The Arts Society de la Frontera

Reviews of our trips

Walking Tour of the Murals and ‘Orchidarium’, Estepona

Friday, 27th October, 2017

We all met in the beautiful Plaza de las Flores for a guided walking tour of just some of the 42 enormous wall murals in Estepona, followed by a visit to the orchid house.

In 2013 Estepona Town Council started commissioning works of art/murals, by way of competitions, to brighten up some of the rather drab facades of ‘typical’ apartment blocks. The artists came from abroad and all around Spain and it only took two to three weeks to complete their gigantic masterpieces.

It was a beautiful day as we walked along the charming flower and tree-lined streets of the old town and we were more than surprised as we came across the eye-catching and impressive murals, painted on three to ten storey-high buildings.  On some of the lower buildings incredibly realistic looking plants, such as bougainvillea, were painted climbing up walls and around windows and doors.

We then moved on to the ‘Orchidarium’ – amazingly the largest orchid house in Europe – built in 2014/15 in a modern three domed building set in beautiful gardens.  Inside the spectacular building are thousands of different species of plants from around the world and three waterfalls!  One of these is 30 meters high and is environmentally controlled so works intermittently.  There were some beautiful orchids in flower. Apparently, however, the best time to visit is in the spring time.

We ended the morning in a lovely and highly recommended tapas bar, El Rinconcito de Sensi, where we mulled over the brilliant and beautiful changes to Estepona.  If the Art Society plan another Mural Walk, don’t miss it! Our thanks to Felicity, Sue and Gisselle for a wonderful experience and a fun day.

Review Of The Arts Society Trip To Sevilla

Thursday 7 September 2017

After an early morning start on a warm, sunny morning The Arts Society group headed for Seville, via Medina Sedonia and a welcome coffee stop between Jerez and Sevilla.

After our morning coffee, we were ready for our first stop at the Palacio Las Dueñas which was the home of the late Duchess of Alba. As a socialite, the duchess met famous VIPs from Spain and abroad. Jackie Kennedy visited her Seville palace, as did Wallis Simpson, Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco.

The Duchess died in the Palacio de las Dueñas in 2014 at the age of 88. She was succeeded by her son Carlos Fitz-James Stuart, 14th Duke of Huéscar, who thus became the 19th Duke of Alba.

The Palace was filled with lots of interesting artefacts, paintings, clocks and family photos.  It really felt as though the Duchess had just popped out to lunch and would be back later in time to practice her flamenco in a room behind the library.

From the Palacio we walked to the restaurant ‘Eslava’ where we had an excellent lunch before boarding the minibus for the short trip to our hotel – Fernando III.

The Fernando III is a very comfortable hotel in the old town, not far from the Alcazar, so in our free time we were within walking distance of many of the sites that Seville had to offer

The following morning we headed to the Monasterio de San Isidora del Campo, which is at the southern end of Santiponce, just outside Sevilla.

This exquisite, two-church former monastery was founded in 1301 by Guzmán El Bueno (hero of the 1294 battle at Tarifa). Over the centuries it hosted a succession of different religious orders. It was here that the Bible was first translated into Castilian (1569).

Just around the corner from the monastery are the ruins of the Roman city of Italica with its amphitheatre and mosaics.

In view of the heat, most of us did a very quick circuit of the site and headed for the shade of a nearby Venta for a cooling drink before heading to our lunch at Arte y Solera. The food was fantastic, consisting of a tapas style meal.

Lizzie did an amazing job of organising the trip as well as finding interesting places for lunch.  This was our final stop before boarding the bus for our return journey, full of food, wine and history, but nevertheless very happy after another extremely good trip.

Thank you Lizzie!

Review by Luciana O’Brien