Archive | November, 2013

Surf’s Up

20 Nov

With the (generally) placid Mediterranean looking more like the Atlantic, the surfers are out in force in Jávea: 

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Whilst yesterday in Denia it was a lone windsurfer battling the waves: 

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Watching this guy yesterday I came to the conclusion that windsurfing, along with bungee jumping, paragliding and numerous other activities, was something I am never now going to experience. Not that I’ve ever wanted to, mind! I was quite content to feel the spray on my face and the wind in my hair from the comfort of a beach bar on dry land. Each to their own. 

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Cheers. 

 

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Weird Weather

15 Nov

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We’ve switched the heating on. When we arrived here less than two weeks ago it didn’t seem possible. The waiters were complaining that the summer just wouldn’t end and, along with everybody else, we were in shorts, something only “tourists” desperate for a tan wear around here at this time of year. It seems to have gone from September to February almost overnight with the temperature forecast to drop still further over the next couple of weeks.

Yet today dawned bright and clear, the chilly wind frothing the waves and sweeping everyone off the beach. Everyone, that is, except the surfers waiting in wetsuits for the highest crests and the illicit dog walkers taking advantage of the empty sand. When the heavenly sprinkler system was turned on this afternoon still the sun shone lighting up the heavy globs of water in star-like profusion. Weird but rather wonderful. 

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Jávea

9 Nov

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I could never understand why anyone would want to go to the same place on holiday year in year out. I still don’t really. To me it smacks of a lack of imagination when there are so many amazing places to visit in the world, in Europe, in the UK even. My parents were like that. Nothing could compete with the attractions of Bournemouth for them. Yet we keep coming back to Jávea.

It’s hard to describe the attraction. Perhaps everybody has somewhere that ticks all their personal boxes and they feel at home, better than at home, even. Certainly, on all our travels to date, we haven’t found anywhere we’d prefer to spend the winter months. The climate, of course, is part of the attraction. I’ve never liked winter, never really saw the attraction of snow or even the appeal of autumn despite the colours. Sure they look great in photographs but spring, with its promise of summer days to come, always excites me more.

But there are many places in the world that have better weather than the UK in winter, so why Jávea, then? One of the main attractions for us is the cafe culture which we love and Jávea has in abundance. But then so does most of Spain and many other countries. I know many people prefer to be in the countryside or mountains which I can understand and others choose the excitement and sophistication of cities which we also enjoy but the sea will always hold our hearts.

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We don’t dismiss anywhere that you can get an English breakfast as being too touristy either. Maybe we feel a little smug ordering our meals in Spanish but being somewhere for a relatively long period of time where communication doesn’t always have to be in a second language is more relaxing. For us, Jávea has the perfect balance of ex pats that don’t overwhelm the local Spanish population, retaining its quintessential Spanish way of life and traditions. We like to immerse ourselves in this, love the food, the shops, the code of politeness and the change in pace. Yet we enjoy a quiz night in a British bar as well.

I could wax lyrical about the walks, the marina and fishing port, the old town and the beach and yes, these are all a huge part of the attraction. But ultimately it’s the people and the welcome that brings us back year after year. 

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Return to Spain

2 Nov

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Portsmouth from the ferry.

 

It was still dark when we left a frosty Hereford to drive down to Portsmouth. Naturally we arrived ridiculously early (made even earlier by using the alarm on my phone to get us up and I hadn’t put the clock back) for the ferry and were one of the first on as usual. I still didn’t particularly like the look of the weather forecast but after last weekend and as we weren’t crossing on a 40ft yacht, I was easily persuaded it wasn’t a problem. We both swallowed a couple of Sturgeron, though.

Brittany Ferries are delighted that they can now cross Biscay much closer to land via the Chenal du Four and the Raz de Sein. Having sailed these areas, I wasn’t sure it was such a great idea and, of course, it was as we were rounding this area that it all got a bit choppy. An early night was the solution and by morning our lost sea legs were no longer required.

I love the drive across Spain to Valencia. It always makes me realise how densely populated the UK is in comparison. Mile upon mile of mostly empty, rugged terrain, changing from lush green pine forests to sparse and dry greenery as the relatively empty motorway curves around and cuts through the terracotta-coloured mountains before descending towards that first tantalising glimpse of the Mediterranean. The final few miles into Jávea is then like coming home, the roads familiar, the artwork on the roundabouts well known and the orange groves welcoming. It’s good to be back. 

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 Neil’s morning cuppa was all the better for the flat sea and sunshine.