The processions of Holy Week (Easter) are eagerly awaited by the Spanish because of the atmosphere during those days. Mystery, tradition, music and a familiar mood are present. The Holy Week festivities begin on Palm Sunday and continue with various processions.   However, do you really know its history?

A procession is a religious parade in which people take a walk on foot in honour to Jesus, the Virgin and the Saints. Its origin dates’ back to Athens and Rome where this kind of cult unto the Holy Gods was celebrated. Jews also did it. One of the main characters of this festivity is the so-called “thrones” showing the scenes of the New Testament. The scenes are related with the Passion of the Christ and devoted to Jesus Christ, the Virgin, the Saints or the Apostles. They are perfectly sculptured and each of the facial gestures are perfectly captured.

First processions were practised indoors due to the fear of persecution; it was from the XV and XVI centuries when mendicant orders started to incorporate the cult to the town through dramatic performances. Furthermore, the Council of Trent (represented by the senior positions who dealt with Catholic issues) made these processions to gain importance. Why? Mainly because religious authorities realised that it helped the evangelization of  Christianity and made the people feel like taking part in it. Nowadays, in order to free them from their sins as well as to show their repentance decide to hold the processions. Some others do it because of promises made to God.

Aside from that, in Spain there are certain areas like “Andalucia” where the Holy Week is celebrated with more emphasis. In Alicante, the ones from “Orihuela” are given special importance as well.  If we had to remake any of the processions, we would say that the Good Friday one is the biggest.

In Alicante, it is highlighted a procession for the Maundy Thursday, where one of the biggest thrones of Spain is shown. It is 11,5m tall, 5,5m wide and weighs 3.000kg. We are talking about “la Pontificia, Real, Ilustre, Venerable y Salesiana Hermandad Sacramental de la Santa Cena” that represents the Lord’s Dinner. In fact, there is real food donated by the Central Market of Alicante and once the procession is finished, food is given to people in need.  Secondly, it is also a must to see one of the oldest processions of the city “la Hermandad del Santo Sepulcro” that begins at 20.30h in the “Cathedral de San Nicolás”.

We hope you liked this, and of course, you learned something else about this festivity. From quieroplaya.com we encourage you to see one of the greatest representations of the Spanish Folklore.

See you soon!

Puerta de Tabarca

In our previous post, we realised that Tabarca Island is a treasure within reach of the many visitors to nearby cities such as Benidorm, Alicante, Santa Pola, La Marina, Guardamar, Torrevieja and Orihuela Costa. It is located in the Mediterranean Sea, just 8 kilometers from the port of Santa Pola and 22 kilometers from Alicante. These are two of the main cities from where daily, in summer, ships sail from their ports to reach the tabarca coast. But it is also accessible from the ports of Torrevieja and Guardamar.

While our boat is approaching to Tabarca, we begin to see small coves and beaches with clear waters, and the fishing port where we can dock our boat or speedboat.
Amongst the island’s tourist highlights are a wide range of restaurants, whose specialty is the traditional caldero (stew), the typical dish of the island. Undoubtedly, the local fish are the main ingredient in the tabarcan kitchen: All types of rice including black rice and noodles.

A visit to Tabarca invites you to walk through it’s ancient walls and enter the different ports of Levante or San Rafael; Trancada or San Gabriel; la da Tierra, Alicante or San Miguel. Other beautiful places that are well worth a visit is the Church of St. Pedro and St. Pablo, the Tower of San Jose and the Tabarca Lighthouse and the New Tabarca Museum, located in the Almadrava building.

The main celebrations of Tabarca held on 29th of June, coinciding with the day of San Pablo and San Pedro. However, especially July and August are the months with the highest number of visitors to this small Alicantian island which has less than 100 inhabitants.

And for those who enjoy diving, Tabarca Island offers a friendly and environmental marine reserve with more than 1.400 hectares of crystal clear waters surrounding the island. It was declared, on 14th April 1983, the first marina reserve in Spain. No doubt, this is a spectacular marine haven for flora and fauna both located in this privileged environment of the Mediterranean Sea. The flora that can be found in its waters is mainly composed of sea beds with green and red algae. And the marine life is given by numerous shoals of groupers, dots, chernes, dentones, gilt-head bream, snappers, salpas and obladas. And sometimes you can spot nacre lobsters, gornorias, sea urchins, starfish, sponges and loggerhead turtles. In the best case, even friendly dolphins.
Everyone wanting to dive should have included in their travel bag, diving goggles and snorkel.

