Summer is definitely coming to a close now, with the 1st day of September looming at the end of this week, we enter into a bit of a cultural lull, between the summer and autumn fiesta calendars.

That said, there is still plenty of things to do and plenty of places to visit, so let´s start with Orihuela. The popular Zumba Classes on the beach still continue, although they come to a close at the weekend, no doubt to the disappointment of the many people who have been taking part through the summer. The Zenia Boulevard shopping centre still has a packed schedule of entertainment, with something different every day, albeit mostly of a musical genre this week, there is still a lot of variety. In Orihuela city, the cultural tours are continuing, still providing a novel way to see and learn about some of the sites, as a costumed guide takes you around the historic sites, all in English, you might be relieved to hear. Sticking with Orihuela for football fans, Orihuela CF plat Atlético Saguntino on Sunday, so that´s one for your diary.

Maintaining the sporting theme, Pilar de la Horadada takes to the ocean waves with the 5º Curso de Vela Verano sailing course, culminating at the weekend with a regatta an awards ceremony. There is also a painting exhibition on at the Casa del Cultura, offering interpretations of outdoor life through the medium of canvas.

In Torrevieja, the King of Pop pays a visit, at least in tribute form, as Moonwalker The Show takes to the stage at the Teatro Municipal, with tickets at 25 and 35 euro, perhaps not the cheapest night out, but still promising to be a spectacular performance. Saturday is perhaps the busiest in Torrevieja´s calendar with the Habaneras shopping centre holding their VIP night for loyalty card holders, Moon in Africa being performed at the Municipal Theatre, the 7 Deadly Sins Musical, a feast of tantalisation, at the Virgen del Carmen and a musical concert in La Mata, all of which, certainly for a family, are far more affordable than the Moonwalker event.

Next on our cultural tour is Elche. Rather than focus on one area though, we thought a general overview might be more appropriate for such a rich and diverse city.

Traditionally famed for shoes and palm trees, recent years have seen the commercial activities change, with the dreaded Red Palm Weevil threatening to decimate entire plantations and the shoe manufacturers finding themselves gradually replaced by cheaper, usually Chinese imports. In fact, there are huge areas of industrial units now dedicated to the distribution and sales of products into the Chinese shop network; the entire activity has had to change with the times.

With drive-to shopping centres dotted around the outskirts, offering the usual mixture of electrical, sports and DIY shops, as well as supermarkets, Elche is graced by one of Spain´s leading department stores, El Corte Ingles, as well as the Centro Comercial L’Aljub, with a range of stores, some of which are reminders of home ground, others offering everything from computer games and fashion, and even one that provides body piercing, including your most intimate areas.

With a vast expanse of parkland, Elche is rich in green and environmentally friendly areas, with birds welcomed into the municipal park, where human visitors can stroll through the grounds at whatever pace the situation demands, there are flat river basins, popular with runners, scenic views, flowers and plants offering visual and nasal delights, and, if you manage to drive down one of the roads, you just might even stumble across a full sized, now retired, steam locomotive, a symbol of the railway history that the city also boasts.

A day is not nearly enough to take in all of the sights, as down every passage and street you will find some kind of monument, from statues to architecture and from murals to works or art, not forgetting the religious and historic buildings that can be perused at will.

Whilst visiting Elche this week, you could try one of the photographic exhibitions, one offering “another vision”, or perhaps a look at money through history. There is a dance exhibition in the municipal park and that railway history we spoke of is once again brought to the spotlight, with a mini steam train and exhibition, albeit away from the centre, in Torrellano.

Whatever the reason you go, at just a short drive away, Elche is guaranteed to be a feast for the eyes, even if you choose to simply walk around and take in the sights, you will not be disappointed by what a traditionally industrial town has become, whilst still maintaining its pride in its roots.

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