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Trip To Galicia

Mo & Ali Segovia

Mo & Ali Segovia

Ant & Sal in Segovia

Ant & Sal in Segovia

Our first stop was Segovia, north of Madrid – a beautiful city with a stunning cathedral and Roman aquaduct.

Segovia Cathedral

Segovia Cathedral

The walled city is perched on a rock rising out of the surrounding Castillian plains, and is a maze of narrow streets dotted with Roman monuments and noble mansions.

Mo & Ant Segovia

Mo & Ant Segovia

We stayed one night in a converted monastery within walking distance of the old town.

Wow Beef Rib En Route

Wow Beef Rib En Route

Then on to A Pobra de Trives, near Ourense in rural Galicia, after an interesting drive north west through spectacular scenery. No postcards here (well no shops, actually), so just a couple of snapshots of the hotel, which was a luxuriously converted old manor house on a farm, set in beautiful lush pastures, woodland and lakes.

Converted Old Manor

Converted Old Manor

Manor Views

Manor Views

Very green with lots of livestock, the cows and goats with bells so the herdsman can find them to bring them home. So peaceful, and no English spoken – popular area for walking holidays, but few foreign tourists come here so we were something of a curiosity!

Manor Gardens

Manor Gardens!

Mo's Space Ship!

Space ship!

Our next stop was Vigo

Escudos Hotel

Escudos Hotel

A busy commercial port on the south coast of Galicia (not far from the border with Portugal).
The city itself was busy and a bit touristy as many cruise liners stop here. But our hotel was a delightful, peaceful haven overlooking the estuary, another lovely old building with gardens down to the beach and all mod cons – we got a free upgrade to a huge suite overlooking the estuary.

Escudos View

Escudos View

Escudos Gardens

Escudos Gardens

There are lots of traditional fishing villages in the many inlets, and summer resorts popular with Spanish holidaymakers. And fantastic seafood restaurants – every conceivable type of shellfish is caught or farmed off this coast.

Seafood Lunch

Seafood Lunch

From Vigo, we visited Santiago de Compostella.
The buildings, especially the cathedral, were spectacularly ornate though rather gloomy.

Not difficult to imagine the throngs of pilgrims there in the Middle Ages, and what an awesome sight it must have been for them. We didn´t get to pay our respects at St James´s reliquary as the queue was several hours long.

Then on to La Coruña for 2 nights – this is where the Armada set sail from and the site of many historic sea battles and sieges. Another busy port on a rocky islet linked to mainland by a narrow strip of sand. Two sleepless nights in a beachfront hotel in sweltering heat – the only bad hotel choice I had made when I booked them all on the internet. The “English weather” we had been promised did not materialise, it was sunny every day and only a few drops of rain during the whole trip. More spectacular coastline, maritime museum and aquarium. The Costa del Muerte (coast of death) is here, very rugged coastline where many ships foundered on the rocks, and Cape Finisterre (heard of in the shipping forecast, always wondered where it was!). Finis Terra in Spanish, means “the end of the world”, which of course it was until Christopher Columbus came back. We celerbrated Mo’s birthday in the famous El Coral seafood restaurant.

Mo's Birthday Bash at El Coral

Mo’s Birthday Bash at El Coral

From La Coruña we drove into the Picos de Europa, a spectacular mountain range in the province of Asturias, only 18 miles from the sea. A wonderful drive through deep gorges cut by gushing mountain rivers. It was a Sunday, and the area was busy with Spanish holidaymakers and day-trippers, every little town had canoes, bikes or horses for hire and there were hundreds of families enjoying a day out on the river and picnicking under the trees. We stayed overnight in Covadonga, a small village in the mountains with another spectacular church, huge monastery and convent.

Church close up

Church close up

Another pilgrimage site, to a shrine carved out in the rocks to the Virgin of the Battlefield.

Covadonga Shrine

Covadonga Shrine

Covadonga Cave

Covadonga Cave

Woodlands

Woodlands

Church in Covadonga

Church in Covadonga

The legendary battle of Covadonga (not heard of it? Shame on you ….. neither had we!) took place here in 722, when Don Pelayo defeated the Moors and heralded the start of the Spanish Reconquest.

Mo & Ant Covadonga

Mo & Ant Covadonga

Next stop was near to El Burgo in Castilla-Leon. Lots of old fortified towns and villages and lofty castles en-route, this being the oldest kingdom in Spain.

Rope Bridge En Route to Meseta

Rope Bridge En Route to Meseta

Then on through the “Meseta” – the vast central plains with acres and acres of arable farms, but strangely empty of people. We stayed in a delightful former convent in a quaint walled town where the locals looked at us as if we´d just landed from another planet!

On through more meseta to another walled town at Mora de Rubielos, near to Teruel. A beautiful small town with mediaeval origins, immaculately cared for. Exploring the maze of narrow streets revealed beautiful historic town houses with balconies hung with bright geraniums.

