Visit to Archena 20 – 23 April, 2012 On Friday 20th April a group of eleven members flew out of a very wet Luton to Alicante to be met by Joaquin and taken to meet our hosts. On Saturday morning we were driven by our hosts to Mula to visit the Museum of Iberian Art ‘El Cigarralejo’, housed on the first floor of a former palace. The displays showed the contents of 547 tombs from the 4th – 1st century BC found in the necropolis of El Cigarrelejo. The tombs of the wealthier people included pottery from Greece whilst many of the curved swords had handles shaped like horses suggesting they possibly worshipped the horse. We then walked to ‘The Painted House’ which mainly displayed art by a locally born artist, some of which were very thought provoking. The wine cellar had a variety of different sized clay wine jars – some so large you could have disappeared in them. Everyone was then free to wander around Mula, before meeting up for a late lunch followed by coffee served with delightful cream filled choux pastry swans. In the evening there was a formal dinner at a restaurant where the Spanish, in another part, were avidly watching the Madrid v Barcelona match. The meal was punctuated by cheers or sounds of despair, with some of Spanish hosts racing to see who got the goal. Madrid won much to Andres and Manola’s delight. The meal was followed by a display of Spanish dancing by Gregoria’s daughter Christina and then dancing for all. On Sunday morning at the new Archena Museum. Maria Dolores, the President of the Archena Twinning Association welcomed us, followed by our Chairman, Patricia Cherrill, also representing the Chesham Town Council and the new Archena mayor, Patricia Fernandez. A tour of the museum telling the history of the town followed. There was evidence that it existed in Roman times, and was occupied in turn by the Moors and the Christians. In the early nineteenth century they regained their independence from the French and Archena then became the second most visited spa town in Spain. During the Civil War the Nationalist victory had awful repercussions for the people of Archena who had property and farms confiscated. It was not until the 1960s that life started to improve. Later in the day we travelled along the beautiful Ricote Valley lined with citrus trees to the town of Blanco to visit an Art museum devoted to the art of Pedro Cano, an artist born locally who gave us guided tour. The afternoon was free with several hosts taking their guests into Murcia. We left Archena at 9.30 on Monday morning to return to a wet and cold England after a lovely weekend enjoying the sunshine and temperatures of 25C.