Thursday, 9 December 2010

8 Dec 2010 - Benimeli

 Another warm and sunny morning, it was 21 degrees on the naya as we had breakfast.   So we decided to do a local walk to make the best of the weather.   I am not sure how long this warm spell will last, but it’s very welcome after a couple of weeks of colder than normal temperatures.
 It’s almost a year since we did our Benimeli Aerials walk.   The village is a few miles away, in the Orba valley.   We have always liked this walk, which we first did with the Monday Club.  However the group now prefer more challenging walks, and this one has fallen out of favour.

 From the village we follow a steep track following the “stations of the cross”.    These are little stone shrines, each one depicting a station, similar to those you find in Catholic churches.    Most of the local villages have these on an adjacent hill.  I am not quite sure why, because they do not lead to a church or anything. 

 In this case the path just winds up to the ruins of an old finca or village.   We were so hot after our climb that we found some shade for our short break.   Today is another bank holiday, and as we sat we could hear the church bells in Benimeli.
 From the finca the climb becomes more steep and difficult.  It is a very popular walk, and over the years various groups have marked different routes.   About a year ago a new route was marked by the local council, but it is difficult to find.   There are so many cairns and various coloured spray paint markings.   But all lead to the summit, where there is a car park and a picnic site.  

 Today there was a Spanish couple with two young children, the first people we had seen all day.   We exchanged a few words with the mother who was enjoying the sun with a little baby, and watched the dad help his young daughter climb on the rocks.

 Next comes a short, but steep, climb up the road to the aerials.   There are lovely views from here up along the coast towards Valencia.

Then there is a lovely level walk on a good path to a flat rocky area which is ideal for our picnic lunch.   From here there are views towards Montgo and Denia.   It was quite windy, but there are plenty of rocky wind breaks.
The return walk follows the road downhill, and then through the woods to a mosarabic path which leads back to Benimeli.
We were amused to find the Christmas decorations hanging from the balconies in the square, plus a large religious print.   Christmas is more of a religious festival here in Spain, less of the frantic spending spree so familiar in UK.
The village, like most here, is usually very quiet and peaceful.  But we had expected to find a collection of locals in the café as it is a holiday.  But both the square and the café were deserted.   The owner seemed pleased to have even our custom of two coffee con leche.   It was very pleasant sitting in the warm square, silent except for the church bells pealing the quarter hour.  

A very enjoyable walk.   It took us about four hours, slightly shorter than our normal Monday walk.   It was nice to walk on our own for a change, and we found it quite challenging enough.  

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