Monday, 26 December 2016

Winter in Spain - Christmas Day

Sunday 25th December
Christmas Day

I took Button for her morning walk before we drove down to the Arenal. The promenade and beach were very busy in the warm sunshine. Some people were swimming in the sea and many others were dressed in their Sunday best.
Busy Arenal promenade and beach

Christmas paddle boarders
We met Sue and Andy at the Botanico bar and shared a very nice bottle of Cava before walking to the restaurant for our Christmas lunch. The lunch was good but very filling!
Pre lunch Cava with Sue and Andy

Lyn wasn't really as drunk as she looks!
We walked back via the Arenal so that Button could have another play on the beach, then went to Sue and Andy's apartment for a coffee and another game of "Witches". Sue won this time.
We drove home to the villa at around 9:30 and relaxed for a while before retiring to bed.
Button playing with a new friend on the beach

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Winter in Spain - Week Four

Sunday 18th December
More Rain!

The weather is even worse today with torrential rain and thunder. We stayed in until the evening then drove down to Javea for a curry in the Gurkha Palace. We enjoyed the meal. While we were eating the Bomberos (fire brigade) arrived outside to clear away fallen Palm trees!

Monday 19th December
The rain continues

Another very rainy day with strong winds. In the afternoon, when the rain had eased off, I drove to Cap de la Nao to take a few photos of the sea. The light was lit in the lighthouse due to the very dull conditions.
View from the Mirador at Cap de la Nao

Looking towards Ambolo and Isla del Descubridor

Tuesday 20th December
The weather improves

The day dawned much better, sunny but quite cool. We drove down to the supermarket to do a bit of shopping. 
After lunch we drove back to Arenal beach. By this time it was sunny and warm. We were surprised by the size of the waves in the bay. A sand dam had been made along the length of the beach to protect the seafront bars and restaurants. We had a drink and Lyn had a dessert in La Botanico restaurant as we watched the waves.
The sand dam and wild sea

Big waves at Arenal
Button had a great run on the beach as we walked back to Morag. Santa was seated at the Christmas tree on the seafront entertaining the kids.
Santa at Arenal

Wednesday 21st December
Old friends

We arranged to meet our friends Sue and Andy for a drink  at Arenal this morning. After letting Button have her run on the beach, we joined them for a drink in the Octopus bar. Later we all went to a small restaurant for lunch where we joined other friends, Maggie and Nigel, who have moved here from France.
Button had another run on the beach then we made our way back to the villa.

Thursday 22nd December
Moraira and Calpe

We drove over to Moraira in bright sunshine. After a walk along the seafront we stopped for a drink at one of the pavement cafés.
Moraira Castle and the Penyal d,Ifac and Calpe in the distance

Lyn and Button in Moraira

A drink in the sunshine
We drove over to Calpe just to see what it's like. The drive is along the winding coast road with some lovely sea views with the Peñal d'Ifac rock looming larger as we neared the resort.
Calpe is very different to Moraira. There are many high-rise buildings and the promenade, though pleasant, was surprisingly quiet. Very few of the cafés and bars were open and the beach was deserted. The pavement bars in Moraira had been buzzing with activity. We had  a drink and a snack in one of the few bars that were open then made our way back to Javea along the main road. We decided that Calpe in not our sort of place - a bit like a mini Benidorm.
Calpe beach

High-rise apartments in Calpe

Friday 23rd December
Carols in Javea

We drove down to Arenal to give Button her morning run on the beach then on to Javea Port for a Christmas Carol event organised by the local Baptist church. Lyn very much enjoyed singing carols in the bright, warm sunshine. So did I, but found that it went on a bit too long!
Carols in the sun
We had an excellent lunch at a restaurant on the seafront. I would thoroughly recommend La Bodeguilla for its excellent choice of food and very friendly service. 
Sue and Andy came to the villa in the evening and we played a game of "Witches". Lyn won and we followed up with a snack supper.

Saturday 24th December
Christmas Eve

We met Sue and Andy at the Arenal and walked through with them to a restaurant for breakfast. Unfortunately it was closed for the Christmas weekend so we walked back to Arenal and had breakfast at the Austrian café. The bread rolls were superb!
Button got her now regular run on the beach and chased sticks in the sea. Sue and Andy had invited us back to see their apartment. It was very nice and within easy walking distance of Arenal but wouldn't really have been suitable for us with Button.
Throwing the stick for Button

"I can fly to get it!"

