Posted by: glenswatman | December 4, 2014

20141121-30 Visiting friends in the mountains.

FRIDAY 21 NOVEMBER – I set out for a bit of a run/walk but find the cool air makes things even more difficult than usual. I warm up in a hot shower then head to the cafe for internet only to find it is all closed up. Tana and Graham come round for an afternoon of cards which is a nice way to pass the time. In the evening we visit Jaen restaurant in Guardamar and get introduced to Alison and Bob’s new Couchsurfing friends Trish and Stuart. They recently moved here and as a young couple travel the world teaching English living in each area for many months. A meal costs Euro 9 (£7) and begins with salad, bread, garlic mayonnaise, paella then a choice of two courses (supposedly one a first and one a second course but both the same size) dessert and drinks. If you want extra wine it is Euro 1.25 (£1) for a litre carafe. We enjoy the company but leave early when the restaurant gets extremely noisy. Both come to the conclusion that Spanish restaurants and big meals at night don’t work for either of us anymore.
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SATURDAY 22 NOVEMBER – We both felt unwell in the night so I text Alison and Bob to cry off our planned Torrevieja tapas trail tonight. They call round to mend a couple of things in the flat and drop lucky to find a window and blind contractor parked up who repairs the blind for Euro 10. I join them for a brief outing and pick up some more gluten free stuff in Mercadona. It’s a bit of a farce them promoting how many gluten free products they stock as even the sparkling water has a gluten free label on it! Steve’s still feeling bloated and weary so not keen to go out. I walk to Claire’s’ (and catch her just leaving for a funeral). It’s not a cold day but very windy and the surfers are taking full advantage of the waves. I stop for a coffee and Internet in the cafe by our communal pool and receive the sad news that our Dutch friend Henk, from Hungary, has died from cancer.
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SUNDAY 23 NOVEMBER – It’s another dull and blustery day. Mid morning we see a crowd gathered seemingly for a sermon on the rocks. Not sure what it is all about as most people are in very casual clothing and some even had back packs. Speculate either a Sunday service of the scattering of ashes from a recent death. Steve’s happy to stay in for the day watching sport.
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MONDAY 24 NOVEMBER- Just south of Mula we head to Casa Nuevas to visit Chris and Norma. We met them in India in Feb 2011 and have kept in touch since. Chris has had a home in the village for many years and they also use Henry, their Hymer motorhome, for trips around. Pulling up into the village we spot them sat outside the cafe with table and chairs in the street. After joining them for a drink we go to their 3 bedroom bungalow further along the road. There’s only a small strip of patio front and back but enough to fit a table and chairs for lunch and as the sun moves around we take the chairs out into the street Spanish style. A walk around the village reveals some magnificent mansions used by people from Mula as weekend homes. The Sierra Espuna mountains nearby whilst the valley itself is flat with lots of oranges, peaches, almonds, lemons and grapefruit being grown. Norma used to be a dietician so is familiar with my dietary needs and takes great care with the evening meal. A tasty chicken dish cooked in sauce with pomegranate and almonds. Since we last saw them they have travelled to many places and plan to go to China next year so the conversation is mainly travel based.
CASA NUEVAS 1

