Want to Visit the Tortilla Town? Come and Experience Loja
Once You have read the BOOK you will want to visit the sites and see the faces that make up the Tortilla Town
The Short List..
1. The Museum in the Alcazaba. Know a little of the history.Hike up to the top of the Alcazaba and visit the old fortress - now a museum.
2. Go eat in The fish restaurants in Rio Frio, just outside the town. (Cheap, ecological and numerous).
3. Stroll along the river walk along the Rio Genil, from the new bridge to the Infiernos Waterfalls (Watch our for stray dogs, rising tides and discarded rubbish).
4. Go Visit Granada by train from Loja´s train station - San Francisco. - Particularly in winter to see the snow peaked hills of the sierras. Or go the other way towards the Atlantic and Algeciras and follow in the footsteps of Truman Capote.
5. Watch the dancing Incensarios during Semana Santa. Unbelievable and unforgettable.
(Chapter 4: Inside The Tortilla)
6. Dance under sparks of colour during Va del Calle. (Chapter 4 - Street Life: Sadly...suspended for political reasons)
7. Watch the sheer sociability of life during the Feria Grande.(August heat and lots of noise)
Chapter 5: Closing the Oven
8. Tapa till the cows come home during the Tapa Feria. (Social, filling and welcoming for the new Spring months) Chapter 4: Tapas Uncovered.
9. Flamenco Festival Finals in August (Marks the end of the summer festivities ) Chapter 4: Deep Flamenco
10. Breakfast somewhere with toast and oil and tomato, and a hot coffee served in glass. (See Bars). Chapter 10: Issues of Taste
In the town there was a group that met to organise activities to promote language and cultural exchanges.
If Loja offers one thing of excellence (other than tapas) it is culture. The Culture Department works hard thoughout the year to introduce and to stimulate artistic life in the town with cinema, art, street theatre, music, and dance. To find out about this rich offering, subscribe to the monthly news by getting your artifice card from the culture office that is situated in the old grain store called El Pósito.
The old cinema is under reform (a process of almost a decade now) due to funding issues and the discovery of an Arab marketplace beneath the grounds. Plans are that it will be open 2013.
AND YET MORE...
Culture are also responsible for organizing the Universidad Popular. These evening classes offer a range of activities for beginners from guitar and musical instruments, to art, languages and flamenco. Classes are subsidised and normally begin in October each year.
Up until a year or two back, the town was a fairly staunch socialist enclave. Opposition groups finally gathered in a rtather strange manner (Tories and Greens) to oust the party in 2011 as Spain shifted right and elected the Partido Popular into central Government. All this coincided with the worst recession in living memory and massive social cuts in both public and private works.
Hence as you walk around town, you may see a number of paralysed social projects. Fingers crossed for change.....
SEE CHAPTERS ON HISTORY AND STORIES
* The Marx Brothers
(See Chapter on History and the Marx Bros Mystery)
* Aliator (Bobadilla's Uncle)
* Perez Del Álamo
* The Cristian Mercenaries
* Pilar Rubio (See video)
* Santiago Carrillo
* Alfonso Guerra
* Ian Gibson
* Gregorio Peces Barba
Loja has a tremendous selection of bars for all tastes. I could be objective and leave it at that but instead Im going to suggest a few of my favorites. To find them, walk along the main street. Ask if all else fails.
Possibly the best breakfast in town. Open 6 days a week throughout the year, mini terrace and amazingly a menu of tapas to choose from on the wall. Always a vege option.
Open only mornings. Old time Loja. Wonderful site with a wonderful history.
Men get to experience the old style western swing door loos in the main bar area.
Large interior, swish deco and modern feel. Some of the Best wines in the town and great food. (Parque Los Angeles)
Intercambios 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month from 7pm).
For a cappuccino, home made cake and lots of seating, this bar is a refreshing change from the spit and sawdust variety that the town normally offers.
Way up near the supermarkets. This bar gets listed for its generous tapas, year round terrace, and convenient walking area behind the building (should you have a dog). Go for an afternoon something and watch the world walk by on there afternoon paseo.
Situated in Plaza Victoria, this bog-standard cafe-bar may look one to avoid, but actually hosts decent terrace during mornings and afternoons, serves fine tapas and does some mean raciones. Particularly Gambas al Pil Pil and battered pimientos.
Loja seemingly runs on throughout the year from one event to another. A brief listing would include:
January 6 - The 3 Kings.
February - Candelaria
March - Tapa Feria
April - Semana Santa
May - Las Cruces, Romeria.
June - Feria Chica
July - Va Del Calle (Suspeneded due to recession)
August - Feria Grande, Flamenco Volaera
September - Multi-Cultural Loja Week (Cancelled)
October - New Health and Sports Classes
November - May:
Universidad Popular Classes
Health and Sports
The Sports facilities are based in the Pabellon (under that big brown metal bridge that spans the upper and lower roads) where classes are offered thoughout the year, from Tai Chi and Yoga to aerobics, hiking and gymnasium. Pop into the office in the sports center to find out whats available. Most classes resume once more in September after the summer break.
On the other side of the river, alongside where the new hospital has been built, you will fiind other sports facilities including a football stadium and an outdoor swiming pool (normally open from June till September) and a new indoor pool in the process of construction.
Other facilities are being planned that will be part of a new park complex running alongside the rivers edge.