Route 66 Spanish Style
The Village of Polop Alicante
Benidorm Beaches Spain
Villajoyosa Costa Blanca Spain
Jalon Valley Alicante Costa Blanca Spain
The village of Jalon / Xaló
In the heart of the pink and white almond blossom Jalon Valley – Aka Vall de Pop. Jalon is inland from the coastal town of Moraira Costa Blanca. Turn off the N-322 road at Benissa/Senija — It’s well sign posted.
Other villages interspersed in the valley including: Lliber, Alcalali, Parcent, Murla, Xalo, Benichembla and Castell de Castells.
The Sierra de Bernia mountains, a rambles paradise surround the plains of olive trees, raisins, almonds, orange groves, and vineyards producing wine.
Top ten best things to do in Jalon
1. Saturday morning Rastro (flea Market).
2. Visit the old square on Tuesday for the open market.
3. Aleluya bar/shop for tapas and a sweet muscatel wine.
4. Lunch at the Verdi Vent Restaurant – Spanish and northern European cuisine.
5. Visit the bodegas (wine cellars) where you can sample the various types before buying.
6. Stroll around the town through the old narrow streets taking in the scenery and the Arabic culture influenced.
7. Sit outside one of the Spanish bars in the new square in the evening.
8. Attend a fiesta.
9. Visit the village of Lliber it’s in walking distance or the other villages in the valley.
10. Guided walks.
Assumption of Mary – fiesta Wednesday, 15.08.2012
Valencia day fiesta Tuesday, 09.10.2012
Dia de la hispanidad fiesta Friday, 12.10.2012
All saints day – fiesta Thursday, 01.11.2012
Constitution day fiesta Thursday, 06.12.2012
Immaculate conception Saturday, 08.12.2012
Bull running takes pace in some of the towns in the valley.
Jalon Wine, Hallelujah!
Jalon, also known as Xaló in local Valencia dialect is famous for its wine and you can sample it in the numerous bodegas (wine cellars) in the town. People come from all over the province of Alicante to fill their containers with litres of wine at a fraction of the cost
Lasting remnants of Jalon’s Arabic past are present, beating the heat with shady courtyards, thick stone and mortar walls, large wooden doors and decorated tiles.
Jalon’s old town has an ancient Square, a central fountain and looming over it a blue domed Church. The Tranquil village becomes lively on a Tuesday morning with a street market and on Saturday a huge Rastro style market (flea market) in which tourist flock, including blanket trippers from Benidorm.
Jalon also has some great restaurants selling various types of the local wine. It is also home to the famous Hallelujah Bar a great place to chill-out, the owner without warning often shouts out ”Hallelujah” as he pours a fine trickle of wine down his face and into his mouth from the Porrón – A Spanish drinking vessel with a narrow pointed spout which in theory directs a spurt of wine into your mouth.
HELP a charity organisation run by Ex-pat volunteers hold annual events, including a May Fair plus a Christmas Bazaar.
The Jalon Snake Story
There are thirteen snake spices in Spain five of which are venomous:
Snub-nosed or Lataste’s viper
False smooth snake
These snakes are not common all over Spain and it was said that years ago the only place you could get anti-venom in the area was in the Pharmacia in Jalon, once you got there on you Burro (Donkey). Above a large stone arch on a wooden shelf were jars of dead snakes of which you would choose the one that bit you, the anti-venom in turn was administered.
Villajoyosa Costa Blanca Spain
Villajoyosa Costa Blanca one of the Best Places to Visit in Spain
People at certain stages in their lives, write lists of things to do before they hit decadal milestones. Taking part in a Spanish fiesta should be on one of those lists, no matter what their age group.
Picturesque bays, long sandy beaches, underlining rocky coastlines, overlooking crystal clear blue seas. The hinterland undulates slightly, revealing orange groves and verdant valleys. Its attraction doesn’t stop there.
Villajoyosa is a coastal town located 32 km from Alicante on the N-332 coast road. It is considered the capital of the “Marina Baixa” and also known by the name “La Vila”
Top ten things to do in Villajoyosa
1. Mores and Christians Fiesta “Desembarco.”
2. The central beach, coloured fisherman’s house and many bar/restaurants.
3. La Vila Thursday Market.
4. The marina and club nautical
5. A stroll round the town center shops.
6. Watch the paella party in the main town part of the Moors & Christens fiesta.
7. Valor chocolate factory tour.
8. Picnic on El bon nou beach.
9. Visit the Hotel El Montiboli situated on La Caleta beach.
10. Walking or driving around the area and beaches, guaranteed to discover something new.
There’s a reason why Spain is one of the most popular destinations for flip flopping holidaymakers looking to Europe for their annual family break.
