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22·APR·2013

Lazy Sunday Morning in Murcia City

I have driven in, around and through Murcia City on different days of the week and at different times and, considering it is said to be Spain’s 7th largest city, it really is quite manageable. The best day for me though has to be a Sunday. Naturally the traffic is lighter and the parking easier but what makes it special is the thought of a relaxing cup of coffee, watching the world go by. Having parked our Drivalia rental car in a multi-story car park along Calle Simón García, my wife and I head straight for Plaza de Cardinal Belluga, a large pedestrianised square in the shadow of The Cathedral Church of Saint Mary in Murcia (Iglesia Catedral de Santa María en Murcia). This impressive structure is at the heart of the old city and its construction and styles span some four centuries (circa 1385 to 1791). Murcia Cathedral and the Plaza de Cardinal Belluga in Murcia City Along one side of the square there are 5 or so café/bars. Choosing the sunniest (or shadiest, depending on the time of year) café we order our café con leches and settle down to watch the locals and tourists walk by. Looking out from the café we see to our left the magnificent Cathedral, to our right a modern office building and a tourist office, and straight ahead the Rococo style 18th Century Episcopal Palace (Palacio Episcopal). In the centre of the palace’s façade is a large gateway which when opened affords the inquisitive passer-by a peak inside. To each side of the gateway are two smaller doorways; the one to the right is the entrance to a small chapel. On each occasion that we have visited this doorway has attracted a small gathering of (usually) women who I assume are hoping to be beneficiaries of Christian charity. Further along to the right, another woman, also seated, sells lottery tickets. Episcopal Palace Murcia City There is an ebb and flow across the square, the intensity of which varies according to the time of day and the season. We were last there in March 2013 quite early in the morning when there were not so many people about. As the city stirs there are pushchairs and bikes, photos and camcorders, people striding with purpose or strolling with pleasure. There are people in smart dress heading, I assume, for a place of worship and others, like us, more casually attired seeking an alternative enlightenment. I find my own sense of well-being just sitting here in this square soaking up the atmosphere from the ancient walls to our left and ahead. This is one of my favourite things to do when I visit Murcia and I don’t think I will ever tire of it. I recommend a lazy Sunday morning in Murcia around 50 minutes’ driving time from Alicante Airport.