Things to do

UKs Foul February Floods

Without doubt, the vast majority of
the Costa Blanca’s Brits will have been watching the TV news, or listening to
the radio, to determine the UKs worst hit areas. Most will have an association
of some kind with the Thames Valley, with the West Country, or with Wales.

To say we wished we were with you,
helping to fill up sand bags would be a whopping lie. Of course, there is
measureless sympathy with the plight of all those knee deep in water, with
property floating around the lounge. Of course, we understand that it must be
extremely depressing to have rain falling every day from grey/black skies,
without a single ray of sunshine to be seen.

But then, go to any café in Moraira
for a cup of coffee, and fellow coffee guzzlers will confess to being delighted
at no longer being located in the UK. They reckon they are blessed to be away
from all the problems you are experiencing. The temperature forecasts here in
Teulada Moraira for the final days of February are 14°, 18° and 16°. OK, that’s
not paddling/diving in the sea weather, but it does allow you to go for a walk
in a T shirt and light sweater. There are plenty of pleasant beach walks too.
Behind the fine sands and crystal clear waters of El Portet Beach is a long
walkway hosting 2 cafes offering morning coffee and a pleasant light lunch.
Then towards Moraira, near the entrance to Club Nautico, you’ll come across
Portixol Cove. It’s crystal clear waters make it perfect for diving and
fishing. In fact, Teulada Moraira can proudly point out that all its beaches,
spread along 8 km of coast, have been awarded the Blue Flag by the European
Union. Additionally, they have been granted ISO9001 (Certificate of Quality
System) and ISO 140001 (Environmental Management). These awards stem from
cleanliness, unbeatable water quality, and numerous convenient services and
activities available.

Continue walking south, and you’ll
probably hear shouts from the "Lonja” – the fish auction held every weekday
from 10.00am. Then, just by the side of "Castillo” you’ll find L’Ampolla, the
busiest and largest of the town’s beaches, with bars and cafes close at hand..
Go on for a few hundred meters or so and you’ll discover Les Platgetes, two
coves of clear waters that combine sandy and rocky areas, and there’s an
attractive promenade viewpoint, with gardens and a car park.

Your walk will now be interrupted by
cliffs that conceal L’Andrago Cove. Here the rocks and the depth of the
transparent waters make it an ideal place for diving and fishing. An attractive
viewpoint dominates the cove, and makes it one of the areas most photographed
stretches of coast.

The going continues to be rugged,
and reaches its highest point at Punta de L’Estrella. It’s called this since
its shape resembles the arm of a starfish. On the other side you’ll reach and
find Cap Blanc Cove. It’s the least well known of all the coves mentioned, but
it’s well worth a visit. Access from the Moraira/Calpe road is good, but it
would be sensible to park and proceed to the point on foot.

There are no destructive waves
crashing down on the beaches, so you may prefer to spend some time at sea. If
so, sailing or boat tours are available, along with outings in kayaks. If you
like sea spray in your face, then a few hours on a jet ski are easily arranged.

If you’ve had your fill of grey skies and rain, then
why not join us in Teulada
. Of course, to categorically promise no rain would be dishonest,
but it’s not likely to fall for long.

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Posted by on Sunday 2nd March 2014

Costa Blanca Walking

If your location for retirement is
the Moraira area – look around you and you’ll see mountains. Many of them can
be walked, but it needs to be stressed, in no uncertain terms, that a good
level of fitness is needed.

Additionally, if you’re new to this
kind of activity, it would be a good idea to first attach yourself to an
organisation of considerable experience and expertise in the intricacies of
mountain walking/hiking. Go to    and you’ll find contact details.

Some of their hiking routes use
recent man made paths, but in some cases, ancient trails that reach into the
heart of the mountains are utilised. These take you through small Valencian villages,
where the Spanish dialect is extremely hard to understand. They take you past
numerous Christan and Moorish castles too.

Some of their more adventurous walks
and hikes follow animal tracks and involve the exploration of river beds and
hidden barrancos (ravines). These off the beaten track routes often allow you
to see eagles, deers, wild boars, foxes, and goats in their natural habitat.
The further inland you go, the more secluded it becomes, without sight of other
people for much of the day. However you are treated to the spectacle of amazing
mountain flora colours and varieties, and of course, the views are

If you fancy walks without any
formal organisation, then the Rock of Ifach might appeal, since Its Calpe
location is easy to reach. The name was coined by Phoenicians and means
“Northern Rock”, distinguishing it from Gibraltar much further south. It’s 332m
high and the top can be reached by a zigzagging path, revealing a magnificent
view along the Marina Alta coastline.

