of people tend only to visit the churches for the usual birth, deaths and marriages these days. However, the current government is trying to turn that around again and have the church play a bigger part in peoples lives....I believe that they might have a challenge on their hands.
      Yes, we live on quite a steep hill, the floor level of my neighbours house is approx 6 foot above mine and the pavement outside my sewing room window varies from about 1 foot to 4 feet above!
      I can't really remember what it was that got us thinking about moving to Spain as opposed to Florida for example, which is where I'd always said I wanted to move to. I do know that we used to talk about my husband taking early retirement....(He worked for 41 years for Guide Dogs for the Blind) but then he was bored and went back to work TWICE, working part time!!!! In the end we started looking at holiday fayres and came out here twice in 2003 to "just have a look at what was available" and fell in love with the place and it's people! Until then my husband hadn't ever been to mainland Spain in his entire life!!!! Now I can't even get him to go back to the UK for a short visit!!!!!

  6. Very interesting town - and a good guide!

  7. Thanks for sharing the tour! It was lovely to see things where you are, and especially to see the lovely sunny day when it is snowing and -23 here today!

    I'm very impressed by the bride who is lively and wedding-ready after being woken so early! :)

    1. Thanks so much Lynn! I hope it made you feel a little warmer and perhaps closer to Spring!
      Keep warm, those temperatures just don't bear thinking about.
      Yes, you can't keep a good Spanish bride down!!!!!


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