Sally and I walked the stations of the cross to the shrine at the top of the fortified hill with a lovely view of the town below.

Mora de Rubielos Shrine

Mora de Rubielos Shrine

One of the locals chatted animatedly with Maurice, in sign language, about how cold it is there in the winter, like England! They do get lots of snow in winter and there are ski resorts in the mountains nearby.

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Mora de Rubielos

Local stonework

Local stonework

And then home to Moraira, after 10 days “on the road”, 7 different hotels, and having traveled about 3,000 km. Another huge area of Spain explored, and a breathtaking diversity of scenery, history and traditions experienced, but there is so much more to see ………..

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Posted by on 10/02/2009 07:06:00

Traditional Flamenco in Abanilla

Abanilla is a very old village with friendly people and on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays there is a traditional flamenco held in a Gipsy Cave-

Entrance with meal is €32, admission 8.0 p.m., entrance only is €15, including a jug of sangria. admission 8.45 p.m. The show starts at 9.30 p.m. and ends at 11.30 p.m.

The owner of the cave speaks several languages and will give a brief talk about the history of flamenco.

This is the real Spain and real flamenco.

Directions, Take the A 7 motorway towards Murcia, exit Orihuela-Benferri. Take Beniferri up to Abanilla. In Abanilla you will see a statue of Jesus Christ on a mountain, in that mountain you will find La Tona gypsy cave.

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Posted by on 06/11/2008 16:49:00

Caves at Vall d'Ebo

A beautiful day out can be enjoyed in the mountains just 30 kilometres from Denia. Take the road to Pego, off the N 332, and from there continue towards Val d’Ebo, a beautiful winding road, passing the ravines of la Canya and l’Infern.

On arrival at the village you can visit the marvelous cave “Cova del Rull”, with its spectacular stalactites, stalagmites and rocks.

Visiting hours: April – September, fron 10.20 a.m. to 8.30 p.m. November – 14th January from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00.p.m. 16th February – March and October from 11.00 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.

Entry tickets will be sold until 40 minutes before the daily closure. The cave will be closed on December 25th and January 1st and from 15th January to 15th February.

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Posted by on 05/30/2008 21:41:00

Turron Museum

An interesting day out is a visit to the Turron Museum at Jijona. This can be enjoyed in conjunction with taking friends or relatives back to the airport at Alicante or just as a day out.

Just north of Alicante on the A7 take the N340 which will take you to Jijona, approximately 24 kilometres from Alicante. The museum is in Carretera Jijona-Busot, km 1 and is open from 10.0 a.m. to 1.0.p.m. and from 4.0 p.m. to 7.0 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 1.0 p.m. and 5.0 p.m. to 7.0 p.m. Sundays and Festival days.

The museum is a private institution showing the technology related to the making of turron and marzipan. This was a very important activity during the XXth century but its roots date back to the Middle Ages.

The museum has three floors, the top floor displays the raw materials used, the middle floor shows the processes of making the turron and the lower floor the commercialization of the product.

Visits are carried out in the company of a guide. Brochures are available in several languages.

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Posted by on 05/30/2008 21:40:00

Guided Tours in Denia

There are various guided tours in Denia, free of charge at certain times of the year.

One is a walk through Denia and the Castle. This tour lasts for two hours and can be reserved before departure, telephone 96 642 23 67. Entrance to the castle is €1.55 for adults, 75 centimos for children.

Another walk is through the Parc Natural del Montgo, leaving from the entrance of the market of Yorrecremada at 9.0 a.m., reservations can be made for a maximum of 20 places, telephone 96 642 32 05 or 679 196 461.

There is also a tour of the Fallas on the 17th and 18th March only, maximum 30 places, telephone 96 642 23 67.

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Posted by on 05/30/2008 21:38:00

Moors and Christians

The fiesta of the Moors and Christians is one of the most spectacular throughout the whole of Spain and is celebrated at different times in different towns and villages.

The Moors ruled Spain for seven hundred years from the 8th to the 15th century and the fiesta celebrates the re-conquest of Spain by the Christians.

The fiesta is celebrated in Moraira in June and this year it will be held on the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th June. On the first day there are processions along the streets with bands and orchestras and fancy dress. On Friday, a mock battle is staged when the Christians reconquer the town and this is held on the Ampolla beach with the Moors and Christians in magnificent costumes. There is much shooting and fighting and is well worth seeing.

On Saturday there will be processions in the streets with flower displays and fancy dress.

On Sunday, the final day there is the most fantastic and spectacular procession in the evening, beginning around 19.00 hours and lasting for two to three hours. Seats are provided in the streets for which a nominal charge is made.

The costumes are out of this world and cost many thousands of euros. Usually there are horsemen, sometimes camels, gym displays and floats and many other attractions. When the procession is ended there is a magnificent firework display ovder the beach.