Alternatively, drive to the car park
of the Bernia Restaurant, and you’ll find the start point for 6 possible walks
along and around the Bernia Ridge. Don’t forget – whatever walk you embark
upon, please take a good supply of energy food and water. This is a prudent
thing to do, and in the case of the water, will ensure that no dehydration is

Of course, it’s important to point
out that the walk/hiking options mentioned here are not the only ones
available. The intention is to give you a start point for your research, if you
fancy spending some of you retirement on this pastime.


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Posted by on Monday 14th October 2013

Eating Out in the Moraira area

People are always asking for my
restaurant recommendations, and that’s very difficult advice to give since
there are so many options available. To my mind, it all depends on the purpose
of the restaurant visit. Is it merely to satisfy hunger without changing into
posh garb. or is it a business lunch.
 Perhaps it’s to relax with friends and chat while eating good food in a
pleasant atmosphere Equally, if the visit is to celebrate some special
occasion, then that will be a factor in the restaurant decision too. You’ll
want somewhere with a buzz.

Relaxing with friends and/or
celebrating are surely the most pleasant eating occasions, so here are some
location suggestions (naturally they are high on my favourites list too)

Ca Pepe

The restaurant is located
in Calle Haya, just outside of the main Moraira town, but that provides the
bonus of easy parking, even in high season. Ca Pepe is family owned and run,
and their success is due to the strategy of using seasonal local produce, and
to the care they take to ensure the high standards they set are met by all
staff. Just look at the referrals they are able to present on their website.
The menu del dia here is priced at 16.95 euros and includes a ½ bottle of wine


The position of the
restaurant is ideal – in the corner of Plaza La Sort, in Moraira town. You can
eat outside, or at one of the elegant internal dining tables. Either way, the
food is presented in an artistic manner that makes the mouth water. The menu
del dia is priced at 15 euros and on my last visit, the starter of salmon and
the sea bass main course were superb.

El Caserio

This is on the main road
out of Moraira, towards Teulada/Benitachell. The style of cuisine is best
described as International/Spanish, but whatever the label that most accurately
fits, everything is presented in a stylish fashion that adds to the pleasure of
the meal. An evening set menu is offered at 21.50 euros, but that provides you
with a choice of starter, main course and dessert, and they surprise you with a
couple of extra tidbits during the meal. If I say more there’ll be no surprises
for you, so no more clues. A whole host of a la carte options are available
too, but whatever you choose we’re certain you’ll be licking your lips all the
way through the evening.

La Masena

This is a beautifully
converted, but still rustic, finca – on the outskirts of Javea. It’s actually
on the Carretera Benitachell (the road running towards Javea from Benitachell).
It’s open every day, except Tuesday, from 12.30 to 1600 hours and from 19.30 to
2300 hours. You can eat inside the stylish air conditioned dining room, with
its beams and chandeliers, or you may decide to dine "al fresco” on the
relaxing outside terrace. There is no doubt that this is a venue to celebrate a
special occasion, and the house specialities endorse this view; Carpaccio of
pear confit with shavings of foie gras; marinated quail salad with mango;
scallops "au gratin” and suckling pig with oranges and fried bananas – these
will give you some idea about the gorgeous food they serve. The a la carte menu
is not cheap, but if you go for the menu del dia at lunchtime, the cost is 17
euros per head, and there is no reduction in quality. Indeed, I visited today
and chicken cordon bleu and beef stroganoff were menu del dia possibilities and
both were divine


Again, this is a town
centre location. The restaurant has a host of highly complimentary  reviews on the Internet, comments confirmed
by my own experience. There is no menu del dia on offer, but  you can choose 2 courses from a set menu for
20 euros and for an extra 5 euros you can enjoy an additional course


This is a genuine Italian
restaurant, and although it’s a Moraira town centre location there’s a large
free car park to the rear. All food is cooked and prepared under the
supervision/instruction of the half Italian/German owner, Rodolfo. The pasta in
particular is made to order and tastes fabulous – not surprising since he is a
Member of the Federation of Italian Professional Chefs. He says his aim each
day is to treat customers to the delights of Italian cuisine, with the subtle
combination of flavours, colours and aromas. There is no doubt he succeeds.

Vall de Cavall

Located just off the
Teulada road outside of Gata de Gorgos – food aside, the setting of the dining
area is wonderful. You look across open countyside and dine beneath the gaze of
the elephant shaped mountain called Montgo. The menu del dia will cost 17.50
euros per person and all the tasty courses will be beautifully presented, by
friendly and enthusiastic staff.

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Posted by on Monday 30th September 2013

What to do during retirement in Spain

Like me, you probably hurtled along
motorways in the years prior to retirement, trying to reach appointments with
important clients. Allowance had been made for high levels of traffic, but just
one accident resulted in miles and miles of stationery vehicles – yours and
mine included.

It was little wonder then, that the
prospect of retirement brought doubts into my mind. Would retirement in the UK
or in Spain be satisfying after decades of stomach churning, adrenaline pumping
rushes from one important appointment or meeting to another.

