Sunday, 27 November 2011

24 Nov 2011 – Orihuela

After three days of rain we were all very relieved that it was dry, and even a little sunny, for our U3A coach trip to Orihuela
We were lucky to have Mateo, a local chap, as our city guide for the whole tour.  His English was very good and he turned what could have been a boring cultural visit into an interesting experience.
The coach dropped us at what appeared to be the main shopping centre, and we spent the rest of the day on our walking tour
Orihuela was once the second most important city in Valencia.  It is now overshadowed by its neighbouring cities of Murcia and Cartagena.  Much of the new city is typical of a large rural town, but the old city is interesting and very beautiful.
After a very busy morning we were all more than ready for our menu del dia.   The group was too large for one table and we were divided into two, each with their own room.  The staff did not speak any English, and there was some confusion when we were served with bottles of beer, but wine and water soon followed.  We had a selection of tapas and were then offered a choice of meat balls with chicken or pasta.  We thought that this was the main meal, and were pleasantly surprised when we were then offered a choice of chicken or fish for the main meal.   Finally a sweet and coffee.   Excellent meal, and very good value for 12 euros.
After lunch it was off on tour again.   We visited two churches, a cathedral, a Moors and Christians museum, the private house of a local nobleman and an underground tour of the old city  walls.   Unfortunately none of the photos I took were very good.  So you will just have to take my word for it. 
Walking is by far the best way to see a small city or town.  You get a much better impression than driving around in a coach, and you also get a feel for the people and buildings.   But it is quite tiring.

It was our first visit to Orihuela, and we were surprised that there is so much to see and do.   I suspect that we saw much more due to our official guide than we could have hoped so see on our own.   It was a lovely day out and introduced us to one of the less well known attractions of Valencia.

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