Again I was up and about before dawn this morning, but sunrise was at half past eight, local time. It's just as well that I don't have any early starts here. The clock goes back tonight, and adjusting to the change of hour won't be so critical as when I return home in just over two weeks, and have to put the clock back another hour. Oh those afternoon sunsets, and dark by half past four! I don't look forward to that.
After breakfast, I sat out on the balcony with the telescope on its proper tripod, so I could use it to spot birds a good hundred metres away. I identified a collared dove, both from appearance and its characteristic call, which is different from that of a turtle dove. Yet, according to my bird book, the turtle dove is supposed to be common here as the collared dove is in the UK. The book, however, was published over thirty years ago, and things have changed in that time.
The weather seemed good for another walk up to Mojácar Pueblo, this time using the shortcut over the back road I discovered last week. It took me just under an hour and a half. When I arrived in the Plaza with the large mirador looking out across the coastal plain to the north, I was surprised to find that since my last visit it has been closed, surrounded by heras fencing, and transformed into a building site. There were groups of puzzled tourists somewhat crammed into the remaining half of the plaza nearest the shops. Not what they expected either?
For a while, I wondered if there'd been some sort of disaster there, but then I saw an Ayantamiento notice announcing closure of a few back streets due to the demolition and 'sustucion' of the Plaza. Google translate was unable to help me with this word, but when I was about to set off on the return journey, I saw a large information panel near the bus stop announcing the demolition and 'suscitución' (=substitution, i.e. replacement) of the Plaza. The puzzling word was no more than a municipal typo.
In the Plaza there's a redundant ermita, which has been turned into a souvenir shop. I went in this time, as it was open, and looked at the collection of small silver 'indalo' images, which I'd discussed with Clare as possible Christmas presents for Rhiannon and Jasmine. After a WhatsApp phone discussion with Clare, I bought two pairs, to use for earrings, rather than single ones to hang on chains.
I visited the Parish Church again to see if there was an advertised time for Tuesday's Todos Santos Mass, but could find no information. Nevertheless, I enjoyed a quiet time therein, until a tour party arrived, led by a priest. Then I sat outside in the Plaza de Iglesia with a beer and a warm tortilla tapa, watching people coming and going for a while. Then I wandered about in a part of the town I'd not gone through before found some streets with views on the highest elevation of the pueblo, facing the sea. At the top is a Plaza del Castillo, although nothing visible now remains of the mediaeval Moorish fortress.
For the return trip, I chose to re-trace my steps on the route I took on the first walk up to the pueblo. As my legs were already well stretched and tired, the descent to the plain was quite steep in places and uncomfortable to walk. I glimpsed several interesting birds on the route, but I identified only a crested lark as it ran away from me along a side path.
By the time I reached the apartment, I was quite footsore, perhaps because I wore my walking shoes for my nearly four hour expedition, rather than the usual sandals. That's only the second time I've worn them since travelling in them, so my feet were unused to the change from sandals, even though the shoes are comfortable to walk in.
After cooking lunch and a siesta, I realised I there was some weekend shopping to do. I couldn't face the usual four kilometre walkabout to the Mercadona, so rather than do without until Monday, guiltily I took the car. Apart from the rare convenience store, shops and supermarkets here are shut on Sundays now. I'm not sure what happens in high season.
The roads have certainly been busier yesterday and today with the influx of people taking a break for Todos Santos. Hallowe'en silliness doesn't play such a prominent part here as it does in Britain and other places where culture has been poisoned by American marketing hype. It's a relatively recent introduction. The custom of visiting family graves, tidying them up, leaving flowers, and even having a picnic party there, is still widely practised in Spain. Death is accepted more as a part of life, rather than the subject of fear and supernatural fantasies. It's altogether healthier, in my opinion, than what has sadly become normalised in northern European countries.