Yesterday we decided to make a trip to Calasparra to see the sights there and visit the Sanctuary.
What an interesting place and there were only two other cars in the car park meaning we had the place to ourselves.
In 1786 the legend goes that a shepherd came across a cave and inside was a small wooden statue of the Virgin Mary. The local villagers decided to move the statue into one of the towns churches but when they came to move it they found it was very heavy and they could not force it out of the cave. A decision was made to make a chapel around the statue. The Virgin de Esperanza now resides in all her glory in the cave.
The sheer crumbling rock face above the chapel looks like it will fall at any minute even though it is encased in a 'hair net' of wire mesh.
Slightly off putting for such a sacred place was a machine to turn a coin into a medal and the swings and slides for children! The gift shop sold a lot of tat, but I did buy a nice Nativity to add to my collection.
This area of Calasparra is also famous for its rice growing which is especially good for paella. It was interesting looking at the paddy fields from a high viewing area.