A break with tradition pays dividends

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Jessica Shanley and Helen B next to one of the many craft stalls


I have always thought of myself as a bit of a traditionalist. Religiously watching the Queens speech at 4pm (Spanish time) on Christmas Day or the F.A. Cup Final on BBC never ITV. Maybe I’m just stuck in my ways. Either way I tend to do the same things time and time again. Like going to watch the Three Kings come in off the boats at Garrucha Port on the 5th January.

I have done that for the past eleven years. Standing around in a huge crowd by the fish market waiting for the floats to start rolling and the Kings to commence hurling boiled sweets from giant sacks at the thronged masses whilst my children and hundreds of others fight and scramble around under cars hell bent on filling Mercadona carrier bags. All in the name of fun, which to an extent it was. That was until this year.

 

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Helen B my co presenter on Spectrum 92.6FM persuaded us to go the the Mediaeval Market at Los Gallardos and I can’t thank her enough. Hollie and Maisie at 13 and 11 respectively are growing out of that particular game and they never used to eat the sweets anyway. The quality was slightly below the ones you get at the end of a cheap Chinese meal.

Having been to every market that this area has to offer I can only say that the Mediaeval Market was a revelation. By far the best that I have ever attended in Spain. It was more akin to the now famous German Market which is held each December in Birmingham City centre. A real eye opener. Chalk and cheese compared to the weekly ones in every town and village.

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Mediaeval Maisie and Hollie
Where do I start. A fire breather on stilts accompanied by a trio of musicians set the scene. There were craft stalls galore including a potter making and decorating items while you wait as well as a what is best described as a sort of blacksmith complete with mediaeval equipment making jewellery from cutlery. I kid you not.

And the pieces finished with semi precious stones were incredible. Some of the finest hand stitched and intricately embroidered tops that I had ever seen. (I must thank Jessica for telling me that).

Then we move on to the livestock. Donkeys, geese, turkeys and ducks didn’t really raise my eyebrow but the skunk, 12 foot python, kangaroo rat and English fighting cock did.

Food deserves a special mention.

From the best barbecue that I have ever seen, to pizzas being produced and cooked in word burning stoves. This is a street market to remember. The other thing that struck me was how much effort everyone had gone to.

Wonderful coloured fabric adorned every stall and the majority of stallholders were in mediaeval dress. Even fabric around the ovens that were cooking the pizzas. There were outside bars with ample seating areas on what seemed like every corner with drinks, tapas, cakes, anything you could think of. The large pot of what I thought to be mulled wine turned out to be boiling octopus.

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Waiting for our kebabs and Turkish tea
Helen B originally hails from the Midlands and as the old adage goes ‘You can take the girl out of Nottingham but you can’t take Nottingham out of the girl.’ So it was only right that we finished our night with a kebab. Once again a cut above the average. The kebab stall was in a Bedouin style tent complete with tables and chairs with even the original Turkish tea to swill it all down poured via a pipe from original Turkish polished metal and glass urns.

A truly special night out and if you would like to see more pictures they are available on The Spectrum Mojacar Facebook page www.facebook.com/SpectrumMojacar. The Mediaeval market comes but once a year to Los Gallardos on the 5th and 6th January.

By Richard Shanley


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