Thursday, 24 June 2010

22 June 2010 - Birthday in Calasparra

During our recent short visit to Calasparra it was Paul’s birthday, and our visit to two good friends Paul and Jean who have just moved to Spain proved and excellent way to celebrate it.

Paul and Jean have just moved to Calasparra from UK.

They were happy to show us around the area, and our first visit was to the Casa de Cristo, a popular picnic site high on the mountain overlooking the small town of Moratalla

The museum and restaurant was closed on a Monday, and the area deserted – except for Jan’s new friend.

After the three hour drive from Parcent to Calasparra it was nice to be able to walk around in the cool mountain breeze and admire the scenery

Paul has promised us a BBQ for my birthday meal, and he did not let us down. He enjoys cooking, and particularly outdoor cooking.

We were very impressed with the BBQ area…

…. and also the excellent meal he cooked us

Our next visit was to The Sanctuary of our Lady of Hope just three miles outside Calasparra is a popular place of pilgrimage.

The church is in a cave carved out of the rock to mark the spot where a shepherd stumbled on a little statue of the Virgin Mary which was so heavy it could not be moved

The altar was covered in flowers, presumably following a recent church service.

The river Segura flows below the church, and there is a large picnic and BBQ area which is very popular with locals and visitors alike on weekends and festival days.

Next to Calasparra itself and up the steep narrow streets to the castle

We had not come prepared for such a poor path, and the Monday Club would not have approved of our footwear.

However the views when we finally reached the castle made the climb worthwhile.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

6 June 2010 - Corpus Cristi in Parcent

We missed it for the four previous years we have lived here, but the presence of our visitors prompted us to make the effort this year. And we were pleased that we did. Our deputy mayor is English, and she sends us emails to keep us informed what is happening. The first one said the procession would start at 9pm, the second said it would be 7pm and a hand written notice outside the church said 5pm! We settled for the second email and walked down to the village for 7pm and arrived just before the procession started.

The route of the procession was marked by a trail of flowers and an altar. Each street was different and the occupants, who had done the work, sat outside their house on wooden chairs admiring their work and waiting for the whole thing to start.

It all starts with a church service. Then the priest is escorted around the village by locals in their best dress and carrying candles, with the village band bringing up the rear. They stop at each altar, the band plays a few notes and the priest gives a blessing to one and all.

Then it’s off down the street to the next altar. Everyone, except the priest, is careful to avoid the tastefully laid flowers.

However no one seems to have told the band, who shuffle along crunching the flowers. As they are at the back of the procession no one seems concerned.

One little girl brought up the rear quite happy with a little parade of her own. She was a great favourite of the crowd.

Then it was back to the village square and a peal of bells from the church tower to mark the end of the procession. The peal was loud, though not particularly musical. Looking up we could see a pair of hands swinging the bells. Not sure whether this is normal, or whether someone has pinched the bell ropes.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

4 June 2010 - Clive and Daphne in Parcent

Now that the walking season is over, its visitor season. Jan’s brother Clive and his wife Daphne came for their second visit to Parcent

On the first day of their visit we walked into Parcent to collect the post . The one room “post office” is only open for one hour each day for collection of mail.

We then walked up to the village square, where Clive discovered the water fountain, but could not then switch it off!

We were surprised to find the church door open. The priest was just locking up, but as we approached he asked us if we would like to look inside

We have lived in Parcent for four years, and this is the first time we have had an opportunity to look around the church.

It must have taken all of ten minutes to explore the village, and we found ourselves at the Cooperativa, where we had a welcome break with a cup of Coffee con Letche before climbing up the hill back to the house.

We were very surprised to find we had an unexpected visitor – a snake. We have seen quite a few during our walks around the area, but never before in the front garden.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

31 May 2010 – Javea to Mar Azul

We had arranged to meet at the main Arenal car park, but when we arrived there we found it contained a very large tent and was closed due to a food festival. Fortunately Monday Club members are very obvious with their large walking boots and purposeful aim! Whatever the reason we all met up with no further problem.