"It's this way to Australia!"
Later, back at the villa, Sue and Andy visited so that Sue could use our WiFi to check her emails and to do some online banking. We listened to some music and made arrangements to meet up for our Christmas meal tomorrow.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Winter in Spain - Week Three

Sunday 11th December
A Mini Mahoney Merry Christmas

We decided to make today a Mini Mahoney Merry Christmas as we wouldn't be seeing the family over the actual days. Bob and I moved the garden table to the sunniest spot in the garden in readiness for an afternoon barbecue. We opened a few presents. Rowan was very pleased with her Doctor's dressing-up outfit.
Button opening her present - it lasted about 2 minutes!

Amber with a new rattle

Granny helping Rowan open presents

Doctor Rowan preparing to give an injection
We had a snack lunch in the garden then got on with preparations for the barbecue.
For our Christmas meal in the sun we started with melon and Iberico ham and a glass of Cava, followed by chicken brochettes and steak from the barbecue accompanied by oven roasted vegetables and a risotto with a very good Rioja. For afters we had a shop bought chocolate and cream gateau; no Christmas Pud this year. Of course, we had Christmas crackers too! Lucy had a swim in the pool between the main course and the dessert. Rather her than me - the pool thermometer read 13 degrees!
The barbecue in the sunshine

A Mini Mahoney Merry Christmas!

Lucy swimming at 13 deg C - crazy!

Monday 12th December
Moraira Beach

Today we made up a picnic and drove over to Moraira so that Rowan could have a proper play on the beach. Button got really excited at the beach and charged around and in and out of the sea. Bob and Lucy swam in a tidal pool and later in the sea off the main beach. Lyn helped Rowan build sandcastles.
Button loves the beach

Moraira beach with Penyal d'Ifac in the distance

I was interested in a small, fenced off lagoon by the beach set up as a small wildlife area. A very confiding Heron was there along with some ducks, gulls and Moorhens. A solitary Cormorant was a little further off.
Grey Heron in the coastal lagoon
We had a picnic lunch in Morag then went for a walk along to a fort at the end of the beach. We liked Moraira and will be back.
Picnic lunch in Morag

Moraira Fort with Bob looking out to sea
Back at the villa we had a simple pasta meal with Rowan while Bob and Lucy got ready to go out for a meal at the Azahar restaurant. They enjoyed their meal although they found the dessert disappointing.

Tuesday 13th December
Good Lunch at Arenal

We drove down to Arenal for Rowan to play on the climbing frames at the beach as this is the last day that the family will be staying.
We had an excellent lunch at La Fortuna on the beach front. Bob and I shared a Paella Marisco while Lyn had Sea Bass and Lucy have oven cooked lamb. We all enjoyed it and found the staff very good and friendly.
The view from our table at La Fontana
We made our way back to the villa in the early afternoon as Bob and Lucy wanted to start on their packing.

Wednesday 14th December
Goodbye Bob and Family

We all got up quite early as Bob and family had to leave for Alicante airport. All went very smoothly until, at the last possible moment, Amber projectile vomited all over her clean travelling clothes and the car seat! Babies have such a good sense of timing! Despite leaving a little later than planned, they got to the airport in plenty of time for their flight.
We drove Morag down to Granadella beach. The pebble beach is in a very attractive cove though the extensive fires last September left the surrounding hillside a bit bare. All the Tapas bars and restaurants were closed as it was so out of season and we had the beach almost to ourselves apart for a solitary metal detectorist.
Granadella beach

Granadella bay
We had taken sandwiches and ate them on the beach accompanied by a nice hot cup of tea brewed in Morag.
Lyn sat on the beach and read her Kindle and played with Button while I set off for a walk out to a ruined fort at the headland. It was quite a stiff climb up from the road and the path was very affected by the fires. I didn't complete the walk to the end because of the damage. I did get excellent views of the bays from the cliff path though.
Granadella from the cliff path

Morag, Lyn and Button from the cliff path
We left Granadella once someone began using a very noisy jet ski in the bay. Back at the villa we sat outside by the pool with a beer in the sunshine.

Thursday 15th December
Quiet day

The day started very showery. I took Button for her morning walk between heavy showers. We had booked a hire car for a few days but decided to cancel it as the weather looked to be so poor. We drove down to Consum supermarket for supplies for the next few days. Other than that we just spent the day in the villa sheltering from the bad weather.

