Sunday, July 20, 2014

Butterflies and Virgins

Okay, so the answer to what the "teaser" picture at the end of the last blog was is "butterflys" - or actually, moths in that case. My companion and I went to the Butterfly Farm in a pueblo between Fuengirola and Malaga ( Benaldamina) a while ago, and had a great time!  First of all we had to get there. I really haven't had a need to drive yet, and the mission only has about 8 vehicles, so we set off not exactly sure how things were going to go down. We knew we had to take the Cercania (the train that runs between Fuen and Malaga) and then a bus, but we weren't sure where exactly they met, nor anything about the bus or how far it was, other than a number. The train was no problem, but when we got off, there were a couple of different bus stops, neither of which had the number that was on the Butterfly Farm's web site. Fortunately there was someone waiting at one, so I prepared to give it my best Spanish and said, "Do you speak English?"
  I count it a definite blessing that the answer was a resounding "Yes!" and she proceeded to tell me in lovely British English how she was down for a visit, and had just a little while ago visited there, and that she "happened" to be going on the same bus, and would show us the ropes, including where we should get off.  Thank you Heavenly Father! It was pretty crowded, so we couldn't sit together, but I kept an eye out on her, and we had no problem. It was quite a ways, so I was very glad that we didn't follow our original plan to walk!

Wally the Wallaby
The butterfly farm itself is a large greenhouse with lots of plants, butterflys, moths, cocoons with emerging new supplies of inmates, and even a wallaby named Wally!  The butterflys and moths were beautiful and interesting (they had feeding stations with magnifying glasses that you could watch them eat at), and although quite warm, it wasn't nearly as bad as we'd been warned. It seems that Europeans (esp. from places like England which are quite cool) have quite a low heat tolerance.
 I've been quite comfortable in Fuengirola (even when it gets hot there's a cool breeze off the Mediterranean to cool things down), even when others are saying how hot it is! Anyway, after the park we went across the street to take in the Mosque and beautiful views of the Mediterranean (always a favorite activity). Then we headed back to the bus stop and got there about 10 minutes early (as our friend had suggested), only to see the bus arrive and leave right before we got there.
Leaf disquise and beauty between. Cool!
 Fortunately there was a place to sit where the top half would be in shade, so we sat down on the beautiful black marble bench to wait ....  for about a microsecond. That baby was HOT!  We gingerly sat on the edge, and after a while it wasn't too bad. Soon some young ladies in VERY short dresses came up, and before we could think of the proper Spanish to warn them, they sat....  full on bare
The  Arroyo de la Miel Mosque
 legs!  It turns out that they were French, so even a Spanish warning wouldn't have helped, so I didn't feel too bad. And I was glad for my Pday capris :)
The Cercania
The bus finally came, and we made it back to the train and home, grateful for a fun, beautiful Pday in Spain!                                                                  

So I'll bet you were wondering where the "Virgins" part of the post came from... Well, having 5 kids, I can assure you it's not from me :)   This last Wednesday was (yet another) national holiday here in Spain - the  Fiesta del Día de Virgen del Carmen. This festival is several hundred years old, and celebrates the Virgin Mary as a protector of mariners and fisherman.
 They take a (very heavy) statue of Mary and Christ from the local cathedral on a platform attached to poles which is carried in a rhythmic march on the shoulders of maybe 40 sailors (in this case - I guess they do this regularly for various festivals). They proceed through the streets and down to the shore, where prayers are ceremoniously said blessing the fleet and fishing boats for the coming year. It was very impressive, and there were a bunch of boats congregated to receive the blessing. I went with a friend (Debbie) from the ward and enjoyed it immensely.

Afterwards there were probably 45 minutes of fireworks lit off the warf (which we had had enough of after 15 - 20 minutes), and then back they went to the cathedral. I'm very glad I went, but I'm also very glad that I have the true gospel of Jesus Christ in my life, and love that I am able to help bring that gospel here to the great people of Spain. I am so blessed!
View of Fuengirola (in the distance) from the Mosque

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