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Archive for June, 2013

D0 You BELIEVE !.

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Although it is late in the year, normally we have played in two competitions by now, I was pleased when Serrano informed me we were playing in Mequinenza.  This is such a lovely place to visit, full of history, and this is where Catherine of Aragon’s parents had a castle which is still standing. Also on the opposite side of the river horrendous bloody battles were fought during the Spanish Civil war.  The town’s name originally comes from the Berber Tribe known as ‘Miknesa’ who settled in what is now the old town.

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The castle was built between the 14th and 15th century on a hill overlooking the surrounding country side and which, before the Ribarroja dam was built, sat alongside the river Ebro.  The original town is now under water, a new one has been built just underneath the Castle and is where we are today.  Now it provides a tourist attraction but still has an imposing presence, like a sleeping giant which might wake again.  It has been taken after battles then restored, making it more impressive and stronger than before. Since it was first constructed it has been a Phoenician tower, Arabic fortress, A Palace for Montcada, and Crown property of Fernando 7th.  During the Civil war it was a focal point, but such is the charisma of this castle that after all it has endured and witnessed during its lifetime, it has re-emerged as an elegant charismatic fortress, a sleeping beauty.

The people of Mequinenza are extremely proud of their castle, name and history, this is a place of great care and love for a construction and their country which is why we are always pleased to come here and play petanca.  The welcome is genuine.
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The monument is of a minor as there were shallow coal mines on the other side of the river, which as far as I can tell were working untill the late 1980’s.  The miner has a lantern in one hand and a mining tool over his shoulder.Today mequinenza is known mostly for the fishing. In the early days the setting up of the fishing holidays was known as ‘the gold rush’ due to the gold carp that abounded here. Today there is still fishing and as we drove into the town across the bridge we saw boats out on the river, so the fish are still here unlike other parts of the Ebro where they have almost been wiped out by illegal line fishing.
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But it is to play petanca that we come now, so to this years event. All of our friends were there including ‘the Boys from Tivissa’.  As you can see we all won something so it was a happy bunch that wended its way home to our various villages and towns.

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The prize table is different from last year, there are large hams and Cava for the over-all winners, smaller hams and wine for second place, then comes ten prizes of wine and a round cheese with 12 prizes of wine and a dried sausage for the runners-up.  All of which are highly fought for.  We arrived and were greeted by our friends from Tivissa who were pleased to see my wife which was very nice, another set of good friends.  Unfortunately my team only came second so no hams this time, but as you can see from the smiling faces we all enjoyed our day… Cheers!

© Michael Douglas Bosc

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