The Mediterranean lifestyle is enviable along with the Spanish sun and mild climate, and the local people’s hospitable and agreeable attitudes toward foreigners. Spain also has a fair share of culture with its monuments, historical treasures and Arts.
Villajoyosa, Costa Blanca.
Moors and Christians Fiesta
Spain is a country of festivals, one of the most popular is the Moors and Christians fiesta celebrated in several parts of Spain, and has been running for over 250 years.
Villajoyosa (whose name means ‘joyful town’) adds an extra special treat being on the coast. It stages a mock naval battle ‘Desembarco’ over thirty ships take to the sea and commemorates with a re-enactment of a time in 1538, when a fleet of Berber pirates led by Zale-Arraez tried to attack the town. It is said that in the midst of battle Santa Marta miraculously appeared summoning a great storm and swelling the river Amadoria, washing away the enemy fleet. For this she was made the Patron Saint.
For seven days the whole town participates in this fiesta with events and parades every day. Most of the shops, including banks are close during this week.
There is also a Paella making competition held in the street, various peñas (social clubs) compete for pride and prestige. Free drinks and hats are given out and the peñas usually end up throwing water on each other, all in the name of fun and welcomed in the soaring heat.
Although tourists are attracted to this fiesta it is still very much, first and foremost a fiesta that the town’s people celebrate and take part in as a tradition close to their hearts.
Villajoyosa is protected by a natural barrier the peaks of the Puig Campana and sierras of Aitana sheltering the region from harsh northern winds, making the temperatures pleasant all year round.
Fishing Town Other places of interest in Villajoyosa include the multi-coloured fisherman’s houses, painted in bright pastel colours, a tradition that has been upheld, originally so they could be spotted from far out at sea.
There are hundreds of ways to prepare rice, combining fish and shellfish with vegetables, and La Vila has so many great fish restaurants with fresh fish on the menu, caught by local fisherman. A gastronomic fiesta is held each year placing a high enthuses on its local cuisine, promoting local foods and tapas.It doesn’t stop there, a variety of diverse restaurants from all over the world, including Chinese and Pizzerias are dotted around the town. El Guitarra on the beach front, alluring amongst the coloured houses, has a Spanish and Northern European menu, and a great atmosphere, dinning al fresco with live music — definitely a recommend.
A perfect place for a stroll and to soak in some of the town’s ancient history is in the old walled town with its 16th Century Gothic Church and the bridge over the Rio Amadoria built in 1859.
Once across the bridge you can head 500 meters out of the main village towards El Paraiso. You will find more restaurants and bars and a beach PLAYA PARAÍSO with a camp/caravan site.
At 2 o’clock like most places in Spain, La Vila shuts down for lunch and siesta. Only the Cicadas and the noisy bars can be herd.
Along the seafront the bar/restaurants are close together with outside seating, creating a fiesta atmosphere with the sound of laughter and music, and like the beaches are still busy until the early hours of the morning. In the summer months evening artisan market stalls flutter in the summer breeze selling anything from clothes, handmade jewellery, pâtés, cheeses and olives.
If it’s dancing you are after then it’s a disco you need, and there are a huge choice a few miles down the road in Benidorm.
I emphasis DISCO because La Villa has clubs, but they are pole-dancing brothels, drinks cost five times the usual cost and rates for other services are charged by the half hour and the hour — apparently, so I was told by the Postman.
Speaking of adult pleasure Villajoyosa has a chocolate factory that’s been manufacturing chocolate since 1881, their doors are open and welcome to visitors and you can visit the chocolate museum, and learn about the history of chocolate. They also have a chocolate shop in the center of town, serving drinks and ice creams.
Beaches of Villajoyosa
My favourite beach is Playa Bon Nou a quiet rustic cove with fine white sand and pebbles. The water is clear and calm due to the beach being sheltered by cliffs. It has received the prestigious Blue Flag award assuring visitors of its quality, cleanliness and safety. Facilities include lifeguards, parking, toilets, disabled access, and a great Chiringuito (beach bar).
