Where does the time go? Each time we blink another week appears to have flown by – difficult to believe that we have been in Spain for a week and have already arrived in the land of the Oranges
The weather has been strange as most of you would have heard, with fires in Northern Spain and Portugal which on Wednesday were thankfully put out by the torrential rain, bringing with it different problems, although 24 hours later in many parts you wouldn’t have known there were storms.
We have been lucky where we are as despite it being very dry, there hasn’t been fires and although we had two torrential downpours on Wednesday and Thursday there doesn’t appear to be any lasting damage – it is just unfortunate that the rain fell so quickly and heavily it won’t have allowed the ground to soak up enough of the goodness, or enabled Spain to build up any reserves. As much as us Brits complain about the rain, spending time in somewhere like Spain really makes you appreciate the beautiful lush landscape we have in the UK.
Back to the day job…. waking to the busy sounds of Huesca, we set about our morning routine, went and stocked up at the local Mercadona and headed on our way to Teruel. The route saw the landscape change even further, having been lush and green as we crossed to Spain, Huesca was almost desert-like sand coloured rock and then on this journey changing again to a dry red soil and rock lined with vinyards. Teruel is known for its Mudejar architecture which is a mixture between Gothic and Islamic, using beautiful green and blue stone mixed in with brickwork.
We parked up in a car park near the Guardia Civil building which allows overnight parking for motorhomes (GPS n.40,33171 w1.09255) and went for a nice walk around the walled town. Teruel is still fairly high at 900m, so despite being 24 degrees during the day it cooled down overnight making it rather fresh for our morning exercises!
As we left Teruel in the morning we were consumed by the fog where the temperature dropped below 10 degrees for at least ten minutes before we emerged on the other side to blue skies, Valencia’s smog and a rapidly rising temperature gauge.
We had decided to stop for a couple of nights in a little place called La Alqueria de la Comtessa which is right in the heart of the Valencian Orange Groves (GPS n38,93878 w0.15277 10 euros 1-3 nights, 8 euros after, or 6 euros 30+ nights). Although we had heard a lot about the aire from Michel and Teresa we hadn’t been here and thought it would be a good place to catch up with them …. needless to say they left on Tuesday morning and we arrived Tuesday afternoon – we might start to take the hint!
The Aire is just off the main road in a little village roughly 3km from the sea but there is a cycle route that runs to Oliva – 3kms to the right and Gandia – 4kms to the left so we decided to stay a few nights to explore the area a bit more.
As we knew that it was going to rain on Wednesday we decided not to venture too far … unfortunately we got to the seafront and got distracted, stopping for a drink, then to pick up some bits and without us realising it the clouds had us circled… in fact I think we can only say that we were well and truly consumed – the heavens opened…. unfortunately not only had we left some of the windows open, we had also left all our towels and sports gear out, thankfully it was due for a wash! Everything was a little soggy – including us!
We woke to clear skies on Thursday so got a wash in early…. not wishing to take any of the wet towels back into the motorhome until they were clean and dry! The forecast again showed that we were possibly due for more rain so although we headed to Oliva – a pretty little town with a nice historic area up on the hill – to explore, we made sure we were back by 3pm, enough time to collect the clothes in before the skies opened again at 5pm.
With rain out the way, we put another wash on and with confidence headed off on the bikes to Denia which is roughly 28km along the coast towards Alicante. The route was mainly through Orange Groves and really quiet except for the last 10km or so which was Restaurant after Bar, after restaurant ….. highlighting the Northern European influence on the area.
Denia is a good sized town which appears to have got its mix right, a big castle, a lovely market on a Friday, lots of restaurants and bars (both local and to suit tourist needs) and a bit of culture …. it is also helped by the fact that it is actually on the seafront where Oliva and Gandia’s main town center’s are 3km from the sea….well worth the visit despite being a little achey by the time we got back …. I had been for a run as well in the morning!
This morning and we both set off for a run with the sun shining down on us before a walk back along the cycle path to Gandia to explore further. Not knowing anything about the town we were pleasantly surprised by the size of it and its ‘normality’. It didn’t feel touristy at all and had a really good selection of local shops, restaurants and history.
So, although not many photos to show, we have managed to fully explore the area, taking in many an Orange and Satsuma tree along the way. Tomorrow we move slightly further south but would definately stop here en-route again, even if it wasn’t just to avoid Michel and Teresa and to take cover from the rain … which incidentally was far worse further North.
Since crossing over into Spain we had switched back to speaking Spanish together which has been difficult to say the least – so Keith is currently speaking some kind of ‘Esperanto’! We have also bumped into several French people who we met a couple of years ago so it has been difficult to just focus on Spanish…. good practice at switching if nothing else!
Just in case you haven’t noticed, I have added a link for some recipes at the top of the page – this week we have had both Lentil Chilli and Mixed Bean Curry and have managed to demolish about half of the Sienna Cake so far, but there are a few more of our favourites up there as well – Enjoy!