Friday 16th December
Denia and Cake

We drove over the mountain to Denia to see the town. It is much bigger then Javea with a long sprawl of holiday flats to the north of the main town and port. We stopped to take Button for a run on the deserted beach, then made our way back to Javea in a torrential downpour! Denia is not our sort of place - too big and not with a welcoming feel about it. We probably won't be visiting again.
Back in Javea we called in to the Austrian cafe at Arenal beach. We had hot drinks and delicious cakes before driving back up the hill to the villa.

Saturday 17th December
Coorying in

Another poor day with prequent showers and heavier prolonged periods of rain although it did clear up a little late in the afternoon. Apart from taking Button for her walk we stayed in all day.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Winter in Spain - Week Two

Sunday 4th December
First full day at the Villa

We drove to the other side of Javea for Lyn to go to the Anglican church service. It was a fairly long drive. While Lyn was at the service I took Button for a walk along the nearby streets. The weather was quite poor with some heavy showers. After the service we drove back. The route we chose was very steep and we had to use first gear for most of the way. In future, I think we will use the longer, more windy way. Morag would like that better.
I watched the highlights of the England Australia rugby in the afternoon. I'm glad to say that England won.
We both took Button for her evening walk and found a good circular walk through the nearby woodland.
We had roast chicken for our evening meal and watched Planet Earth II on the TV.

Monday 5th December
Shopping and seafront lunch

We drove Morag down into Javea to do our first main shop of the trip before Bob, Lucy and the grandchildren arrive tomorrow. The supermarket, Consum, was pretty good but shopping took some time as we were unfamiliar with the layout.
Once we had completed the shopping and transferred everything into Morag we drove to the Arenal beach and had lunch in Spasso, a seafront restaurant. The sea was quite disturbed with some large breakers. So much so that several people were surfing.
Waves at Platje de Arenal

Tuesday 6th December
Bob and family arrive

After breakfast and walking the dog we got things ready for Bob, Lucy and the girls' arrival. They were quite late arriving as they had some difficulty finding us. They arrived during a heavy shower. The weather has been poor for the past few days. Not what we were expecting!
We had lunch together and chatted for a while. I made the evening meal - pork in a tomato and olive sauce. It seemed to go down well with everyone.
Rowan feeding Amber her first solids!

Wednesday 7th December
Javea port

After breakfast we set out for Javea port. We wandered along the sea front in sunny warm conditions.
We had the Menu del Dia in one of the pavement cafes. Despite the wind and cloud in the afternoon, we drove along to the Arenal beach so that Rowan could have a short play on the sand.
In the evening we played Canal Mania. Bob won!
Lucy, Rowan and Amber on Javea seafront

Waves at Javea seafront

Thursday 8th December
Tapas and views

After the morning routine we drove up to the Montgo park and along to the Cap de Sant Antoni. The weather was cloudy but bright and we had some good views of Javea and its surroundings.

Faro de Cap de Sant Antoni
Cap de Sant Antoni


Bob, Lucy, Rowan and Amber

Cap San Antoni panorama
Arisarum vulgatum ssp simorrhinum (thanks to Dan Eggleton for the id).
 For lunch we stopped at the Restaurante Amanecer. It was quite busy with people celebrating the public holiday but they found room for us on a very well placed table. We had Tapas and Postre for a snack lunch before going for a walk at Las Molins. This is a line of 10 windmill towers on the hillside overlooking the town. Several appear to have been converted into homes.

One of the Molins
View from the Molins
 We got back to the villa at 5:30 and were all quite tired so had an early night after a Pizza meal.

Friday 9th December
Shopping and a walk

While the rest of the clan went shopping I made some progress on getting this blog up to date. The weather continues to be poor with drizzle, rain and overcast skies; disappointing!
In the afternoon we braved the weather to walk to Cap de la Nao. By the time we had walked back to the villa the skies had begun to clear! A bit late!
Looking south from Cap de la Nao
 Bob and Lucy prepared the evening meal (which was delicious) while I read to Rowan.

Saturday 10th December
Posh lunch and trip to the beach

We all went to the Restaurant at Cap de la Nao for lunch. We had very well presented starters. Lyn had a whole squid (!) and Bob had an octopus tentacle.Lucy and I were a little more conservative with a starter of beans, black pudding and quail's egg. For main course we shared a paella. All very nice and the setting was spectacular but the bill was quite large!
Faro de Cap de la Nao
We travelled on to the beach at Portixol but by the time we got there the sun was too low to give much warmth. Despite this, Lucy, Lyn, Bob and Rowan paddled and I threw sticks for Button to chase in the sea. The road down to the beach was very steep and windy but Morag coped very well with the journey.
Portixol bay and island

Button waiting for another stick throw

Bob and Lucy at Portixol