Murcia via Instagram

Lorca Castle

Liz of Young Adventuress recently tweeted, Am I the only one who doesn’t used what’s app or instagram? In short, yes. Social media has been taking its toll on my love life recently, as my boyfriend walks away from me any time I whip out my little htc hot mess of a phone (since my nice one was stolen in January). I squealed with delight when instagram became available for Androids just before Feria last month, and used the looooooong car ride from Sevilla to Murcia – last weekend’s destination – as a way to test it out. In short – I’m in love. While I preferred Pudding Camera for its crazy settings, Instagram’s ease with social media make it a bit more of a winner in my humble, html-challenged mind.

Nearing our final destination…

The Novio’s job takes him this week to Murcia, a strange, moon-like crater that anchors down the southeast corner of the peninsula. While I’d had little desire to ever travel there, I had a (nearly) free ride and a place to stay, so I jumped at the chance. We pulled up to Cartagena, a town rich in military history (and home to the first self-propelled submarine, who knew!) shortly after 9pm. The journey had been long, with bouts of natural beauty through the Sierra de Huétor and the green, green plains that run along its backside towards the coast.

Cartagena’s port stood quiet and still on a Friday evening, and even the Calle Mayor was lifeless. Our quick dinner of beer and ensaladilla was met with a good night’s sleep before we headed out the following day for Jumilla.

Souvenir shop in Cartagena, right off the dock

Murcia has few claims to Spain, apart from a few big cities, a bunch of expat enclaves and wine. Jumilla, a sleepy town that nearly reaches the border of Valencia, is home to several wineries, and I was dying to tour one. I had gotten in contact with Bodegas Silvano García, who graciously offered us a tour of their small, family-run bodega and a full cata de vino for only 5€. Even Mr. Grumpy, who wasn’t keen on making the drive, enjoyed himself and pumped some (grape-flavored) fuel back into the economy.

wine tasting at Bodegas Silvano García

Later that day, we headed down the coast to Águilas, where his Aunt Laura and her family live. The day was cool and drizzly, but the sound of the waves and the smell of salt somehow always makes me feel like Spain was a good, good choice. The day was far less than perfect, which made me eager to get on to Murcia.

Águilas beach

Finally, a sunny day. After a quick trip to the ER and our Sunday churros routine, The Novio and I wandered the central heart of Murcia. It was Mother’s Day, so people were overflowing the terraces in the square at the foot of the cathedral.

“Let’s go in,” I told The Novio, Camarón finally unglued from my face. The salmon and cobalt hues of the building were inviting, and I had a feeling of who I might find in the cathedral: St. Lucy, the eyeless one I chose for my confirmation name. Little known fact about me: I always add to the donation box when I find her in churches by surprise.

of course it’s sunny the day I have a seve´-hour bus ride to look forward to

We met Paco and Inma, two of his coworkers, in Plaza de Santa Catalina. Paco is from Murcia and invited us to have lunch with him and his brother, so we squeezed into the corner of El Pulpito, awash with cool grey tones and smelling of seafood. Carmen’s mother had told me to try pulpo al horno, an octopus that’s been baked, and I was not disappointed. The caldera de arroz, stuffed clams, ensaladilla and cold beer did not disappoint, either.

murcia’s finest: pulpo al horno

I was the bus a few hours later, crammed into a window seat. I watched the craters of Murcia eventually return to the flatness of the plain where Seville sits. I can’t say Murcia is my favorite part of Spain, or that I’d ever be willing to make the seven-hour bus ride happen again. Yet, somehow, I don’t feel like I got to see all it really has to offer. My Instagram photos reveal little more than the day’s main events (I let Camarón have all of the glory, afterall), but I’m anxious to see more – and, let’s face it – eat more octopus.

Have you ever been to Murcia? What were your impressions of it? Any place in Spain you’ve never been that you’d be willing to go if you had a free ride out there? And if you’re on instagram, let’s follow! I’m found at sunshinesiestas.

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. Aubrey Straub says:

    You should definitely get WhatsApp. I use it all the time from the States to stay in contact *for free* with my novio! You could use it to stay in touch with people at home and send free texts so you never run out of saldo or go over your limit!

  2. andiperullo says:

    Love these shots, especially the 2nd one.

  3. roamingtheworld says:

    Oh how Instagram makes everything look so coo and hip; vintage. Haven’t been to Murcia but was wondering if it’s “worth” a stop. Last day of work, I’m loading up the car with my bf and heading to Alicante and valencia before seeing him off in Madrid. Don’t know too much about the Southern East coast.

    If it’s a free ride, I’ll go to most places in Spain. There’s so much in Spain still yet to see for me! But, yeah 7 hr bus ride makes one more picky… I’m all too familiar with long bus rides living near Almeria. We don’t have too many choices.

  4. I once did the bus trip from Madrid to Cadiz…we slept on the beach (Carnival!), took the bus back to Madrid on Sunday evening, overnight, to arrive in time for class Monday morning. I was a wreck! I think the ride was 8-10 hours?!

  5. That’s weird! I was in Cartagena last Saturday, we were both in Murcia at the same time! I’m not a fan, personally.

  6. want that pulpo.

  7. haha thanks for the shout out 😛

  8. I also don’t have Instagram or What’s App yet! Bah. I want a Smartphone.

  9. I spent my year abroad in Murcia and had an absolutely fantastic time! Granted, it may not be the prettiest city in Spain, but it is less touristy and less well known than Granada or Barcelona which I think makes it that bit more special. When you visited, did you go to Plaza Flores? Hands-down is the best place for tapas, and the festival of Bando de la Huerta which normally takes place just after Holy Week is absolutely crazy and definitely one of my highlights of my time in Murcia. I’d definitely recommend going back – the people are so welcoming, and there are some stunning, quite undiscovered beaches in the region. Your post made me reminisce about the fabulous year I spent in Murcia – and thankyou for not passing Murcia by!!
    Kate recently posted..Service stations, sock puppets and a wonderful weddingMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Murcia definitely has a few things that are pretty special! My boyfriend studied at the Air Force Academy in San Javier, and he has family in Aguilas, so we got to go out. I loved Jumilla and the center of Murcia capital. Is Plaza Flores near Plaza de Santa Catalina? If so, we had baked octopus there – YUM.

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