I’m writing to tell you that
retirement in Spain will be, or at least can be, as busy as you want it to be.
My diary is as full as it’s always been, but the big difference now is that, if
I’m late or decide not to go, there’ll be no angry client on the phone or final
warning letter in the post. I go because I’m interested in the activities I

To anyone about to retire to the
Moraira area of Costa Blanca, I recommend that you join an organisation called
U3A. It’s not concerned with particular age groups. Rather it addresses itself
to people whose full time employment is at an end or nearing it, or perhaps
those where parental responsibility is no longer full time. Such people, and I’m
one of them, still want to experience new things but these days, the emphasis
is on leisure and recreational pursuits, rather than achieving academic or
employment successes.

The cost of joining U3A is a modest
10 euros per person for one whole year, and some 1400 people think that the
membership is worthwhile. Of course, that membership is an important source of
new friendships for the newly retired. It’s open to people of all
nationalities, and rightly so, but all business is conducted in English.

One of the most amusing facts about
team GB’s success in the London Olympics was that the vast majority of our
medals were gained in "sitting down sports” – cycling; rowing; sailing.  Not to be outdone, U3A has lots of sitting
down activities too. These include backgammon; bridge; canasta; chess;
cribbage; flower arranging (OK, I know this one does involve a little leaning
forward and stem cutting, but it’s mainly sitting down); fortune telling
(though the tarot cards have to be dealt and the crystal ball polished); dining
out; jigsaw puzzle solving – actually, there are too many to list.

For those with death wish/extreme
sport tendencies, U3A has arranged regular badminton; fishing; gardening;
bowls; healthy walking; pilates; petanque; table tennis and yoga sessions, and
again these are just examples. The list is even more exhaustive (no pun
intended). Then, if you have an interest not already covered, you’ll be
encouraged (but not railroaded) to start and run a new group. 

Another organisation that’s worthy
of a retiree’s attention is the Teula Moraira Lions Club. With some 1.3 million
members worldwide, it’s active in some 44000 communities globally. The Lions
Club is a group of male and female volunteers who give time freely to
humanitarian causes in and around its local community.

The Lions Club in Teulada-Moraira
started it’s fund raising activities in 1994 and in the first year raised 845
pesetas. Since then, the figure has swelled to over 150000 euros. Most
important, as an organisation of volunteers, every penny or cent raised by
Lions Club International goes directly to charity. For example, they sponsor a
food voucher scheme – administered by Social Services at Teulada/Moraira Town
Hall. All admin costs are met by members. If you’d like to know how you can get
involved with these activities in Moraira on retirement – take a look at their
website, where contact details are shown.

Although Mark Twain wittily
described it as ”a good walk spoiled” – as I’m writing about things to do
during retirement in Spain – the game of golf has to be mentioned and included
in the list.

Assuming, as in my case, a high
level of fitness and athleticism has long ago departed your body – then the 2 x
9 hole courses near to Moraira will be of interest. For me, on a hot summers
day, as long as my drives are reasonably straight, that is – 9 holes is just
about the right length before oxygen, several nurses and possibly a matron, are
desperately needed.

Club de
Golf Ifach

Designed by Javier Arana, the club
was opened in 1974. He made the course short but tricky, with narrow fairways
and cunningly placed bunkers. The 6 par 3s and 3 par 4s require you to use a
full range of clubs and to hone your short game skills. Even if you’re playing
badly, it’s hard to spoil the good walk since the views of Ifach rock are

Club de Golf de Javea

Here’s another course where Mark
Twain would have been hard pressed to make his “good walk spoiled” claim stick.
The course is flanked by palm, pine and orange trees. It’s sheltered by Cape
San Antonio allowing a near perfect all year round micro climate, and your
shots are overseen by Montgo, a 750m high mountain shaped like the head and
trunk of an elephant. Again, although the course is not long, the 1981
designer, Francisco Moreno, made it challenging – with 34 bunkers – very
appropriate, since the sand of the coast is only a few kilometers away.
Although it’s only 9 holes long, you can go round twice – most of the back 9
(as it were) having alternative tees. Then the greens have subtle slopes making
them difficult to fathom.

”MsoNormal">It’s good to see that the management
of the course insists that golfers dress and behave like golfers, and not like
beach bums. The place has some style.

It needs to be stated that if you
get in your car with your clubs in the boot, there are other nice courses to
visit. There’s Club de Golf La Sella Denia, designed by Jose Maria Olazabal,
and a little further north you’ll find the Sevy Ballesteros creation – Club de
Golf Oliva Nova. Go in the other direction, and there are courses at Altea,
Benidorm, Calpe and many around Alicante. Further south they can be found at
Elche, Santa Pola, Guardamar, Orihuela, Murcia and Torrevieja.

Choosing exactly where to get your
good walk spoiled is difficult but there is more information here. Golf

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Posted by on Friday 27th September 2013
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