Thursday, March 6, 2008

1st Rota Trip

An archway over the street. Why? 'Cause they can!

Yesterday, I went on my first formal trip to Rota, the town outside of the base, with a class that teaches you how to aclimate to Spanish Culture.

Most of the pics (click HERE for pics of trip) are of the Castillo de la Luna, which was built by the Moors in the 13th century. After that it was a home for the Ponce DeLeon family, the first school in Rota (where our class guide went to until the 80's), and then a sort of civil hall. They changed the chapel in to a beautiful, formal civil hall for civil weddings.

The Castle had been restored in the 80's. That is when they found all the marble, limestone, and Moorish paintings under all the dirt and centuries of repainting.

The inside plaza of the Castillo de la Luna.

We also went to the fish market, which is fantastic.
They are local caught fish from that day. The shellfish are still alive!
I cannot wait to go back and start learning how to make these fish the Spainsh way.
They said that small/medium fish are usually just served to you whole. Spaniards are taught at a young age how to properly (and with good manners) clean and eat the fish right there on the table!! Hmmm. I don't know about that. Our class guide said it takes some skill and practice.

Then we went to the Gypsy market, which looks like a very small swapmeet. They mostly have shoes and fabric. No kidding. That's it.

But apparently people go there to get olives, which are very famous in the area. I don't like olives, but I wanted to see what the fuss was about, so I braved the CRAZY wind we were having yesterday just to find out they had left already.

The downtown area and beaches of Rota are gorgeous!!! Beautiful!! But nothing will make you feel like a big, fat American like their teeny lil sidewalks and tiny lil doorways. One girl in the class had a stroller, and she could hardly get through some of the doors.

The last place we went befoe lunch was the main church of the town.
It is huge and pretty plain from the outside, as it was unfinished. It is centuries old, but I cannot remember how many. Inside, though, it is ornate and beautiful.
There is the main section in the middle, which is hardly used.
Then there are lil chapels off the main one for certain saints. Our Lady Rosary is the town patron. So she has one. Then there is one with a saint for sailors. And a few others. They are each totally different looking in feel, color, decoration. I could not take pics, as I could not get my flash to turn off.

Then we went to lunch. We had lunch around 1:30, which is rediculously early for the Spanish, so we were the only ones there. (Don't forget to read about the different meal times in the link list to the right. Very interesting and a bit of culture shock.)

It was a very fun trip, and I cannot wait to go back to some of the places and look at some new ones!! Before you ask, YES, they have Mexican resteraunts, but I have been told by many that it is very different than what we know as Mexican food and the Spanish do not eat anything spicier than a lil black pepper!
OH!!! ALSO, very COOL! You know how much I love the Framer's Markets? Well, they have 2 just in Rota that are open 7 days a week. I am in heavan!!!!

This is a painting in the Castillo de la Luna
that depicts Queen Isabeela and King Ferdinand coming to the castle.
It was under their rule that Spain was reconquered from the Moors and returned to Catholisism. They are bringing the Spanish flag of the time to Rota to commemorate that Rota is under Spainish rule. They actually stayed in the castle while they were here.
IF you remember your history, you should remember that they are ALSO the
famous Spanish monarchs that financed
Chrisopher Columbus for his
1492 trip to

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