PLAYA CALA FONDA
Strong waves, this beach is the north of Villajoyosa with high cliffs, the bays are of small size and difficult to access, but beautiful.
PLAYA RACO CONILL
160 meters, rocks / gravel, moderate waves.
PLAYA EL TORRES
560 meters, gravel, sand and moderate waves. An ancient tower above. Torre de la Cruz and Saint Joseph, popularly known as the Tower of Hercules.
140 meters, moderate waves, sand and gravel.
1,380 meters, white sand. Disabled access to beach, close to the town center.
PLAYA EL TÍO ROIG
160 meters, moderate waves, sand gravel.
PLAYA CALA MALLAETA
210 meters, moderate waves, this has a spectacular coastal cliff.
PLAYA EL PARAIS
1,060 meters, gravel and sand. Moderate waves, blue flag, beach bar and disabled access to beach.
EL BON NOU
220 meters, moderate to weak waves, blue flag, beach bar and disabled access to beach.
PLAYA EL ASPARALLÓ
200 meters, moderate waves. The Asparalló beach is a stretch of coast at the foot of cliffs, inaccessible and clear waters.
PLAYA LA CALETA
160 meters, gravel, sand, calm waters, blue flag and disabled access to beach.
EL CHARCO / EL XARCÓ
580 meters, windy, rocks and gravel beach, an ancient watchtower above.
1,890 meters. This beach is the end of the coastal boundary belonging to La Vila, with more than two miles of coastline and an abundance of attractive beaches.
Sunset Over the Waves of Costa Blanca
Sports and the Marina
La Villa has a rugby and football club and at the marina you can Jet Ski, kayak and scuba dive.
The Club Nautico de Villajoyosa at the marina will host the fourth edition of the Euro Challenge. Sea Kayak race with the participation of 20 different nations. This year there will be two competitions racing from La Vila through to the Isle of Benidorm and La Vila down to El Campello. Villajoyosa has also been named host of the Sea Kayaking Championship of Spain to be held on September 9 at Vilera Bay.
Is this you car sir?
The Spanish sense of humour is similar to that of the British but they have a darker lust for danger and bad things happening to people, that is why bull running is still so popular. Sexual endeavours are high on the list as well as poking fun at famous people and politicians.
So on that note I leave you with two, possibly useful sentences.
¿Tienes algo para matar a los mosquitos?
Have you got anything to kill the mosquitoes?
¿Dónde está el club más cercano?
Where is the nearest club?
Benidorm Beaches Spain
Poniente, Levante and Playa de Mal Pas
47 km or 29 miles, the distance Benidorm is from Alicante Airport, with dozens of shuttle buses and now a Speedy bus offering direct transfers to individuals hotels.
Taxis are parked on the right of the main exit doors around the clock, and if you’re lucky you could be in one that gets eggs thrown at it or witness some stout red-faced Spaniards going nose to nose, as there’s still an ongoing dispute as to who should have the rights to the airport punters. The local cabs of Elche or those coming from the destination towns, this regardless of what the law says.
Yes, that might sound negative to some, but to others they sit back strap themselves in and watch the fuss, all part of the experience, ‘welcome to Spain.’ the excitement has begun.
The view from La Cruz in Serra Gelada of Benidorm is reminiscent of a Manhattan style skyline. Benidorm’s three beaches are pristine-clean and maintained. Playa de Poniente, ‘west beach’, stretches around for 2974 meters and joins, Playa de Levante, ‘east beach’, with an additional 2080 meters long this is usually the most populated beach. Both beaches are separated by Playa de Mal Pas,120m long with a width of 75m. This is a small cove on the other side of the marina below the Castilla and gets very busy.
You can also find another beach at the end of Playa de Poniente, La Cala. This is small cove and popular with both tourists and locals, with several bars and restaurants to choose from. The water is easy to swim in here, because it remains waste high for a substantial distance and ideal for the kids to play in and the older generations to stand and chat.
Benidorm, arguable one of the most denounced and trashed talked about resorts in Spain, by those knockers who have never actually visited the place.
I defy them to walk along the promenade at high noon and recall their negative connotations as the heat warms their skin. Tension,soothed by a subtle breeze from the Mediterranean sea, the white sand stretches for what seems like miles.
