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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

Twins - When Two Towns Collide
Thursday, June 30, 2022 @ 9:07 PM

We danced, pranced and tottered around Mojácar during the magnificent Moors and Christians festival a few weeks back - fortuitously on the same weekend as similar festivals cheekily held in the two neighbouring towns of Carboneras and Vera, and please don't remind me about the consequently high cost of the costume rentals.

A festival which began in our case thirty four years ago in 1988 to remember the quincentenary of the Fall of Mojácar (whimsically touted as a 'peaceful transfer of power' from one bloodthirsty lot to another, a bit like what's going on right now in the Ukraine, come to think of it).

Doubly important this year, as a second anniversary has also fallen upon us.

Thirty years ago this week, the Elders of the town decided it was time to 'twin' with another city elsewhere. Perhaps, back in 1992, with the first flush of international tourism upon us, the swollen population of Britons living locally and the opportunity to travel abroad at a reduced and subsidised rate, they might have gone for Henley-on-Thames, or maybe Southend or perhaps Brighton.

The children could have perfected their English, as the Good People of Brighton swapped their brood with their Mojaquero colleagues for a fortnight. The wealthy Henlyans might have bought some decent houses here (in those days, unfortunately, we were only building small apartments - there's more profit in them, even if the dwellers are poorer and short-term).

Maybe they could have chosen some place in Romania to adhere to. It might have sounded like a good idea if we had a socialist town hall, what will all the Romanian immigrants to the area back then, but we don't.

It's conservative. Money, souvenir shops and short rentals preferred.

At any rate, and no doubt after much discussion, we chose to join our futures and twin with a town in Andorra called Encamps ('Encamp' in Catalán).

Andorra is a fascinating place, in many ways, it's a sort of Spanish Gibraltar. Encamps itself is a charming resort with good skiing, lots of shops, a population of
13,000 souls and fourteen banks.

Not much to do with Mojácar you might think, but did I mention the banks?

Every year a bus-load of visitors head north, their bank-books held firmly, to enjoy the attractions of the local restaurant and hostal.

It's all quite convivial and works both ways as look, in our photo, there's some of the Encamps people here in Mojácar to enjoy the Moors and Christians festival. We hope they stayed for the jolly parade on Sunday night (is that a mannequin standing next to our tourist councillor dressed here in purple?).

The story goes that our small inland neighbouring pueblo of Turre was highly impressed by our choice of the twinned town. They famously had a plenary meeting on the subject of finding something equally suitable for them. 'We don't want anything too foreign', they argued, driving a pencil line through most of Europe, 'or really anywhere that is different in their moral values from ourselves' (Catalonia fell from the list with a quiet thud). 'No one who might swamp us with different ideas, incomprehensible languages or food that's picante or runny, and anyway, we don't want to subsidise expensive bus tickets for our inhabitants...', they agreed.

In the end, so goes the story, after several rounds with the porrón, they decided the best answer would be to twin with Mojácar. I'm not sure that Mojácar picked up the gauntlet though.

I like the collection of flags which can be seen in the Plenary Room at the Mojácar town hall. There's the Spanish one, the Andalusian one and the Andorran one there, all in a row.

And if the Andorran ensign is coincidentally the same as the Romanian flag, who are we to quibble?

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