The 16th of February, 2015
Again, I packed the car and drove to the other side of Spain, to a small village close to Denia, in between Alicante and Valencia. I took the coastal road towards Almeria, to avoid Granada. The first part of the highway is not completely finished, so it took some more time, but soon I entered the new highway and could drive via Almeria, Lorca and Murcia to Alicante and after to Denia. The highway was very quiet and the landscape is like the Wild West, so now I understand why they filmed so many cowboy movies in this part of Spain. It was not a boring drive, although it is also not the most beautiful part of Spain. I passed Benidorm and it didn’t look very appealing with all the huge apartment buildings (skyscrapers more or less), one after the other and all crumbled into a small valley. Right in between Alicante and Valencia, I found the small village of Pedreguer. Here I will be staying for two weeks, but with the home owner present this time. She has three dogs and one is paralyzed from the back, so a lot of work for her and not much time to walk with the other two. Also, she will need a small surgery and could use some help around the house.
The house where I am staying is spacious with an enormous garden and view from all sides of the hills around. We are amidst the orange groves and they are full with oranges at this time of the year. I can imagine her garden must be colourful and lushy in springtime and summer. The blossom of the Almond trees is nearly starting and soon it will be an oasis of pink colours in the neighbourhoods.
My host is originally from the Netherlands and we get along fine. If the sun is out, we can sit on one of the patio’s and have a glass (or two) of lovely wine together. I walk the dogs during the day and help the other one to go outside by lifting her up and putting her down and I finally can watch some Dutch t.v. in the evening, which hasn’t happened for a long time!
During the first week, we visited Denia and some small villages in the surroundings, but the weather hasn’t been too good for a lot of sightseeing. In the second week, my host got her surgery and I was more needed in the house. Later in the week, I was able to visit Valencia, a beautiful town with lots of history in the old city. I have been to Barcelona many times and also Madrid, in the time my parents lived on the Costa Brava, but I had never been to Valencia.
To go to Valencia, it is better to take the train to avoid parking problems and it is so much more relaxed. I first drove from Pedreguer to Xeraco. Once there, it is easy to find the station and although the parking place was full of cars, there was plenty space in the small streets close by. The station is very small and you buy your ticket out of the machine, but there was a lady to help out. A return ticket will cost around 12 euro’s and the train will take you to Valencia North, from where you just walk into the old city. On your way you will find one or two tourist information kiosks, with a very helpful staff and they will supply you with a good map and give some explanation, regarding the most interesting sites to visit.
Valencia has lots of atmosphere. Full with tapas bars and cozy restaurants, lots of Plazas with terraces filled with locals as well as tourists, a cathedral, many churches, an old city wall and many other interesting buildings. Although it is a huge city, the inner old town has an intimate character. One day is just enough to get only an impression of all the city has to offer. I walked and walked, even visited the University Botanical Gardens and once there, you don’t realize that you are in such a big city. definitely, worth a visit!
After these two weeks, I have to return to Portugal, to hand in my car to the agency at Faro airport. I will stay for my last two days with my former house sit hosts in Gorgoes, the Algarve. However, before heading back to Portugal, I will meet up with a friend of mine in Malaga and get some more time to explore the city, during the Andalusian festivities.