The promenade full of designer flip flops ranging in as many colours and sizes as their wearers, burnt red the preference of the newly arrived. Dodge the Segway riders and street performers, and become ensconced in a comfy chair, alfresco at a café bar, and people watch. Spot the nationality, although some make it too easy, dressed like reality TV stars or those that wear football tops and bold heads, on an all inclusive.
Benidorm is a favourite destination for many Europeans, who visited the place religiously each year, for years, and that’s including the winter months, popular with the older generations. The Spanish also love to visit Benidorm, especially Madrileños from Madrid.
Benidorm has a thriving beach life with early morning aerobics and Metal detectors dot about the beach in search of euros. Cable skiing is popular as well as para-sending, sea kayak, paddle boarding, Jet-skies and banana rides to name a few.
Adventure seekers can explore Benidorm’s hinterland and high ground via Jeep safari, down hill biking, hiking and hot air ballooning.
There is a profusion of entertainment options in Benidorm, in the daytime and a superabundance well into the early hours, with hundreds of bars and restaurants to choose from in the new side and the old town. Benidorm Palace is at the top of the list for popularity with its titillating Moulin rouge-esque floor shows and set menus.
Regular boat trips to the isla de los periodistas or journalists’ is a great way to see Benidorm off shore. The island also known as Benidorm island and peacock island, due it having some caged peacocks and is the head quarters for the local Seagull mob, hundreds of them.
Benidorm Island is six and half hectares, it used to be the landing spot for Pirates to plot and conduct their raids from to the mainland. Fleeing citizens from Villajoyosa and Benidorm in 1834 stayed on the island after a cholera outbreak. Now days the island is a favourite spot for divers, both snorkel and scuba and can be explored by submersible voyage around the island. There is also a café serving a variety of food and drinks.
Route 66 Spanish Style
Spain’s Ruta de la plata, is being referred to as a smaller version of North America’s Route 66. The Silver trail stretches 800km, snaking down the west side of Spain, parallel to Portugal passing through 4 regions and 7 provinces. The route features 25 municipalities that are cooperating to market their gastronomy and top level places of interest.
It starts in the beautiful coastal town of Gijón with views of the Bay of Biscay, including towns like, Ribera de Arriba, Lena, La Pola de Gordón, León, La Bañeza, Benavente, Zamora, Plasencia, Casar de Cáceres, Calzadilla de los Barros, Fuente de Cantos, Montemolín, Carmona, to name a few, with Seville being the last city on the route.
The network will be promoting the whole silver trail as a tourist attraction, through local travel agents, social media and tour ops. In the past, the majority of travellers were predominantly from Spain and Portugal. There are plenty of hotels, hostels and campsites along the route as it is not just solely for hikers and bikers to make the journey, motorist are also welcome too.
Part of the adventure along the way to your destination is stopping off at new places and exploring, you never know what you might find or what will happen. They say a friend is a stranger you have not met yet.
The Village of Polop Alicante
Polop de la Marina is a small village, 20 minutes inland from the Mediterranean coast, in the province of Alicante Valencia.
The first thing you see when you drive up from the coast and on the outskirts of La Nucia, is the tower and ancient cemetery surrounded by the remnants of Moorish walls at the pinnacle of the pueblo.
Looming over the village is a sleeping lion – the bulking Mountain Ponoch, awash with thorny browns, chinks of terracotta and pastel greens.
Polop has roads named after the composer and contemporary Spanish musician Oscar EsplÃ¡ who lived there. Polop is more famous for its water supply and the Font dels Xorrets, which has 221 waterspouts in a square, decorated and representing each town of Alicante.
Writing about a staycation (holiday at home, rather than traveling away) I feel I have a small advantage in regards to how much to write about as 20 minutes down the road is Spain’s largest and most popular holiday resort Benidorm, but even closer are the parks, Terra Mittica and Terra Natura.
Most mornings, I ride my bike up to the old church, where there is a Spanish bar with panoramic views and I can sit in quite writing on my laptop.
Terra MÃtica is a theme park located in Benidorm/Finestrat and divided into 5 themed zones: Egypt, Greece, Iberia, Rome and the Islands.The park has plenty of scary high altitude, breakneck speed rides with names like TitÃ¡nide, SynKope and Inferno.
There are over 35 daily shows and a friend of mine works on one called El Regreso de Barbarroja – The Return of Barbarossa – the horror of the seas!
The show is set on board a Pirate Ship and in Spanish but there is plenty of action to entertain.