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Posted by on 05/14/2008 21:31:00

Tabarca Island

The island of Tabarca is the largest inhabited island in the Valencian Community. There is a daily service in May, leaving Alicante at 11.0 a.m. and returning from Tabarca at 17.00. The return fare is €17. During the summer months there are more services. Details can be obtained from Empresa Kontiki on 96 521 6396 or if you wish to leave from Santa Pola the you can telephone Cruceros Baeza Parodi on 608 330 422.

The island is 11 miles south east of Alicante and only three miles from the cape in Santa Pola. It is 1,800 metres long and 400 meters wide. It is a beautiful place for a weekend or a day trip. The trip takes 60 minutes from Alicante and only 30 minutes from Santa Pola.

The island dates back to the XVIII century. In 1741 the king of Tunisia invaded the island and took as his prisoners the people living there, who happened to be Genoese, but later became the prisoners of the Sultan of Argelia. In 1768, Carlos III, king of Spain paid a fee and freed them. They stayed on to make the island a military lookout, especially from the pirates who used the island to attack the Costa Blanca.

In the centre of the island is a beautiful hotel which used to be the Governors house. The area was declared a Protected Historic Artistic monument in 1964. In 1986 the island was declared a Protected Marine Reserve, covering over 1,400 hectares. There are all sorts of water activities allowed within this area. Fishing can be done with the correct permits. Scuba diving and collecting of flora or fauna is prohibited, as also are motor boats.

The island is one of the best places to sample various fish dishes.

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Posted by on 05/09/2008 21:15:00

A day out in Benidorm

A very enjoyable day out can be had on a visit to Benidorm. Drive north on the A7 autoroute until you see signs to Levante Beach. Turn off here and join the N332 going south and keep on this road.

If the weather is inclement, it is a good idea to start your visit by driving to La Marina shopping centre which is signposted on the right hand side of the N332.

The shopping complex is covered in and there are many shops there, including Zara, Punta Roma, Casa and many others. Also there are some very good tapas bars and cafes.

From here you can visit La Cala, a delightful bay, full of delightful Spanish bars and cafes and a safe and sandy beach. To reach this leave the shopping centre and follow the signs to Benidorm until you reach the crossroads and cross straight over here to reach La Cala bay.

The old town of Benidorm is a fascinating area of narrow streets, full of shops, tapas bars and cafes.

Along the beaches of Benidorm are covered libraries where you can read magazines and newspapers in all languages.

Also there is a tourist tram which goes along Benidorm from one end to the other.

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Posted by on 04/28/2008 20:13:00

The Algar Waterfalls

A trip to the Algar Waterfalls is a very enjoyable day . The area is a famous beauty spot and an easy drive from Moraira, taking the N.332 to Altea, turning off to Callosa d·en Sarria and continue to the Waterfalls which are signposted.

Alternatively you can drive on the AP 7, turning off at the signpost to Callosa d·en Sarria.

During the visit, walk to the riverside and see the various pools and waterfalls. You can walk along the paths which commence by the riverside.

There is also an Environment Musuem (aromatherapy, in vitro fertilization of plants, exhibition of aromatic herbs, essences, etc.) Also visit the Avenue of the Aromatic Plants and the Water Musuem.

There is a First Aid Post, W.C., camping site with W.C. and showers. You can use the barbecue and cut firewood is included. Free parking near the camping area. For any further information telephone the Tourist Information office on 96 588 01 53

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Posted by on 02/20/2008 20:39:00

Medieval Tower and Museum, Alcalali

The Medieval Tower in Alcalali is well worth a visit. To arrive in Alcalali from Moraira, drive through Teulada to the N332, turn left and drive through the town of Benissa. At the end of the town take the right fork, signposted Jalon, drive through Jalon and in about two miles you will arrive in Alcalali.

There is a good parking space at the crossroads to Parcent and Murla. Walk through the town until you reach the square where the church is situated and opposite the church is the tower. This is open every Thursday between 10.0 .m. and 12.0 mid-day, other days by arrangement. The cost to enter is €1.50.

The tower has a very interesting history. It was constructed in 1600 to protect the village from the frequent attacks by pirates and bandits. In 1992 the Town Hall of Alcalali acquired the Tower and completely restored it, the top floor being completely in glass with the most magnificent views of the Vall de Pop, the Coll de Rates, the villages of Parcent, Jalon and Lliber and the mountain Pop de Murla, where, incidentally the last battle in 1609 against the Moors and the Christians took place.

There is a commentary in various languages with pictures on a lap top. The museum is also very interesting with numerous artefacts, weapons, etc, There are various bars and cafes in the village, also a restaurant, called Marcel, which is on the right hand side when you leave the town and return towards Jalon. Here you can have a menu del dia with three courses and a drink, all for €8.00

There are many attractions along the the Costa Blanca and you can find links to other sources of information here.

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Posted by on 02/11/2008 20:33:00