We left Javea along the beach with its strange volcano-like rocks surface. It’s easy to walk over, but I suspect not very comfortable to sit on. It is never very busy, though it would be ideal for young children to explore with its many rock pools.

At this point we met a local council workman walking towards Javea. We exchanged “Ola’s”, but he stopped until Jan moved off the “path”. The beach here is covered with small smooth stones, and he obviously followed a particular path, and Jan was standing on it!

It was now about 11am and already it was a very hot day. There was a breeze but unlike last week it was not very cooling. So we were all ready for a water stop. We had brought extra water, and were to drink it all before we finished the walk.

As most of the “part timers” had returned to UK for the summer, we had expected that we would be a small group today. But we were pleased to find that Wendy had finally returned to our happy little group. There were also two new members on their first walk. Mike and Jackie have walked with the CBMW, and were well known to many of our group. But this was the first time that they had joined us on a Monday. So there were ten of us walking today, which makes for a nice group.

From here it was a climb up a good path. Normally no great challenge, but on such a hot day even this easy climb produced some red and shiny faces.

The next section is a nice walk along mostly shaded paths to Cap Prim

Wendy and Pat share an umbrella. Pat often makes use of it when it is hot, and it’s always seemed an excellent idea to me. But one of those things that you only think of when you are walking in the sun, and immediately forget when you have the opportunity to buy one.

Cap Prim really is a lovely place to walk, particularly in the summer. There is plenty of shade provided by the trees, and lovely views back towards Javea and also towards today’s objective Mar Azul beach.

This very photo of a very happy looking Pat and Peter would get my recommendation for “photo of the day”.

Another view of Javea. I am pretty sure this particular view has appeared in previous Blogs, but I make no apology for repeating it. Its views like this that make you appreciate how lucky we are to be living in such a beautiful part of the world.

This view point on Cap Prim is usually a good place for a “banana stop”, but today was much too hot for more than a short stop. It appears that Jackie may give Pat some competition in the “umbrella stakes”.

From here it is a short walk, all downhill and mostly shaded to the beach at Mar Azul. Jan insists that it is called Portitxol, but on the map it looks like Mar Azul. No doubt some kind soul will be quick to let me know if I am wrong!

About half of the group, including Peter, went for a swim whilst the rest of us searched for some shade to have lunch. Apparently the water was quite bracing, and the swimmers ate in the sun to dry and warm up. You will note that Monday Clubbers “do it in boots”. Perhaps we should have a club tee shirt confirming this?

Lunch was longer than usual, to allow for the swim. So we non swimmers were quite stiff when we set off on the return journey. It was around the rocky headland back towards Cap Prim. It was now very hot, even with the sea breeze.

After the beach it was quite a stiff climb uphill to get back to the coast road to Javea. Despite taking advantage of any shade available, most found this part of the walk quite difficult. So I am quite impressed that Jan, Mike and Pat could manage wide grins. Jackie is too far away to see what her expression might be.

The remainder of the walk back to Javea was flat and on good paths. But it was again very hot, and most found it quite difficult going. As always the prospect of a cold Clara (Shandy) kept most of us going.

We had planned to walk again next week, but all agreed that it was now too hot to continue with our type of walks and that we should not meet again until September.

This has been one of our best walking seasons. We have discovered new walks, not least the area around Pedreguer which most of us had never walked before. Our only regret is that the road to Castels has been closed throughout the whole period. Hopefully it will be open by September and we can revisit some of our old favourites.

This will be the last blog about the Monday Club until September. Jan and I would like to wish everyone a very enjoyable summer break, and look forward to meeting old friends in the Autumn.

We will continue to post on the blog throughout the summer, and you are all welcome to visit and see what we are up to.

Next Walk

The next walk will be a coastal walk to Calpe. Pat confirmed that part of the path is currently closed, so we are not sure where the walk will start. So we will meet in the main car park in Moraira and drive to the start in convoy.

The date will probably be the first week in September. But Pat and Peter are on holiday in September, and have to check and confirm the exact date. As soon as they tell me I will amend the blog.