Tuesday, August 3

Moguer, at Juan Ramón Jiménez’s | The traveler


“White wonder”: that’s what he used to say Juan Ramon Jimenez (1881-1958) to his hometown, Moguer, where he spent the best years of his life and where he rests in peace. Everything there reminds the poet: the house where he was born, the house where he grew up, the cemetery where he is buried, the street sculptures … Even the tiles stuck in the corners repeat his phrases. “Moguer is like a wheat bread, white inside, like the crumb, and golden surroundings – oh dark sun! -, like the soft crust”.

8.30. Walk among sculptures

The above quote is read in the Cabildo Square (1), near the statue of Juan Ramón made by Octavio Vicent and the sculpture Platero, from Alvaro Flores. Eight figures inspired by chapters of Platero and me, distributed throughout the population, form the museum Silversmith Sculpture, Created in 2014 to mark the centenary of the work. In the San Francisco square (2) shines on patinated steel Darbon, the doctor of Platero, of “eleven arrobas” and “three duros of age”. In the Rabida street (3) there is Aguedilla, “the poor crazy woman (…) who sent me blackberries and carnations”. You have to see the sculptures and read the 20 phrases that are written on as many tiles, and then have breakfast at the centenary La Victoria Confectionery (4): piononos, cow tits, juanitas, sultanas, explorers …

10.00. The Writer’s Library

In 1956, when the poet received the Nobel, the Zenobia-Juan Ramón Jiménez House Museum (5), in an 18th century house where he lived from 5 to 26 years old, during his most productive stage, and where the 3,700 books and 7,500 magazines in his library are preserved. Before he resided in the Birthplace of Juan Ramón (Calle de la Ribera, 2; 673 39 85 42) (6). “Here, in this large house, today the headquarters of the Civil Guard, I was born, Platero … From the viewpoint you can see the sea.” In this typical Andalusian house from the late nineteenth century, with neo-Mudejar influences, he cried for the first time, on December 23, 1881. If we want to see just one house, we will go to the first one: it is the important one.

The monastery of Santa María de la Rábida (Palos de la Frontera) guards an image of the Virgin before which Columbus prayed Moguer moments before leaving for the New World.
The monastery of Santa María de la Rábida (Palos de la Frontera) guards an image of the Virgin before which Columbus prayed Moguer moments before leaving for the New World. ALAMY

12.00. Columbian route

Another success: visit the Santa Clara monastery (7), from the fourteenth century, where Columbus watched one night on his return from America, fulfilling the vow he made when a storm was about to send the Little girl near the Azores. That caravel and a third of the sailors who accompanied it were from Moguer. The Nasrid stalls of the low choir and the cloister of the Mothers were already old when the discoverer saw them. Then we can take the car to continue visiting more places related to the Columbian feat, such as those nearby Palos de la Frontera (8), the La Rabida monastery (9), the Dock of the Caravels (10) and the Monument to the Discovery Faith (11).

14.30. Fried cuttlefish and giant serranito

If we want to eat in a Columbian setting, we will do it on the terrace of La Parrala (12), in the Plaza de las Monjas, overlooking the monastery of Santa Clara. Their fried whole cuttlefish is no discovery, everyone asks for it. Serranitos and giant sanjacobos, like the deck of a caravel, is what they give in Taberna La Yunta (959 73 10 51) (13). With 10 euros per person arrives. Fine site is not.

Mazagón beach, near Moguer (Huelva).
Mazagón beach, near Moguer (Huelva). alamy

16.00. 25 kilometers of sandy areas

Afterwards, it is best to lie on the wild beaches of Mazagón, where Moguer overlooks the Atlantic and Doñana: the Fontanilla, the Parador, the Rompeculos, the Arenosillo, the Torre del Loro … About 25 kilometers, from Mazagón to Matalascañas, measures this piece of lonely planet, embroidered of yellow cliffs (old solidified dunes) and stone pines. On one of these sandy cliffs, 40 meters high, rises the splendid Parador de Mazagón (14), with terraces open to the ocean and wooden stairs to go down to the beach. Next to it, a monstrous stone pine twists into a fantastic foreshortening, which must have been great in the days of Juan Ramón. The Parador pine, as it is called, is estimated to be 300 years old. Almost nothing.

18.30. Visit to the cemetery

The writer’s favorite walk, when he lived in Moguer as a boy, was the parish cemetery (15): “And not because of a sick romanticism, but, on the contrary, because of the contagious joy that floated in its clean enclosure, a pleasant place of rest, full of trees and bees, birds and flowers.” Here he was and remains buried with his wife, Zenobia, after both died in exile. His last words before expiring in Puerto Rico were: “Moguer …, mother …, Moguer.”

Replica of one of Colon's caravels, in Palos de la Frontera (Huelva).
Replica of one of Colon’s caravels, in Palos de la Frontera (Huelva).

21.00. Dinner at Zenobia

The best place to dine, with a very Juanramonian name, a large terrace and the great chef Paco Pepe, is the Zenobia space (641 39 75 86) (16). Some suggestions: avocado cannelloni, cuttlefish burger, cheeks with mushrooms, tataki salmon with pork rind, black salt, sesame wasabi and organic oil. More traditional is the Meson El Lobito (17), where to eat, paying just enough, grilled meats or portions of ham, cuttlefish, tail, heartburn, dogfish …

23.00. The grave of Platero

In the area of ​​Fuentepiña, two kilometers from the town, there is Nazareth of Moguer (18), which before being a rural hotel was owned by Juan Ramón’s doctor, Rafael Almonte, of whom there are many memories. Next to it is the country house that the poet used to frequent, in the shade of the Fat Pine, the tree under which he buried his beloved Platero. “Silversmith friend! I said to the earth: “If, as I think, you are now in a meadow of heaven and you carry the adolescent angels on your hairy back, have you, perhaps, forgotten me?” Platero, tell me: do you still remember me? Another hotel to consider is Escribano Square (959 37 30 63) (19), in a white house in Moguer. The rooms face a quiet courtyard and are five minutes from the Zenobia-Juan Ramón Jiménez House Museum.

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