Saturday, 4 September 2010

4 Sep 2010 - A gentle walk

After an exceptionally hot summer, when even the local Spanish were complaining about the heat, the temperature has fallen this week to a reasonable 24-26c. So we decided this morning to walk into Jalon. We realised that it would be quite hot on the return journey, so we drove to Alcalali and parked the car there.

It was so nice to be out in the “campo” again, surrounded by the lovely scenery. We started the walk about 0930, we had the valley to ourselves and it was warm but pleasant to be walking again. There are so many impressive mountain walks in this area that it is easy to forget just how lovely the Jalon valley itself is.

Although cool by recent standards, it was still warm enough for this horse to be in the shade to eat his breakfast.

We were soon passing Alcalali in the distance. We would pass by the finca where Dave and Sue live, but there was no sign of them. They run walking holidays, and have a group starting today, so no doubt that is where they were. Although comfortable by our standards we did wonder how walkers just out from UK would manage a mountain walk.

We were surprised how green the valley was, despite the recent heat wave. The Jalon valley is best known for almonds and oranges, but we were surprised to see a lot of avocado trees.

We both wear our “foreign legion” hats when we are walking on our own, though we tend to tuck the flaps in when we are in danger of meeting other walkers. Dave made a remark about Jan looking like 'deputy dawg' with her flaps down, so she is particularly sensitive about it.

The only people we saw during our walk were this family who were picking grapes. At this time of year there is often a queue of trailers loaded with grapes waiting their turn to unload at the bodega.

The grapes did look quite ripe and ready for picking, but we were not tempted to try them. Far better to wait for the finished product in the bottle.

Being a Saturday there were no trailers full of grapes on the Jalon car park, but there was the weekly Rastro market. Often it is crowded and you have to push your way through the crowds, but today it was reasonably quiet. Perhaps everyone was on the beach, or perhaps it is just getting quiet now that the school holidays are coming to an end.

Ever creatures of habit, we made for our favourite café in the square. The Rastro crowds never get as far as this, preferring to use the many bars and cafes which line the road opposite the market. It was mostly Spanish families today, with the toddlers playing on the swings and running amongst the tables as they do. Lovely to see them at that age, so innocent and full of fun.

As expected the return journey was hot and hard going. Strange that the path always seems to climb on the way back. You never notice walking down a slope on the way in to Jalon, but always seems to be climbing one on the way back – no matter which path you take. So it was a welcome relief to come in sight of the car, and not have to face that steep climb up to our house from Parcent.

It’s still a little too hot for walking, even such an easy one as this. It will be another month before the Costa Blanca Mountain Walkers, and the Monday Club, start their autumn season of walks. But it was nice to get out and attempt a shorter walk than we usually tackle.

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