TUESDAY 25 NOVEMBER – We’ve had a quiet night which is apparently unusual as there are many dogs in the countryside and cats usually climb up the windows. Chris drives us to Mula where they check on Henry’s progress at the garage and are relieved to find the problem is a water pump seal and not the pump itself. In Mula we stop for drinks in the square before setting out for a 4 mile walk along the old railway track. Back in town we drive up to the castle on the hill top with fine views. You used to be able to walk around the castle but after they had to evict squatters and then someone died falling off the walls it has been closed off. A late lunch is in Pliego with the filling menu of the day Euro 10 (£8). To avoid all the noise Norma and Chris ask if we can eat in the back room but funnily enough the first thing the owner wants to do is put the TV on! In the evening we get a heavy downpour creating a small stream in the road. Chris knew it was coming as neighbours had already put boards outside their doors – the Spanish building method means many doors are below the door step enabling the rain to flood the hallway.
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WEDNESDAY 26 NOVEMBER – We take both cars to Pliego then wander around whilst Chris and Norma do a few jobs. We continue up into the national park of Sierra Espuna in Chris’s car and I’m glad we do as there are dozens of hairpin bends to navigate. We get stunning views in the mountain and spot a helicopter picking up vast baskets of concrete from the cement mixer in the park. They are taking it higher up where vehicles cannot reach. We stop a viewing area with fabulous views for miles. Nearby we walk to the ice houses. These are massive wells with a domed roof and in the past workers spent winter filling them with snow to make ice. Through the summer this ice was taken by donkey to the coast to chill the fresh fish. On the way down we are lucky to get sighting of the unusual mountain goats as they leap across the road in front of us. We pick up the car and all drive to Mula for a quick Aldi shop before we head back to the coast. It’s been a lovely break with interesting company and hopefully we will be able to chat more when they visit us. In the evening we join the trip to the quiz where again our opposition team are runners up.
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THURSDAY 27 NOVEMBER – I make a bit pan of pumpkin and potato soup before we head out. Last night I invited Graham and Tana for lunch tomorrow and when I asked her what she would really like to eat she said a Thai Curry. Fail to buy the ingredients at Lidl. At Carrefour I am unable to buy all the ingredients to make it from scratch so have to settle for a sauce mix. They have a great range of gluten free products so we end up with a basket of stuff. Steve picks up an empty box to put the groceries in but the check out operator says we cannot have it. She cannot give a reason so Steve asks to see the supervisor who says they sell bags or we can buy a box but have to go to a different area to do so! Nearby are the International Gardens where unusually chickens roam free – didn’t manage to find any eggs. From there we wander down to the old railway station which is now a salt history museum but closed. Adjoining parks lead us down to the waterfront where we wander further before returning through the back streets. Claire joins us for lunch and seems to like the homemade soup. Brian is doing really well after his heart operation where they put in stents and will be back here next week.
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FRIDAY 28 NOVEMBER – It’s black Friday so I pop over to the cafe to do some Internet in the hope of picking up a few bargains but given that the cafe doesn’t open until 10am I am way too late. We’ve invited Tana and Graham for lunch but get a call to say their motorhome has broken down. I pop down in the car to pick them up as they still want to come. Tana is a bit under the weather but my fish Thai curry and card games soon cheer her up. We manage to fit in up and down the river, learn Kings in the corner and teach them bush rummy.
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SATURDAY 29 NOVEMBER – We are hoping to pick up one of the free “blanket tours” so visit the market but unfortunately there are no touts around. Stroll the market which is really quiet then head to the nearby La Zenia shopping centre which Steve has never seen. At Cabo Roig the Bushwacka pub is offering half price drinks and meals so we head there for lunch. It was cold and cloudy when we set out so I dressed with long sleeved t shirt, thick jumper and jeans. It’s now very hot and luckily we pass a charity shop where I duck in and buy a skirt and top at Euro 1 (80p) each. Sitting out eating lunch I pick up Emails from England where the weather is cold and foggy. By car we explore the Cabo Roig peninsula with more cliffs than beaches. Most side roads prevent access to the beach with the end house taking prime waterfront position. We spot a British motorhome in one with a car park so park up to chat and discover a rocky cliff footpath below. If we get chance before leaving we shall return and walk it all.
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SUNDAY 30 NOVEMBER – It’s like waking up in England with cooler rainy weather. We’ve been invited to lunch at Tina and Jim’s and Tana warned us to put on warm clothes as their 3 bedroom detached home is cold. She’s not wrong, in fact even once they have put the gas fire on it takes ages to even take the chill off. Conversation is mainly travel based although Jim & Tana have never been full time travellers unlike Tana and Graham and ourselves and they also tend to travel on a much higher budget and style. Jim’s prepared lunch and picked up roast chicken to go with the jacket potatoes, tomatoes and onions he’s cooked. After pineapple and banana he suggests we walk round to the bar for coffee so having only just removed our coats they go back on and under umbrellas we trudge down the street. It’s the usually noisy Spanish bar enhanced by a marble counter top that the bar man can crash saucers and plates on to. Although we have enjoyed the company we are more than happy to return to our warm and quiet apartment in the evening. Reckon we are starting to sound like Karl Pilkington with all our moans about foreign customs – although Jim gave us a run for our money when he got on to the topic of the Spanish lack of consideration for others.
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Responses

  1. Good to hear you enjoyed the Sierrra Espuna- one of our favourite local places, There is a great campsite with log cabins in EL BERRO- a small village in the heart of the area- great for walking- the ice houses are interesting- and the wild boar come down to one of the cafes in the afternoon to eat- SPECTACULAR!


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