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Slaughter - now there's a good word. Slaughter - spurting blood, severed limbs and sinew, shattered bones. Blood and guts. Matanza in Spanish.

The leaflet said come and see the traditional slaughter at the Fortress of the Sun; the Workshop in Time. Nice wording I thought. The copy writers must have burned the midnight oil to come up with those.

We knew what to expect, at least from the slaughter. Lots of pig products. We've lived in Salamanca province where gutting a squealing pig in the back yard is still a bit of a family event. It's no longer legal to slaughter animals away from properly licensed premises but the home slaughter of the pet pig at this time of year is such a strongly ingrained tradition in some parts of the country that the authorities continue to turn a blind eye.

So we weren't expecting the pig to die in front of us. We were just expecting lots of cholesterol rich food and that's what we got.

Lorca is the place that was hit by an earthquake back in May. Nine people died and over 300 people were injured. We've been told lots of times by lots of people what a nice place Lorca is but we've never taken to it much. One of the reasons for going today was that the economic effects of the earthquake are still being felt. There are local campaigns to support Lorca by going there and spending a bit of money. So a Bank Holiday trip out seemed like a good idea.

The Castle wasn't bad. It had some walls and some towers and stuff like that though the towers were closed - one because of earthquake damage. They had tried hard to make something of what they had so the bakery had loaves and life size figures of bakers and they had little displays about water in one of the underground cisterns. They also had a king, an alchemist and the Spanish equivalent of a witch doctor telling us interesting things about the castle and life in the Middle Ages. There were birds of prey too.

And the sun shone.


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