On our tour of the main corners of the Mediterranean Sea, this time we will stop to know the most important characteristics of a historic building located in the beautiful city of Torrevieja. We refer to the Church of “Inmaculada Concepción”. It is located in the main square called Constitution Square, in the heart of the city of Torrevieja, next to its Town Hall and a few meters from the beach and bay.
This religious building was built around 1789. Years later, in 1829 the city was devastated by an earthquake that destroyed, among other monuments, “Torre Vigia”, the building whose name was given to this city of Alicante and that is situated next to the “Eras de la Sal”. Well, curiously, some of the materials that survived of that “Torre Vigia” were used for reconstruction of the present Church of “La Inmaculada” of Torrevieja. Therefore, in this Church survives much of the history of this town.
Artistically, its lines are neo-classical, its plant is a Latin cross and is covered with a barrel vault with lunettes in the main nave and edges on the sides. The pillars and pilasters are topped with compounds capitals (Ionic and Corinthian). In addition, the choir of the temple is located inside, near the front of the main entrance. Attending a religious ceremony and enjoying its tunes is an experience recommended by Quiero Playa to all who visit this city bathed by the Mediterranean Sea. Outside we can see the two towers and bell towers turned into most photograph places by everyone who visits Torrevieja.
On the main altar is situated the image of the “Inmaculada Concepción”, patron saint of Torrevieja in whose honor, each 8th December, the festivities are celebrated with many festive and fun-religious activities such as masses, processions, concerts, traditional food and sporting events.
We invite you to learn nearest this building in your visit and stay in Torrevieja. Also, we invite you to visit its website www.parroquiainmaculada.com where you can know timetable of masses. You can also visit virtually the temple from this link.

All you want to know about Torrevieja salt boats.
Torrevieja’s people has many emblems. Beaches (especially La Mata and the coves of Ferrís and La Zorra), the salt lakes, the Natural Park of La Mata – Torrevieja, Torre del Moro, the International Contest of Habanera and Polyphony (which includes other cultural events such as the Youth Contest of Habanera and Polyphony, International Contest of Habanera for soloists, Coral Meeting and the touching Habanera on the beach), etc.
One stands out against all. It is a priceless object with a high sentimental and emotional value for Torrevieja’s people. So much so that it has become the gift par excellence, a souvenir for all who visit the city and stay in love forever with its landscape, climate, cultural diversity, etc. We are referring to salt boat.

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Its development is the result of tradition and meticulous work of our ancestors. Its technique has been passing from generation to generation until now. Quiero Playa wanted to learn the technique firsthand. And for that we have interviewed to Miguel Pérez Muñoz. If we refer to him as “the sparrow hawk” it will be easier to know who recognizing for people of Torrevieja. Doubtlessly, he is a craftsman known for the work done by spreading the craft of Torrevieja among the young, that remains a hallmark of this city called Torrevieja.

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Miguel is an expert in the technique, not only in practice but also in the accumulated knowledge, especially the historical as he has also been a worker of the salt mines of Torrevieja. So much so that he is able to date the origins of building salt boats on mid-nineteenth century.
Miguel defines salt boats as simple models that maintain faithfully the most characteristic features of a sailing boat. These models include numerous threads that are part of the rigging (vegetable fibre objects symbolizing rigging and rope or string instruments and vessels). Woods, reeds, white cloth and white cotton thread are the materials used for making them handmade.
The construction process of the model is to select the wood for the keel and timber (the name is known to every one of the curved pieces whose bottom fits into the bottom of the boat and from that start right and left, two symmetrical branches, forming the ribs of the hull). The canes are cut into strips and all is bundled with the white cloth and intertwines to shape the hull. Sticks and yards are also bundled in cloth and are fit in the wooden hull. Finally the thread creates the rigging of the boat.
In this process, the most curious is the step of curdling boats because it is carried out within the salt lake of Torrevieja. There is where the models are immersed in salt water especially in summer season and allowed to dry. This facilitates the grip of salt on the fabrics and threads. When the structure and its materials are thoroughly dry, plunge back into the salt water, but this time they are left three or four days in the water until they are finished. That is, until the salt has been rightly and firmly wedded to the model.
The thickening is a process whose outcome depends primarily on weather conditions. So, Miguel tells us that calm weather is not good while “Lebeches” or “Maestrales” winds accelerate the process. Instead, with east or north winds, the thickening is slower but harder. It is very important, said Miguel, that the boat is dried before re-dipping. Ideally, days of easterly wind while boats are curdling. Once they are removed from the salt, are dried by the sun for a few days to lose the pink colour of the brine and acquire the white salt colour.
Finally, for the maintenance of salt boats, Miguel advises they have to be protected from air and dust with a glass urn, so lasting forever.